News / USA

US State Secessionist Movements Reveal Urban/Rural Divide

Bob Beauprez and wife Claudia gesture to supporters as they drive by at a honk and wave, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006, in Denver.Bob Beauprez and wife Claudia gesture to supporters as they drive by at a honk and wave, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006, in Denver.
x
Bob Beauprez and wife Claudia gesture to supporters as they drive by at a honk and wave, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006, in Denver.
Bob Beauprez and wife Claudia gesture to supporters as they drive by at a honk and wave, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006, in Denver.
Brian Padden
In some U.S. states, the sharp political rift between Republicans and Democrats is also a geographical divide in which political power is controlled by liberal progressives in heavily populated urban areas.  This has left some rural conservatives groups tired of their powerless minority status and looking to secede, not from the country but from the states where they reside.
 
The Western Maryland Initiative is the latest such attempt, joining efforts by groups in Colorado, Michigan and California to attempt to secede from their own states and either form a new state or join with a neighboring state that better reflects their political views.
 
Scott Strzelczyk, one of the leaders of the Maryland secession group, says conservatives in the rural western areas of his state adamantly oppose new taxes, environmental regulations and gun control measures that are being imposed on them by the liberal majority in the eastern cities that control the political process. 
 
“Ultimately we just feel that the people aren’t represented and that we could have a government that better represents us if we were to split off and form our own states,” said Strzelczyk.
 
The secessionist group in Northern Colorado has a similar list of grievances and virtually the same rural/urban divide. Conservative activist and Rancher Bob Beauprez says that in politics today there seems to be no room for compromise, so perhaps secession is the only way to ensure that minorities have a political voice.  
 
“If we are going to continue to have these ideological battles that end up maybe not moving in a very positive direction and ending in good government, just different government, maybe we ought to just go our separate ways. Why don’t you run your state and we’ll run ours,” said Beauprez.
 
Even if these initiatives ultimately fail, Beauprez says they are energizing the conservative movement. In Colorado, voters recently ousted two Democratic state lawmakers in a recall election launched over their support for stricter gun laws.  
 
The U.S. constitution does allow for the formation of new states, but it requires the approval of both the state legislature and Congress.  It has been done in the past, such as when West Virginia broke off from Virginia during the Civil War, but it is rare.
 
Since 1959, when Hawaii and Alaska became the 49th and 50th states admitted to the union, the United States has not added any new states.  Undaunted, Strzelczyk says it may be time to radically re-draw the map to create hundreds of smaller states. “This way we have choices and all these diverse people have ways to live together harmoniously without fighting each other, without brother fighting brother and neighbor fighting neighbor all the time.  And that’s really ultimately what I wanted, just to be left alone by government to live my life.”
 
Many experts say it is unlikely that Congress would approve any new states, especially if it means changing the current balance of power. Michael Trinklein, the author of Lost States, a book about past movements to create new states in the U.S., says conservative state secessionists should learn from history and partner up with state movements in liberal-dominated territories like Puerto Rico. 
 
This is how Alaska, considered a liberal stronghold in the 1950s, joined with then-conservative Hawaii to gain statehood for both without altering the national balance of power. “Alaska nor Hawaii would have been added had they not come in together. You basically need a dancing partner and that has long been true in American politics,” points out Trinklein.
 
Still, he says most state secession efforts in history have failed. Strzelczyk says he knows his goal will be difficult to reach, and maybe even nearly impossible, but for frustrated and isolated rural conservatives it may be the only option left.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Poopity from: poopityville
October 04, 2013 7:50 PM
Hahahahah, conservatives think they're an "oppressed minority". THAT'S funny!


by: Manuel from: Lagos
September 21, 2013 8:31 AM
I think the GOP should streamline its stance on several issues to appeal to the electorate, instead of opting for the long and hard option of secession.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid