“There have always been idiots,” my husband said on our morning walk. “But until the advent of social media, they’ve never had a platform.”
We were discussing some of the crazy (and what would have once been considered completely ridiculous) ideas that have taken hold among a certain segment of our society.
The latest hot button subject for me is the trashing of my state, California, on social media….by people who have no first-hand experience living here or even visiting. None. It’s not that they don’t love California that bothers me. It’s that they opine without any basis for their opinion.
Why is that?
Trash-talking my state is one of Faux News’ favorite talking points. So their followers enjoy calling it a “shit-hole” and “socialist.” Never mind that they never been here. They know because Faux News tells them.
This past winter I was at our second home in western New York and heard the same story about the homeless taking over San Francisco streets –repeatedly–from various Faux News followers who have never set foot in the city. That’s what they are told, that’s what they parrot back.
Now, I am well aware that our state has its issues. But if you’re going to call it out, at least have some personal experience with it. Because here’s what my actual personal experience over almost 40 years in the Bay area of California tells me:
Open minds, open hearts
I love the way Californians I know are open to new ideas. Technology, social issues, politics–an open mind is a beautiful thing to see. People care. Our people do not believe in caging children. Our people often do not believe in the death penalty. At our best, we are a heart-centered state.
Diverse natural beauty
From Big Sur to Yosemite to Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara…from Muir Woods to cable cars to world-class museums north and south…from the ski slopes of Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada to the beaches of San Diego…and so much more. It’s a stunning state.
We are the 5th largest economy in the world. In the world!
Creative and intellectual power
From Silicon Valley to Hollywood, from City Lights Bookstore to Berkeley, the state’s creative and intellectual power can’t be overstated.
I love California. With all its imperfections, it’s still the most amazing place I’ve ever been and certainly the best place I’ve ever lived. So if you want to insult it, make sure you have some actual personal experience with it. Otherwise? You have no right to opine.