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Comments from readers

Date posted
11/12/04
It's important to understand that in a democracy elections won't always give you the results you wanted. Though I think secession is a fine idea, breakups of countries rarely have positive outcomes for everyone in the seceding areas. It would be better at this time to focus on proportional representation. Let's work really hard to get rid of the Electoral College and also to quickly make sure that each state is represented by an appropriate number of senators in Washington. If California, Massachusetts, Illinois, and all the other states with large populations send a representative number of senators to Washington, it will soon wipe the smirks off many faces.
--Joy (Monterey County, CA)
11/12/04
Have at it! I think that I can gain you a lot of support here in Texas. There would be a lot of your kind of people living here that we could encourage to come take up residence with you. Try to get the "Blue States" to go with you. I support secession like my Alabama ancestors did in 1861,it must run in the family. Where can we Texans send donations?
--Thomas (Gorman, TX)
11/12/04
Secession of California, or any other State or States should be done if it is the interest of the people! In the spirit of the Declaration of Independence "long standing governments should not be changed for transient reasons." I, like you, think Washington D.C. has become drunk with power. I would encourage the dissolution of the Union because I believe it would be in the best interest of the several states. Therefore, as a Citizen of Connecticut, I would not stand by and watch Washington D.C. do to California what it did to the other States that did secede in 1861-1865. Remember we all entered into the Union voluntarily, we should be allowed to leave. The imperial nature of the Federal government has gone too far. That was the reason the South originally seceded. I recommend a book titled, the "Constitutional History of Secession." I encourage anyone that wants to secede to read it and understand that this nation was built on the rock of secesion. If not, we would all still be Royal Subjects of the British Crown. Regardless of political beliefs Left or Right, the basic instinct of all people is to be truly free. So, go for it, get it on the ballot and call on your legislature to call a special session for the discussion of secession. You will lead the way for other States that might want to do the same thing, even if the reasons are different. Perhaps it is time for a divorce! Godspeed to you!

--Robert (Hartford, CT)
11/12/04
My view on the freedom of California...is that all California be free, both U.S. and both Mexican...and form a United California.
--Octavio (Los Angeles, CA)
11/12/04
I'm a sixth generation Californian but I will, until my dying breath, defend the Union.
--Andrew (Pleasant Hill, CA)
11/11/04
It sounds like you're advocating the overthrow of the government. Isn't that against the law? It is one thing to discuss creating a 51st state by dividing california, but another thing entirely to discuss taking over the property of the united states of America.
--Dan (Mentone, CA)
11/11/04
Great Idea. After all, we send so much to the Feds that does not come back to us. We only get 77% of what we give. Meanwhile, those so called small government states that voted for the Bush seem for some reason to get considerably more from the Feds than what they pay in. Besides, it's obvious much of the USA does not share our values and don't like us.
--Charles (Pasadena, CA)
11/11/04
There has been talk in Canada of a 2-or3-way split, with BC and Alberta forming Cascadia. Such talk has also considered the possibility of including Washington and Oregon. Why not NoCal? With most of the grapes, all of the water, and Silicon Valley, we win on all fronts, especially if we get rid of SoCal. We would suffer temporary economic dislocations, but we net subsidize the Federal gov't and SoCal, so we would be okay in the long run. I think this is a better solution than simply being annexed by Canada.
--Charles (San Francisco, CA)

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11/11/04
I think California secession is worth considering, at least as a thought piece or as an act of political theater. It's a way for us to clarify what our values really are. I am on a progressive email list whose members are from all over the United States. Their reaction to this was, "don't leave us behind! Can we come with you?" So many of us are tired of domination by the "United States of Texas" - the religiousity, the domination by corporate interests, the lack of concern for community, for the environment, the intolerance of it all. So let's toss the idea around. How would we define ourselves? What would our country be like? How could we do things better?
--Lisa (Los Angeles, CA)
11/11/04
California has the 5th largest economy in the world! Why shouldn't they form their own country, afterall, it should have been Mexicans, but we drove them out and stole the land for our own greedy purposes! Maybe the other blue states could join up and we'd have one kick ass country, that is of course after we get rid of Ahnold!
--Annie (Lombard, IL)
11/11/04
I think that California, Oregon, and Washington could do even better than leaving the USA. We could join with peaceful, progessive Canada with its universal health care. Can we do this legally and would Canada want us? I would bet that the northern Atlantic USA states would also be better off as part of Canada. We'd all together become the United States of Canada and the red states of the old USA could become the United States of Jesus. California's red center would be a problem, Perhaps we could wall them in or relocate them to Nevada or Wyoming.
