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West Virginia Secession

West Virginia Secession

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Published by gregory_kay
An attempt to get a public referendum on the secession of West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle back to Virginia
An attempt to get a public referendum on the secession of West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle back to Virginia

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Published by: gregory_kay on Mar 26, 2011
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06/09/2011

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CARRY ME BACK TO OL' VIRGINNYBy Gregory Kay
After over half a century of experience with them, I generally don't expect much out of politicians,as that way lies madness and disappointment. However, once in a great while, one of them willpleasantly surprise you, like the Mountain State's Republican House of Delegates member Larry Kump,who wants West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle to go back to Virginia.Mr. Kump is a freshman delegate – after all, a new broom sweeps the cleanest – and has certainlymade a name for himself with this proposal. And, unique among modern politicians, he doesn't wantthe legislature to do it; instead, he introduced legislation that would set a non-binding referendum inBerkley, Jefferson and Morgan Counties to get those counties citizens' input on whether they want toreturn to the mother state they were forcibly torn from.To get a full understanding of what is happening here, one must have at least a basic understandingof the history of the our. Prior to the War for Southern Independence, transportation over any realdistance was a lengthy and uncomfortable process, especially in rugged mountainous terrain like ours.While I can drive to Virginia in about three hours from my home the opposite side of the state today,back then the process would take days or even weeks. As a result, many people in the WesternCounties felt, no doubt with some justification, that they were not getting the same quality ofrepresentation in the far away Capital of Richmond as were the wealthier Tidewater Counties. WhenVirginia seceded from the Union, a group of these disgruntled politicians saw an opportunity. Since theFederal Government declared Virginia to be in rebellion, in Federal eyes, the existing legislature wasno longer a legal body. So, in an astonishing act of hubris, these western politicians declaredthemselves to be the legal legislature and gave themselves the right to secede from Virginia, a blatantlyand admittedly illegal act that a pro-Union Pennsylvania Congressman declared,
“Unconstitutional but necessary”
when he voted for it.This issue was not one decided by a true popular vote; after all, women couldn't vote, and fully halfthe men of fighting age were off struggling in the Cause of the South, and so were disenfranchisedfrom voting. Several counties voted not to join the new state anyway, but were taken just the same,either because they had exceptionally valuable natural resources, important railroad spurs, or lowNegro populations (This last was a major factor in their calculations, and some Virginia counties thatwanted to become part of West Virginia were rejected for this very reason. This bit of racialengineering – the only admirable thing about the whole sordid process – is why West Virginia is still95% White today.), all key elements to the economic powerhouse they intended to create. Instead, theirplans came to naught for most; while they, their cronies, and ideological followers got rich by robbingthe workers blind, the state itself began a rapid plunge to the bottom of the economic pool, where it hasremained to this day.It would be nice if this current effort had been gotten up in order to right a great wrong, but this isthe real world, not Fantasyland. It's this economic situation that Kump hopes the de-secession of hiscounties will alleviate in the Eastern Panhandle. According to WSAZ News, he believes that WestVirginia's
“government (is) overly centralized and oppressive to prosperity.”
This is the first of two points in which I may disagree with Delegate Kump; not his assertion thatthis state's government is overly centralized – it is – but that this is the primary cause of our economicproblems. The root of the issue, in my opinion, is three-fold: First, West Virginia is an illegal creation;second, it is an unnatural creation, and, third and perhaps most importantly, on the practical end ofthings, it is a creation that has simply just not worked economically. All emotion and rhetoric andpolitical philosophy aside, in the end it is the economic prosperity for the bulk of the people thatdefines success or failure of a society.The second point of disagreement between he and I is this; he wants the Eastern Panhandle to goback to Virginia, while I want our whole state to return! Of course, I have to admit, this is at least a

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