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Bye Bye

All the talk about California secession prompted me to pick up Bill Kauffman's Bye, Bye Miss American Empire, a (probably?) quixotic look at how the U.S. could break into a group of smaller countries. He dedicates most of a chapter to California, but it doesn't look at California leaving the union, as much as past plans to divide California into as many as four states. The cover of the book implies the four states would be Alta California, California, and Baja California (with the northernmost counties of California joining southern Oregon to form "Jefferson"), but the book itself points out that the plans have taken many different forms, with many different names given to the various wouldbe states.

It's interesting stuff and, unknown to me, one entertained repeatedly since the Gold Rush. Kauffman's (and California division proponents') argument is essentially this: California is simply too large and diverse to be ruled from one location: "The vastness of the Golden State leads to unspeakably vapid campaigns conducted via television, in which the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dianne Feinstein are no more real to the citizens of Weed or Ukiah than Megan Fox is to the serial masturbater in Edina, Minnesota."

At a minimum, politicians have long argued that California ought to consist of two states: north and south. In fact, California approved a bill to divide itself into two states (the "Pico Amendment"), but the Civil War broke out and Congress never took it up. Technically it's apparently still before the Congress.

I'd propose that we divide California into three states, then let each one decide if they want to secede. It seems like the only logical thing to do. Maybe it'd even spawn a greater break-up of these United States, returning us to a more decentralized existence. Scary? Perhaps. Worth considering? Most definitely.

Bye Bye Two