--Lin (Truckee, CA)
11/11/04
I've wondered for years when someone would organize a secession effort. I'm a California native (senior citizen). California has never in my lifetime received back our investment in the USA. I support populist issues but politically I'm a consequencialist! My biggest concern is the environment. If you decide to go forward, please let me know.
--Mitchell (Sacramento, CA)
11/11/04
The idea of secession certainly deserves learned discussion and consideration. To do so would almost positively reverse the pattern of benign neglect and whimsical forebearance shoveled down our throats the past forty years or so by national administrations and multi-media organizations. Instead, they would probably find themselves scrambling furiously to attain our favor. Having said that, however, one should be cautious in assuming that secesion would automatically favor one political view over another. Things have a way of changing, sometimes faster than well-made plans can be realised! Whichever your personal view, however, secesion has a much more likelyhood of future success if a certain degree of civility could somehow creep into the dialogue of the body politic and impede the current practice of 'dissing those who hold contrary beliefs. There is an equal place in society for the intelligencia as well as the shopkeeper. For either to scoff at the other because neither shares nor understands the other's world view, is downright short sighted. Rodney King's ancient but plaintive query may not be completely possible, but we should at least learn to treat each other as neighbors, not enemies. As neighbors we might unite for a common cause. As enemies, we just yearn to damage each other. Which way would be progress? First order of business: Defining "California Values."
--49erDweet (Salinas, CA)
11/11/04
I'm a Californian in exile in the UK. I believe that California has everything it would need to thrive if given back its independence. Hopefully someday we will see an independent California Republic once again.
--Steve (Stanley, County Durham, UK)
11/10/04
This is beyond a doubt the stupidest idea I have ever read on the web. And that covers a lot of territory. Clearly you do not know the first thing about either histroy or democracy. In case you have not heard the issue of seccession was settled by an event that has come to be known as THE CIVIL WAR. Once a state has become part of the United States it stays in the United States. The whole point about democracy is that the majority rules. I do not like George W. Bush any more than you do, but he actually won this time, and like it or not he is President. The best part of being in a demorcacy is, of course that there is always next time. Finally you might now be aware of the fact that except for the 1964 LBJ landslide, California voted for Republicans for President in every election from 1952 until 1992. It was, until 1992, one of the most reliable Republican states in the nation. It is time for you to make a decision, either involve yourself in the very real effort by so many of us to win this country back, or just shut up and keep your ignorance to yourself!
--D.J. (Washington, DC)
11/10/04
Californians have a better future in mind, so let's talk about how to get there. We are different from the rest of the nation: more opne-minded, more innovative, more committed to equality, more compassionate, and more concerned about protecting the environment.
--Christopher (location not given)
11/10/04
While I think secession is on the face of it a completely silly idea, I don't object to splitting California in half--that way the leftest Bay can run their half of the state and the rightest Southern California can run their half. Works for me.
--Dennis (Norwalk, CA)
11/10/04
This is such a silly idea. You are making an assumption that all the counties voted "blue," but if you look at the voting map you'll notice that most of California was "red." I'm in one of those "red" areas and I would no more want to be a part of the San Francisco Bay or Los Angeles area than a toothache. Now if you consider secession of the sliver area of blue, then let's talk!
--Tina (Citrus Heights, CA)
11/10/04
Far Northern CA and So Oregon have been trying for decades to form a new conservative state of Jefferson. Neither CA or OR will let us go because there are too many resources like WATER here in Shasta County. Anyway, I would be happy to see all of the Blue counties ie. LA and the Bay area and some coastal counties form their own country. The remaining Red counties could join with Az, NV or OR. Good luck on your project.
--A.J. (Redding, CA)
11/10/04
Idea is impractical since current administration would apply pressure against the state. Not necessarily Sherman's march to the sea; withhold all social security payments, military pensions, NIH/NSF grants, etc. while encouraging companies to withhold power from the electric grid, oil shipments, other imports. We'd be treated like Cuba. Better to stay in union and fight conservative policies with better ideas; when we find a cure for cancer through stem cell research and license it to a French company with jobs staying in California, the rest of the country will take notice.
--Marc (Richmond, CA)
11/10/04
What a dumb idea. Would only the coastal counties seceed, or would we force the solidly Bush-supporting inland areas with you? I can see it now: border patrol and customs stations with four-hour backups at the grapevine on I-5, in Pomona on I-10 and I-60, and on I-80 between Sacramento and Tahoe. Port traffic now going to LA / LB / SF and Oakland shifts to Seattle. And San Diego is left to fend for itself in debates with Mexico over sewage coming in from Tiajuana. And when is the last time CA built either a freeway or a mass transit line with less than 80 % of the funding coming from DC? Let's get off the dopey ideas and work towards a better tomorrow in this country.
