Secession just isn't like it used to be. Back then, there was a legitimate, if morally indefensible, reason for secession. Now, it's just party politics. (Image Source: Flickr: Marc Tomik)
In recent weeks, there are talks in certain parts of the country of secession. Not the kind of secession that triggered the American Civil War (known in some places as the War Between The States), but somewhat more minor disputes of batches of small counties looking to secede from their state. In the two most significant cases of western Maryland through the Western Maryland Initiative and far northern California, as well as another case in northern Colorado, the cause for concern is not any particular topic, but a laundry list of partisan complaints. Simply because the hackles being raised are blatantly siding with one party in politics, however, shows that these efforts to create their own little states are built more on selfishness than actual grievances.
There are three areas where attempts at seceding are happening. The first one announced occurred in Siskiyou County, a far northern county in California bordering Oregon. The conservative Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed a declaration of its intent to break off and form the state of Jefferson, named after proto-socialist President Thomas Jefferson. Following this, eight counties in northern Colorado began planning for secession jointly, with initiatives to secede facing voters in six of those counties in November. Now, social media is chattering over five counties forming the "Western Maryland Initiative," made up of local residents who wish to form their own state. (There is also the matter of Texas becoming their own nation, but that is Texas, so, yeah)
All three of these secession movements have two things in common, sadly: They are all representing rural parts of their states, and they bend towards more conservative views. Many of their complaints stem primarily from Republican/right-wing talk radio talking points, the kinds of talking points that sound important but probably do not directly affect the people saying them. Issues such as gun control, energy use, and supposedly increased taxes make up the bulk of their complaints. In the case of western Maryland, gerrymandering, the process of redistricting to gain seats for one party, is also a dominant issue, which is far more legitimate.
The problem with secession is that it does not solve anything, and is merely selfish bellyaching. Granted, these people are obviously disgruntled that they fear their guns are being taken away or they are losing money to the local government because they are not represented in the state legislatures. However, is that not just because their state's Republican Party has just done a terrible job of selling the party to other voters? This is especially the case for Colorado, where Republicans did control the state legislature previously, and two prominent Democrats were ousted in a recall effort just last week specifically over gun control.
Furthermore, many of their problems will not be solved by simply seceding and creating their own state, despite Western Maryland Initiative founder Scott Strzelczyk making the bizarre statement that "If we have more states, we can all go live in states that best represent us." These secession efforts have not taken into consideration that they would still have to contend with the laws of the United States, which they no doubt have issues with as well. In addition, creating states out of these areas, many of which lack a robust economy, would require significant anc complicated effort, not the least of which involves creating an actual government and bureaucracy.
If these people really hate their state that much, they should not secede, they should just move. By moving, though, I mean moving the counties to other states, at least in two cases. In the case of Colorado, the northern counties share borders with the staunchly conservative states of Wyoming and Nebraska. With Maryland, the western counties share a border with Pennsylvania, which has bent rightward in recent decades, and would gain a voice. Siskiyou County would need to gain allies, though in its secession efforts: It does not border Nevada, the closest right-leaning state, while neighboring Modoc County does, though.