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COVID-19 and the Fight for an Equitable California


California is a very progressive state. But it’s also kind of disaster, especially with its awful NIMBY politics leading to skyrocketing housing prices and skyrocketing homelessness that makes the situation quite unsustainable. Despite its progressive politics on some issues, it is the paragon of the New Gilded Age. But at least the state has a very strong activist community and a governor who is not terrible. So how much can the left do to push forward the fight for equity in this incredibly unequal state?

Housing for the homeless. Criminal justice reform. Addressing the digital divide for schoolchildren in rural areas.

Propelled by the urgency of the coronavirus crisis, and despite severe economic headwinds, liberal Californians see this moment as an opening to push through an agenda that addresses some of the state’s most intractable and long-debated problems.

Already, thousands of people have been let out of the state’s jails and prisons, cash bail has been eliminated for most crimes, thousands of homeless people now have roofs over their heads, and children in rural and poor areas of the state are being sent tens of thousands of laptop computers for distance learning — temporary measures to confront the pandemic that leaders are hoping will become durable solutions to longstanding problems of inequity.

While many in the country talk about returning to normal, a common refrain is emerging among California’s powerful political left wing and many liberal leaders across America: Normal wasn’t working.

Normal hasn’t worked in this nation for a very long time, including California. It’s time to rethink normal on every issue in this horrifying unequal and murderous nation.

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