Thursday, November 24, 2016

#Calexit. Perhaps 170 years of invidious doubtful scorn is enough

Last edited 12/01/2016 at 11:15 am PST by Michael O'Faolain

In 2005 I created a series of web pages entitled A New California Republic outlining in detail how California could become separate nation. It began with this explanation:

   The idea is not complicated. California should be as independent as Switzerland or Chile, its people free to create a government of policies not hindered by lingering commitments to racial, economic, or religious bigotry nor by fear of not being the alpha country in a world of sovereign countries.
   The proposal is to have the California Legislature petition the Congress of the United States to permit California's independence through a negotiated agreement. This is not a proposal to unilaterally secede potentially causing a second Civil War. Nor is it a "Nationalist" movement based upon some ethnic or extended tribal differences. Instead, the idea is based upon the assumption that if Californians through their Legislature petition Congress for permission to withdraw from the Union and Congress approves, perhaps after a referendum on the matter, California simply returns to being the California Republic.
   No civil war, no terrorist movement, no riots - just an agreement between rational, democratic people.

The 2016 Presidential Election has given new life to the California Secessionist movement, newly dubbed in 21st Century social media as #Calexit.

Introduction to a
Necessary Political Revolt

Back in 2005, my discussion of a #Calexit was just part of a larger website dedicated to dividing California into three states. Three Californias now is actually used as a reference by others on the web because there is a surprising dearth of focused information on my state.

I knew then that seeking approval to create three states out of California was an uphill battle at best. Even worse, obtaining Congressional approval to allow California to become a separate nation-state, though discussed there, was likely to be laughingly referred to as "tilting at windmills" task.

But even back then, it was clear an effort to educate those living in the other 49 states had to be made. What happened in the 2015-16 Presidential election cycle, however, has changed that goal. Educating Americans east of the Sierra Nevada range, even the establishment class, without the threat of a revolt isn't possible.

Three facts about the 2016 Presidential Election stand out to this Native Californian:
  1. Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote by promising the disruption of two key elements of California's economy - trade and migration - and by promising to eliminate civil rights such as abortion rights established in California by a law signed by then Governor Ronald Reagan in 1967(!) and civil rights policies such as decriminalization of marijuana use and LGBTQ equality.
  2. Donald Trump won the Electoral College vote by attacking the history and culture of California and threatening its largest ethnic group with a repeat of the Mexican Repatriation of 1929-36  in which 1.2 American citizens from California, Texas, and Colorado were rounded up and dumped into Mexico because of "the proximity of the Mexican border, the physical distinctiveness of mestizos, and easily identifiable barrios."
  3. Donald Trump won the Presidency because of a grossly undemocratic system that effectively makes the voters in the largest state in the Union irrelevant. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in California by 4.3 million votes and the national vote by 2.9 million votes, but lost the Presidency. Without California, Donald Trump won the popular vote by about 1.4 million votes and thereby won the Presidency. This derives from the fact that in the United States Senate where California with 12% of the nation's population has 2% of the representation and Wyoming with 0.2% of the nation's population has 2% of the representation. Donald Trump's response was a simple violence provoking lie which the Deplorables (more on that group later) will believe:

In 2000 George W. Bush won the Presidency even though Al Gore won the popular vote and similar statistics apply. By 2005 I had concerns about the Bush Administration versus California. But at no time did Bush, in order to win an election, attack trade, migration, or California's history, culture, and largest ethnic group. In fact Bush in speeches after 9/11 took great pains to protect Muslim-Americans from discrimination.

The 2016 election discourse set off loud alarms.

Since it would be easy to dismiss the election discourse as meaningless election rhetoric, I feel the need to explain in some detail why this old Native Californian thinks it is time to recognize just how different California is from Ohio and North Carolina and why proposing that Congress authorize the separation of California from the Union is urgent.

Let's begin with a statement of historical facts. Migrants created the California we know today while white illegal aliens from the United States made California a part of the Union. What 96%+ of Americans don't know is the United States government run by the ancestors/predecessors of the current Deplorables...
  • from 1880-1943 prevented the families of one group of Californians - the U.S. citizen children of Chinese immigrants - from bringing their family members into California, targeting only this ethnic group of Asians, 
  • from 1930-1946 in the Mexican "Repatriation" rounded up and deported one group of Californians - American citizens of Hispanic heritage
  • from 1942-1945 rounded up another group of Californians - American citizens of Japanese heritage - and put them into concentration camps, and
  • in 1954 Operation Wetback was begun which resulted in 1,078,168 arrests and deportations by the U.S. Border Patrol resulting in several hundred United States citizens being illegally deported without being given a chance to prove their citizenship.
Sorry America, but we Californians cannot permit a repeat of this kind of bigotry, discrimination, and violence against our people again. After the election, as well as during the campaign, we can observe that focused violence and bullying is growing in the U.S. as a result of Donald Trump and he isn't even President yet.

These are signs that what few elements of a democratic society exist in the United States are endangered, a fact which has been confirmed.

As noted in How Stable Are Democracies? ‘Warning Signs Are Flashing Red’: "Americans who say that army rule would be a 'good' or 'very good' thing had risen to 1 in 6 in 2014, compared with 1 in 16 in 1995" and offers this disturbing chart:

Which brings me to Hillary Clinton who said (emphasis added):
"I think we know what we're up against. We do, don't we? Donald Trump has pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn marriage equality, and if you have read about the ones he says he's likely to support, he's not kidding. In fact, if you look at his running mate, his running mate signed a law that would have allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBT Americans. And there's so much more that I find deplorable in his campaign: the way that he cozies up to white supremacists, makes racist attacks, calls women pigs, mocks people with disabilities -- you can't make this up. He wants to round up and deport 16 million people, calls our military a disaster. And every day he says something else which I find so personally offensive, but also dangerous....

"...You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic -- you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people -- now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks -- they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America."
Perhaps verbalizing that observation was a foolish mistake for a Presidential candidate. But now because over 50% of Americans under age 50 apparently cannot bring themselves to say that it is essential to live in a democratic country and 1-in-6 Americans think they would be better off under a military dictatorship, I have to go where many Americans don't like to go in their political debate.

Clinton is a policy wonk who understands what the difference was in Germany from 1934-1939 between (a) those who were were in political power, (b) those who were members of unacceptable minorities, and (c) those who were neither. Most of those who were neither, which was most of the populous, saw a slight improvement in their economic status and were quietly accepting-to-supportive. Those who were in power flourished. Those who were members of the unacceptable minorities were sent to concentration camps.

And Clinton knows that the ancestors/predecessors of the current Deplorables of her parents generation offered up the same attitudes as their Deplorable descendants towards refugees as demonstrated in this survey done just before WWII:

As the Fortune article Here's Fortune's Survey on How Americans Viewed Jewish Refugees in 1938 says about this result so similar to today's attitudes regarding the Syrian refugees: "So much, then, for the hospitality of our melting pot."

