And yet here in this nation-state of California, people from all over the world live in harmony. I call California a nation-state because of the diversity of our people, the power of our economy and the reach of our dream. Every race, every culture, every religion has been drawn to California. The commerce and the trade of the nations of the Earth pass through our ports. The world knows our name. We are a good and global commonwealth. Yes, we have problems that must be solved. But, it remains true…what a prosperous, peaceful, golden state in which we live and work and raise our families.
We should never forget these joys and blessings of being Californians.
As governor, I feel a responsibility to conduct the public business in the way that furthers these blessings…so that our people continue to live in harmony and prosperity.
We don’t need Republican clean air or Democratic clean air. We all breathe the same air.
Consider the danger of global warming. Imagine your child is sick with a rising fever. If 98 out of 100 doctors said that the child needed immediate treatment…and two doctors said that the child was just fine…who would you listen to? The 98 or the two? Should we do nothing about global warming on the slim chance a few skeptics who deny its existence may be right? No, we should not.
So this last year California passed the world’s most comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gases. Why? One: Because it’s the environmentally moral thing to do. Two: Because, although the United States represents only five percent of the world’s population, we emit 25 percent of the greenhouse gases. And three: Because California genuinely has the power to influence the rest of the nation, even the world.
Now, capping emissions – the government stick approach – by itself could harm our economy, so we created a free-market system to trade emissions. By turning carbon into a commodity and trading it as a financial derivative, we have harnessed the self-interest of capitalism to heal the environment. And with the power of California’s trillion-dollar economy behind us, we have set something else in motion. We became the best place in the world to invest in new, green technologies. And in time, this will further strengthen the foundation of California ’s technological economy.
Ladies and gentlemen, we face important issues that should unite us. I believe that we have an opportunity to move past partisanship…to move past bi-partisanship…to move to post-partisanship.
I believe that it would promote a new centrism and a new trust in our political system. And I believe that we have a window to do it right now.
And what will be the result of us all working together? Let me tell you my vision of California twenty years from now. It is a big vision. In reply, some may say, “Arnold, it’s just a dream.” Well, yes, it is a dream, but how can we grow into something greater, something better, something more meaningful without a dream to guide us?
Now, what would such a California look like? Well…our people, no matter their culture or their religion, still live in peace. Their health is strong because of the air they breathe, and the care they receive, and the lifestyles they lead. Their children are educated in schools that open the doors to a productive and fulfilling life.
And because we rebuilt our infrastructure, we have the schools, the roads, the ports, the water, the levees, the communications to grow with prosperity. And because we have committed ourselves to the environment, we lead the world in the transition from fossil fuels to clean energy, and, as a result, a clean-tech industry has sprung up creating jobs for our people. And because we were leaders in stem cell research, California’s biotech industry has boomed, offering new cures for spinal cord injuries, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other diseases. And because we took action to correct our fiscal crisis, state government will have learned, once and for all, to live within its means. And because we strengthened and reformed representative government, our state’s elected officials now reflect the views of the mainstream, not the fringes. And in return, our citizens once again will have trust and respect in their government.
So, I ask you, why can’t California be this dream? The United States needs us to be this. The world needs us to be this.
For billions of people around the world, California itself is a dream. They ache to have what we so often take for granted. If they simply could live here, work here, raise their families here, their dreams would be fulfilled. So, to the cynics, I say do not dismiss dreams as idle visions.
Ladies and gentlemen, my dream is that California, the nation-state, the harmonious state, the prosperous state, the cutting-edge state, becomes a model, not just for the 21st century American society, but for the larger world.