More American conservatives, frustrated with liberalism and its radical cultural experiments, are joining a rising movement that aims to redraw several state lines. Are such desperate efforts the harbinger of worse things to come?
Native Oregonian and diehard conservative Mike McCarter lives his life according to the simple rule: ‘if you can’t beat the Liberals, leave them.’ But McCarter has no plans to uproot himself from his home state. Instead, he wants southern Oregon to be absorbed into neighboring Idaho.
As leader of the so-called “Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho” movement, McCarter and other disgruntled Republicans envision a chunk of their Pacific Northwest state seceding to Idaho, where the state legislature is controlled by Republicans, and Governor Brad Little is also a red-blooded Republican. Oregon, meanwhile, is under Democratic control, led by Democratic Gov. Kate Brown.
— Conservative Patriot (@co_firing_line) February 20, 2020
Conservatives over the years have watched in silent horror as their state has steadily become more liberal-leaning. Ronald Reagan was the last Republican to win Oregon back in 1984. Idaho, meanwhile, has been a GOP stronghold for much longer. The last Democratic presidential candidate to win the state was Lyndon B. Johnson back in 1964.
The current strife, however, goes much deeper than simply the political alignment of the two states.
Conservative Oregonians might be able to live under Democratic rule if it were not for a raft of intensely divisive actions, including the approval of drivers licenses for illegal aliens, turning a blind eye to Antifa, the radical and frequently violent left-wing group, while declaring Portland, the most populous city in the state, a ‘sanctuary city’ for undocumented migrants.
Just last year, about a dozen Republican legislators reportedly sought refuge in Idaho rather than be forced to vote on a greenhouse gas-emissions bill. Gov. Kate Brown went so far as to authorize the Oregon State Police to haul the Republican senators back to the Capitol building so that a vote on the legislation could take place.
The situation came to head when the Oregon State Republicans launched a petition to oust Governor Brown, accusing her of being unduly focused on “special interests and politically-motivated agendas,” as opposed to the “will of the voters.”
The initiative fell just short of the necessary 280,050 signatures.
This is an unconscionable consideration by a President who is once again calling into question the moral bearings of our nation. Every human deserves to be treated with dignity. We strongly denounce the cruel efforts of this administration to retaliate against sanctuary cities. https://t.co/Um59ogSzya
— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) April 12, 2019
The situation in Oregon appears as a microcosm for the political climate across the country as a whole. A recent Pew survey revealed a chasm separating the two main political groupings nationwide. Conservatives are about 30% more inclined to agree that it is important to live in a racially homogenous community (77% vs. 48%). At the same time, 42% of right-leaning Americans say it is important to live in a community where most people share their religious views. Just 25% Democrats shared that opinion.
Since the ‘fight’ option appears to be a lost cause for many conservatives in Oregon, ‘flight’ looks to be the only available alternative.
“Rural counties have become increasingly outraged by laws coming out of the Oregon Legislature that threaten our livelihoods, our industries, our wallet, our gun rights, and our values,” McCarter said in a news release. “We tried voting those legislators out, but rural Oregon is outnumbered and our voices are now ignored. This [petition of secession] is our last resort.”
Idaho to the rescue?
In a bid to redraw the Oregon-Idaho border along ideological lines, the Greater Idaho movement has already secured approval from at least three Oregon counties – Josephine, Douglas and Umatilla – to start the secession process. The group needs to collect about 2,400 signatures from Josephine County and about 3,000 from Douglas County for the initiative to appear on the November 2 ballot.
The last time the border between US states was redrawn occurred in 1961 between Minnesota and North Dakota, a move involving a mere 20 acres of land that had nothing to do with partisan politics.
Meanwhile, across the country, West Virginia Governor, Jim Justice, said he would welcome “with open arms” any Virginia counties that wished to secede.
“If you’re not truly happy where you are, we stand with open arms to take you from Virginia or anywhere where you may be,” the West Virginia Governor told a press conference last month. “We stand strongly behind the Second Amendment, and we stand strongly for the unborn.”
The invitation comes after dozens of conservative counties in Virginia have declared themselves “sanctuaries” for the Second Amendment as Democratic state legislators, including Gov. Ralph Northam, have promised to impose tough gun laws. The radical reversal has prompted a showdown between dozens of local towns and districts and state officials.
In January, a Virginia sheriff touched a nerve when he told local legislators that he would not “enforce an unconstitutional law.”
On January 20, an estimated 22,000 gun rights supporters and local militia members, many carrying semiautomatic rifles, ascended on Virginia’s Capitol to demonstrate their opposition to gun restrictions.
At the same time, Virginia has also taken great strides in dismantling years of Republican-mandated requirements on abortions, including the removal of a 24-hour waiting period before the termination of a fetus, as well as requirements for ultrasound and counseling.
Justice extended his secession invitation alongside Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University, a Christian university in Lynchburg, Virginia. Falwell expressed support for the idea. “What’s happening in Virginia right now is a tragedy in the making,” he said.
Are these calls for secession at opposite sides of the country the rumblings of looming political strife down the road? After all, the chances for these initiatives passing state and federal legislators remains very doubtful, yet the frustration and anger that have brought them to life will not go away anytime soon. Indeed, it will only fester and infect the body politic until some sort of solution to accommodate America’s two radically different political ideologies is found. Whether the two sides can achieve that goal without resorting to violence is the real question.
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