"The question is, does California have anything left to say to America, or to the world, or even to itself, beyond disappointment? [...]
"Americans feel disappointment so keenly because our optimism is so large and is so often insisted upon by historians. And so often justified by history. The stock market measures optimism. If you don't feel optimistic, there must by something wrong with you. There are pills for disappointment. [...]
"What is obsolete now in California is the future. For a century and a half Americans spoke of California as the future when they wanted to escape inevitability. Now the future attaches consequences and promises constriction. Technocrats in Sacramento warn of a future that is overwhelmed by students, pollution, immigrants, cars, fluorocarbons, old people. Or the future is diminished--water quality, soil quality, air quality, education quality, highway quality, life quality. There are not enough doctors for the state's emergency rooms, not enough blue parking spaces outside, not enough oil, not enough natural gas, not enough electricity. More blackouts, more brownouts, too many air conditioners, too few houses, frogs on the verge of extinction, a fugitive middle class. A state without a white center. To the rest of the nation California now represents what the a nation fears to become."
~Richard Rodriguez, "Disappointment" from California