It’s happening all over the country, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, in Northern California, in Northern Colorado: rural, conservative enclaves are talking secession. Not from the union, but from the urban, liberal jurisdictions that influence state politics. And it should really come as no surprise that bluer-than-blue Maryland has alienated our own conservative outposts — considering all the progressive legislation Annapolis has churned out on the most controversial political issues — to warrant a secession movement of our very own.
The Western Maryland Initiative, led by Scott Strzelczyk of New Windsor, is a serious, if quixotic, call for Maryland’s five westernmost counties — Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick, and Carroll — to form their own state. The last straw? Gay marriage. Or, the “rain tax.” I mean gun control. No, sorry, it was the Dream Act.
Strzelczyk says the “list of grievances” is “long.” In fact, he’s collected at least 54 distinct grievances through the movement’s Facebook page.
A successful severing of political ties with the rest of the state is unlikely to say the least. But the existence of the Western Maryland Initiative — when viewed alongside the many other secession initiatives — is further confirmation of the polarized political landscape in general as well as the growing cultural divide between urban and rural areas.
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