Another idea—vvhieh was presentedrnto me as an Alaskan legislator from 1985rnto 1987—is for Alaska, Yukon, andrnBritish Columbia all to secede and formrnthe Republic of Northwest America.rnWhether that’s a good idea or not, it isrnfar easier for a province to secede thanrnfor a state to do so.rnDISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Statehoodrnhas been suggested for D.C., butrnthat would be unconstitutional. ThernDistrict was specifically set up to housernthe nation’s capital—to be neutral, notrnto compete with other states for favorsrnfrom the government literally in its ownrnbackyard. In fact, the Constitution stipulatesrn(Article 1, Section 8) thatrn”Congress shall… exercise exclusive legislationrn. . . over such District… as may,rnby cession of particular states . . . becomernthe seat of government of thernUnited States.” That’s why it is called arndistrict—it is not a state, constitutionally.rnHowever, it is heavily Democratic,rnwhich is why Teddy Kennedy and JessernJackson (its nonvoting “senator”) want tornstatify it: more Democratic legislatorsrnand members of Congress and anotherrnDemocratic governor.rnHAS SECESSION EVER SUCCEEDED?rnYes. Secession is not just arnwild-eyed dream; it’s actually been done.rnIn 1820, Maine broke off from Massachusettsrnto become the 23rd state. Inrn1861, rather than seceding from thernUnited States as part of Virginia,rn”Kanawha” seceded from Virginia. Twornyears later, it became the 35 th state afterrnchanging its name to West Virginia. AndrnTexas seceded from Mexico in 1836—viarna bloody, antisecessionist war—to becomernthe Republic of Texas.rnWOULD SUBDIVISION WORK?rnConsider: as three states, Californiarnwould be smaller at home but bigger inrnCongress. The three Californias wouldrnstill be among the ten largest states.rnHowever, each would be one-third itsrncurrent size, bringing state governmentrnthat much closer to the voters. And therncloser government is to the people, thernbetter it is.rnAs a separate state, Northern Californiarncould abolish its state income tax,rnlower its property taxes, and rescind regulationsrnthat restrict outdoor activities.rnCentral California could liberalize lawsrnto allow more hospices for persons withrnAIDS. Southern California could characteristicallyrntry to limit development byrnraising ta.xes and tightening regulationsrnto “preserve lifestyles.” These variousrnPencil Sharpenerrnby Michael McFeernI le’d visit it when things were slow,rnan antique movie camerarnwhose cranked handle could acceleraternthe comedy of school.rnHe’d visit it when things were boring,rndialing the diameter of a pencilrnand feeding it like ammornto the cartoon machine gunrnwhose hungry roar obliterated the class.rnAnd when he was kept after schoolrnto empty the sharpeners,rnhe’d scatter a handful of sweet smudgy shavingsrnfor the wild birds building nestsrnand burn the rest.rnchanges might be popular in one Californiarnbut unpopular in the other two. Ifrnso, they could only be achieved if Californiarnhad three state legislatures andrngovernors.rnIn Congress, Californian senatorsrnwould increase from two to six. Thisrnmay sound trivial, but California’s caucusrnwould almost triple, from one of everyrn50 senators to one of es’cry 17. (Sincernrepresentatives arc elected by population,rnthat count would probably notrnchange.)rnIf California were a country, it wouldrnhave the seventh largest economy in thernworld. Some might say: don’t break thatrnup. But think about it—is California’srneconomic power ever wielded cohesively,rnlike a hammer? No. It’s what eachrnperson experiences that is important.rnAnd with three separate, smaller staterngovernments, plus more senators inrnCongress, things might significantly improvernfor Californians.rnTHE FUTURE: Whenever subdivisionrnor secession appears on the ballot,rnvoters should ask themselves; distant,rnlarger government or closer, smallerrngovernment? More power to the bureaucratsrnor more power to me? Biggerrnmight be better in making soap, but notrnin making government, hi fact, the reversernseems true: the bigger the government,rnthe more it intrudes into our livesrnand the less individual control each of usrnhas over our time, our monev, and ourrnbod v.rnAnd what’s wrong with secession?rnWhy do the two major parties—Democraticrnand Republican—support thernright of self-determination for, say,rnBosnians but not for Texans or Alaskans?rnWhy did the United States go to var tornpreserve self-governance for Kuwaitisrn(1991) but to deny it to Southernersrn(1861)? Seems to me, Americans havernas much right to govern themselves as dornBosnians or Kuwaitis. And that right tornself-governance includes secession orrnsubdivision.rn—Andre MarrournOBITER DICTA: We have only to reportrnthat Chronicles is available at thernfollowing bookstores in Washington,rnD.C.: Borders Books & Music, 18thrnStreet and L Street; The News Wodd,rn1001 Connecticut Avenue; American InternationalrnNews, Inc., 1825 I Street,rnNW; Wilden Books, 1700 PennsylvaniarnAvenue, NW; and B. Dalton Booksellers,rnUnion Station 112.rnlO/CHRONICLESrnrnrn