Oh, we're not that bad now - we wouldn't let them get slaughtered, you might say. Here are the Gallup poll historical results that show the numbers haven't changed much:

By political party we see just how the results skew with Democrats favoring allowing refugees while 84% of the Deplorables prefer to allow the children of Syria to be slaughtered just like their grandparents did the German children in 1938:

California is, of course, the Bluest of the Blue states. In the era of Trump bigotry, Democrats gained a super-majority in both houses of the Legislature, it has seven partisan state executives offices all filled by Democrats, two Democratic U.S. Senators, and 39 of 53 (almost 75%) of its House members are Democrats.

And, of course, California Leads The Nation In Resettlement Of Syrian Refugees.

We cannot participate in a nation that is dominated by a political party which has 84% of its members advocating allowing innocent children, women and men to die in a war for which that party's previous President is responsible for inciting.

We cannot risk Trump's promise, supported by the Deplorables, to reinstitute the 1929-1936 Mexican Repatriation carried out by American authorities which forcibly sent 1.2 million U.S. citizens into Mexico, most of whom didn't even speak Spanish but just had "the physical distinctiveness of mestizos."

And, as a Pacific Rim economy, we cannot risk Trump destroying the value of our trade and migration reality.

The remainder of this long post will cover:

The Roles of Migration and Spain,
not England, in California History

Migration - that cyclical movement of members of the Animal Kingdom from place-to-place across the Earth. The term, when applied to Homo sapiens, involves the movement by people from one place to another, people with the intention of settling, permanently, in the new location.

According to Wikipedia, Homo sapiens appear to have:
  • occupied all of Africa about 150,000 years ago:
  • moved out of Africa 70,000 years ago, 
  • had spread across Australia, Asia and Europe by 40,000 years BCE
  • migrated to the Americas 20,000 to 15,000 years ago, and
  • by 2,000 years ago colonized most of the Pacific Islands.
Settled by successive waves of arrivals during the last 10,000 years, California was one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse areas in pre-Columbian North America according to Wikipedia. Various estimates of the native population range from 100,000 to 300,000. The Indigenous peoples of California included more than 70 distinct groups of Native Americans, ranging from large, settled populations living on the coast to groups in the interior.

California groups also were diverse in their political organization with bands, tribes, and villages. On the resource-rich coasts, large chiefdoms flourished, such as the Chumash, Pomo and Salinan. These groups used intermarriage and military alliances to foster many social and economic relationships among the diverse groups.

After the Spanish "found" California, the native population reflected in the map below was decimated from disease and violence.

The fact is the Spanish in California encountered people who had no discernible ties to the Native Americans in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, or any lands east of the Mississippi.

The Salinan people spoke a language isolate. The Yokutsan language is a member of the Penutian language family which is isolated to Washington, Oregon, and California.

Even the Chemehuevi language is a Colorado River Numic language, in the Numic language branch of the Uto-Aztecan language family.

Classical Nahuatl, the language of the Aztecs, and its modern relatives are part of the same Uto-Aztecan family which in its broadest reaches is related to languages spoken in the western United States (in the states of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, California, Nevada, Arizona) and Mexico (states of Sonora, Chihuahua, Nayarit, Durango, Zacatecas, Jalisco, Michoacán, Guerrero, San Luis Potosí, Hidalgo, Puebla, Veracruz, Morelos, Estado de México, and the Federal District).

The Pipil language, an offshoot of Nahuatl, spread to Central America by a wave of migration from Mexico, and formerly had many speakers there though today it is extinct except in in western El Salvador.

In other words, prior to the 16th Century, "Californians" were pretty much a separate people with linguistic ties to "Mexico" and "Central America." And subsequent to that time their geographic focus and experience with Europeans would not be the same as that of the Narragansett, Iroquois, or Cherokee.

FROM 1492 TO 1869

As was true for the indigenous population represented on the map above, the population of California had almost nothing in common with the experience of the populations in the Eastern United States during the period from the 16th Century until the end of the Civil War.

Europeans did explore and settle among the Native Americans in California, but they were not English Protestants.

In 1492 Columbus sailing from Europe under the flag of the Crown of Castile (Spain) "discovered" America. But Columbus was Italian and not very committed to the Spanish, so when he came back he first landed in Portugal and met with King João II to explain what he discovered.

Now you might ask why did he do that? It was because of the Treaty of Alcáçovas signed in 1479 (and confirmed in 1481 by the papal bull Æterni regis) among other things granted all lands south of the Canary Islands including all of the lands discovered by Columbus to Portugal.

Of course that Treaty was "before," when no one but a few million indigenous people knew about the Western Hemisphere.

Columbus stirred up a hornets nest that resulted in the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 in which Portugal retained its trading rights to Africa and points east, while Spain was given rights to the newly discovered continents, though no one knew what the latter meant.

After the scope of the round Earth became clearer, disputes developed in the Western Pacific. The 1529 Treaty of Zaragoza was signed setting the Pacific dividing line. The Pope endorsed both treaties on behalf of the European world setting a map for future colonization that looked like this:

We need to keep in mind that the separation of the Church of England from Rome under Henry VIII began in 1529 and was completed in 1537. And, yes, Sir Francis Drake's  circumnavigation of the world was done 1577 to 1580 inaugurating an era of privateering and piracy in the western coast of the Americas.

But serious English exploration and settlements ignoring the Pope's division of the world were not to develop until around 1600 and then only on the East Coast of what we now know as Canada and the United States.

Effectively the Pacific Coast (and more) of the Americas was left to the Spaniards, good Roman Catholics all, to colonize and they did so from Northern California to Cape Horn.

The first European contact in California was a Spanish sailing expedition, led by Portuguese (?) captain Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, in 1542, which traveled up the Pacific Coast as far north as the Russian River. Subsequent Spanish expeditions, followed. (There were some earlier Spanish expeditions that did "touch" California - see History of California before 1900.)

In 1565 the Spanish developed a trading route where they took gold and silver from the Americas and traded it for goods and spices from China and other Asian areas. The Spanish set up their main base in the Philippines. The trade with Mexico involved using an annual passage of Manila galleons, which would traverse somewhere near Cape Mendocino, then could turn south down the California coast towards their home port in Mexico.

When the value of California for trade routes became obvious to several other European interests, particularly the Russians whose fur traders were traveling from Alaska down the coast, the Spanish sent the Portola Expedition both over land and sailing up the coast in 1769.

The Portola Expedition's original assignment was to travel to the "port of Monterey" described by the Vizcaino expedition and establish a settlement there. After that, the explorers were to continue north to locate Cermeño's "Bay of San Francisco" (the northern end of which is now called Drake's Bay), chase away any Russians encountered, plant the Spanish flag and determine whether the bay would make a good port.

