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

Ukraine: Mysterious 'Roaming Tank' Reportedly Takes Aim at Smugglers

Ukraine's TV, print media, Facebook abuzz with reports a 'roaming tank' is on the loose, destroying vehicles of those involved in smuggling More

UN Tackles Illicit Wildlife Poaching Amid Cecil the Lion Uproar

The 193-member General Assembly adopts its first resolution on the issue following a two-year campaign by Germany and Gabon More

Trump Tops Poll as Rivals Battle to Make Debate

Donald Trump jumps into a big lead in Republican presidential race, according to latest poll 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.
Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’i
X
July 29, 2015 9:34 PM
Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.

VOA Blogs