Saturday, January 31, 2015

The State of Madison Initiative

Recently I became acquainted with a movement that proposes to divide what is now the State of Washington and create a new state, the State of Madison.

"The goal of the State of Madison Initiative is to create a new state territory in Washington State utilizing select legislative districts turning them into a new Federal Union State called State of Madison (SM) being the 51st to join the union. This state is named after James Madison the fourth president of the United States and is known as the father of the constitution." -- madisonstate.org
The idea, which is not new, is to correct a long-standing problem in this state (one that is experienced by residents in many states): separate the more rural parts of the state from the heavily urbanized portions, which tend to dominate all state-wide and Federal elections and questions of state policy (voter initiatives). Essentially, people in the eastern "half" of this state (as defined by the Cascade mountain range), where I live, have virtually no voice in these matters unless a few of the heavily-populated counties in the western half of the state happen to agree. When we don't agree with them, they tend to win anyway, effectively denying those of us living in the eastern half of this state the right to govern ourselves. Some recent examples: new "laws" infringing on our rights to keep and bear arms; a public school funding initiative with a massive, multi-billion dollar price tag attached that will mostly benefit the western counties; In 2012 when we last selected a Governor, Jay Inslee won over Rob McKenna by roughly three percent of the vote, but he won majorities in only eight counties out of thirty-nine, all on the west side, and in many eastern counties was voted against by 2-to-1 marginsvoters here largely rejected Obama and Biden in favor of Romney and Ryan (just like we rejected the Obama ticket in 2008), but the western counties outnumbered us again and all of our state's electoral college votes went to them; we reject the reelection of our current senators, Murray and Cantwell, over and over, but the western counties send them back to Congress to "speak for us" again and again.

These divisions reflect irreconcilable cultural differences between eastern and western Washington residents, by and large, that necessitate a parting of ways. As it stands now, the majority of eastern Washington residents are effectively governed and taxed without representation by the peoples of a few of the western counties whose interests are often quite different from our own. This is an unjust state of affairs that demands a remedy, and the most equitable and peaceful method of bringing this about is a severance of our governance. 

There are many hurdles that this movement must clear on the way to realization of its goal, and historically speaking, the chances are not good. Nonetheless, this will be an interesting thing to watch and participate in, so I plan to keep on with it as things develop.

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State of Madison Initiative on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/madisonstateinitiative

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