After the Portolà expedition of 1769-70, Spanish Catholic missionaries began setting up 21 California Missions on or near the coast of Alta (Upper) California, beginning in San Diego. During the same period, Spanish military forces built several forts (presidios) and three small towns (pueblos). Two of the pueblos grew into the cities of Los Angeles and San Jose. And so California became a part of Viceroyalty of New Spain.

It was the time of the signing of the Declaration of Independence beginning the American Revolutionary War where the Protestant English speaking British colonies were seeking to break free from the British Monarchy, a war in which the French and Prussians participated.

Completely untouched by activities in the British colonies, Franciscan Missionaries were busy making California a part of Catholic Spain. When you look at the map above and the table below, remember that the Lewis and Clark Expedition sponsored by the second American President Thomas Jefferson was conducted in the period 1803-1806.

San Diego de Alcalá (at San Diego)  July 16, 1769 
San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo (at Carmel)  June 3, 1770 
San Antonio de Padua (at Jolon)  July 14, 1771 
San Gabriel Arcángel (at San Gabriel)  September 8, 1771 
San Luis Obispo de Tolosa (at San Luis Obispo)  September 1, 1772 
San Francisco de Asís "Dolores" (at San Francisco)  October 9, 1776 
San Juan Capistrano (at Capistrano)  November 1, 1776 
Santa Clara de Asís (at Santa Clara)  January 12, 1777 
San Buenaventura (at Ventura)  March 31, 1782 
Santa Bárbara (at Santa Barbara)  December 4, 1786 
La Purísima Concepción (at Lompoc)  December 8, 1787 
Santa Cruz (at Santa Cruz)  August 28, 1791 
Nuestra Señora de la Soledad (at Soledad)  October 9, 1791 
San José (at Fremont)  June 11, 1797 
San Juan Bautista (at San Juan Bautista)  June 24, 1797 
San Miguel Arcángel (at San Miguel)  July 25, 1797 
San Fernando Rey de España (at San Fernando)  September 8, 1797 
San Luis Rey de Francia (at Oceanside)  June 13, 1798 
Santa Inés (at Solvang)  September 17, 1804 
San Rafael Arcángel (at San Rafael)  December 14, 1817 
San Francisco Solano (at Sonoma)  July 14, 1823 

Let's now focus on the 1800's when some Northern Europeans migrated into California - the Russians. The hub of the southernmost Russian settlements in North America from 1812 to 1842 was Fort Ross (Russian: Форт-Росс), in what is now Sonoma County, California. In the early 1800's, the United States entered into two treaties which established the northern boundary of California at 42° latitude, (1) the Adams–Onís Treaty with Spain signed in 1821...

 ...and (2) the 1828 Treaty of Limits between the United Mexican States, which had won their freedom from Spain, and the United States of America as represented in this map of Mexico based upon its 1824 Constitution.

But what about the Russians hanging about areas south to Fort Ross which is situated a 38° 31' latitude, well south of that north border of the United States of Mexico?

The United States of America and Britain had some problems related to what you see on the map as Oregon Country which included concerns with Russia.

This resulted in the Russo-American Treaty of 1824 between Russia and the United States and the Anglo-Russian Treaty of 1825 gave the Russians Alaska including the area down the Alaskan Panhandle to the 54°40′N latitude, plus they gave Russian claims to and trade rights on the Pacific Northwest coast of North America south of that line. That more or less left it up to the Mexican government to figure out what to do with the Russians inside Alta California.

California was a colony of Spain for about 260 years, from the mid-1500's until Mexico won its freedom in 1821 and then California became a Mexican state. Up to that point, humans migrating to and around the area were Native Americans and then the Spanish, and a few Russians.

A few more Europeans and Americans began making land in Alta California - but they were "immigrants" - immigration is a nation-state concept and Alta California was part of Mexico. These immigrants couldn't just be migrants wandering in because those would be illegal immigrants. Let's consider one notable example from California history.

On July 1, 1839, the brig Clementine hired by Johann Augustus Sutter sailed into a small California seaport town (now known as San Francisco). Sutter was born in Kandern, Baden, Germany, not far from where the three countries of Germany, France and Switzerland meet. Indeed, his father came from the nearby town of Rünenberg in Switzerland. By the time Sutter arrived in California he had learned Spanish and English, as well as being fluent in his native German and in Swiss French.

To settle in California, Sutter had to go to the Alta California capital at Monterey to obtain permission from the Mexican Governor, Juan Bautista Alvarado. Alvarado saw Sutter's plan of establishing a colony in Central Valley as useful in "buttressing the frontier which he was trying to maintain against Indians, Russians, Americans and British."

Before he would grant Sutter title to what was 48,827 acres on the Sacramento River, he stipulated that for Sutter to qualify for land ownership, he had to reside in the territory for year and become a Mexican citizen, which he did on August 29, 1840.

Sutter began construction in August 1839 on his planned settlement which Sutter named New Helvetia, or "New Switzerland." Within his fortified settlement Sutter often began to identify himself as Captain Sutter of the Swiss Guard. Today we can see the his fortifications now a California State Historical Park known as Sutter's Fort in Sacramento.

So Sutter was a legal immigrant. In contrast, beginning in 1841 overland parties of American migrants who had no intention of becoming legal immigrants began to trek into California as the loosely defined concept of Manifest Destiny based on an offensive fictional vision of American exceptionalism had begun to evolve.

At the same time there was discontent among the "Californios." The citizens of California such as Juan Bautista Alvarado, Manuel Castro, and Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo revolted against Mexican authority seeking more autonomy from Mexico.

In 1845, one William Brown Ide, a farmer (and probably a Mormon leader) in Springfield, Missouri, sold his farm and joined a wagon train in Independence, Missouri headed for Oregon. On the advice of the mountain man Caleb Greenwood, Ide and a group of settlers split off to settle in Alta California, Mexico, as illegal immigrants in contrast to Sutter.

Based on a report that the Mexican government was threatening in Donald Trump style to expel all settlers who were illegal immigrants, in 1846 about thirty illegal immigrant settlers conducted what was to become known as the Bear Flag Revolt. On June 14, Ide and the others seized the pueblo of Sonoma and captured the Mexican Commandante of Northern California, Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, who in fact was already fighting with the Mexican government. On June 15, Ide released the Proclamation he had written the night before. By noon of June 17, the rebels raised the new California Bear Flag, proclaiming the Mexican province to be the California Republic. Ide had been chosen to serve as commander.

The Bear Flag Republic lasted until July 9, 1846, just 25 days, until the U.S. Flag was raised at Sonoma. Ide and other "Bear Flaggers" joined John C. Frémont and the U.S. armed forces in taking possession of California from Mexico.

As white Americans, Ide and the other "Bear Flaggers" had set a precedent for the future - you need only migrate into California as any immigrant status - legal or illegal - is irrelevant.

