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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Editorial: Baja Arizona: 51st state a first-rate idea

The insurgent group “”Start Our State”” made headlines recently by calling for Pima County to secede from Arizona and become its own state, called “”Baja Arizona.”” The primary reason for this, according to group co-chairman Paul Eckerstrom, is that the heavily liberal population of Southern Arizona is fed up with Republican-dominated state politics.

All of those calling Pima County separatist “”sore losers”” should remember that this would not be the first time a portion of a state was so wildly different in terms of political views that it decided to forge a new path for itself in this crazy world. When the mostly rural, poverty-stricken, non-slave owning people of the western parts of Virginia saw how different they were from their metropolitan compatriots to the east, they realized it was time to make a change.

So, from a historical perspective, this is not too radical of an idea. After all, it’s not like Pima County would secede from the United States entirely. That’s what the rest of Arizona wants to do. By even considering Senate Bill 1433, a measure which would allow Arizona legislators to nullify federal laws and executive orders (basically the legislative equivalent of a teenager storming up the stairs and screaming “”You’re not the boss of me!””), Arizona lawmakers have made it clear they are not too interested in the “”united”” part of the United States. So, in a way, all the supporters of “”Start Our State”” are really saying is that they view themselves as residents of the United States first, and of Arizona second. The last time we checked, that’s the exact definition of patriotism.

Another, more colloquial definition of patriotism is paying attention to and criticizing those policies you feel run counter to the fundamental ideals of your country.

Having a state legislature that is unilaterally focused on promoting a hyper-partisan agenda with no outside input whatsoever is not serving the best interests of the people of Arizona, it’s serving the interests of those in Maricopa County.  And that’s the fundamental issue at hand here. Maricopa County, by far Arizona’s most populous area, wields clout and power so disproportionally large that it eschews any possibility of equal representation or debate. As a result, this debate is far less pitting Democrats versus Republicans and far more Maricopans against everybody else.

Hell, you might as well call the new state “”Baja Maricopa”” since they’re the ones we would really be seceding from.

If even Tucson, Arizona’s second-largest city, is unable to make a dent in the tide of conservative politics, then it’s clear the system of representation is broken beyond repair, and the only solution is to scrap it and start over.

The only piece of advice for the Legislature: Don’t ask for permission. West Virginia didn’t ask Virginia if they could leave. They just left. Introduce a bill? No! Declare independence and just be there. If there was ever a president to support a new blue state, it’s President Barack Obama. The comparisons between President Abraham Lincoln and Obama could grow.

It would be nice if Maricopa County would, instead, just secede and save us all the effort. For you Maricopans who aren’t crazy about that idea, three words: Senator Joe Arpaio. Baja Arizona would have no immigration law and its citizens would laugh as Arpaio tried to round up everyone. People would know that when Rep. Raul Grijalva said, “”Boycott Arizona,”” he meant boycott the crazies in Maricopa County.

And to our hippie tree-hugging brothers and sisters to the north, that’s right Flagstaff peeps, come on down! Your voice will be heard. Solar panels and hybrid cars will flourish.

Baja Arizona’s wouldn’t have a state gun. The state motto could be: “”Baja Arizona. Bad ass.”” And the state drink: Adios mother fucker.

In the end, it’s not you, Arizona, it’s us. No, wait. It is you, and that’s why (we hope) we’re out of here.

 

— Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat editorial board and written by one of its members. They are Kristina Bui, Ken Contrata, Michelle A. Monroe and Heather Price-Wright. They can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu.

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