Caitlyn Jenner sat down for an Oprah-style interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity last night in which the athlete turned reality star turned transgender activist turned Republican candidate for governor of California pondered what St. Peter would say when Jenner arrived at the “pearly gates.” What a world.
Jenner has received some criticism for the following portion of the interview:
Love to appeal to the working class by hanging in my private jet hangar and complaining about how there's too many poor people https://t.co/agCgnnTXmu
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) May 6, 2021
Now, if I were a highly paid political consultant for Jenner, I might recommend that private airplane hangars be omitted from the stump-speech anecdote bank. But there’s nothing wrong with a candidate for governor acknowledging two of the most pressing problems the Golden State faces: a homelessness epidemic and flight.
With more than 160,000 homeless, California paces the nation, and it’s not particularly close. Worse, that number is on an upward trajectory. That has implications on public safety, on economic development, and on the desirability of living in the state. It may for some reason or another be considered uncouth in certain circles to acknowledge that people don’t wish to live where the streets are flooded with the destitute, but it’s nevertheless true. To note this aloud is not to dismiss the plight of the homeless, but rather to recognize it. Who wants to live somewhere where so many people are allowed to suffer, and suffer so publicly?
Moreover, Jenner is right that it’s a problem for a state to be losing people, as California did in 2020. This is particularly problematic if the well-off — people like Jenner’s friend — are doing so, since they both stimulate the economy and make up a hefty portion of the tax base. The trouble is compounded even further if more people — including the homeless — are relying on government programs.
Take issue with Jenner’s method of explaining them if you’d like, but the candidate correctly identifies two monumental challenges facing the state. It speaks ill of progressives — and perhaps helps to explain California’s decline — that they have chosen to mock Jenner instead of grappling with the issues at hand.