|California State Seal|
In the 1840s, California was brimming with opportunity. Gold fever and gold rushes, combined with the transfer of state authority from a tyrannical Spanish Empire then a corrupt and dysfunction Mexican government, to the United States of America signaled the progress of any terroritory under differing political cultures. California, a backwater abandoned by imperial interests, neglected by an upstart former colonial power, has become one of the wealthiest countries (if it were independent from the United States).
Yet for all its grandeur, from a mining outpost filled with natural potential to a tech-savvy mecca riddled, a disparate underclass of illegal aliens and desperate working poor trying to make a living, have tarnished the Golden State's former reputation. A well-connected political elite and business class determine policy, unharmed by its consequences, harming individual taxpayers, small businesses and local entrepreneurs, and frustrating young people's opportunities.
Government overreach, combined with progressive idealism divorced from reality, have turned a haven of travel, entertainment, and investment into a limited Proustian paradise, where one can only dream the California Dream, reduced to a nightmare for those born and raised in this once great state. A media class has protected the Democratic dominance in the state of decades, even when previous Republicans governors put forth the best efforts (movie stars excepted) to stop the spending and demand restrained and responsible governance. Californians have experienced runaway liberal, public sector union, special interest, and extreme left-wing lobby pandering for the last four years.
Is there any hope for change in deep blue California?
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Perhaps the state's seal and motto, proposed and adopted one year before statehood? The website "netstate.com" may grant us insight to restoring the fortunes of the largest state (per population) in the country.
Under the gaze of Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom, a miner works near the Sacramento River. A grizzly bear rests at her feet and ships ply the river. The Sierra Nevada mountains rise in the background. Wildlife, agriculture, natural beauty, commerce, and opportunity are all represented on California's Great Seal.
Everything in a government seal testifies to deeper meanings, greater hopes, aspirations to be realized. The flora and fauna, the trade and culture, testify to a state with latent greatness.
The state motto, Eureka, sits over the mountains. A Greek word that means "I have found it," Eureka refers the discovery of gold in California.
Eureka, more than the spontaneous declaration from a scientist/inventor, or a Nor Cal municipality, Eureka signifies adventure, the assumption of risk with the certain of accomplishment. "Eureka!" means whatever anyone was seeking, he has found. The truths of the Declaration of Independence find their affirmation.
The miner, working with a pick, is another reference to the gold that was found in California. A pan and a rocker are also depicted on the seal near the miner. The pan was used to separate the gold from the dirt; just add water. The rocker is a larger and more sophisticated "pan." It allowed miners to process more dirt and sand faster. At the time the seal was designed, people were coming from all over the world looking to "strike it rich" in the gold fields.
Mining was a dirty, difficult, and demanding chore, one where the prospector faced limited prospects of striking it rich. Yet the chances of failure never deterred fortune hunters from migrating to California. Today, a work ethic should encounter many chances for striking it rich, yet the state leadership makes it harder to prosper, easier to depend. Where's the glory in getting anything?
Virtually all of the products coming in and out of California were carried over water routes at the time the seal was designed. Mining supplies, letters from home, luxuries, household items, and gold were all carried on ships. From the eastern United States, ships sailed south around Cape Horn and north to California. The ships, on a representation of the Sacramento River, symbolize the commercial greatness of California.
The commercial greatness is stifled by labor unions, bent on doing nothing more (or better), yet getting higher wages and more generous benefits. Who will pay for these lavish expenses, if the businesses, entrepreneurs, and individual taxpayers flee the once great Golden state?
A sheaf of grain in the foreground represents California's agricultural wealth. In fact, many who came looking for gold found farming more profitable. Today, California is an agricultural giant among the states.
Today, this wealth is severed from all sides not just from a severe drought, but the man-made dereliction of the state legislature to build desalination plants, to invest in proper storage facilities, to regulate the power of labor unions in water distribution, or temper the environmental regulations with protect fish and plants instead of farmers and people in general.
At the feet of Minerva, stands the California grizzly bear. A symbol of strength and independence, the grizzly bear is the Official State Animal and is the prominent feature on the California State Flag. Grizzly bears were, at one time, common in the state but the mass movement of people into California during the gold rush strained their habitat and caused their numbers to decline sharply. Today there are no wild grizzly bears left in California.
There are no wild grizzly bears left, and there is very little fight left in Californians fed up with a distant, unaccountable government, which in turn turns over power to unelected boards, bureaucrats, and brigades of regulators detached from evidence or enforcement.
Click here for larger version of 1849 seal.
In 1937 minor changes were made to the seal.
Now that we have got a better picture of what the seal designers imagined, intended for the Golden State, what can We the People do to restore the grandeur, the glister, the glory of California?
There is a way to restore California, a land named after an island paradise, where opportunities can abound again, where leaders, movers, and hopeful seekers can find what they are looking for. The natural resources remain, the people have the skills and the strengths. Now they need to work together to establish the rule of the law, individual liberty, limited government, and respect and submission to the United States Constitution.
Just like Maryland Governor Larry Hogan's "Change Maryland", or Assemblyman David Hadley's (R-Torrance) "South Bay One Hundred", it's time for a Coalition of Concerned California Citizens to rise up and get back this state.
It's time for "Eureka, California"!