New Rule: Conservatives who love to brag about American exceptionalism must come here to California, and see it in person. And then they should be afraid -- very afraid. Because while the rest of the country is beset by stories of right-wing takeovers in places like North Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin, California is going in the opposite direction and creating the kind of modern, liberal nation the country as a whole can only dream about. And not only can't the rest of the country stop us -- we're going to drag you along with us.
It wasn't that long ago that pundits were calling California a failed state and saying it was ungovernable. But in 2010, when other states were busy electing whatever Tea Partier claimed to hate government the most, we elected a guy who actually liked it, Jerry Brown.
Since then, everything Republicans say can't or won't work -- gun control, immigration reform, high-speed rail -- California is making work. And everything conservatives claim will unravel the fabric of our society -- universal healthcare, higher taxes on the rich, gay marriage, medical marijuana -- has only made California stronger. And all we had to do to accomplish that was vote out every single Republican. Without a Republican governor and without a legislature being cock-blocked by Republicans, a $27 billion deficit was turned into a surplus, continuing the proud American tradition of Republicans blowing a huge hole in the budget and then Democrats coming in and cleaning it up.
How was Governor Moonbeam able to do this? It's amazing, really. We did something economists call cutting spending AND raising taxes. I know, it sounds like some crazy science fiction story, but you see, here in California, we're not just gluten-free and soy-free and peanut-free, we're Tea Party free! Virginia could do it, too, but they're too busy forcing ultrasounds on women who want abortions. Texas could, but they don't because they're too busy putting Jesus in the science textbooks. Meanwhile their state is so broke they want to replace paved roads with gravel. I thought we had this road-paving thing licked in the 1930s, but not in Texas. But hey, in Dallas you can carry a rifle into a Chuck E. Cheese, cause that's freedom. Which is great, but it wasn't so great when that unregulated fertilizer plant in Waco blew up. In California, when things blow up, it's because we're making a Jason Statham movie.
California isn't perfect, but it is in our nature from being on the new coast to be up for trying new things -- and maybe that's why the right wingers are always hoping we fail. On the campaign trail last year, Mitt Romney warned that if we didn't follow his conservative path, "America is going to become like Greece, or... Spain, or Italy, or... California." And that was a big laugh line with Mormons, because Greece, Spain and Italy have some art and poetry and theatre, but nothing like Salt Lake City. Yes, Mitt sure hates California, which is why he moved to San Diego. To the house with the car elevator.
What conservatives fear about California being a petri dish for the liberal agenda is well-founded. For example, as Obamacare gets implemented here much more successfully than predicted, the movement to just go all the way to a single payer system is gathering steam. It actually passed the legislature twice, but was vetoed by Schwarzenegger, who argued it didn't go far enough to cover the children of that natural, beautiful love between a man and a cleaning lady.
In lots of areas, California seems to have decided not to wait around for the knuckle-draggers and the selfish libertarian states to get on board. They can mock "European style democracies" all they want, we are building one here, and people like it -- the same way when Americans come back from a vacation in Europe they all say the same thing: "Wow, you can see titties on the beach!" But they also remark on the clean air, the modern, first world infrastructure, the functioning social safety net, and bread that doesn't taste like powdered glue. And they wonder, "Why can't we get that here?" Unless they're Republicans, in which case they wonder, "How can people live like that?"
Well, swallow hard, guys, because California is eventually going to make all Americans live like that. Why? Because we're huge. The 12th largest economy in the world, the fifth largest agricultural exporter in the world, and of course number one in laser vaginal rejuvenation. There's 40 million of us -- so, for example, when California set a high mileage standard for any car sold in this state, Detroit had to make more fuel-efficient cars; we're just too big a slice of the market, and it would be too expensive to make one car for us, and another for shit-kickers who want something that runs on coal.
It's so ironic -- the two things conservatives love the most, the free market and states rights -- are the two things that are going to bend this country into California's image as a socialist fagtopia. Maybe our constipated Congress can't pass gun control laws, but we just did. Lots of 'em. Because we don't give a shit about the NRA. Out here that stands for "Nuts, Racists, and Assholes." So while the rest of America is debating whether it's a good idea to allow guns in bars or a great idea to allow guns in bars, California is about to ban lead bullets. Which is a no-brainer, because bullets don't need lead, and lead kills birds and gets into the food supply of people who hunt their own food. Which explains why Ted Nugent is such a raving lunatic.
While other state governments are working with Jesus to make abortion more miserable -- because otherwise women would use it for weight loss -- California is making it easier. We actually have a guy dancing on the street corner dressed as the Statue of Liberty spinning a big arrow that says, "Abortions!" And a new law will even let nurse practitioners perform abortions. And dog groomers can aid assisted suicides by Skype.
California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana, our minimum wage is almost three dollars higher than the national rate, and in 10 years a third of our electricity will come from renewable energy and 15 percent of our cars will be electric.
And while Republicans in the rest of the country are threatening to deport every immigrant not named Ted Cruz, California just OK'd driver's licenses for undocumented aliens. That's right, we're letting them drive cars -- just like white people! You Red Staters may ask, "How come they're lettin' Meskins drive?" Well, it's because they have to get to their jobs. You see, here in California we're embracing the modern world -- we can't be worrying about all the nonsense that keeps Fox News viewers up at night when they should be in bed adjusting their sleep apnea mask. Our state motto is, "We're Too Busy for Your Bullshit."
The bottom line is that we are moving the country's largest economy into a place where we can all be health-insured, clean air-breathin', gay-married, immigrant-friendly citizens who don't get shot all the time. And my message to the rest of America is: do not resist. Kneel before Zod! California has been setting the trends in America for decades, from Silicon Valley to silicone tits, and it's not going to stop now. We say jump -- you say, "Please sell me new exercise clothes for jumping." We said put cilantro in food, and dammit, you did, you put cilantro in food, even though neither one of us knows what it is. Almond milk? We just had some extra almonds and thought we'd fuck with you. The enormous earlobe hole? You're welcome. We also invented the genius bar, where the kid with the enormous earlobe hole takes your MacBook in the back and fills it with animal pornography.
- Bill Maher, host of HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher
This story appears in Issue 70 of our weekly iPad magazine, Huffington, available Friday, Oct. 11 in the iTunes App store.