Friday, 06 July 2018

California: Fighting for Freedom — and Survival

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From the print edition of The New American:

“It’s not over ’til it’s over.” Refusing to submit and surrender to tyrannical government, many Californians are fighting a desperate battle to reclaim their state.


The steamroller got steamrolled. California’s legislative machine, which intended to roll over the state’s homeschooling families, got squished instead, as thousands of homeschool parents and students swamped the Capitol in Sacramento on April 25, 2018. They presented a vigorous (but orderly) demonstration of opposition to AB 2756, authored by Democrat Assemblyman Jose Medina. The Medina bill would have demanded that all homeschool families submit to involuntary home inspections by state agents.

The shocking case of David and Louise Turpin, who were arrested in Riverside County on charges of extreme child abuse, provided the pretext for the legislation. The Turpins’ 13 children had been shackled, tortured, and fed starvation rations for years. Media accounts of their horrific conditions played up the Turpins’ claim to be homeschoolers, thus providing the teachers unions and left-wing politicians with an excuse to clamp down. The Turpins, of course, are no more representative of homeschoolers than terrorist Sayfullo Saipov (who intentionally ran over and killed eight people with a truck in New York City) is representative of truckers, or Parkland high-school shooter Nicholas Cruz is of NRA members and gun owners.

Following an enormous outcry from the homeschooling community, Medina removed the inspection requirement, but changed the bill to identify (and publish) the name and address of every homeschooling family in California. This not only would have violated their privacy, but also would have opened them up to potential harassment and endangerment. On April 25, hundreds of parents, grandparents, teachers, attorneys, and children testified against the bill in a three-hour session before the Assembly Education Committee. AB 2756 died when not a single member of the Democrat-dominated committee was willing to make a motion to vote on the bill. It was a stunning victory for homeschoolers and a stinging defeat for the California Teachers Association (CTA), which calls homeschooling “educational anarchy.” David had beaten Goliath. A video posted on the website of the California Family Council provides an impressive view of the massive gathering of homeschoolers filling the halls of the Capitol. AB 2756, which was supposed to have been a slam-dunk for Medina and the CTA, instead got slammed and junked by organized homeschoolers. The Christian Home Educators Association (CHEA) of California, Home School Legal Defense Association, Family Protection Ministries, California Homeschool Network, Homeschool Association of California, Parents United 4 Kids, and dozens of other organizations not only showed up in force in Sacramento, but also besieged legislators by e-mail and telephone for weeks leading up to the hearing. “Homeschoolers are freedom-loving people,” CHEA notes on its website, and “California legislators have learned that if you act to compromise the liberty, safety, and privacy of their homeschools, you will find yourself face to face with a mama bear protecting her cubs.”

CHEA and the other homeschool activists fully realize that victory over AB 2756 is not the end of the story, and they are urging the “mama bears” to stay vigilant — and ferociously protective. There are many more battles to be fought on this one front alone. But there are many other fronts as well — and many “mama bears” that are being roused on a wide array of issues. And not a moment too soon. The state of the state in California is so dire that it will require a steadily rising crescendo of roars by angry bears — as well as a fair number of political maulings — to save the Bear Flag state from a headlong plunge into the infernal abyss.

Photo: AP Images

This article appears in the July 9, 2018, issue of The New American. To download the issue and continue reading this story, or to subscribe, click here.

California’s “Sanctuary State” law is one of those “last straw” issues that has stirred the ursine wrath of many Californians. It has caused a backlash that has spread to dozens of cities and counties. Signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown as an act of defiance to President Trump’s pledge to secure our borders, SB 54 places many restrictions on state and local governments and law-enforcement agencies to prevent them from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. In effect, it tells illegal aliens — even those convicted of serious crimes — that California welcomes them and will protect them from apprehension, detention, and removal by federal authorities. While some big-city police chiefs and sheriffs beholden to Democrat machine politics support the measure, the vast majority of California’s sheriffs do not. The Los Angeles Times noted “at least 40 of the 58 sheriffs in the state remained staunch opponents of the legislation through its passage.” Prodded by outraged citizens and encouraged by President Trump, a growing list of California cities and counties is taking action of one type or another to oppose the state’s sanctuary law. By the end of May, at least 40 cities and 10 counties had registered formal opposition, some by supporting the Trump administration’s lawsuit against California, some by launching lawsuits of their own against the state, others by passing resolutions of opposition to SB 54 and/or ordering their law-enforcement agencies to ignore the state law.

Still another issue that has stirred statewide anger and may end up being hugely important in the November elections, and beyond, is the fuel tax and vehicle registration fee hike imposed in 2017 by Governor Brown and the Democratic legislature. On June 5, voters recalled State Senator Josh Newman, a Democrat, over his vote for the tax/fee increase, costing the Democrats their two-thirds supermajority in the Senate. More recall efforts are in the works, and this November a ballot initiative to repeal the tax/fee increases is likely to bring out many motivated voters, which has made Democratic Party operatives very nervous.

Joe Panzarello, the full-time field coordinator for California for The John Birch Society, says there is an awakening and a growing sense of urgency and resolve that he has not seen before. “It’s amazing to see the huge turnouts and impassioned citizens at city council meetings and county commission hearings over the sanctuary law, the enormous responses to the state efforts aimed at squashing homeschoolers, the huge reaction against the increases for state fuel tax and auto registration fees, massive resistance and outrage over the increasingly oppressive laws against the right to keep and bear arms, widespread anger over the violence used by anti-Trump demonstrators and Antifa leftists, disgust with the increasingly blatant anti-Christian legislation — all of these things, and a lot more, are causing many Californians who were sitting on the sidelines to finally get activated,” he told The New American. “We’ve had many single issues in the past — Prop 13 on property taxes, for instance — that generated a huge statewide response, but nothing like this coming together on a multitude of issues.” Just as important, he says, is the fact that President Trump has rejuvenated many liberty-minded activists who had given up after decades of letdown and betrayal by previous state and national Republican politicians. “George Bush, Sr.; George Bush, Jr.; Governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger; and so many other Republican politicians are infamous for conservative rhetoric followed by liberal polices,” Panzarello noted. “They made lots of campaign promises about securing the border, rolling back oppressive government regulation, etc., but once in office did the opposite.” However, with President Trump, he says, “Many freedom-loving people are concluding that he actually meant what he said and that he is really fighting for what he — and they — believe in. It is something they’ve never experienced before, and it’s having an amazing impact, which we are seeing not only at Trump rallies but across the whole gamut of hot-button issues: property rights, parental rights, gun rights, taxes, regulations, energy, water, business, agriculture. People are recognizing that this could be their last chance to prevail against the insanity that rules in Sacramento, and it’s refreshing to see so many Californians stepping up and taking a stand. A lot of conservatives have already written the obituary for California, but it is not a corpse — yet. It remains to be seen whether enough people will step up to their responsibilities and throw everything they can into the fight — time, money, effort, prayer, sacrifice — to save this state and make it great again.”

Photo: AP Images

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