In April, 2009, I wrote a post about Jerry Brown
that I would like to repost today in honor of his election as Governor:
On Jerry Brown’s Campaign For California Governor
He was called “Moonbeam” and mocked, but he was right, and we were right, and the country needs to come to terms with this this so we can move on and finally DO right.
Jerry Brown was Governor of California from 1975 to 1983. He was a symbol of “the 60’s” even though it was the 70’s, because he came from the times, cared about the issues of the times, spoke the language of the times and governed for the people, from the times. He opposed the Vietnam war. He talked about protecting the environment and conserving energy and providing education and “Buddhist economics.” He fought corporate power and sued large corporations, particularly in the area of campaign finance. He was right.
For taking these positions Jerry was called “Moonbeam” and mocked for advocating things that we now all understand were correct and necessary. It is 30 years later and the country needs to get past that mocking of the people who were right. But the mocking and obstruction by entrenched interests are still in the way of letting us move on and do the things we need to do for the economy, the country, and the planet.
Now Jerry is again running for Governor of California and I think this is important to our current national conversation at a time when we must come to terms with the reasons that we have waited 30 years to start doing something about major problems. Jerry’s campaign will force a conversation that will clarify for the country that the “dirty hippies” were right, that we need to learn to ignore the mocking that is a primary weapon of the corporate right, that we need to take care of the planet, that we need to take care of each other, that we need to be in charge of the corporations, not the other way around.
In his speech to the California Democratic Convention he talked about how 30 years ago he changed California’s energy policies, and how the result has been that California has barely increased its energy use since while the rest of the country has. He talk about a number of things like this, but what most resonated with me was when he talked about how we educate kids. The current emphasis on testing is stifling the creativity of kids. He says we need to bring back education that stimulates creativity. Wow — how long since I have heard “60’s” talk that’s so right?! Talk that recognizes our humanity and says that we are not just cogs in a corporate machine. Who talks about these things today?
A few years ago, when Jerry was running for Attorney General, I wrote,
I’ve loved Jerry Brown since his 1992 campaign for President. During that campaign he proposed boosting the economy and helping the energy/pollution/Middle East problem with a national program to hire unemployed people to retrofit buildings to be energy efficient. Imagine if we had done that! So now 13 years later we have the Apollo Alliance but Jerry doesn’t seem to get much credit for being so far ahead on this.
A few years before that I wrote,
In the 1992 campaign Jerry Brown made a suggestion that I haven’t forgotten. He suggested putting the unemployed to work retrofitting buildings and homes to be energy efficient. It requires an up-front investment but it returns a more efficient economy (everyone paying less for energy) and national energy
independence as a foreign policy bonus. Meanwhile all those unemployed people are getting and spending paychecks, boosting the economy. It helps everyone but the oil companies. Oh. I guess not, then.
I don’t know right now if Brown can or should win and this is not an endorsement. But I think this is a conversation that we all need to have and learn from.
He did win, and the state and country will be better off for it.
Did the results of the special election on the budget propositions really show that the public is against taxes and government, as the Republicans claim? Recent polling looked at the reasons the propositions failed. Polls are a useful way to understand what people really thing because they take a scientific sample, actually asking the voters what they think, instead of just repeating something that Republicans just say. Let’s see what the voters give as their reasons for opposing the propositions. From the polling:
- 74% of voters polled thought the election was just a gimmick, not an actual fix for California’s budget problems.
- 70% of the voters polled said the legislature is a captive of special interests (possibly because people are learning that the “budget deal” that they came up with in the middle of this emergency included a huge tax cut for large, multi-state corporations.)
- In a budget battle dominated by Republican demands for spending cuts instead of asking the rich and corporations to pay their fair share only 19% of voters polled said that Californians are being asked to share the pain equally.
- And to drive that point home, only 29% of voters polled said that the budget should be balanced only with spending cuts. According to the polling “even among ‘No’ voters, less than half (46%) say the government should rely entirely on spending cuts with no tax increases.”
In summary, voters resented that the legislature is held captive by the 2/3 rule, and want them to address that instead of coming up with short-term gimmicks to get through another year while making things even worse later.
Additionally, and completely contrary to anti-tax and anti-government claims, the polling showed “broad support for new revenue streams.” According to the polling report, the public supports: