California and New York are two semi-autonomous regions possessing a lively economy and vibrant citystates, connected by a land bridge of Trump supporters. That’s how I view it, anyway. I know it’s a little more nuanced than that, but since nuance has gone out the window in public discourse, lets stick with simpleminded, shall we?
The only question is – which one is better? I’m keeping score for you.
Ability to chat about the weather with strangers.
Here’s a typical NYC conversation with someone you just met, or maybe only know by sight.
Person: “It’s so cold out there!”
Other Person: “OH MY GOD! I can’t believe it! You are so right!”
Person: “It’s like the north pole! It’s killin’ me!”
Other person: “The weather guy says tomorrow it’s going up to SIXTY!”
Person: “NO WAY! That’s CRAZY! Anyway, stay warm!”
Person: “It’s 72 degrees and sunny….again! That must be, what, 475 days in a row?”
Other person: “uhhhh yeeeeeah.”
You’d get nowhere. The problem is, nothing can take the place of weather chatter.
Person: “Those Boston Red Socks are great, aren’t they?”
Other person: “I’m a Yankees fan so I will either greet you with a stony stare for the rest of our days, engage you in a heated yelling match, or pummel you with my fists. Which would you prefer?”
Weather is the social glue that keeps us all together. California doesn’t have that. There, you just talk to the air.
Score: NY-1 CA-zippo
Natural Beauty that you can drive To
rolling hills, lakes, islands, rivers, forests, Niagara Falls, and rain. Still, you can’t beat the Sierras, the redwoods, the strange and alarming beauty of the desert, and wine country. Plus, the Pacific kicks the Atlantic’s butt.
Score: CA gets the edge
New York has a thriving industry of political corruption and cronyism, stretching back to Tammany Hall. That legacy is with us today. New York currently has 8 Republicans
masquerading as Democrats in order to fool the voters. Corruption as a whole is alive and well and helping make sure New York State flunks every time. By comparison, California gets a stellar C-minus. However, California also has “direct democracy” with ballot initiatives. That is the path to madness.
Score: It’s a tie
Once upon a time, NYC won the culture race hands down, walking away. We have the Met (both of them), museums galore, operas, festivals, Real Theater, drag queens. Then
California started edging up. Both LA and San Francisco have operas. The Getty Museum started just throwing money at anything that crossed its visual field, making the Met look stupid (and sometimes making itself look stupid too).
Broadway has at least two Disney productions going at any one time, and the last time we saw Chekov was 1946. It depends on what you prefer.
Score: NY wins on gravitas and range, LA gets points for panache.
Let’s stick to the ones that have actually happened, not the ones that might happen within the next 300,000 years (cue my favorite cliché – “it’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when”)
California sits on the ring of fire, and therefore experiences regular earthquakes and occasional tsunamis. The small ones aren’t anything to get in a kerfuffle about, but the big ones level whole cities. Then, there’s the natural cycle of drought/fire/flood/landslides. Repeat as needed.
New York gets nor’easters, hurricanes, “snow-ma-geddons”, ice storms, blackouts, garbage strikes, subway strikes, and terrorists large and small. Pick your poison.
Score: California by a whisker
New York City has colorful mayors, but our governors tend to be a bit drab. Sometimes they are dull and drab, sometimes they are bad and drab, and sometimes they are almost comatose. Our biggest stars were the Roosevelts – Teddy and FDR. But California? Who else
has a governor with a nickname like “Governor Moonbeam”, elected TWICE, (1975 and then, after a short 35 year break, again in 2010)? What about the Terminator? I’m rolling over and giving up.
Score: California by a mile
No contest. If you want to walk in California, you’ll have to drive to somewhere with trails.
Score: neener, neener, we win
Viability as an Independent Nation.
If New York got its act together, we could totally do this! I swear! Look at Singapore! The brutal truth, however, is that California is having our lunch. Did New York ask – nay, demand – a seat at the Paris climate table? No. Didn’t even cross our minds. But California’s Governor Moonbeam did. He cruised right in as though he was in charge, and Trump was just an annoying distraction.
Economically, California would be the 6th largest economy in the world, if it were a separate country (even with cost of living factored in, it comes in just after France). New York would edge out South Korea. That’s embarrassing! Agriculturally, Cal feeds itself and the world. Us? We’ve got some decent organic broccoli out on Long Island. Recently, California even started to act like it knows how to run a civilized society.
Score: Alas, California takes this one
So, in the end, who wins? Norway.