Nine years after Sutter became a Mexican-American citizen the Invasion of Mexico occurred, an armed conflict between the United States of America and the United States of Mexico from 1846 to 1848, at the end of which Alta California was ceded to the United States of America. (It is also known as the Mexican-American War, depending upon your point of view as a winner or loser of a war.)

In 1847–49, California was run by the U.S. military; local government continued to be run by alcaldes (mayors) in most places, but now some were Americans. Bennett C. Riley, the last military governor, called a constitutional convention to meet in Monterey in September 1849.

Of its 48 delegates some were pre-1846 American settlers, eight were Californios, but many had been in California less than five years. They unanimously outlawed slavery, but not without some maneuvers to create boundaries that could lead to a split into two states, one of which could become a slave state. (A list of the members and a review of the Convention can be read in this 1895 newspaper article.)

The Convention resulted in a state government that operated for 10 months before California was given official statehood by Congress on September 9, 1850. California's Admission was part of the Compromise of 1850 which defused for ten years a four-year political confrontation between slave and free states regarding the status of territories acquired during the Mexican–American War (1846–1848).

Of course the United States was anything but a "united" people. Here is a portion of what what South Carolina Senator John C. Calhoun had to say about the admission of California and the Compromise of 1850 (emphasis added):
Having now, senators, explained what it is that endangers the Union, and traced it to its cause, and explained its nature and character, the question again recurs, How can the Union be saved? To this I answer, there is but one way by which it can be, and that is by adopting such measures as will satisfy the States belonging to the Southern section that they can remain in the Union consistently with their honor and their safety....

But can this be done? Yes, easily; not by the weaker party, for it can of itself do nothing--not even protect itself--but by the stronger. The North has only to will it to accomplish it--to do justice by conceding to the South an equal right in the acquired territory, and to do her duty by causing the stipulations relative to fugitive slaves to be faithfully fulfilled--to cease the agitation of the slave question....

But will the North agree to this? It is for her to answer the question. But, I will say, she can not refuse if she has half the love of the Union which she professes to have, or without justly exposing herself to the charge that her love of power and aggrandizement is far greater than her love of the Union. At all events, the responsibility of saving the Union rests on the North, and not on the South. The South can not save it by any act of hers, and the North may save it without any sacrifice whatever, unless to do justice and to perform her duties under the Constitution should be regarded by her as a sacrifice.

...If you who represent the stronger portion, can not agree to settle them on the broad principle of justice and duty, say so; and let the States we both represent agree to separate and part in peace.

If you are unwilling we should part in peace, tell us so; and we shall know what to do when you reduce the question to submission or resistance. If you remain silent, you will compel us to infer by your acts what you intend. In that case California will become the test question. If you admit her under all the difficulties that oppose her admission, you compel us to infer that you intend to exclude us from the whole of the acquired Territories, with the intention of destroying irretrievably the equilibrium between the two sections. We should be blind not to perceive in that case that your real objects are power and aggrandizement, and infatuated, not to act accordingly.
The admission of California was, in fact, a token in a dispute, based on greed not an embracing of its history or demographics. Almost symbolically, California was isolated from the other states as shown on the map above. Just ten years later the Civil War began. Since that time California has been a symbol of division to conservatives in both the North and the South and, beginning with Calhoun, has been the target of 170 years of invidious doubtful scorn.

California's limited involvement in the American Civil War included sending gold east (the Gold Rush of 1848 -1855 was over, but gold production continued), plus recruiting or funding a limited number of combat units which remained in the American west with few exceptions.

Even though small groups of pioneers continued to trek across the West to migrate into California, California didn't become "attached" to the United States until the first Transcontinental Railroad from Sacramento, California to Omaha, Nebraska was completed on May 9, 1869.

Which brings me to the Chinese immigrants. From Wikipedia we know that the first Chinese immigrants arrived in 1820 and 325 men are known to have arrived before the 1849 California Gold Rush. The Chinese came to California in large numbers during the California Gold Rush, with 40,400 being recorded as arriving from 1851–1860.

In the 1860s the Central Pacific Railroad recruited large labor gangs, many on five-year contracts, to build its portion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The Chinese laborers worked out well and thousands more were recruited until the railroad's completion in 1869. Chinese labor provided the massive workforce needed to build the majority of the Central Pacific's difficult route through the Sierra Nevada mountains and across Nevada.

Nearly all of the early immigrants were young males from six districts in Guangdong Province. By the end of the project, the Chinese formed over a tenth of California's population.

Beginning in 100 years after the Declaration of Independence, in 1870, American social and cultural history and California's history started to become intertwined. At that point in time, California's demographic makeup between White-non-Hispanic, White-Hispanic, Asian, Native American, Other, was about the same as it is today. White-non-Hispanic was not a majority.

It's clear that California history is different from the East Coast. Yes it begins with a generality that some Native American groups specific to California were here when Europeans arrived. But from the mid-1500's through the early 1800's California was part of Spain. Then it was a part of Mexico. Then it legally joined the Union. But it was not readily accessible except from the Pacific Ocean until 1870.
"When the dust came up, people were starving; they had no place to go. Naturally, they went in a direction where they would not suffer from cold: they went toward California. They came in the thousands to California." - John Steinbeck
The Great Depression and World War II brought millions of migrants from states east of the Rocky Mountains as recognized in the above John Steinbeck quote.

However, because California was intertwined with the United States, and white bigot migration from points East had become sizable, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the first ethnic specific federal immigration law, was adopted.

Because more and more Chinese migrants arrived in California, violence would often break out in cities such as Los Angeles. By 1878 Congress decided to act and passed legislation excluding the Chinese, but this was vetoed by President Rutherford B. Hayes.

In 1879, California adopted a new Constitution, which explicitly authorized the state government to determine which individuals were allowed to reside in the state, and banned the Chinese from employment by corporations and state, county or municipal governments. Once the Chinese Exclusion Act was finally passed in 1882, California went further by passing various laws that were later held to be unconstitutional.

Being Chinese was not the only offense to the sensibilities of the white bigot migrants to result in laws embracing ethnic and racial discrimination against California residents.

The Mexican "Repatriation" between 1929 and 1936 carried out by American authorities, took place without due process. The Immigration and Naturalization Service targeted "Mexicans" in California, Texas, and Colorado because of "the proximity of the Mexican border, the physical distinctiveness of mestizos, and easily identifiable barrios."

Studies have provided conflicting numbers for how many "Mexicans" were repatriated during the Great Depression, but estimates range from 500,000 to 2 million. In 2005, the State of California passed an official "Apology Act" to those forced to relocate to Mexico, an estimated 1.2 million of whom were United States citizens. The United States Congress, mostly representing the Basket of Deplorables, has refused to consider an apology. (Perhaps that is because of Operation Wetback conducted in 1954 which resulted in 1,078,168 arrests and deportations by the U.S. Border Patrol many of which were civil rights violations resulting in several hundred United States citizens being illegally deported without being given a chance to prove their citizenship.)

