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Oregon Secessionist Gets Meeting With Idaho Legislators On Goofball Plan For 'Greater Idaho'
Get real. Idaho can't be trusted with a coastline.
An Oregon dude who thinks it would make a lot of sense to peel off three-quarters of the state and hand it to Idaho actually held a meeting Monday with members of the Idaho House and Senate. Just about the best that can be said for the outcome was that the Idaho legislators seemed "intrigued but skeptical," as the Oregonian put it. It being Idaho, there's almost nothing too crazy for our legislators to entertain, from the existence of a vast conspiracy to fill rural Idaho with murderous jihadis to the perfectly sane proposition that "religious freedom" means parents should be allowed to let their kids die without any interference by Big Government.
The "Greater Idaho" proposal comes from a guy named Mike McCarter, who thinks there's no reason most of the land mass of Oregon should be subject to rule by the vast majority of the population, which tends to live in the northwest part of the state — Portland, Salem, Eugene, and environs. So why not move 22 counties from eastern and southern Oregon to Idaho, for great justice? Then later, maybe add in a few counties from southeast Washington and northern California, but with a NO HIPPIES ALLOWED sign.
The "greater Idaho" website makes a heck of an argument for letting wingnuts flock together, complete with debunked conspiracy theories about antifa setting wildfires. The section on why Oregon counties should secede emphasizes that Idaho, unlike those Willamette Valley weirdos, actually believes in "American Values," and even better, in "Law and Order":
Oregon refuses to protect citizens from criminals, rioters, wildfire arsonists, illegals, and the homeless, but then infringes your right to defend your family with firearms. Idaho enforces the law.
And Idaho should also welcome all the new territory and residents, because that would "prevent Boise from drowning out the state's vote in the future." Nothing is worse than actually letting the majority of citizens have political power, after all. Even better, the merger would "push Oregon drug laws farther from the county in Idaho where you live" and protect Idahoans from all the hardcore drug addicts that will surely flock to what's left of Oregon.
It would "change the Boise-Oregon drive time from 51 minutes to over 5 hours," which would surely be a great thing, and best of all, Idaho could enjoy a sense of moral victory, because the Gem State "would have the sense of purpose and the satisfaction of freeing 1.2 million people from immoral blue-state law."
And surely, the site argues, those freaks in Portlandia would be glad to be rid of the parts of the state that actually use more tax revenue than they contribute (Idaho wouldn't mind, though, because Idaho has low taxes already, you see). They'd never have to worry about rural legislators skipping out on votes and bringing government to a halt. Democrats have been trying to change Senate rules to keep it from happening again; this year, Oregon's Senate Republican leader is facing a recall because he didn't lead a walkout to gum up the works.
And since both states seem to have locked in partisan majorities for the foreseeable future, the balance of power in the US Senate wouldn't be changed. Apart from, you know, making sure Boise doesn't turn into another goddamned Portland and get enough votes to maybe elect a Democrat.
At Monday's joint meeting with members of the House and Senate Environment, Energy and Technology Committees, McCarter said that he'd talked to a fellow at a rally in Burns, Oregon, who said that while he's glad he can use marijuana to help with his epilepsy, he'd gladly give up Oregon's recreational weed law for the sake of living in Idaho. (This is, we would point out, an outcome he could also achieve by moving to Idaho.)
Idaho state Rep. Ben Adams (R) said he thought it sounded like a cool idea, because freedom, but was skeptical the Oregon lege would just vote to let a bunch of counties go:
"How is it being received right now by the state of Oregon?" he asked. "How hard would they be fighting to make it not happen? Most states don't like to lose their resources to their neighbors."
And state Sen. Michelle Stennett (D), who represents one of Idaho's few Democratic areas in the resort towns of McCall and Ketchum, wanted to know whether even folks from the right-leaning parts of Oregon would really be all that keen on losing Oregon's current minimum wage, $11.25 an hour, so they could enjoy the freedom of Idaho's $7.25 per hour.
So far, only four Oregon counties have held non-binding votes on the question of whether anything succeeds like secession; last fall, two voted in favor, and two voted "We're not THAT high." Five more Oregon counties have similar ballot measures coming up in May, although theOregonian points out they won't actually cause anything to change — they're meant to send the state legislature a message, you see. And that message will likely reflect the prevailing attitude in Republican America: "Suck It, Libs." Changing the states' boundaries would ultimately require approval by both state legislatures as well as a vote by Congress.
Still, the idea does have some support from quasi-legitimate folks, like former Oregon House Speaker Mark Simmons, a rancher from eastern Oregon, who said, "We don't need the state breathing down our necks all the time, micromanaging our lives and trying to push us into a foreign way of living." Guess maybe he's worried folks in Portland will try to force networks to carry nothing but soccer.
Yr Dok Zoom isn't too keen on the idea, but that's only because he lives in Boise, and is therefore not even a real American. He liked his tiny Oregon coast hometown just fine, and wouldn't want to see it full of Idahoans. Not even if Idaho could then boast it produces both regular and Rocky Mountain oysters.
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