In Maryland, the five western counties — Garrett, Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Carroll — represent just 11 percent of Maryland’s population, according to 2010 Census figures. They earn less than the people who live in more urban areas. They vote overwhelmingly for Republicans in a deeply Democratic state. Nearly 90 percent of the residents are white, compared with 51 percent elsewhere. About 60 percent were born in Maryland vs. 46 percent in other parts of the state.
Although he grew up a Democrat, Strzelczyk became increasingly frustrated with politics in the past decade, and Barack Obama’s election in 2008 sent him over the edge.
He spoke at tea party rallies, started helping with a weekly radio show called“Forgotten Men”and began reading up on the Constitution. He says he has read thousands of books and articles on the subject. He became fed up with Republicans, too, and now considers himself a Constitutionalist, writing essays for the Tenth Amendment Center, American Thinker and his own blog,“A Citizen’s View.”
He wants to live in a smaller state, he says, with more “personal liberty, less government intrusion, less federal entanglements.” He wants the right to carry a gun.He would abolish the U.S. Department of Education. Although he thinks the government shouldn’t be involved with marriage, he’d put the question of gay marriage to a vote.Medical marijuana would be just fine, he says. There would be lots of liberty.
A bevy of liberal laws approved by Colorado politicians this year, from gun-control legislation to measures permitting gay couples to form civil unions, has exposed a cultural divide between the state’s big cities and agricultural areas that has left rural residents feeling disenfranchised.
The rift is most acute in northeastern Colorado, where leaders of several counties are proposing an extreme solution that they admit is a long shot: seceding to form a 51st state.
“This is the result of frustration of people attacking our rural values,” said Rocky Samber, a Republican commissioner in Logan County, an area containing about 22,000 people some 150 miles northeast of Denver.
Logan is one of eight contiguous counties in northeastern Colorado that decided this summer to ask voters in November whether they wish to secede. Another county in northwestern Colorado, Moffat, on Tuesday decided to do the same.
Citizens in a few other states also launched secession efforts due to ideological differences in recent years, but have failed so far. A group of Pima County, Ariz., residents started a drive in 2011 to create Baja Arizona, separating the southern, more liberal part of the state from more conservative Phoenix. In California, a Riverside County supervisor the same year proposed forming South California, which would have lower taxes and less regulation than the rest of the state.