It is disturbing to some that, when confronted with The Great Depression high unemployment and high welfare costs, one of the first things the U.S. Government did was deport American citizens of Mexican descent. Naturally lacking any institutional memory or honest U.S. history courses taught in schools, as many as 30% of the voting American citizens of Mexican descent voted for Trump. And of course one of Trump's dingbat transition team even used the WWII relocation of Americans of Japanese descent to justify talking about deporting "Mexicans" in the future.

The United States government has apologized for the internment of American Citizens of Japanese descent in the United States during World War II. But the fact remains that the majority of nearly 130,000 mainland Japanese Americans were forcibly relocated from their West Coast homes during the spring of 1942. About 80,000 were nisei (literal translation: "second generation"; American-born Japanese with U.S. citizenship) and sansei ("third generation"; the children of Nisei). The rest were issei ("first generation", immigrants born in Japan who were ineligible for U.S. citizenship by U.S. law, not immigrants who chose to not become citizens).

Despite the history of discrimination, California's history has continued to be one of migrants. They came not only from the American East, but from China, Japan, the Philippines and other parts of Asia and the Pacific Rim. Millions more have migrated from Mexico and points south who facilitate our agricultural economic sector which is twice the size of any other state's agriculture industry. Through this migration, California became the largest state in the Union in population during the 20th Century.

And while Hispanics have regained their position as California's largest ethnic group over non-Hispanic whites, as recently reported by the LA Times: "...In cities in the San Gabriel Valley — as well as in Orange County and in Silicon Valley in Northern California — Asian immigrants have become a dominant cultural force in places that were once largely white or Hispanic." Asian immigrants have begun to come to California faster than Latino immigrants. But then Chinese immigration in the 19th and 20th Centuries was significant.

Half of the Persian (Iranian) immigrant and Persian-Americans reside in California. According to the 2010 US Census, California had the largest Middle Eastern immigrant population.

As recently reported by a former Wall Street Journal reporter in a Bloomberg post: "It is clear Silicon Valley is a mini-nation of immigrants. More than half of U.S. tech startups valued at $1 billion or more have at least one immigrant founder...."

Migration - that cyclical movement of members of the Animal Kingdom from place-to-place across the Earth. The term, when applied to Homo sapiens, involve the movement by people from one place to another, people with the intention of settling, permanently in the new location, particularly California.

When Americans in the Rust Belt and the South voted for "The Wall" in 2016 in response to Donald Trump's attacks on Mexicans, they basically voted to destroy California's economy and trash California's history and largest ethnic group.

Migration is the fire that heats our economy which right now is a critical piece of the California, and thereby the American, economy.

But the United States government in the period of 1880-1943 prevented the families of one group of Californians from immigrating, from 1930-1946 rounded up and deported one group of Californians, and from 1942-1945 put another group into concentration camps. These were American citizens all who had a different heritage from citizens from Indiana or Alabama or other places East of the Sierras. It's hard to see how Californians can without fear continue to work with bigots from the Rust Belt and the South.

The essential Pacific-centric world view
of California's economy and culture

When I was a high school sophomore in 1959, this picture was my view of the world each morning looking westward towards that part of Japan where in 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami would strike.

My high school class over four years averaged 450± students.

About 10% were born in concentration relocation camps because their parents were American citizens who had Japanese ancestors.

Of course, far more were of Hispanic (back then it meant "of or relating to Spain") ancestry, some of whom had Spanish ancestors who lived in New Spain for fourteen generations - before the Pilgrims landed. Most had ancestors who lived in the Northern part of the Western Hemisphere for many more millenniums. All had ancestors who lived in Mexico.

I only mention my background as a native Californian because here is a list of nations of the world (and in some cases their states, provinces, or other political subdivisions) that have Pacific Ocean (or adjoining seas, bays, etc.) beachfront properties plus a map designed to give one a graphical feel for this world view:
Click on image to see a larger version!
  - British Columbia
United States of America:
  - Alaska
  - Washington
  - Oregon
  - California
  - Hawaii
United States of Mexico:
  - Baja California
  - Baja California Sur
  - Sonora
  - Sinaloa
  - Nayarit
  - Jalisco
  - Michoacán
  - Guerrero
  - Oaxaca
  - Chiapas
El Salvador
Costa Rica
  - Choco
  - Valle del Cauca
  - Cauca
  - Nariño
  - Kamchatka Krai
  - Chukotka Autonomous Okrug
  - Magadan Oblast
  - Khabarovsk Krai
  - Sakhalin Oblast
  - Primorsky Krai
  - Jewish Autonomous Oblast
  - Amur Oblast
  - Liaoning Province
  - Hebei Province
  - Tianjin Municipality
  - Shandong Province
  - Jiangsu Province
  - Shanghai Municipality
  - Zhejiang Province
  - Fujian Province
  - Guangdong Province
  - Hainan Province
North Korea
South Korea
Brunei Darussalam
  - New South Wales
  - Queensland
  - South Australia
  - Tasmania
  - Victoria
  - Western Australia
New Zealand
Marshall Islands
Federated States of Micronesia
Papua New Guinea
Independent State of Samoa
Solomon Islands
Kingdom of Tonga
Republic of Vanuatu

It is likely I missed an island nation. But these are the nations that through, in, over, and beside the Pacific Ocean interact with California - pollution and radioactivity via tides, currents, and prevailing winds; shipping, anadromous fish such as salmon returning to spawn, and whale migration in the water; human migrants arriving by plane, ship, car or walking.

Notice there is no Europe or Africa or Middle East or Indian Subcontinent on the map. It is absolutely necessary to show this reality - it is a reality. The narrowest distance between mainland Asia and the United States - specifically between Russia, and Alaska - is approximately 55 miles.

With the exception of the Panama Canal, nothing significant separates California's coastline - its beaches and cliffs - from those walking the beaches and cliffs of Pacific Rim countries on the American continents, nothing except some imaginary lines. And then only 55 miles of sea separates all that from Asia.

The narrowest distance between Europe (Ireland) and the United States is approximately 2,600 miles, about the same distance between North Korea and Alaska's Aleutian Islands. The distance between the United States and Syria is double that.

How would someone living in such a differently centered ocean view see geography, history, geopolitics? Might you know something about the Fujian Province of China or the history of the Jewish Autonomous Oblast of Russia or what language they speak in Brunei Darussalam?

Would it be troubling to know that at least 15% of the world's Muslims live in areas on this map as opposed to knowing less than 20% live in the Middle East-North Africa region? It isn't very troubling to me. Here's why....

