“And now, representing the great state of Chicago . . . . ” Yes, you read that right. Apparently, there is a not-so-nascent move afoot for the Windy City to break away from the rest of Illinois and add a 51ststar to the flag of the United States. (Among other things, that would wreak havoc on the design of our national banner.)
Statehood is being proposed not by those from the city, but by some folks a few hours drive from the shores of Lake Michigan. It seems some of the more rural areas of downstate Illinois don’t feel the values of the citizenry of Chicago as a whole mirror their own thoughts and ideas. Gun rights and abortion are among those issues highlighted, not to mention that reports continue to show Chicago ranking very high in the list of most corrupt big cities in the nation.
It seems the idea has very little chance of passage, though. Apparently the Governor and leaders of both the State House and Senate are all from Chicago and favor the status quo. (However, they may rethink things once they figure out the state of Chicago would have its very own two senators in Washington.) There would be no need to even give Peorians the time of day.
The fact that big population centers tend to have undo influence in state legislatures isn’t confined to the Midwest. Atlanta and its environs send many members to the Georgia capital each year. St. Louis is well represented in Jefferson City. As is Detroit in Lansing, Seattle in Olympia, Las Vegas in Carson City, and a host of other cities where one large metropolis dominates a state’s census.
Historically, it’s not unheard of for an area of existing state or states to want official recognition as its own entity. Extensive research shows that Franklin was a real place right after the Revolutionary War. The settlers then were part of western North Carolina, but got upset when that state’s legislature withdrew militias from the area. So the residents took it upon themselves to name their turf after Founding Father Ben (who declined their polite offer). But they couldn’t get the necessary support, and eventually threw their lot in with Tennessee.
Mormons moving west in the mid-1800s wanted to live in Deseret. But the fact that the proposed state included parts of today’s California, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, and Idaho, plus the idea of polygamy, kind of put the kibosh on that deal.
Native Americans who had been forcibly shoved from east to west thought there should be a state of Sequoyah. The Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole nations all met in the early 1900s to accomplish the task, but failed when the U.S. Congress didn’t fancy the idea of adding Oklahoma and yet another western state at the same time.
In 1939, Absaroka was to include chunks of Wyoming, Montana, and South Dakota, plus the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone National Park. The folks proposing that state went so far as to appoint a governor and hold a contest for Miss Absaroka. But nothing ever officially transpired.
I’m thinking that if anybody really wants to sell the idea of a new state, they should choose the name Utopia. Why not shoot for the ideal and perfect state? Now, of course, paradise means different things to different people. So there may have to be a North and South Utopia, or East and West, or maybe even more.
The Alt-Right crowd could migrate to one state. Left-leaning Socialists might choose another. Never Trumpers may congregate in a third. And MAGA-Trumpers can pick door number four. Splitting the people up may actually be the easiest part of populating the new states of Utopia. Geography may prove to be the hardest. There may not be enough coastline to accommodate all who want to live by the water. Somebody may have to take the interior dusty plains. (Although that’s where the oil and natural gas seems to be, so it may be a decent trade-off.)
The other slight problem might involve the present Congress to approve the new states. After all, Utopia is the ideal. Everyone would want to live there. Which means those in power now would soon be out of power if they allowed the idea to happen. And we know that ain’t gonna happen any time soon.
Ah, well, sorry state of Chicago. It was fun while it lasted. You’ll just have to be content with dominating Illinois.
©MMXIX. William J. Lewis, III – Freelance Writer
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