Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Should we think secession?

At coffee today, an interesting idea surfaced. Wally McLain again expressed his thoughts that the states of Montana, Wyoming, and the Dakotas, should secede from the union and take up arms against it. Of course, it would result in rapid defeat of the plains states, who then could apply, as beaten third-world countries do, to the U.S. for rehabilitation. If nothing else, we could be occupied by U.S. soldiers who would bring in money and need supplies and victualing. Sort of like a “The Mouse that Roared” scenario.

The thought essentially was that without people and votes the plains states have become the forgotten people. When it comes to locating federal job opportunities or new businesses or investment we are the orphan children of the U.S. of A. Maybe succession would bring us assistance from D.C.

Another thought, which we wouldn’t take but is enticing to think about, is to adopt something that D.C. is against, sort of like Oregon with its Die with Dignity law. Then the government would realize that we could, at least, ruffle feathers.

What we were saying, also, is that we are such a given in the national political picture, a red state, guaranteed for the Republicans, that we can safely be ignored. No one needs us. Even with the empty man, Mark Rocicot, as a spokesman in D.C., we are ignored by the Republicans. Sens. Murray and Metcalf took care of Montana when they were in there. But no one feels we have anything to offer anymore. And maybe they are right. We seem, long before the rest of the nation, to have adopted the type of fear that makes us quiver, crouched down in our separate holes and burrow away so that we will not upset the status quo by trying anything new.

Despite the cries of members of both parties, the idea of depending on agriculture and raw materials such as coal, oil, and precious metals to bring our economy out of the doldrums is gone. Except for coal, the others can be shipped into the country cheaper than we can produce it. And, in most cases, it seems to be cheaper to send our coal out of the state without doing anything more with it. Even if we do produce coal fired plants, unless they have rigid regulation, they will mess up the most valuable thing we in Montana have, our environment. We now have a company paying big money to put cyanide leach mining back into effect, but even if it works it will just be another boom and bust for the least-known state with the big gains going outside our borders. And we’ll be left with the cleanup.

We can also talk about the people moving in from out-of-state to take advantage of our climate and other amenities such as wildlife. We like their money, but with them they also carry the baggage of wanting low taxes and the type of services provided mostly for people without children. That really doesn’t help our communities who have children and need money for schools. They vote against school levies, against public service projects, and say that money spent for public projects does not circulate in the community as much as money spent in the private side. What a bunch of malarkey.

So maybe we should secede? We can’t do any worse as a third world country. Or maybe we should do away with states and demand that the federal government deal with us directly (like they do with the District of Columbia?).

I don’t have answers. But I think that Montanans need to talk about some new ideas that will work to bring our state out of the doldrums. Before we can do anything, we need to brainstorm a gullybuster of ideas.

3 Comments:

Blogger David said...

But aren't you worried an indigenous militia will spring up to prevent the feds from rebuilding you? Even if not, we don't rebuild every country we destroy. You wouldn't want to be Afghanistan, would you? We rebuild the capital and let the rest of the towns and counties fight it out.

5:32 PM  
Blogger Eric Coobs said...

We'd be the #3 nuclear power in the world, and we could probably demand whatever we wanted!

Seriously though, in Montana our economy is based on timber, mining, agriculture, drilling, and tourism, and little else. We need to revive & maybe re-invent our economy.

7:27 AM  
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9:21 AM  

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