Three nations on this map which are not friendly to the U.S. have submarines, missiles, and atomic weapons. At least one of these nations, North Korea, is run by a crazy despot. Chinese politics have taken a worrisome and belligerent turn as noted by James Fallows in December's The Atlantic article China’s Great Leap Backward which quotes Orville Schell (don't worry, you don't know who he is because his expertise is about China, not Europe or the Middle East): “In my lifetime I did not imagine I would see the day when China regressed back closer to its Maoist roots. I am fearing that now.”

Yes, it is troubling to me that millions of U.S. Pacific Rim citizens are within striking range of those nuclear weapons but Americans living east of the Rockies think the international threat to the U.S. is a bunch of Middle Eastern thugs who have mastered the internet.

On October 12 an opinion piece written by Ohio Governor John Kasich on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) appeared in the Washington Post.

I don't agree with Kasich on social policy ... or for that matter on most domestic policy issues. So I was surprised when I read his opinion:
Don’t be fooled by divisive talk in the presidential campaign that the TPP is only a debate about trade. At its very core, this agreement is about making sure the United States continues to strengthen its essential alliances and is willing to sustain its standing as the global leader — something we have done for more than half a century.

While China and Russia — and dangerous client states such as North Korea and Iran — jockey to outmaneuver everyone else and gain a dominant hand for their global schemes, there are fast-growing, independent nations looking to partner with the United States and thereby bring their strategic, economic and political values into alignment with ours. That list begins with the initial TPP partners, but as many as 10 additional economies have expressed interest in joining.

The last thing we need is for these thriving markets to come to believe they can’t count on U.S. support, pushing them instead into economic and geopolitical relationships with China or Russia. In the event of our inaction and loss of resolve, the United States will surrender global leadership to our most aggressive rivals, dictators who have the most to gain: Vladimir Putin, Russia’s latter-day Stalin; and Xi Jinping, the most repressive Communist Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.
I was surprised because I thought that Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders had determined the political opinion for all politicians in the U.S. on the TPP.  Now I know that back in 1993 then Congressman Kasich was among the 132 House Republicans that, along with 102 House Democrats, voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Implementation Act.

Does it bother me that the likes of Bernie Sanders from Vermont and Donald Trump from New York City - unlike Governor Kasich - failed to tell Americans that the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement among twelve of the Pacific Rim countries was specifically designed to reduce the economic and geopolitical influence of China and Russia in the Pacific Rim region, plus continue to fence in North Korea?

You're damned right it does because Vermonters and New Yorkers are an additional 3,000 miles from these risks. So are the Ohio and Georgia voters who elected a Presidential candidate who has financial interests in Russia and China, a Presidential candidate who knows nothing about the South China Sea.

The South China Sea is a flashpoint where the American Navy and the Chinese military are currently engaged in tense challenges.

As noted in Sun Tzu Explains China’s Shaping Operations in the South China Sea:
After the Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled against Chinese claims within the South China Sea in July, Russia and China announced a September joint naval exercise demonstrating their capabilities and mutual support to other claimants. The growing military cooperation between the two states highlights the ascending nature of the relationship between Russia and China, an about-face from their Cold War rivalry.
Most on the East Coast really don't care about the South China Sea - heck they don't even know where it is (see map above) - or much about China, the world's largest (most populous) country.

China is a nation that was more or less continuously a complex kingdom/empire for nearly 5,000 years from about 2900 BC to about 1900 AD. Today it is ruled by the Chinese Communist Party which, despite what you may have led to believe, is complicated.

China has 1.39 billion people (compared to the U.S. which has 0.32 billion, about 23% even though we are nearly the same size in area). Its governing Communist Party has a membership of 88.76 million, or about 4% of the population (or 2.3 times the population of California).

Through its complex organization, a National Congress empowers a Central Committee,a Politburo and its Standing Committee. The party's leader holds the offices of General Secretary (responsible for civilian party duties), Chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) (responsible for military affairs) and state president (a largely ceremonial position). Through these posts the party leader is the country's paramount leader.

The current party leader is Xi Jinping, elected at the 18th National Congress held in 2012 with 2,270 in attendance. Ironically, while many American's recognize the name Vladimir Putin,  mentioning to them the name of the Chinese leader would just draw a blank look.

The Communist system is not a popular democracy (neither is the U.S., just ask Hillary Clinton and Al Gore), but it is not a continuation of the 5,000 years of emperors either. Nothing is simple about a culture and society that ancient which has these language divisions and ethnic minorities:
Click on image to see a larger version!

And so California is a Pacific Rim state across an open sea from the world's most populous nation, China, a nation with a history and language completely foreign to Europe and Africa.

The Chinese and U.S. economies are deeply entwined.  It too is complicated and it isn't about Donald J Trump Collections neckties. And a sizable chunk of that shared economics is part of the California economy.

China owns about 7% of U.S. debt, but  China's main export markets, in order of importance, are the European Union (20.4%), United States (17.7%), Hong Kong (13.4%), and Japan (8.1%). China's main import markets, in order of importance, are Japan (13.3%), European Union (11.7%), South Korea (10.9%), Taiwan (9.1%), and the United States (7.2%).

The ranking of U.S. trade partners in order are the EU (with or without the UK), Canada, China, Mexico, and Japan.

But California is the largest exporting state to Asia. In 2015, California exported $67.5 billion in goods to the region, with China being the largest, in contrast to the European Union which totaled $29.2 billion.

In addition to economics, we need to note that while the term Pacific Rim denotes the lands around the rim of the Pacific Ocean, the Pacific Rim roughly overlaps with the geologic Pacific Ring of Fire where all but 3 of the world's 25 largest volcanic eruptions of the last 11,700 years occurred and where about 90% of the world's earthquakes and 81% of the world's largest earthquakes occur.

Click on image to see a larger version!

In a 40,000 km (25,000 mi) horseshoe shape, the Pacific Rim is associated with a nearly continuous series of oceanic trenches, volcanic arcs, and volcanic belts and/or plate movements. It has 452 volcanoes (more than 75% of the world's active and dormant volcanoes).
California (along with Oregon and Washington) is economically, geographically, and geologically part of the Pacific Rim.

As I have previously mentioned, historically and culturally California was part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain and the United States of Mexico from the mid-16th Century through the mid-19th Century during which trade with the Far East was a significant economic reality. This trade focus continued through the 20th Century (our war was in the Pacific) and is of even greater importance in the 21st Century.

The dangerous and foolish rantings of New Yorker Donald Trump or Vermonter Bernie Sanders, and those of many others including a few Californians, fail to recognize why being a member of the Pacific Rim economy because of physical proximity plus history is a critical reality for the State of California. It's a mystery how so many in national politics find it convenient to ignore 14% of the national economy and 12% of the population.

As for the other Pacific Rim states of Oregon and Washington, the above alternative map is offered by the Seattle Times which offers Should California, Oregon and Washington join Canada? #Calexit talk envelops West Coast.

