For a long time, I’ve wondered what a West Coast Revolution would look like: you know, secession by California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Hawaii, and–for continuity’s sake if nothing else, British Columbia and Baja. If the latter two seem especially strange, remember that BC was a relative latecomer to Canada (joining in the 1870s) and often shares a cultural identity with the Pacific Northwest of the US, and that Baja is increasingly becoming a suburb of San Diego, and has a history of potential annexation. It’s been a while since I read Ecotopia, and ecological concerns might very well be a part of this, but I think the difference is cultural. The West Coast thinks differently, it is a different culture, and a different nation.
What has me thinking about this? The conflict between federal and state marijuana laws in northern California. Consider this part of a report in the admittedly fringe Alternet on an admittedly fringe topic:
“This appears to be a spiteful investigation on behalf of the DA, paid for by the taxpayers of California, and if Strom would like to keep her job, she should respect the laws of the state,” said Sherer. “If she did not believe this was a medical case she should have taken it to state court, and not handed over two citizens of California to the federal government for a 10-year mandatory sentence.”
This idea of California citizenship conflicting with US citizenship is an interesting one. Obviously, it’s not enough to cause a split–these sorts of events can often trigger a change that is long in coming, but for now, that change seems far removed.
Given California’s newest governor, it seems unlikely that the people of that state have the political will to make serious changes–the kinds of changes that would bring it into further disharmony with the rest of the US. Nonetheless, over time, I have the feeling that the West Coast will become increasingly integrated and separated from the rest of the US politically, economically, and culturally.