California Dreamin' Part One -By Brother Chuck


By Brother Chuck

California Dreamin'? Not any more we're not. The state turned blue, and California's a mess because of it. It seems like people have always been California Dreamin'. As far back as 1848 people were dreaming of making it big in California. That's when the California Gold Rush began. The news of gold brought 300,000 people to California from all over the country, and even from abroad. All dreaming of finding Gold and getting rich. And how many people have come to California dreaming of fame and fortune in Hollywood? Only God knows the answer to that question.

For those of you Baby Boomers like me, you will remember the hit song, "California Dreamin'" by the Mamas and the Papas. It played on the radio every day. We watched with excitement as the Mamas and the Papas sang it on the Ed Sullivan Show. Released in 1965, California Dreamin' became a certified Gold Record. It's Number 89 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2001. The song became a signpost of the California sound, ushering in the arrival of the anti-establishment cultural phenomenon of the 1960's. The lyrics of the song express the singers longing for the warmth and safety of L.A., during a cold winter in New York City.

"All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray, I've been for a walk on a winter's day, I'd be safe and warm if I was in L.A. California dreamin' on such a winter's day."

It seemed like everyone was California Dreamin' during this perilous time of the 60's. The civil rights movement was in full swing. On March 25, 1965, Martin Luther King led thousands of nonviolent demonstrators to the steps of the capitol in Montgomery, Alabama, after a 5-day, 54-mile march from Selma, Alabama. Six days later, President Lyndon B. Johnson went on national television to pledge his support to the Selma protesters.

Selma March
Selma March

The Vietnam War was at its peak. War protesters flooded the streets and our university campuses.

Who could forget this picture from Kent State? Four Kent State University students were killed and nine were injured on May 4, 1970, when members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a crowd gathered to protest the Vietnam War and the bombing of Cambodia by United States military forces. From that massacre came the war protest song "Ohio" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.
Who could forget this picture from Kent State? Four Kent State University students were killed and nine were injured on May 4, 1970, when members of the Ohio National Guard opened fire on a crowd gathered to protest the Vietnam War and the bombing of Cambodia by United States military forces. From that massacre came the war protest song "Ohio" by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

The radio airwaves were filled with war protest songs like "War (What is it Good For?)" by Edwin Starr, and Phil Ochs, "What Are You Fighting For". Barry McGuire sang "Eve of Destruction" and who could forget Country Joe & the Fish singing at Woodstock "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' To Die." And of course you remember "Give Peace a Chance" by John Lennon and how about "Blowin' in the Wind" by Bob Dylan?

Bob Dylan - (Blowin' In The Wind) - "From Newport Folk Festival" 1963.

Hippies were moving to California to join communes. And those who didn't move... well... they were California Dreamin'. Rock and Roll baby! "Make Love Not War" signs, drugs, peace signs, flower children and VW's were the norm. The Beach Boys sang how they wished all the girls could be "California Girls". Everyone was California Dreamin'.

What happened? Where did those years go? What happened to the dream? We're not California Dreamin' anymore. Why aren't we? Californians are moving away in droves. They call it the "California Exodus." Some have called it the anti-California Dream and the Mass Tech Exodus because yet another firm is leaving the Bay Area for Texas. It's been called the Great Migration. Between 2008 and 2019, 18,000 companies have left California for more tax friendly and regulatory states.

Why? I thought we were still California Dreamin'. But then again, maybe I'm a little stuck in the 60's. Today it's California Leavin'. One reason for the exodus is the high cost of living. California is number three in the nation. Only D.C. and Hawaii are more expensive places to live. But wasn't the cost of living high in California in the 60's too? Maybe we just didn't care. We wanted to get away from Vietnam and all the death and sorrow it brought to so many of us and to our brothers, our friends, and our neighbors. Another reason we're not California Dreamin' is because California has the highest state income tax of any state in the nation. Many have migrated to Texas and Florida. Guess what? Texas and Florida have no state income tax. Can't get any lower than none.

Traffic is a nightmare! According to the transportation analytics firm Inrix, an annual study recently released, reports Los Angeles has the top two worst traffic corridors in the entire nation. The average commuter in the L.A. metro area is losing 103 hours per year to congestion, costing $1,524 per driver in time lost. Who wants that? Traffic alone is a reason to leave. Add to that the high cost of living and the highest state tax in the country, and you can begin to see why no one is California Dreamin' anymore.

The plight of drug addiction and homelessness in California is rampant. Of course we should have empathy for the addicts of California and the homeless, and we should try to help them. But no one wants to live with them, and see them on their daily commute. It's unrestrained and out of control because of liberal policies from a left-wing liberal government. In my research for this article, one headline I viewed read, "Hepatitis A is Killing California's Homeless." Do you want to live in the midst? Neither do Californians.

Friends, in reality, I don't think we have to worry about California. If California was a country, it would be the 6th largest economy in the world. Only the UK, Germany, Japan, China and of course the United States, have larger economies than California. California will always be California. California has Hollywood, the Golden Gate Bridge, Death Valley, Redwood National Park and Yosemite. There's San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and Lake Tahoe on the California-Nevada border. There's Big Sur and Napa Valley. California has Santa Monica, Palm Springs, Laguna Beach and Disneyland. The list of places to see and things to do is endless. This is the Golden State! It's California, and California Dreamin' is still alive. Maybe not like it used to be, but it'll be back. Because there's Venice Beach, Malibu and Sequoia National Park. So go ahead, dream about California. California will again turn blue one day. And even if it doesn't, don't worry about it. California's problems aren't political anyway. Oh the politicians think they are. The Republicans and the Democrats would have you believe that. Because they believe that. They think they're the answer.

Truth is, California's problems aren't so different from your state or mine. It's not a political problem, it's a sin problem. It's a heart problem. The cure won't come from presidents, governors, senators or congressmen. The cure will come from the pulpit. The cure of course is Jesus. When hearts are changed, minds are changed, and when minds are changed, nations are changed. Pastors must preach Christ, and from that preaching comes workers. And from those workers comes more pastors. It's the duty of the pastor to raise up workers within his congregation and send them out to do the same. It is Christ who gave the church pastors. And it is the pastor's responsibility to "...equip God's people to do his work and build up the church..." (Ephesians 4:11-12 NLT)

Think on this, as Christ' church of California increases in size, Satan's followers decrease. We are not fighting against flesh-and-blood democrats. "...but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." (Ephesians 6:12 NLT) And as The Message puts it: "This is no weekend war that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels." So pray! "So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields." (Matthew 9:38 NLT)

As for California Dreamin'? Keep dreamin' baby!

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