--Jack (Pasadena, CA)
11/10/04
I don't like the idea on principle, even though it would be fun to see the consequences. Here are a few possible consequences to think about: 187 like propositions could no longer be shot down in the federal courts. It would give the Republican party a significant additional electoral advantage in the House of Representatives and for the President. California would have to decide what to do about its own border with Mexico. California would have to balance its own electricity and refinery needs, or be subject to unfriendly markets.
--Gene (Pasadena, CA)
11/10/04
My husband and I will be moving back to San Diego at the beginning of 2005. I am very interested in California secession, and think it would be best for both Californians and non-Californians. Two nations could live in harmony. Forcing Californians and non-Californians to continue together in one nation can only lead to further bitterness and strife.
--Suzanne (Tampa, FL)
11/10/04
An independent, neutral and non-aligned California Republic has been a private dream of mine for some time. I am disillusioned with the US and am certain California can do even better on her own. I am also pretty certain that, given the opportunity to do it peacefully and in an organized manner the rest of the US would love to see us all just go away. Get them frrrreaks outta here! We need to achieve something like the "Velvet Divorce" of the Czech and Slovak republics. For that we will need a leader of impeccible moral stature. Who will be our Vaclav Havel? Let's explore this. No harm in trying, we may surprise ourselves.
--Phil (Anaheim, CA)
11/9/04
Optimally, support would follow topographic or ecological lines but I like county-based secession too. I would also propose the use of Geographic Information Systems to map patterns of support for the movement, just in case boundaries ever need to be redrawn. Instead of looking north for alliance, perhaps our strongest support will come from outside the US border...Latin America (labor/immigration issues), Europe (trade, politics)...What will our flag look like? This might be an opportunity to edit out that ironic icon, the Grizzly Bear, in favor of something more contemporary. Grapes? or cows? Furthermore, water politics may, after all its history, turn out to provide an important model for statewide cooperation and collaborative policymaking. Evidence shows we can work together through such challenging issues. I can't wait to see what else is possible.
--Michael (Sacramento, CA)
11/8/04
Does the agreement that the Bear Flag Republic signed with the US have language similar to the Lone Star Republic agreement in that they can leave the Union through peaceful means?
--Chris (Sacramento, CA)
11/9/04
The discussion of whether or not Oregon and Washington should be included seems a bit premature in my opinion. Let us first discuss the relevance, feasibility, logistics and consequences of secession. That said, I acknowledge that those discussions would be different depending on whether or not OR and/or WA are part of the movement. However, bulling ahead: I believe that the relevance of the discussion of secession is borne out by an overview of the events and circumstances leading up to the American Revolution. As for feasibility, the most confounding factor would be the likelihood of extremely vehement opposition from within and without; the most powerful advantage on the side of secessionsists may be the appeal, to the 'moral majority', of a USA without all of us liberal and libertarian voters (and our electoral votes). Logistics are complex, I believe any secession movement's most important choices will involve timing, the careful use of pacifying rhetoric! , and patriotic appeals to the concept of democracy - nevermind the incongruity. The magnitude and diversity of consequences to secession cannot be covered in a short comment, but my opinion is that the removal of the California economic engine, combined with the alienation engendered by the Bush administration's foreign policy, could result in an end to the superpower status of the USA.
--Aaron (Davis, CA)
11/9/04
I am for secession in general, but it would require great care to gain legitimacy both popularly and legally. There are a lot of hardcore reactionary conservatives in California, and it would be hypocritical for a secession movement to disenfranchise anyone regardless of political leaning. Saying that the right wing can move to Texas doesn't cut it, just like current calls from the right wing for liberals to move to Canada doesn't cut it. It is crucial that all residents of a secessionist state be allowed to retain their U.S. citizenship if they so desire. They can continue to pay taxes, social security, and vote in U.S. elections. I personally prefer secession on a county level within California, but hey, I'll support the whole state if it means a progressive democracy on the west coast.
--Patrick (Santa Cruz, CA)
11/8/04
What about joining with Oregon and Washington to form a bioregion instead?
--Jennifer (San Francisco, CA)
11/8/04
I am somewhat concerned as a resident of Oregon. If you are in fact for secession in California, will you then propose Oregon and Washington Join you? If such a proposal has been considered, will you plan to secede as a group or individually?
--Chris (Depoe Bay, OR)
11/7/04
We at least gotta talk about this topic! I, and many like me--do NOT want to live our lives in a scene from The Handmaid's Tale! Let's bring some sensibility back to the bargaining table. The right wing does NOT AND NEVER WILL represent everyone in this country.
--Caroyln (Ventura, CA)
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