Secession threats aren’t needed

New Colorado? Liberty? Free Colorado?

These are names being thrown around for the proposed 51st state, essentially five rural counties in northern Colorado.

Since the 2012 elections, rural areas in Colorado and California have decided they are no longer accurately represented, and initiatives are underway to secede from their respective states.

For Colorado, the five counties together only have a population of 29,000 people, roughly 10 percent of Greensboro. States should not secede from themselves unless they have the population to support it and better reasons than not liking a new law.

“We do not feel like we’re getting fair representation,” said 51st Initiative spokesperson Jeffrey Harris in a telephone interview with The Guilfordian. “We don’t like things forced on us, like renewable energy, legalization of marijuana and gun control.”

But it is not just Colorado getting into the secession game.

“If the government in Sacramento is unwilling or unable to afford the citizens of Modoc the equal protection and fair representation to which they are entitled, then it is time to consider creation of a new state, in conjunction with our similarly situated neighboring counties,” said California’s Modoc County Commissioner Geri Byrne in an email interview with The Guilfordian.

Despite the political rhetoric, spokespeople from both states claim this is not a dispute between Republicans and Democrats.

“The reasons behind this are not of a conservative-versus-liberal nature,” said Byrne. “Instead, they are of a rural-versus-urban or a producer-versus-consumer nature.”

However, in the 2012 election map of Colorado and California the counties involved in this effort do have a Republican majority according to politico.com, implying their motives are driven by conservative stubbornness.

Movements for secession are obnoxious responses to show disagreement, like children threatening to run away.

“I think it’s just symbolic,” said Maria Rosales, chair and associate professor of political science. “I think they’re just trying to suggest that they’re not happy. Maybe they’re hoping if people think they’re unhappy they will make more concessions for them.”

Starting a new state is expensive, but funding poses no issue for these rebels.

“Initial findings show that we’re about $460 million to the (positive) when you count county revenues and income taxes versus county expenses,” said Byrne.

$460 million might be enough, but the 51st Initiative works with a smaller budget and employs more strategy.

“We have to untangle ourselves from the federal government methodically,” said Harris. “We have to accept funding for certain programs like Social Security.

“However, we will not accept federal funding for education because we believe our state Board of Education can do a more efficient job.”

Still we should not add more stars to the flag because a few people are unhappy with a few laws.

“It’s incredibly unfeasible,” said Rosales. “The way the constitution is written now, a state cannot separate unless both the area that wants to secede and the legislature of the bigger parts wants to secede.”

A state split has not occurred since West Virginia split from Virginia during the Civil War.

Harris does offer a compromise to avoid secession.

“The best solution is for every county to have one state senator representing them in the capitol,” said Harris.

However, that would challenge the 1964 Supreme Court case “Wesberry v. Sanders,” which supports representation based on population.

Their conservative ship is sinking fast, but if they can learn to swim rather than fight the currents, they may learn these new progressive waters are not so scary and these new laws are actually helping a lot of people.