(BRANDON HANSEN/Brandon is the managing editor of the Chewelah Independent)
With the passing of I-639 that adds more to the pile of gun control pile of controversies, I’ve seen more than my fair share of tough guy Facebook posts about splitting the state up again.
Now I’m of the opinion that the I-639 gun control measures are terrible, if not unconstitutional, and we are going to find issues with anyone on the eastern part of the state enforcing these unenforceable measures.
But that’s not what I’m on my soapbox for today, nope it’s the splitting of the state. People think it’s as simple as drawing a line on a map but I’m here to tell you, the theoretical 51st state is going to be a lot more complicated of shape than we all think.
There have been many proposals and suggestions with my favorite recently being the idea that eastern Washington and Oregon just join Idaho.
Brilliant! I thought, until you realize has anyone asked Idaho? Or Oregon? Or Washington? Since these sort of measures take legislatures and Congress agreeing on things, you can see how adding three state legislatures in the mix could get you into a bunch of trouble.
I mean our own legislature can’t agree on what fully funding education means, so are three different capitals going to give a rubber stamp on a Facebook meme state?
But that doesn’t really bother me, if the people’s will is to split into a new state – by all means do so, I’m just a guy with a terribly written column. However, what really sticks in my saddle is the shape.
Take the proposed state of Liberty – which splits Washington at the Cascades. It looks like a rusty razor, or like somebody who had a few too many drinks down at the Oasis tried to draw a square. Imagine putting that shape on our state flag, people would wonder which Kindergartner won a school contest.
And what about the conservative west side counties that would like to come along and join Liberty? If we added some Lewis, Grays Harbor, Wahkiakum, and other counties into the mix, the shape of Liberty takes on the look of a key fob for a car.
Let us also remember the arduous task of trying to figure out a name for Washington State University. There is already a Liberty University and I’m not so sure the thousands of WSU fanatics would be thrilled about having to change the name of their Cougar teams. What about Eastern Washington University? Since it would no longer be “east” what would it become? “-ern Liberty University” doesn’t really have a nice ring to it.
Then there is the idea to just join Idaho. I feel like this is kind of like us wanting to go to a party we haven’t been invited too. I don’t exactly have a pulse on the politics of Idaho, but I haven’t heard about a vibrant “let’s join Eastern Washington and Oregon movement.” It’s not like we can just show up to Boise one day and be like “Hey guys! We’re one of you now!”
Although they did have a Governor named Butch Otter, which is awesome
The best proposal I’ve heard is having NE Washington secede from the Union without a Ft. Sumter incident and join Montana. This would be kind of a Chewelah North and South issue where we would be separated by Idaho but still part of Montana. I guess Michigan does it so why couldn’t we become a satellite state of Montana. They have a cool state flag, cool license plates and great breweries.
Montana also has two national parks and a Supervolcano. If you dislike losing Mt. St. Helens because of a state split up, fear not as the Yellowstone volcano makes St. Helens look like a pimple.
Then there is the whole matter of Eastern Oregon. I don’t know anything about Eastern Oregon. Surely it’s a nice part of the country with great people and landscapes but it’s not exactly like we’re signing Tom Brady by bringing them into the fold.
And have you seen the shape of the SUPER IDAHO with Eastern Washington and Oregon and regular Idaho? It looks terrifying like Idaho played MLB baseball in the 1990s and did too many steroids.
And look at all that land and highways, good luck maintaining that with the tax bases of Spokane, the Tri Cities, Boise and whatever is in Eastern Oregon in a land mass the size of Texas.
At the end of the day, whatever people do or don’t do concerning state lines (and judging from history, changing state lines is a big fat “don’t do.”) is fun internet chatter but I don’t think our lawmakers are seriously considering it.
But it is fun to play with shapes. If I might suggest, lets make our new state shaped like a AR-15 just to really upset the western part of the state. Because, you know, politics.