Born Golden, Born a Californian, but
not in these "dis-United" States

Trade, migration, and the economy are not the only issues Californians need to evaluate. California's social and cultural policy orientation was broadly attacked with Trump supporters threatening violence.

Though we Californian's have struggled at times with social and cultural policy issues, the fact is since the Gold Rush California has been a leader in creating equal opportunities and a safe commuity for any migrant from any place - Ohio, China, Chile, Samoa, India, Oklahoma, Japan, Honduras. We have generally tried to provide a fair approach to what we know as civil rights issues.

Today, whether the civil rights issue is abortion, same sex marriage, legalization of marijuana, gun safety regulation, workers' rights, climate change, expression of religion, minimum wage, higher education, use of technology, etc., Californians seek fair answers and work to implement fair solutions. The status quo has never been a comfort zone in California.

Consider the abortion issue. On June 14, 1967, then California Governor Ronald Reagan signed the groundbreaking Therapeutic Abortion Act. If a "Trump Supreme Court" simply nullifies Roe v Wade, as the Washington Post article What abortion could look like in America under Donald Trump notes only a few states have Pro-Choice laws following California's example while many more have Pro-Life laws:

I would like to believe a Trump Supreme Court would simply vacate Roe v Wade and leave the subject to the state legislatures. But the Court could overturn Roe v Wade and in the process render a decision that a fetus is  a person with Fifth Amendment rights, a person who cannot be deprived of life without due process of law, things could get complicated.

That "due process" will then be defined by a Republican Congress and the federal courts. If that happens, all California women will experience a loss of civil rights. Women in Alabama will not but they don't have those civil rights. President-elect Trump's selection for Attorney General is Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama.

The core values at risk are not insignificant and the odds are not favorable. Consider two ballot measures approved by the voters this election:

The first, which won with 63% of the vote, requires certain registration, background checks and other requirements not included in federal law. It is hard to imagine the NRA will not attempt to get Congress and/or the Supreme Court to nullify that measure and it is even harder to imagine that the Republicans will not make it happen. President-elect Trump's selection for Attorney General is Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama who is rated A+ by the NRA:
  • voted NO on background checks at gun shows.
  • voted NO on banning high-capacity magazines of over 10 bullets.
  • voted YES on prohibiting lawsuits against gun manufacturers.
Regarding Marijuana Legalization read Why legal pot is suddenly in big danger from The Washington Post November 21. Note that President-elect Trump's selection for Attorney General Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama said "Good people don’t smoke marijuana."

Consider this article Pick Any LGBTQ Rights Issue. Jeff Sessions Has Voted Against It which tells you: "Sessions is currently co-sponsoring the First Amendment Defense Act, an extreme measure that would allow any taxpayer-funded organization to ignore laws that conflict with its religious beliefs about marriage."

Regarding Sessions, the New York Times article Jeff Sessions’ Other Civil Rights Problem tells us:
In 1986, the Republican-dominated Senate Judiciary Committee torpedoed Ronald Reagan’s nomination of Jeff Sessions to the federal bench. As sworn testimony there revealed, Mr. Sessions, then the United States attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, had referred to the N.A.A.C.P. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (founded by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) as “un-American” and “Communist inspired.” He had joked that he thought the Ku Klux Klan was “O.K.” until he discovered some of its members smoked pot, and had accused a white attorney who supported voting rights of being a race traitor.

The details revealed in this hearing, troublesome enough to sink his nomination, are surfacing again, now that President-elect Donald J. Trump has selected him to be his attorney general. But it’s worth looking beyond those notorious hearings to Mr. Sessions’s more recent actions as well.

Eight years after his failed nomination, Mr. Sessions was elected Alabama’s attorney general. While he held the position for only two years — using it as a steppingstone for his campaign for the Senate — he left an indelible mark. He used the power of his office to fight to preserve Alabama’s long history of separate and unequal education.
In other words Trump's Attorney General apparently would prefer the Trump Court overturn Brown v Board of Education.

So when you read about some "hey, ok!" Trump appointment like South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as U.N. Ambassador, keep in mind that she is the "shiny object" that distracts you from a meaningful appointment like Amway Corp. fortune heir Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary.

DeVos has deep ties to the Christian Reformed community in Michigan and is known in Michigan for advocating private school voucher programs. But California is on the family radar as DeVos' mother has been active in conservative social causes, including support of the California anti-gay marriage Proposition 22. Regarding privatizing government programs, her brother, former Navy Seal Erik Prince, founded Blackwater USA now known as Academi, the American private military company. 

Of course, I have a personal perspective as someone born in the Golden State in 1945 four months before Victory-in-Europe (VE) Day and eight months before Victory-over-Japan (VJ) Day. (Like many, my parents were among thousands of white migrants from east of the Sierras brought into California by the military during WWII.)

I was born one year too early for me to be a post–World War II Baby Boomer according to the standard definition. So most of my life I felt confused about whether I was a Baby Boomer or a member of the Silent Generation.

The Silent Generation. Hmmm. Where did that term come from???

In 1951, a Time magazine article was written in which the children of the generation were described as unimaginative, withdrawn, unadventurous, and cautious. Time magazine used the name "Silent Generation" to refer to these individuals. The name has been there ever since.

Yeah, but no. I think there something grossly wrong with that.

I my opinion a 20th Century Golden Generation consists of those born between 1936-1945.To name a very few of the many unimaginative, withdrawn, unadventurous, and cautious Golden Generation who are excluded from the Baby Boom Generation:
The Beatles  (born 1940-1943), Pope Francis (1936), Janis Joplin (1943), Al Pacino (1940), Madeleine Albright (1937), Wilt Chamberlain (1936), Patrick Stewart (1940), Bob Dylan (1941), Jimi Hendrix (1942), Tina Turner (1939), Abbie Hoffman (1936), Grace Slick (1939), Jerry Garcia (1942), Jerry Brown (1938), Antonin Scalia (1936), George Carlin (1937), Robert De Niro (1943), Joan Baez (1941), Arthur Ashe (1943), Lily Tomlin (1939), Dionne Warwick (1940), Ted Turner (1938), Ann-Margret (1941), Jane Fonda (1937), Nora Ephron (1941), Hunter S. Thompson (1937), Simon and Garfunkle (both 1941), Anne Rice (1941), John Irving (1942), Barbra Streisand (1942), Stephen Hawking (1942), Alice Walker (1944), Cheech & Chong (1946 and 1938), Erik Clapton (1945) Colin Powell (1937), Joyce Carol Oates (1938), Penny Marshall (1943), Joe Namath (1943), Muhammad Ali (1942), Diana Ross (1944), Diane Sawyer (1945), Jim Morrison (1943), and The Rolling Stones (1936-43).
Generational confusion about the '60's Revolution both in politics and in culture exists because of the mislabeled Silent Generation.  In 1963 the members of Golden Generation were ages 18-27. The oldest Baby Boomers were 17, the youngest weren't born yet.

Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, both born in 1941, are of the Golden Generation. It was Baez who sang "We Shall Overcome" at the 1963 March on Washington and and in December 1964, led six hundred people in an antiwar demonstration in San Francisco. Dylan released "Blowin' in the Wind" in 1963 and "The Times They Are a-Changin'" in 1964. Muhammad Ali may have become the most famous Vietnam draft resister when in April 28, 1967, he refused the draft. They were not Boomers. These were revolutionaries, not silent observers. Now it appears someone has to protect the revolution.

In those 10 years, 1936-1945, California's population rose from 6.2 million to 9.6 million, or 54%. I was one among those numbers but I was born in California while in contrast much of that growth was from migration  The remaining U.S. population grew only 9% as millions migrated to California.

Today being a citizen of the Golden State of California matters, particularly if you are from the revolutionary Golden Generation. But California is a state in a "union" of states.  What does that mean?

Generally, such a "union" is "a number of persons, states, etc., joined or associated together for some common purpose: student union; credit union, trade union."

The term "union" is repeatedly used in the U.S. Constitution. The Preamble begins "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union...." The remainder of the Constitution lays out the common purpose(s) to be achieved by forming this specific "Union." The 10th Amendment which is part of what is known as the Bill of Rights states: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

In other words, the Union known as the United States exists as a government to accomplish certain defined common purposes. The exercise of other governmental powers is reserved to the states and their people.

Every state in the Union is unique, has a somewhat unique history. Yet as explained previously, California is different, historically, in ways that are significant, ways that force reconsideration of the question about how "united" Americans are, beginning even with the consideration of the question is the term "United States" singular or plural.

It is been argued that until the Civil War people said "the United States are" — "the United States have" — "the United States were" — "these United States" as opposed to "the United States is."

Lest you think the Constitution or the Civil War provide a definitive answer to that question, the 13th Amendment adopted at the end of the Civil War offers this language (emphasis added): "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction."

And the 14th Amendment, approved by Congress June 18, 1866, and transmitted to the states for ratification which occurred on July 9, 1868, provides some further perspective in Section 1 (emphasis added): "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

The 14th Amendment seems to recognize that Article IV of the Constitution allows states to distinguish between its citizens and citizens of other states, though they all are citizens of the United States.

In fact that Article IV contains the Extradition Clause which was thought to be necessary to make it clear that criminals residing in a state had no international type extradition protections if they were wanted for a crime in another state.

In other words, being in "the Union" for specific purposes does not necessarily mean that the States have become one. In fact, "these" United States "are" in the Union, for example, for the purpose of common defense in time of war, not for the purpose of regulating fishing in a local lake.

If you live in Delaware and decide to relocate to California, you have to get a California drivers license within a certain time period and must register to vote in California to vote for the President, U.S. Senators, and a member of the House of Representatives. You cannot sell your residence in Delaware and move to a new one in California and two years later claim to be a voting citizen of Delaware. We have no passports for that.

Generally, a state is a type of polity that is an organized political community living under a defined system of government. Because U.S. states are in the Union their sovereignty is limited. They are not nation-states. But they are still states exercising internal sovereignty with far broader domestic governmental powers than the United States government.

In my humble opinion,  it now has become imperative to support the idea of presenting to Congress within three years a formal request from the State of California to be allowed to withdraw from the Union to become the nation-state of the California Republic. We need to get our act together now.

It will be too late if we wait until 2020. Consider the Climate Change issue which is always framed by corporate interests as an economic issue rather than an existential threat. During the campaign Trump vowed to withdraw from the Paris Accord, an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) dealing with greenhouse gases emissions mitigation, adaptation and finance starting in the year 2020.

But we have already been confronted with his advisors offering comments that generate headlines like Trump to scrap Nasa climate research in crackdown on ‘politicized science’: Nasa’s Earth science division is set to be stripped of funding as the president-elect seeks to shift focus away from home in favor of deep space exploration.

The fact is NASA provides the raw, easily believed evidence like this:

As explained in the fundamental book for laypersons on climate change by Elizabeth Kolbert Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change:
GISS, an outpost of NASA, started out, forty-five years ago, as a planetary-research center; today, its major function is making climate forecasts. GISS employs about a hundred and fifty people, many of whom spend their days working on calculations that may—or may not—end up being incorporated in the institute’s climate model. Some work on algorithms that describe the behavior of the atmosphere, some on the behavior of the oceans, some on vegetation, some on clouds, and some on making sure that all these algorithms, when they are combined, produce results that seem consistent with the real world. (Once, when some refinements were made to the model, rain nearly stopped falling over the world’s rainforests.) The latest version of the GISS model, called ModelE, consists of 125,000 lines of computer code.

It was an American scientist—Charles David Keeling—who, in the 1950s, developed the technology to measure CO2 levels precisely, and it was American researchers who, working on Mauna Loa, first showed that these levels were steadily rising. In the half century since then, the United States has contributed more than any other nation to the advancement of climate science, both theoretically, through the work of climate modelers at places like GISS and NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, and experimentally, through field studies conducted in the Arctic, the Antarctic, and every continent in between.
By quietly eliminating this source of facts and source of public relations problems that flummox the climate change deniers in Congress, the Deplorables would be allowed their continued delusion, except for the few who lose their homes in the drought damages forests of Tennessee, North Carolina, and other states. Their great-grandchildren might not understand how they could have been so blind, but who cares about the future when the me's need so much now?

But, you say, Trump has implied he may change his mind. Yes, Californians could wait to see if he does. But Californian's remember....

On Friday, May 27, 2016, in Fresno, California, Presidential Candidate Trump stated “There is no drought, they turn the water out into the ocean.” Even Fox News web site offers this story This state's 102M dead trees should worry you.  About 46 million of the 100 million acres of land in California is owned by the federal government. Most of those dead trees are on federal land.

California has been trying to deal with Climate Change on its own. Regarding the Trump win, Governor Jerry Brown (who is among the Golden Generation from the Golden State) stated: “We will protect the precious rights of our people and continue to confront the existential threat of our time—devastating climate change.” As noted in The Guardian piece Trump is a threat to the Paris agreement. Can states like California defend it? Brown has dispatched a team to the UN climate talks in Marrakech. But when California became a state in the United States we gave away our sovereignty in matters of foreign affairs.

We need to push hard to get that sovereignty back and that political process should be moving forward now.

Or we could just sit back and watch an old, white Alabaman determine what civil rights we have and a rich, super-religious, anti-gay-marriage white Michigan suburbanite privatize our school systems. After all we have to believe those who voted for Trump, the candidate who made all those deplorable promises, really didn't understand and voted based upon their own problems and will some day reverse their view.

After all, ignorance is an acceptable excuse in some states. Except it isn't for California which needs to protect its citizens, now!