The New York Daily News has published an extended essay on the State of Jefferson, the ongoing effort by a set of rural Northern California counties to secede and form their own political unit under the U.S. Constitution.
The effort, which began decades ago, has become more active in recent years as the state government has come under the increasing dominance of liberal Democrats from San Francisco and Los Angeles.
People in rural California, which is as conservative as any other part of rural America, increasingly feel they are not represented by their own state government.
Some people in the coastal enclaves agree, which led to the ill-fated “Six Californias” effort.
The Daily News article, by Sarah Goodyear, is a colorful portrait of the state’s “Bible-thumpin’, gun-totin’, wild-eyed pistol-wavers”:
The fight to create Jefferson is the longest of long shots, a Hail Mary pass made by folks who are sick of being underrepresented in the state legislature and ignored by California’s urban centers. Cut off from the seats of power by geography, alienated by the state’s left-leaning politics and tendency toward regulation, enduring stubbornly high unemployment, facing the decimation of traditional industries such as logging, and harboring few prospects for economic growth, these disaffected citizens — overwhelmingly white and mostly conservative — share many of the concerns about central state overreach as the militia members who recently took control of a wildlife refuge in Oregon. They, however, are committed to a political solution rather than an armed rebellion …
In the fall of 1941, interest in the idea of a State of Jefferson was reaching a carefully orchestrated crescendo. Residents of several counties in Southern Oregon and Northern California had long been angry with the way their basic needs were ignored by their respective capital cities of Salem and Sacramento …
And then came Dec. 7. Pearl Harbor. The day that would live in infamy. Suddenly, a light-hearted tale of rustic rebellion seemed inappropriate …
In the years since, the concept of Jefferson has floated around in the popular imagination, attracting a number of different fantasies and serving as a brand identity for a random array of ventures.
Read the whole article here.