Separatism and regionalism are frequently connected to trends in nationalism. This can be clearly witnessed in Europe with the Catalonian separatism in Spain, Walonian separatism in Belgium, Transnistrian separatism in Moldova and Ukraine, the separatism of the numerous republics in the Caucasus mountain region (Abkhazia, Adygea, Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Kalmykia, Karachay-Cherkessia, North Ossetia, South Ossetia), or in other nationalistic movements that are less openly subversive but have a potential to develop in such a direction. This is not just a “foreign” thing, for in the US there have been long separatist trends in the southeastern US (that culminated in the Civil War and still persist today).
However, the area that is of most interest for separatism in an American context is the Pacific Northwestern states of Oregon and Washington, for the extreme polarization between the political right and the political left in that area combined with the general secularism it is known for, it attracts (either by natural causes or direct influence from the government for purposes of strategy of tension type operations) extreme views on both ends that can erupt into conflict. It is, in an American context, the Czechia of the US, for if one looks at Europe, the same kinds of tensions historically exist in Czechia and so it is out of these Slavic lands made up of Bohemia and Moravia collectively in which so many revolutions have been fomented.
It is therefore with interest that one sees that according to OPB News, two Oregon counties are pushing for secession from Oregon in order that they may join with Idaho. But this is not just a theory, for the counties had a referendum to review the issue that passed on Election Day and now must be seriously taken up with the Oregon legislature.
On Election Day, voters in Jefferson and Union counties voted to push their lawmakers to consider taking their communities into Idaho.
The chances of that actually happening remain slim: It would require votes by both Oregon and Idaho legislatures and the U.S. Congress. But that’s not necessarily the goal, at least not yet.
“I’m not really sure what the chances are, if you’re going to put into odds or bet on it,” said Mike McCarter, a retired plant nursery worker and firearms instructor from La Pine who led the petition drive to get on the ballot with the group Move Oregon’s Border. “But if we don’t attempt to do something like that we continue to go down a road of frustration about the state Legislature not paying attention to rural Oregon.”
La Pine, Ore., resident Mike McCarter on Feb. 19, 2020. McCarter, part of the separatist group Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho, said rural counties are “outraged by liberal policies from the Oregon Legislature that threaten their livelihoods, industries and values.”
McCarter and his supporters have been working behind the scenes for several years to build momentum for shifting Oregon’s border to put some of the state’s more rural, and politically conservative, counties to Idaho.
They say that, because state politics are dominated by more populous — and more politically progressive — communities along the Interstate 5 corridor, large swaths of the state are ignored.
“Rural Oregon is really very similar to Idaho counties,” McCarter said on a recent episode of “Think Out Loud.”
“Over the years, they’ve thought of them as their brother,” he said. “There’s similar agriculture products, similar timber industries, similar conservative values. Don’t create a new state, but adjust the border so Idaho is a little bigger and Oregon is a little smaller.” (source)
At the current time, it is likely that nothing is going to happen, and one should not expect any sort of secessionism to take place. Neither do I believe this has to do with starting any sort of Civil War. However, the fact that the move passed a referendum means that there is serious talk about something happening, and a lot of people are concerned about it means that it should not be ignored but looked at more closely.
The political left has held a tremendous amount of power for a long time, mostly by taking over cities and then running whole states from those cities, often to the detriment of the country people. This was one of the major complaints of Governor George Wallace of Alabama during the 1960s, for while many people criticize him and see him only through the lens of the Civil Rights movement, it is also true that one of Wallace’s main points- and a point that is rarely discussed -is that he stood for the rights of the common “country folk” and wanted to prevent the concentration of all power into the cities and the have his state subverted from within by sinister interests. Perhaps the most prominent way he showed this was through the fact that he single-handedly built a comprehensive network of community colleges throughout Alabama, placing many in some of the most remote and underdeveloped areas for the purpose of ensuring that “rural folk” had the same opportunity for education as “city folk”, and it is why his name is frequently mentioned on campus buildings and streets.
This is similar to what is happening in Oregon. Most of the state is actually on the political right, but the entire state is run from Portland, which is on the political left to the extreme. This clash is a classic western right-left clash that is a hallmark of so much historical conflict, and given the trends to conflict that such cases tend to bring and the area in which this is taking place, it will be interesting to see what the results or effects of this referendum will be on other states, not so much as to start a Civil War for secession, but perhaps to see how the balance of power shifts within states for the future, let alone what may come of the future of the political left.