We have a fire season in California. It is as predictable as snow season in Cleveland Ohio, for example. With the climate emergency, it has gotten longer, and it has little to do with forest management. In fact, most of the fires this year have started in chaparral, or in urbanized spaces.
Let’s be honest, the Palisades in Los Angeles is not exactly the high Sierra with an old forest.
However, the president threatened to withdraw federal help (again.) Why? Well, there are several reasons. The first and most obvious is that Trump is activating the hate many in the American right feel for California. This did not start with Donald Trump. It’s quite old, and more than one in his base has said the US would do better without California.
So the threats are not novel, or new. There are people out there, in far-right land, that believe this. Why? California is not American enough and does not share the values of the rest of the country. Translation, especially since the government turned far more Democratic and diverse, the state is not white, or Christian enough. Never mind that the state looks like the rest of the country will in the coming generation. Ok, maybe not Iowa or North Dakota.
Some have even whispered (and Trump seems to believe this) that the state should leave the United States. This is not that rare in the true armpits of the internet. And if you have spent any time on social media, you have read this, perhaps from your crazy uncle. Who knows, there may be some crazy uncle that repeats this nonsense during Thanksgiving to the nods and sighs or the rest of the family. It is not the eggnog speaking. There are serious discussions of this very real issue in far-right land.
Then in 2016, we had what seemed to be a serious effort for California to leave the United States. That the organizer left for greener spaces in Moscow should be telling. However, the sentiment is not limited to a few fringe elements. The genius of hybrid warfare is that the Russians know us and our fracture points better than we.
And it’s gotten so bad that a few of us, as a joke, answer to these people, “throw us into that briar patch.”
The reality is that California, even with the federal help for fire fighting efforts, remains…