Exactly what did California voters say when they went to the polling booth this week? Well for starters, they had had their fill of Gray Davis and his backroom politics. They had had their fill of the questionable decisions, the special interests and the foolhardy spending that kept Davis in office. But most of all, I believe, California voters said they had simply had enough.
Onto the stage came a larger than life Arnold Schwarzenegger and his pledge to contain costs and help to bring the state back from the brink of bankruptcy. And despite the power of Hollywood money going to Gray Davis and despite the L.A. Times doing their predictable hatchet job at the 11th hour, the voters outsmarted the liberals and said they wanted change. Unless the Democratic-controlled legislature puts up roadblocks, change they will get.
If anyone is paying attention, you'll see clearly what is happening across this nation. Voters everywhere are telling elected officials that all programs on all levels of government must face the test of success. Spending is clearly out of control at so many levels of government and the majority - those hard-working, tax-paying citizens - have had enough. Expect this trend toward smaller government and more accountability to continue.
I don't know if Schwarzenegger can deliver on all of the campaign promises. Odds are he cannot and will not. But his victory sends a signal far beyond the borders of California that voters are tired of spending money to sustain the lifestyles of some who abuse the system. You sense the trend in Washington, D.C. and Sikeston, Mo.
Americans are a charitable and compassionate people. The upper income earners in this nation provide as much as 45 percent of their income to the tax base that helps support those who cannot support themselves. But there comes a point beyond which enough is enough. Government cannot and should not be expected to provide all the needs to all the people. That is not an unchristian viewpoint - it's a realistic viewpoint.
If all of those able to work would work, the face of America would be much different. Jobs are plentiful despite the argument that many of those available jobs are dead-ends. Perhaps those dead-end jobs will lead to other opportunities. Or perhaps, those dead-end jobs will simply allow everyone to do their part in fueling this economy. But either way, the days of the government opening the checkbook to any and all are coming to an end.
California is not the mirror of this nation. It is unique. Their problems are not our problems for a variety of reasons. But the underlying tone of the voter revolt is as clear there as it is in other places across the country. And for me at least, that's a sweet sound that has been a long time coming.