The People Who Wouldn’t Mind if the Pacific Northwest Were Its Own Country
The first thing we heard when we pulled into the Finney Farm was the clattering of drums, followed by a high-pitched howling noise.
Suddenly a wild pack of young girls came running out of the woods waving sticks in the air. The youngest, maybe two years old, had sticky berries smeared across her face. She was inexplicably waving a $5 bill in the air. The leader of the pack, maybe 13, suddenly noticed us and halted her group—who all promptly dropped their sticks.
“Oh, hi, I haven’t seen you yet, so I guess you’re new here,” she said. “Well, um, welcome to the farm. If you go way down the forest trail, past the big fallen tree, you’ll find a clearing that I think would be nice to set a tent up in. I dunno. You’ll figure it out.”

Then the pack took off howling back into the woods.
We were here for the Cascadia Rainingman Festival, held on Labor Day weekend at a gorgeous 100-plus acre organic farm in the foothills of the North Cascade mountain range in Washington State. Unless you follow the fringe politics of the Pacific Northwest, you’re probably wondering what Cascadia is, and that’s a tricky question, because self-described “Cascadians” hold all kinds of different beliefs. (The first of many workshops at the festival was titled “What is Cascadia?”)

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The People Who Wouldn’t Mind if the Pacific Northwest Were Its Own Country

The first thing we heard when we pulled into the Finney Farm was the clattering of drums, followed by a high-pitched howling noise.

Suddenly a wild pack of young girls came running out of the woods waving sticks in the air. The youngest, maybe two years old, had sticky berries smeared across her face. She was inexplicably waving a $5 bill in the air. The leader of the pack, maybe 13, suddenly noticed us and halted her group—who all promptly dropped their sticks.

“Oh, hi, I haven’t seen you yet, so I guess you’re new here,” she said. “Well, um, welcome to the farm. If you go way down the forest trail, past the big fallen tree, you’ll find a clearing that I think would be nice to set a tent up in. I dunno. You’ll figure it out.”

Then the pack took off howling back into the woods.

We were here for the Cascadia Rainingman Festival, held on Labor Day weekend at a gorgeous 100-plus acre organic farm in the foothills of the North Cascade mountain range in Washington State. Unless you follow the fringe politics of the Pacific Northwest, you’re probably wondering what Cascadia is, and that’s a tricky question, because self-described “Cascadians” hold all kinds of different beliefs. (The first of many workshops at the festival was titled “What is Cascadia?”)

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Why Not Let All the States Secede From the US?
If you are the kind of person who believes that Barack Obama is a radical socialist president who wants to fundamentally change America and turn us into a European-style nanny state, it couldn’t have been easy on you when he won reelection as easily as he did. Some conservatives have spent the last couple weeks making unhinged accusations about the vote being rigged—the most clearly racist of these was the GOP chairman in Maine who complained about dozens of unfamiliar black people voting in rural precincts. Others acknowledge that their side lost, but have moved on to petitioning the federal government to let their individual states secede from the union. It’s just like the Civil War, only instead of brother killing brother, tens of thousands of angry white people are typing at their computers.
Obviously, this is just a way to blow off steam. As Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said, “It’s silly.” No one should think for a second that all these people actually want to leave the US. (Maybe some Texans do, but Texans always want to secede.) I imagine a lot of the folks signing these things aren’t carefully considering every economic, social, and political ramification of a state separating from the country—they’re just angry internet people typing things in boxes. And internet people are pure id, disconnected from reality or common decency; that’s why 95 percent of YouTube comments are some variation of, “THE JEWS GOT ME FIRED FRM BEST BUY FOLLOW ON TWITTER @WETSOCKSSSS69.” Unlike paper petitions, which force signature gatherers to discuss the issues face-to-face with actual humans, the petitions on the government site can be set up in seconds, which can lead to silliness: Currently, over 1,000 people are demanding that a statue of the guy from Halo be built on the White House lawn.
So yeah, haha, let’s lookit the craaaAAaazy conservatives who are making the comparisons between Russia and the US because they got arrested for running a topless car wash. (That’s exactly what Derrick Belcher, who started the Alabama secession petition, has said.) But crypto-racist motivations aside, what’s so wrong with letting some states go?
There have been plenty of secession movements in the past that weren’t based on the hatred of a single president. Texas has had a long-running independent streak, of course, and there have been Alaskan and Hawaiian independence movements as well. The Second Vermont Republic is a kind of left-wing counterpart to the Republic of Texas. And my personal favorite secession movement, Cascadia (now apparently defunct), wanted to separate the western bits of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon from both the US and Canada. None of those causes has been nearly popular enough to actually succeed in seceding—plus, of course, the federal government’s massive military wouldn’t let any state leave—but making the states a little less united isn’t a terrible idea. Think about the problems it would solve:
1. If the red states left, liberals could finally have the country of their dreams. Imagine that Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi, and Nebraska all followed the wishes of their wingnuts and left the US. All of a sudden, the House of Representatives would be controlled by Democrats, who would also get a further eight-seat edge in the Senate. As an added bonus, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, one of the most conservative Democrats and a guy who caused all kinds of trouble during the fight over the health care bill, would be Duke of Lincoln or whatever and couldn’t infuriate the left anymore. All of the politically impossible policies that liberals from California to New Hampshire have discussed for years would suddenly become feasible, from single-payer healthcare to stricter handgun laws. And those rural red-state ingrates who denounce the federal government even while suckling on its money teat would be gone. Let’s see how those conservatives like it when they don’t get subsidized by the Northeast and California.
Continue

