By Kyle Hermann
On a chilly November afternoon, days before the 2022 election, I stood on the side of Kearny Villa Road with a few others staring off at the horizon for almost an hour awaiting the arrival of the famous 747 that sports UNITED STATES OF AMERICA across the side. Ever since I was a kid, I had dreamed of seeing Air Force One land in San Diego, and I can even remember the times the President has come to town and I wasn’t able to make it to see the arrival. As a side note, seeing the old version on display at the Reagan Museum comes close, but second place nonetheless.
What it got me thinking about that evening was how little it mattered in that moment what my disagreements were with the President, or even why he was visiting. All I could focus on was the moment I would see the bright white guiding lights come over the hillside and make the final approach into Miramar. Furthermore, it helped me to consider a fundamental aspect of my worldview which is that I fight for things I love, not just about things I loathe.
Another example of this was when I went to San Francisco this past summer. Now, let me be clear that I do truly despise the level of human suffering that is taking place on those streets. But as I stood and overlooked the Golden Gate Bridge, it reminded me of the promise of the Golden State, and renewed my fervor all the more to fight for what makes this state beautiful and remove what takes away from that.
The main difference here is that there are those who may think California is too far gone, they hate California as a whole, or that California isn’t worth fighting for altogether. But as I walk through the endless trails of San Diego’s back county, eat pie in Julian, soak in the sun at the beach, and meet up with the incredible people, I can’t help but hoping that California will return to being the Golden State that we all know it to be. Most importantly for me is that I will be here to see to it. I am going to continue defending the promise of California, a place that I love, rather than being continually angry about the things I hate.