Charleston at War: A simple Ordinance of Secession

The Ordinance of Secession, with which South Carolina left the Union, passed 169-0. It took less than 10 minutes to call the roll. File

Some folks in southern Oregon want to secede and join Idaho, claiming their home state no longer represents their values.

Which may or may not explain why,  these days, fewer people see Bigfoot in Oregon than hanging around Boise.

On the other side of  the country, West Virginia officials are urging their neighbors in rural Virginia to secede and join them. Which is funny, since West Virginia originally formed by seceding from Virginia when they didn’t want anything to do with that state’s secession ... or the Confederacy.

In Colorado, one man wants to move his county into Wyoming. And Upstate New York lawmakers regularly threaten to secede as a way of distancing themselves, politically speaking, from the big city.

It’s all very dramatic, and more than a little silly. Everyone needs to just chill out.

Take it from a state that has actually seceded: This doesn’t tend to work out so well.

Of course, South Carolina was the first state to secede from the United States in December 1860. It was a historic, brilliant move that, a few months later, precipitated the Civil War.

And how did South Carolina fare? Well, Charleston was bombarded for a year and a half, Columbia was burned to the ground and the Yankees took Hilton Head ... which, as we all know, they hold to this day.

Do you know what these myriad modern secession efforts have in common? They are all led by conservatives who’ve been triggered because they aren’t getting everything they want.

The folks who started “Move Oregon’s Border for a Greater Idaho” say that their home state has just gotten too darn liberal. Because, you know, Hillary Clinton won there with 50.1 percent of the vote.

Of course, the Oregon Legislature has also set them off by daring to address liberal hooey like climate change (an event that spurred conservative lawmakers to escape for sanctuary to ... you guessed it, Idaho).

Idaho’s governor diplomatically says the state’s name won’t change to “Greater Idaho,” as the petitioners have suggested, even if they clear all the electoral, congressional and legal hurdles they face. He did, however, offer mildly encouraging words.

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But West Virginia officials are actually goading Virginia residents to secede into the Mountain State. Which is one way to gain new taxpayers. A state senator there argues that Virginia’s Democrat-led Legislature, which had the audacity to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, doesn’t represent everyone in the commonwealth.

They even have a name for this movement: “Vexit.” You really can’t make this stuff up.

An increasingly blue Colorado prompted efforts to move Weld County into neighboring Wyoming. That county, just north of Denver, is home to more than 300,000 people. Wyoming has a population of 578,000.

Surely a 50 percent population increase represents no challenges to the state’s infrastructure.

Most of these efforts, of course, are  vanity projects with no realistic chance of success. But if at first you don’t secede, try, try again. Like those guys in Albany, who absolutely hate the idea that their state is best known for New York City, the most liberal bastion on the East Coast.

Perhaps these folks, stuck in their minority status, should simply realize they aren’t alone. The majority of the country feels the same way, seeing as how millions more voted against the current leadership than for it. But here we are.

Like South Carolina of  the 19th century, these folks had better be careful what they wish for. Their efforts might not lead to fire and destruction — although a Yankee invasion is likely unavoidable. But if they succeed it might inspire, say, California to follow suit. And then who’d pay the freight for their rural lifestyle?

Because big urban states pay much more in taxes than they receive from Washington, while places like South Carolina and West Virginia live off that largesse.

But even some people in South Carolina haven’t  learned this lesson. A few years back, a couple of state lawmakers here threatened to secede if the feds ever tried to take our guns.

Which is about as likely as having to buy new maps with the state of “Greater Idaho” on them.

Reach Brian Hicks at bhicks@postandcourier.com.