West Virginia did it back in 1861, so why can't some parts of Colorado secede from the rest of the state in 2013? Well, no reason. On Election Day Tuesday, voters from 11 counties in Colorado will vote on proposals to secede. Even though it's highly unlikely that the plan for the 51st state of "North Colorado" will ever come to fruition, the movement has gained traction in both Colorado and other parts of the U.S. recently.
The proposed "North Colorado" areas, which are actually situated mostly in the eastern half of the state, are just so over the rest of the state's drama, it seems. They want to chill out on their ranches and farms on the prairie, shop at the corner general store, and raise their children on traditional conservative values. Leave all the hippy-dippy stuff — like legal pot, gay marriage, gun control and green energy — to the folks in Denver or Aspen, they say.
“People think this is a radical idea,” Jeffrey Hare, a leader of the 51st State Initiative, which supports secession, told the New York Times. “It’s really not. What we’re attempting to do is restore liberty.”
Proponents of the plan say it's necessary to give residents in these counties a stronger voice in government, while critics say it's downright absurd.
"It’s supposed to be United States, not split-up states,” says George Kemp, who runs a well-water business in Cheyenne Well, Colo.
As we've seen recently, the United States is less than united along political and economic lines — even when it comes to our personalities. And although some states have long cried for succession from the greater United States (ahem — I'm lookin' at you, Texas), other specific secessionist movements have sprouted up around the country, fracturing the already tenuous ties within states themselves.
In Northern California, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted in early September for a declaration of secession from the rest of the state, citing a lack of support in government. It's not legally binding, of course, because that would require approval from the state legislature and Congress. Supporters encourage other counties in northern California and southern Oregon to band together to form the state of Jefferson, which they've been calling for since about 1941.
A group in Maryland advocated for secession from the state in early September as well. Dubbed the “Western Maryland Initiative,” secessionist leader Scott Strzelczyk says he wants an “amicable divorce” for five counties from the eastern side of the state, where population-heavy Baltimore and Annapolis are situated. He says the residents in Western Maryland are ignored by the state's government.
“The only two things we can count on from Annapolis are: They will assault our rights and our wallets," Strzelczyk says.
Other secessionists have called for separation to form states such as the Second Vermont Republic, Superior (Michigan's northern peninsula), East Washington, South Florida, and Staten Island.
You never know, right? There may come a time when a few extra stars need to be tacked onto the American flag.
Image: Flickr via Dougtone