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

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    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.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora