Trump Declares California ‘State Of Rebellion’ – Vows To Replace Gov Jerry Brown
Rural California wants a divorce from rich California
A group in California is trying to break away from the more urban areas of the Golden State. USA TODAY
Plenty of states’ rural regions are looking to split from richer metro areas, but maybe there is a better solution than adding new stars to our flag.
We’re starting to hear more about secession. Not the perennial post-election calls of losing parties to secede from a nation controlled by the opposition, but a growing movement for secession from states, with the parts of states (sometimes geographically very large parts of states) wanting to separate from the population-dense urban areas that essentially control state decision-making. Feeling ignored, put-upon, and mistreated, state secessionists want to take their fate into their own hands.
At present, there’s little prospect of adding stars to the American flag, but these movements do indicate a widespread sense of dissatisfaction among (mostly rural) populations who feel that they are governed by people in distant urban centers who know little, and care less, about their way of life. Their complaints, in many ways, sound like the complaints of Americans circa 1775.
Intrastate secession isn’t exactly new in the United States: West Virginia was once part of Virginia, for example, and Tennessee was once part of North Carolina, though that evolution was less fraught. But in recent years we’ve seen a number of states facing calls to split, from inhabitants of regions who feel effectively unrepresented.
In New York State, for example, there have been repeated calls to split upstate New York from the New York City region. One such proposal involves letting the NYC area keep the name “New York,” while the new upstate state would be named “New Amsterdam.” The reason? “We’re completely overwhelmed … by the policies of New York City,” according to New York State Senator Joseph Robach. The idea has been circulating for over 25 years, but now seems to be gaining some degree of additional support.
Perhaps better-publicized is Silicon Valley entrepreneur Tim Draper’s plan to split California into six states, one of which would be, essentially, Silicon Valley’s own preserve. Though Draper’s plan did not make the 2016 ballot, it served as a useful outlet for complaints about unrepresented parts of the state.
Some such effort might also please the residents of inland and northern California, who feel that California state government — with its heavy interests in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay areas — views them with indifference or even hostility. Writing in the Los Angeles Daily News, demographer Joel Kotkin compared these neglected, poverty-stricken regions of California to apartheid-era South Africa’s “bantustans,” observing that inland California has high unemployment, poor healthcare, and a general sense of being despised and neglected by the coastal high-rollers running the state.
A similar dynamic obtains in Washington State, where some legislators are reviving a proposal, dating back to 1915, to separate Eastern Washington into its own state, provisionally named “Liberty,” and in Oregon, where activists in the eastern part of the state want to secede from coastal Oregon, either to set up their own state, or to join the existing state of Idaho, with which they feel they have more in common. (There’s also a plan to join Eastern Washington and Eastern Oregon into a new state called “Cascadia.”) [btnsx id=”5955″]