It was likely inevitable, as America grows more politically polarized, that we would revisit the question that gripped America before the cannons erupted on Fort Sumter in April 1861.
Is it time for “disunion”?
In Minnesota, some seem to think so.
There, Republican state Rep. Jeremy Munson has filed a bill that would permit rural counties in western Minnesota to become part of South Dakota.
“I’m certainly getting a lot of support in rural communities,” Munson told Newsmax TV on Monday.
“We’re losing a lot of jobs and people from our communities are uprooting themselves and moving to neighboring states,” he added.
“So, I’ve had over 8,000 people that have joined the fight in these communities to bring awareness to this bill and see if we can push for parity and regulations and taxes with neighboring states. We also have some lawmakers discussing introducing it in the Senate and having hearings. So, I’m hopeful that will happen in the next session.”
His measure faces some big hurdles if it passes.
The rest of the state would have to vote to let counties leave. South Dakota would have to agree to accept them. And Congress would have to approve the swap.
While the bill itself does seem like a long shot, the sentiment pushing it simmers just below the surface of our political culture.
Last week, Republicans in Denton County, Texas, passed a resolution calling on Texas to secede. Earlier this year, state Rep. Kyle Biedermann, a Republican, filed a bill encouraging a referendum on whether Texas should submit a plan to Congress to become an “independent republic.”
In January, the head of the Wyoming Republican Party said Texas’s discussion of secession was “something we’re all paying attention to,” according to the Casper Star-Tribune.
Last month, the Associated Press reported on a movement of conservatives in northern California calling for parts of California and southern Oregon to join Idaho – and lawmakers in Idaho were listening.
In February, a group called Bright Line Watch released a poll that found 29 percent of Americans supported a plan for their region to secede. Republicans favored this more than Democrats – 33 percent to 21 percent – but Bright Line Watch noted, “Democrats are more amenable to secession than Republicans in areas where they tend to hold power.”
Finally, a little over a year ago, the Rev. Jerry Falwell Jr and West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice were proposing a plan to allow counties in rural western Virginia to become part of West Virginia.
The idea of secession is almost as old as America herself. For instance, New England separatists called for splintering off as early as 1814.
Today, it’s increasingly difficult to see what binds us together, and secession, or at least the idea of creating more states based on the partisan divide, seems more plausible as congressional Democrats push for making states out of their party’s strongholds in the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Recall that after President George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004, it was Democrats who were pushing for a divorce, to rid themselves of red states.
Andy Nowicki, a libertarian blogger, told The Washington Times back then that blue states would never leave. “Liberals don’t want to leave their enemies alone. Instead, as their track record shows, they want to take over the government in order to force their enemies to endure perpetual sensitivity training for being such racist, sexist, homophobic, ‘closed-minded’ boors, i.e., for disagreeing with them,” Nowicki said.
He was likely joking, but looking at that quote today, Nowicki seems awfully prescient.
The difference today is that what Nowicki described, along with higher taxes, COVID mandates, and generalized acceptance of street violence and corruption, could be driving the red states to consider going it alone more strongly.
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