The Contentious States of America?


It might be time to consider changing the name of our country. Instead of the United States of America, we could be the Contentious States of America.

It seems like all we want to do anymore is pick a fight. Then, when everyone is finished yelling at each other, we decide it’s time to quit and go home. It appears that a lot of people today want to secede from the Union and start their own countries. You’d think that whole idea would have been put to bed by the Civil War, which was the single biggest catastrophe in this nation’s history when it comes to number of lives lost. Guess again.

The most famous of these efforts probably is Florida’s Conch Shell Republic. It also is the least serious. In fact, it pretty much was dreamed up at a party and was designed to sell T-shirts and margaritas to tourists, so we’ll let them be.

But there are some people who are dead serious about bailing out, The California “Calexit” movement wants to make California its own country. It’s already pretty much living in a universe all by itself, so why not? Californians might be surprised to find out the idea doesn’t necessarily sound so bad to the other 49 states.

On the other hand, California is running neck-in-neck with Germany to be the world’s fourth-biggest economy, trailing only the U.S., China and Japan, so the rest of us would feel the pinch. It’s not like Montana is threatening to bail out on us.

Although that’s exactly what some people in Montana want to do. One of their biggest beefs is they think their Second Amendment rights are being taken away. Around 2/3 of Montanans live in homes with guns. Note to self: Never argue with someone from Montana.

The Alaskan Independence Party has been an influential part of Alaskan politics for years. Texas thinks it still is an independent country. Movements in various others states including Vermont, New Hampshire, Oregon and South Carolina (some people never learn) promote secession.

Then there are the people who just want to leave their current state and join up with someone else. A number of counties in eastern Oregon have voted to leave the state and join up with Idaho. What the people in Idaho think is another thing all together.

A bunch of counties in Colorado also are making noise to jump ship and join up with Wyoming. In both cases, the secessionists are conservatives who don’t like how folks in Portland or Denver run the show.

Oregon is a regular hotbed for secession. The state of Jefferson would be made up of Northern California and Southern Oregon. The proposed Republic of Cascadia includes parts of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia.

My favorite is Ontonagon, or maybe just Superior, which would make Michigan’s Upper Peninsula the 51st state. The Yoopers have long felt neglected by the rest of Michigan. Plus, there’s a bit of an inferiority complex there, since Michigan got the entire UP as a consolation prize when Ohio got Toledo. I don’t think that getting traded for Toledo is big ego builder.

This probably isn’t any bigger pipe dream than any other secession movements, except there are only around 302,000 people who live in the Upper Peninsula. That’s considerably fewer people than live in Montgomery County (537,000). Maybe we should just make every county its own country.

I know what you’re thinking – you think I’m about to propose the Independent Republic of Miami with you-know-who as lifetime president.

Nope. I’ve always been a Union man myself. As our old friend Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Well, actually, he stole that line from Jesus, but the meaning is clear. At some point, if we don’t stop all the whining and fighting we’re going to wake up some morning wondering how it all fell apart.

If that happens, I’m moving to Ontonagon. I hear the winters are awful, but at least there’s lots of room.

David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected].

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