During the 2016 Presidential election I chose the Ramones’ “I Wanna be Sedated” as my song of the year, naively assuming that no matter what the results of the 2016 election were, the year would be an anomaly. (Ignorance was bliss for a short while.) Over the last few weeks I’ve thought about what my 2020 song of the year would be. At the end of last week, as it became crystal clear how greatly California’s (probably unconstitutional and very communistic) AB5, which eliminates the freelance writing industry in California, would impact my career, this song hit the top of the list of possibilities – “Should I stay or Should I Go” from The Clash.
I don’t want to get too personal and detailed, but essentially I cannot support my family as a California resident for the time being. AB 5 author Lorena Gonzalez claims that all freelance writers need to do is incorporate to avoid the law, but that’s not really true. For various reasons, creating a corporation in California is a non-starter for me, and the notion that a conservative writer – especially one whose work became extremely high profile in the area this year – could get a “normal” job writing anywhere in California is laughable.
In addition, outspoken and effective conservatives are targeted by the corrupt powers running the state. A close friend of mine was thrown into an excrement-filled jail cell, falsely charged with sexual crimes, because he had been effective in fundraising for the local GOP. The charges were dropped after two years of fighting, and he again became involved politically. Again he was falsely charged – those charges have been dismissed as well. It’s dangerous and scary to speak up against the progressive dictators in this state.
So, I’ve made the decision to again become a North Carolina resident (I lived there from 1992 through 2012) and live in exile while working to do away with AB5 so I can return to my hometown.
I don’t want to leave. Yes, it’s expensive. Yes, we’re surrounded by anti-American liberals who want to erode every right we have – and they’ve almost succeeded 100 percent. But, I mean, look at this place.
Both of these are places I walk by on my morning walks.
Here’s the beach where my dad taught me to surf.
My family and I have a good life here. In addition to my writing and political work, I’m involved with multiple local nonprofits and in giving back to my community. My oldest son met his now-wife and started a good career. My youngest is able to attend a performing arts magnet school and receive training that will allow him to go straight into a trade, into a well-paying job. We have family nearby and lots of life-long friends.
I don’t want to be relegated to being a bicoastal parent, but am grateful that I still have the option to provide for my family. Fortunately I have friends and family on both sides of the country who will make this as easy as possible on us. I will be doing the Larry O’Connor thing – working on the East Coast but being physically present in this state with my family as often as I can. I look at this as a short-term inconvenience and will be giving every bit of energy that I possibly can to defeating this bill that hurts women, minorities, and immigrants more than anyone, and to defeating greedy, brutal politicians like Lorena Gonzalez.
Which brings me to my 2020 song.
Happy New Year! And, in the words of another Californian, “I’ll be back.”