Yesterday, the chief sponsor of a Washington State legislative bill withdrew it. He said it was “a joke.” His co-sponsor wasn’t laughing, however . . . even proclaimed an intent to introduce the bill again next year.
The legislation’s purpose? Split the state into two.
The eastern, drier half of the State is much less populated, and the wet, western half gets its way almost all the time. The bill’s sponsor mentioned his intent: to call attention to the persistent lack of effective representation.
It was not a funny* joke. What he meant, surely, was “a stunt.”
This is just one of many ongoing secessionist movements in the United States. Most represent the eternal struggle between more self-reliant, community-centered and less statist country folk and the more atomized, fearful statists of the cities. But also present is the problem of representation. There is not enough of it. Many people do not have a voice. Hence the desire for exit.
“Voice” vs. “exit” are two crucial aspects of constitutional politics, particularly relating to different kinds of “freedom.”
Many states could use splitting, California, especially.
But exit is not the only option. Representation itself could increase in sheer numbers; California, anyway, has (astoundingly!) too few politicians, er, representatives . . . per residents.
Another key constitutional change would be to set the bar higher to passing new legislation, especially regarding adding tax burdens.
But not for the people. We are best represented by our own votes, which means initiative and referendum rights extended to all states. Citizens of Washington State (still intact) lack the ability to change their constitution by initiative — an important process for future state shape shifts.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* Originally, the new state’s name was to be Liberty, much better than the states of Tyranny, Servitude and Denial. Now I read that the proposed name is Lincoln, awkwardly tied to our union’s most determined anti-secessionist. That is a bit funny.