Secession voices in the woods

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

This week’s results of the secession votes in Northern California have been posted. The score is two to one: two deciding to continue their established relationship with this country – one opting to join four other counties that previously decided to pioneer a new “State of Jefferson.” Butte County, California, voters will decide the issue for themselves come Tuesday next.

Now, to some it might appear all this “smoke-in-the-California-woods” is just that: people blowing smoke. But, if you clear the air a bit, you’ll see there are some “flames” to all this and some real problems – maybe more violent problems than voting – could be ahead.

In Del Norte and Siskiyou Counties deciding to stay with the union, the count was roughly 60-40. Tehema County voted to go, and it was about the same ratio to leave. About six in ten. In other words, no terribly lopsided majority either way. So, the secession question isn’t going to disappear, regardless of how impossible such a move might eventually be. The discontents and the malcontents still equal 40-60% of the residents. They’ll continue to create very heated political situations in anything those counties try to do. Anything.

There really is some “beef” to all this secession business. Watched a spot on the T&V the other day showing several dozen kids with dummy wooden rifles being marched across an open field ala the British in 1775. They also were getting lectures from old guys in uniforms – astride old horses – about “freedom” and “personal rights” and all that. In other words, prepping the next generation of Northern California kids to carry on the fight when the old guys and the old horses are long gone. That’s dangerous.

When you have 40-60% of the local population getting onboard this secession train, the reality is not all these folks are on the loony fringe. Several I’ve heard support leaving California express some very legitimate concerns i.e. political and economic dominance by large cities, unequal distribution of government assets and programs, little representation in matters of government, etc. All fact maybe, but also all legal.

The U.S. Supreme Court put us on the “one-man, one-vote” highway in the 60’s. Soon, rural sections of all states found themselves losing their grips on the levers of government and commerce. Power began shifting to metropolitan areas. Idaho may be one of the last states where this isn’t necessarily true. And that’s only because the legislative bunch from Ada and Canyon Counties – where a third of the population lives – have clout in numbers but keep fighting among themselves over political B.S. So less populated regions of the state still kick their butts in the legislature because the rural communities have learned to stick together.

The California secession contingent also has the possibility of lighting fires in other places. Josephine, Jackson, Curry and Douglas Counties on Oregon’s side of the border have voices singing the same song. And have for many years. Doesn’t take more than a few beers to get those voices raised.

Is all this going anywhere? No. If 90% of all the folks living in these unhappy counties decided to leave, could they? No. Is secession from a given state even possible? Not likely. And it certainly wouldn’t be smart.

But a lot of the folks at the root of this movement are much like that Bundy fraud in Nevada. Not all, certainly. But many. Filled with questionable knowledge of our nation’s history, spouting half-truths and no-truths about “individual rights,” “constitutional rights,” “government oppression,” opposed to any government program that doesn’t benefit them and hellbent on getting on TV. They sound “good” to the uninformed, the angry, the outcast residents on the edge of society and the professional haters who’re looking for a larger voice.

These pockets of angry people are a distinct minority for sure. And the possibility of them fulfilling the empty promises of “greener pastures in a 51st state” is nigh impossible. But, in this instance, they just happen to be geographically connected – separated only by an invisible state border. There are those among them not motivated for anyone else’s welfare but their own. There are already well-established drug routes through the forests that sit astride the Oregon-California border. There are informal but well-established trails of illegals and other illicit traffic passing back and forth through the trees. There are people in a dozen or so counties covering the two states with their own personal reasons for keeping the pot boiling.

“Secession” is how all this is referred to and the media truly gives it more credence than it deserves. So far. But when you have elected officials – county sheriff’s and supervisors and clerks – publically advocating the dissolution of bonds with established states, the subject is not going away. And, like that Bundy guy, there are enough opportunists with their own agendas who see profit in the situation to keep stoking the flames.

We have too much ignorant, anti-government sentiment in this country at the moment. Much of it sponsored by voices getting rich by keeping the fires burning. Secession from either California or Oregon by established counties is not going to happen. But I’d bet this business is going to get a lot stickier and a lot louder before it ends. And how it will end is an unknown at this point.

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One Comment

  1. fortboise said:

    I thought Kootenai County was the designated place for Californians with a secessionist bent to go.

    June 8, 2014

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