Jump to content

It's OK to believe in the California dream again

Anna R

Recommended Posts


By Olsen Ebright


It was 1991. The nation was still healing from the Milli Vanilli lip-synching scandal, U.S. troops were in Iraq and the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup.

And Time magazine thought the California Dream was on its deathbed.

Now it's 2009. The nation is still healing from the Ashlee Simpson lip-synching scandal, U.S. troops are in Iraq and the Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup.

The only real change in the last 18 years (besides, obviously, the invention of McDonald's Big N' Tasty) is that now Time magazine thinks the California Dream is alive and well.

According to the magazine, we've come a long way since 1991, and California is "still a dream state."

Ignore the California whinery. It's still a dream state. In fact, the pioneering megastate that gave us microchips, freeways, blue jeans, tax revolts, extreme sports, energy efficiency, health clubs, Google searches, Craigslist , iPhones and the Hollywood vision of success is still the cutting edge of the American future — economically, environmentally, demographically, culturally and maybe politically. It's the greenest and most diverse state, the most globalized in general and most Asia-oriented in particular at a time when the world is heading in all those directions. It's also an unparalleled engine of innovation, the mecca of high tech, biotech and now clean tech.

Aw shucks, Time. You're making us blush.

"Whenever we have a problem, everyone makes a big drama -- 'Oh, my God, it's the end. California is over,'" Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told Time. "It's all bogus."

Interesting point coming from our state's official drama queen -- but he's right. Other than some smog, a little traffic and the occasional joke of a state budget, the Golden State is still golden. Oh, and the earthquakes, wildfires and mudslides. Those are downers too, but c'mon -- it's October and it's 80 degrees outside. We'll take it.

In any case, California is not imploding, which ought to be heartening to Americans regardless of ideology or geography. Because America is essentially the land of the Etch A Sketch, and California is America but more so, beckoning dreamers who want to cook Korean tacos or convert fuel tanks into hot tubs. It's progressive more in the literal than in the political sense of the word. And it's where America is going: a greener, more advanced and more global economy; a browner and more metropolitan population; and, yes, some staggering debts and other governance problems that need to be resolved. It's expensive and crowded -- because people still want to be there! -- and it's recovering from an economic earthquake. But it continues to have a powerful claim on the future.

So, Time magazine, thanks again for seeing it our way. If you'd ever like to move out of New York, you're always welcome here. Things are looking pretty golden these days.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting this Anna! While it may be uncomfortable for some of us Californians right now, I don't believe the dream ever died. If you had what it took to make the "California Dream" a reality the first time, take heart and know you can do it again!! The second time around you will do so even more stylishly!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is a fair possibility I may be moving back. I like Seattle, but they are cutting down hours at work, since there are now less flights operating out of here. Plus there are some family issues that require me to come down often.

So, who knows, I may move back in the next year or two....

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Me three, Wendy! I have always loved California. So much so that I moved here as a 3 month old infant. Yep, packed my diaper bag and pacifier and hit the road. Okay, my Dad was a Marine and we transferred from Camp Le Jeune, NC, but still I got to live in the best state! I have lived out of state once and it sucked rocks!!! There is nothing sadder than hearing "Surfin' USA" on the radio in Davenport, IA. I almost wept because there is no ocean in IA! The people were nice, but still. I realized that there is really no place like home. I may visit other states, but have no desire to live anywhere but California. We have the nicest people in the nation!!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

As a former Californian...I have to agree, California is Beautiful...Hubby and I would move back there in a heartbeat, but our son's and grandkids are here, and I won't leave them.

I LOVED San Diego, it was beautiful weather year round....maybe someday...we are going there in July of 2011, for a big family reunion on my Hubbys side of the family, can't wait...they live in Ventura

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...