Brothers and sisters, there’s trouble out here in the west. California is in the midst of a calamitous drought, one of the worst on record. There’s no water out here. There’s no snow in the mountains and no rain in our forecast. To travel through the Central Valley, which keeps our cities fed, is to be stalked by ghosts on the battlefield of a forgotten war.
During these hard times, we must reflect on who we are and how we define ourselves, because our very identity is at stake. Just what is the California identity? The cities would have you believe it’s the now, modernity, the next score, action, but out here in the country we know better. Our identity is more elemental than that. Our identity isn’t in the city but the dirt. Dirt that has become barren. Dirt that providence and man have both neglected to nourish. Without water, we die.
Governor Jerry Brown has done his level best to slow our death march with mandatory water restrictions, but his level best permits too much corporate favoritism. Now, hold on. I know what you’re about to say. “Corporate favoritism is an essential component of the American dream and you cannot take it away from us!” you’re roaring, slamming your fists against your desk. And you’re right to do so.
As California’s next governor, I won’t dare to change your mind about the American dream. I won’t dare to claim I can stop the drought. I won’t dare to promise a way out of this desert exile. Brothers and sisters, I will only dare to do one thing as your ruler. I speak now to every last man, woman and child who ever put down roots in this land where the American dream rushes down mountains and hills to meet the sea. Listen up. I will dare to shower my people with the one natural resource scarcer than water. I will dare to tell the truth.
That is my platform. Pure, unadorned truth, in all of its natural ugliness and complexity. Sure, I’ll need your grace – financial grace – to accomplish this, because I will not be able to run as a Republican or a Democrat. They’re run by old money and tired ideas, entrenched in a way of life that our land is rejecting. They won’t abide my lack of conventional political experience, or my humble sharecropper heritage. They don’t want to know what the land says, and they sure as hell don’t want a damn thing to do with the little guy.
And they’re right to do so. We all like to pretend that if we ever hold elected office, we will bring morality back to the public square. We all like to pretend we’ll be philosopher-kings who hold court with the common man and never take bribes. I make no such empty promises. I know I’m disenfranchised. And I know as well as you do that the fastest way to create a fascist is to rapidly enfranchise a disenfranchised person.
Believe me, brothers and sisters, I understand your reservations. I understand why you’re reticent to vote for a fascist. But think of it from my perspective. Fascists have all the fun. They get to arbitrarily enforce brutish laws and ruin the lives of their enemies with impunity. They get to have pure power. Philosophers die in obscurity. Fascists get to have mansions, statues, marble tombs, indoor swimming pools – the fascist is unburdened by the fairytale of institutional law. The fascist lives in the real world and understands the intrinsic value of an indoor basketball court with sound-dampening walls plus a handful of bulletproof Escalades.
I promised you the truth, so let’s talk brass tacks. The second I set foot in Sacramento in 2018, drought or no drought, I will revise Jerry Brown’s water management rules in one key way. See, he issued new restrictions on golf course water usage. Excellent. But unfortunately, the director of governmental affairs for the Southern California Golf Association, a Mr. Craig Kessler, called the restrictions “rational,” and said there were “mechanisms that make sense in place.” My data doesn’t agree with this. My data says that golf is the rich man stealing the poor man’s water as an act of pure malevolence. My data says golf must immediately be criminalized.
I’ll hire film crews to document the scene as I dismantle and burn golf courses, then release the footage as the first in a series of propaganda films. I will use the proceeds from these films, having now engendered the trust of the working class, to buy a decadent mansion with a massive indoor swimming pool. I will happily invite all ex-golfers – who will be forced to wear ragged and androgynous uniforms – to watch as I fill my swimming pool with their stupid water.
Ethical considerations will come into play in due time, however. Specifically, my lack of ethics. Once I criminalize golf, I will immediately create a system of institutional bribery. I will support any non-golf-related cause at the right dollar figure. I will have an order form stapled to my office door, and I will distribute the form to every California taxpayer. As this will make me a very rich governor and a prime target for assassination, I will allocate much of my bribe money toward hiring private bodyguards at every state building and nightclub I frequent.
Extortion is in the playbook too. For example, my data will show that Brentwood, Malibu, Calabasas, and Silicon Valley have all been zoned wrong. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, in collaboration with my bodyguards, will prove that all these areas, Calabasas especially, are technically forests, and therefore prescribed fire locations. My associates will then prove that the data was possibly misinterpreted, but the necessary corrective legal action will cost several billion dollars.
But rest assured, brothers and sisters, I won’t be an ivory tower fascist who ignores citizen input. I will listen to the suggestions of my people. Example: one of my cronies suggested Gilbert Gottfried should read The Fountainhead during my golf-banning festivities. A fantastic suggestion. I’ll even go one step further. I’ll put Mr. Gottfried on retainer and have him deliver all of my speeches for me, every last one, so I can fly down to Hollywood to go on auditions and so forth.
I know what you’re thinking now. You’re thinking “this amount of hard-earned American honesty is simply too dangerous. You will eventually get murdered no matter how many bodyguards you have. In fact, one of your bodyguards will probably be the one to do it.” And this is true. But don’t worry about me. I’m prepared for that scenario. I know when to quit. After one term, I will retire from politics and live out the remainder of my days in Mexico, secure in the knowledge that I did nothing whatsoever to undermine the credibility of California politics.