Tuesday, April 15, 2003

The left-out coast

Unfortunately the Economist has gone to a pay-per-view web model. But if you are an online subscriber or receive the paper version (yes I still do receive paper magazines), The left-out coast published in the Apr 10th 2003 Economist print edition is really worth reading.

Subhead A state that used to be a trendsetter is stuck in a time-warp -- The differences in attitude, fashion, and politics have always been great between the East and West coast of the United States. But the events of September 11th have created an enormous new divide in the way the East and West think about the world. As this article accurately points out, Californians have simply not been confronted with the same sense of imminent danger that residents of New York and Washington face every day. As a result, responses to events on each coast are completely different.

Take for example the warning by the government that citizens should stock up on duct tape to seal their houses from potential chemical or biological weapons attacks. On the East coast, duct tape sold out in hours. On the West coast, people laughed.

At best the citizens of California believe that if there were another terrorist attack in the US that it would happen in NY or Washington DC -- far away. At worst they simply don't think about this new dangerous world we live in. The primary concern for the majority of Californians is the economy, not the new world disorder. An interesting divergence which is likely to lead to disparities in voting, government spending, and business activities. The most interesting question is whether these two world views will continue to diverge or whether they will begin to come together again. Hopefully it won't take a terror attack in San Francisco to get the West coast in sync with the rest of the nation.