California Secession: 51st State Petition Grabs Attention, Doomed To Fail

Residents in several Northern California counties are likely thinking a portion of President Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address” doesn’t apply to them — and they want out. Although 53,000 have signed a petition to secede and form a 51st state, the likelihood for a successful secession is nil at best.

…and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” ~ Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863.

Mark Baird, a staunch supporter of the 51st state and California to secede petition, addressed a crowd of 70 at the Capitol Thursday. Baird said the movement for secession is not motivated by anger, according to the Washington Post.

Instead, he says that there are too many state programs in Sacramento vying for limited capital resources, and most of the tax revenue never makes its way to tiny towns far away from the epicenter. In short, Baird suggests that the state of California is too big to bail.

We don’t need government from a state telling people in a county what to do with their resources and their children’s education. You are better equipped to educate your children than the state or federal government.”

In 2013, venture capitalist Tim Draper spearheaded a move to petition the California State Attorney’s Office for consideration of a measure that would allow for a more streamlined approach to governing its residents. The proposed ballot measured targets rural areas that reap little benefits of tax revenue and initiatives. His so-called “Six State Initiative” included a proposal to separate California into six unique states, each with a separate form of government, based on the “People.”

If the California secession petition passed from a ballot-box vote, the entities would take on the following names: Jefferson State, Silicon Valley, North California, South California, Central California and West California.

Draper outlined his reasoning behind the petition.

As a consequence of these and other socio-economic factors, political representation of California’s diverse population and economies has rendered the state nearly ungovernable. Additionally, vast parts of our state are poorly served by a representative government dominated by a large number of elected representatives from a small part of our state, both geographically and economically.”

The history of Californians petitioning to separate from the mother state and form its own body dates back over 100 years ago. However, the original push was put on the back-burner when the Civil War broke out. Over time, more efforts for secession cropped up but were diffused by bureaucratic factions that viewed their actions as part of some extremist and radical agenda.

In putting Lincoln’s speech into context with California’s ongoing efforts by a number of rural counties to secede, the intent was not likely meant to address a divided nation and grant those that disagree with the Union to essentially sever ties. The right to petition the government, which can only ratify any form of separation, is a philosophical gesture, at best. Moreover, it could open up avenues of anarchy and create fertile rationale for another Civil War, not fought on the battlefield, but in the halls of Congress.

However, a quagmire exists in its basic form that puts certain inherent rights at odds with the foundations of the U.S. Constitution. For instance, if Lincoln truly meant that a system of government shall be based on the collective views of the electorate — and solely on those parameters — there would be no United States, only adjoining territories that are further separated by ideology.

It’s true that California is a large graft of real estate in the country; it’s the third largest state and has the largest populist. Nonetheless, the ideals of representation by population pits rural counties in the north with dense urban hubs in the south, that command a large percentage of resources.

This climate from a disjointed matrix of voters means that legislators likely spend more time lobbying for improved services, infrastructure and tax advantages for their larger constituencies. This longstanding form of district alignment and representation creates a struggle over the haves and have-nots. Simply put, lawmakers are more inclined to focus on measures for the greater good. It’s Utilitarianism at its best — or worst.

Notwithstanding, other states have filed for secession in the past — Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming coming to mind — they all have failed, even while meeting the threshold for the federal government to take up the measures.

Pragmatically speaking, California’s petition to separate into separate states will fail because entities cannot exist in a vacuum in a postmodern society. Crossing borders and creating viable programs of subsidy requires a network of resource-sharing.

It’s a moonshot at best, but Lincoln is likely stirring from his crypt at the thought states desire to turn back the clock and embark on a dangerous path that caused democracy to be compromised in the first place.

Do you support the California petition for secession in forming six states or a 51st state?

[Image Alipac]