It’s finally happened. Residents of several northern Colorado counties are petitioning for their counties to secede from their state and form America’s fifty-first, “North Colorado”.
This is not the first time citizens of a state have pushed for secession from it (Key West in 1982 initially comes to mind – “The Conch Republic”). But this particular push seems to be picking up steam. Never the less, the fire will fizzle and their drive to break away will fail. But should it? I argue not.
According to Sean Conway, the Commissioner for Colorado’s northern Weld County, “We really feel in northern and northeastern Colorado that we are ignored — citizens’ concerns are ignored, and we truly feel disenfranchised.” Added Conway, “There’s a real feeling that a lot of folks who come from the urban areas don’t appreciate the contribution that many Coloradans contribute.”
Now THIS is the type of secession I can get down with!
The CBS-Denver article goes on to detail how residents of rural Colorado are feeling neglected by their masters in their state’s Democrat-controlled legislature, including residents of Morgan, Logan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Washington, Yuma and Kit Carson counties; all pondering the idea of secession and creating U.S. state #51.
After Obama’s re-election there were calls for secession from the Union in every state, all of which failed (something about “secession” being associated with 600,000 Civil War battlefield deaths and incalculable more deaths during Reconstruction, I suppose…). Secession from the U.S. was, is, and never will be something anyone should consider plausible. Secession from states, however, is something much more intriguing.
Years ago I was touring New York State’s wine country around its Finger Lakes. Naturally with me around conversations with locals turned to politics and they told me, almost verbatim, the exact things Commissioner Conway said to Denver’s CBS station; the cities control the rural areas via their strength in numbers. Urbanites, who rarely share the history, values and culture of their rural counterparts (emphasis on “counter”), dictate policies that impact and control them.
The thick-black-framed-glasses-wearing hipster in the downtown Denver Starbucks knows and understands little of who the farmer or mechanic or logger 50 miles away is, does, believes, or lives for. Yet that preppy, arrogant – and thus ignorant – yuppie in that city’s stuffy café goes to the polls and ends up voting for policies that reign over those so-obscure-and miniscule-hinterlands folk. This is what the residents of these eight Colorado counties are saying has to stop. And they are right!
Urban vs. Rural is not an American phenomenon. It’s found in every country on Earth. It is one of the greatest divides humanity has ever failed to adequately address. It is hardly about whether people living in cities are more “enlightened” and educated and thus knowledgeable than people in the country. It is simply about people — communities — wanting to live by their rules, believe what they want to believe, and thrive in the cultures they want.
Is this what the founders of our country wanted? Did they not establish such things as an electoral college, designed to prevent populous states from tyrannizing over less-populated, agrarian states? Were we not founded as a representative republic, and not a strict democracy; for in a total democracy the majority rules, and the minority gets … well, SCREWED. And that is anything but what Jefferson, Madison, et al, wanted (pssst … ! I think they’d be on “North Colorado’s” side today).