Lauren Mayer: Political Activism in the Granola State

Sure, California has lots of advantages – fabulous weather, beautiful scenery, and being on the cutting edge of everything from computer innovation to right-turn-on-red.  But there are plenty of drawbacks, besides the obvious (cost-of-living and housing prices are insane, New Yorkers like my father-in-law refer to our home as ‘the land of fruits and nuts’).  And one of the biggest problems here is political.

Granted, I’m grateful to live in a state where my kids aren’t taught creationism in science class, or where I don’t worry that a personhood amendment is going to make my birth control pills illegal.  But when lunacy happens on the federal level, there’s often not much I can do.  For example, many people were horrified by last week’s Senate vote, blocking watered-down background checks on gun purchases (that were supported by 80-90% of all voters – one of the rare occasions where WTF? is a totally appropriate reaction).  All the left-leaning organizations tell us we’re supposed to contact our senators and representatives and give them hell.  But what do I do when my legislators are all very liberal women?  I mean, am I supposed to call Dianne Feinstein and complain that the assault weapons ban, which SHE sponsored, hasn’t gotten further?  That’s like the old borscht belt joke about the Jewish mother at a Catskills resort, complaining that the food was “just awful, I couldn’t eat a bite, and besides, the portions were so small!”

And while I am grateful to California innovators for all the advances in computers and internet connectivity, now I can’t pretend to be from another state.  I get emails saying “Let Senator so-and-so know you’re angry about the background checks vote” and when I call the number, something in the system figures out what my zip code is and redirects me to Barbara Boxer’s office voicemail.  I mean, technology is great, but that feels a little creepy to me, especially when I was getting really good at imitating a southern accent.

So to all my friends in red states who envy us in more liberal parts of the country, at least you can make some noise, and possibly some difference, by contacting your legislators.  And trust me, I know your pain, I grew up in Orange County, which I like to think of as the red state in the middle of California.   I was one of two students in my entire high school trying to drum up support for McGovern . . . . . and before you whip out your calculators, yes, I’m old, but not THAT old, it was my freshman year and I was only 13 and I can’t lie about my age because my teenage sons are good at math and lousy at keeping secrets . . . . oh never mind, here’s a song about being blue in a blue state:


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