I was privileged to attend high school at a military academy in Carlsbad, California from 1965-1969, at which time I returned to Arizona to attend Northern Arizona University. My years in southern California were terrific for many reasons one being the magic which was the California of yesteryear. The beach (the academy had its own private 200 yard long beach) the weather, the life-style of the late 60s’ all contributed to a vision which is still etched into my memory. Over the decades, I would travel for various events back to the academy, and you could see the not-so-good changes occurring in California. For reasons that escape me, “California Dreamin” as the Beach Boys would sing, began to morph into a society almost separate from the rest of America; sort of like the individual style setting California which had been became even more stand alone, and even third-world-like as more third-world people slipped in and filled every nook and cranny of the once Golden State. The brightness that California once was known for (among beaches, mammoth freeways, laid back life styles, fertile farm lands and mountains, and of course Home of Mickey Mouse) was being altered by gangs, poor populations requiring almost full subsidies from the State just to live, multiple cultures that no longer respected American culture, schools that no longer prepared students to become productive members of society; heck schools that barely teach reading, writing, arithmetic, steadily creeping higher costs of everything, closures of many things that use to be landmarks thereby further dulling the brightness that helped make California the Golden State. But I chose to push all of that aside in my mind (hindsight bias is what this type of selective thinking is named), and I would still travel to the beach of Carlsbad or Oceanside remaining in small pockets next to those beaches, and recall a kinder and gentler era, as I walked up and down those beaches I had become so acquainted with during my youth.
At one time, California seemed to be the epicenter of the American Dream. From “WolfMan Jack” on the radio to the movie American Graffiti depicting cruising up and down main streets talking to those walking, whistling to those simply sitting on sidewalk benches, and laughing all the while the “WolfMan” was talking and howling over the radio, Beach Boy music everywhere along with Jan and Dean, “California Dreamin” was a reality, a way of life – even for kids in other states. But something happened sadly. Of course times change, but have they changed really for the better?
The following article sheds light on the California Dream that has become very dull, without much brightness like the famous California coastal haze that burns off around noon, but now seems not to burn off revealing a clear and clean image like once. Where did California go? Where is California going?? I wish I knew. I wish I could pull this once unique state back in time, or at least pull it away from what appears to be certain self-destruction. Hard to believe I know thinking California will not always be there. The below article by Michael Snyder peeks behind the “California here I come curtain,” and reveals a once Great State in great need of new leadership; a return to principles that were simpler, but more honest and in keeping with American values than what is unraveling before our eyes. ~LJR
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