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Seceding from Maryland and joining West Virginia
Three Maryland counties move to join West Virginia, where they'd be welcomed with "open arms"
Lawmakers from conservative Western Maryland want their counties to secede from Maryland and join West Virginia. They’d be welcomed with “open arms” according to West Virginia Governor Jim Justice.
Yes legislators representing Allegany, Garrett, and Washington counties wrote letters to their counterparts in West Virginia inquiring about joining the mountaineer state. Such a move would be, “mutually beneficial for both states and for our local constituencies”, read one of the letters.
Perhaps on the table as a next step, would be a non-binding referendum, allowing citizens from the would-be seceding counties to make their voices heard directly via ballot boxes, if only for the sake of quantifying popular sentiment as opposed to producing actual policy.
If that referendum were to happen, it might just reveal majority support for the move. The reason why is simple: Western Marylanders vote more like those in Morgantown and Charleston than those in Bethesda and Annapolis. Each of the seceding Maryland counties went decidedly for Trump in the last election, just like the entire State of West Virginia.
It is an unfortunate but true reality that groups with differing political opinions are plainly less able to productively share the same community as they did just a couple years ago. The stakes are way higher now. Politics used to be everyone’s afterthought, now it determines what gets forcibly put on your kids face and injected into your bloodstream.
Many in Maryland’s political proper will sneer at the idea of a secession, chuckling haughtily about how West Virginia is one of the least educated and least vaccinated states there is. But they do have one important thing Maryland increasingly has less of — Sweet. American. Freedom.
Now realistically, just to be clear, there is virtually no chance that Allegany, Garrett, and Washington counties will actually wind up being successfully annexed by West Virginia. The requisite governmental approvals would not be given, not a chance. Maryland’s General Assembly, which is ruled by Democrats, would have to approve the motion, which they never would. Then, Congress would have to sign-off on the interstate change, something they haven’t done since the Civil War. And even if those things were to happen, there’d still be years worth of financial and bureaucratic entanglements to sort through. What happens to Deep Creek Lake, which is owned by the State of Maryland? And how about Frostburg State University?
Despite all of that, the message being sent from Western Maryland is still worthwhile. They crave self-governance and representation, neither of which they’ll find right now in a Maryland that is centrally issuing statewide mandates and has gerrymandered the whole of conservative Western Maryland into a progressive Montgomery County oriented district.
And while some republican optimists may hope that this outburst finally helps Western Maryland get the attention and accommodation of Annapolis, the opposite is likely true. This dissension will be punished.
But if Western Maryland is any indicator of things more macro, that same strand of populist local-first conservatism that originally put Donald Trump in the White House and took Britain out the European Union still simmers on. The virus halted it, but elections in 2022 and 2024 are right around the corner, and red may they be.
Now if you were to ask me personally what I think about all of this, without having to disentangle all the minutia and slog through the practicalities like an actual politician or administrator would, I’d respond from Westminster with my tongue just a bit in my cheek like this — can Carroll County come too?