Why Not Let All the States Secede From the US?

If you are the kind of person who believes that Barack Obama is a radical socialist president who wants to fundamentally change America and turn us into a European-style nanny state, it couldn’t have been easy on you when he won reelection as easily as he did. Some conservatives have spent the last couple weeks making unhinged accusations about the vote being rigged—the most clearly racist of these was the GOP chairman in Maine who complained about dozens of unfamiliar black people voting in rural precincts. Others acknowledge that their side lost, but have moved on to petitioning the federal government to let their individual states secede from the union. It’s just like the Civil War, only instead of brother killing brother, tens of thousands of angry white people are typing at their computers.

Obviously, this is just a way to blow off steam. As Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal said, “It’s silly.” No one should think for a second that all these people actually want to leave the US. (Maybe some Texans do, but Texans always want to secede.) I imagine a lot of the folks signing these things aren’t carefully considering every economic, social, and political ramification of a state separating from the country—they’re just angry internet people typing things in boxes. And internet people are pure id, disconnected from reality or common decency; that’s why 95 percent of YouTube comments are some variation of, “THE JEWS GOT ME FIRED FRM BEST BUY FOLLOW ON TWITTER @WETSOCKSSSS69.” Unlike paper petitions, which force signature gatherers to discuss the issues face-to-face with actual humans, the petitions on the government site can be set up in seconds, which can lead to silliness: Currently, over 1,000 people are demanding that a statue of the guy from Halo be built on the White House lawn.

So yeah, haha, let’s lookit the craaaAAaazy conservatives who are making the comparisons between Russia and the US because they got arrested for running a topless car wash. (That’s exactly what Derrick Belcher, who started the Alabama secession petition, has said.) But crypto-racist motivations aside, what’s so wrong with letting some states go?

There have been plenty of secession movements in the past that weren’t based on the hatred of a single president. Texas has had a long-running independent streak, of course, and there have been Alaskan and Hawaiian independence movements as well. The Second Vermont Republic is a kind of left-wing counterpart to the Republic of Texas. And my personal favorite secession movement, Cascadia (now apparently defunct), wanted to separate the western bits of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon from both the US and Canada. None of those causes has been nearly popular enough to actually succeed in seceding—plus, of course, the federal government’s massive military wouldn’t let any state leave—but making the states a little less united isn’t a terrible idea. Think about the problems it would solve:

1. If the red states left, liberals could finally have the country of their dreams. Imagine that Alabama, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi, and Nebraska all followed the wishes of their wingnuts and left the US. All of a sudden, the House of Representatives would be controlled by Democrats, who would also get a further eight-seat edge in the Senate. As an added bonus, Ben Nelson of Nebraska, one of the most conservative Democrats and a guy who caused all kinds of trouble during the fight over the health care bill, would be Duke of Lincoln or whatever and couldn’t infuriate the left anymore. All of the politically impossible policies that liberals from California to New Hampshire have discussed for years would suddenly become feasible, from single-payer healthcare to stricter handgun laws. And those rural red-state ingrates who denounce the federal government even while suckling on its money teat would be gone. Let’s see how those conservatives like it when they don’t get subsidized by the Northeast and California.

Continue