It used to seem rather harmless and slightly silly. Somebody in the Legislature would introduce a bill for Eastern Washington to secede from Western Washington, everybody would chuckle a bit, the Legislature would ignore it, and it soon would be forgotten.
But somewhere along the line, this dream from a handful of activists went from harmless and silly to rather menacing and slightly scary. So it piqued my interest when, shortly after the midterm election, this appeared in the email: “Following passage of I-1639 it has become clear to me that now, more than before, Eastern Washington MUST separate from Western Washington. This means forming a new state ‘Liberty.’ ”
That apparently was sent by Jim Lydigsen, and a quick search reveals that he is among the “Frontline Activist Leaders for Washington” for the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund. Nothing wrong with that. The NRA lobbies for its political views, and those views on gun-control measure I-1639 were rejected by 60 percent of Washington voters. You win some, you lose some.
But the interesting thing is how activists have seized upon that vote to invigorate their push for a 51st state, with Washington being divided at the Cascade Range.
Certainly, there are cultural, economic and geographical differences between Western Washington and Eastern Washington. And so supporters of the State of Liberty would rather go their merry way, free from the influence of and, in their minds, condescension from the state’s liberal enclave.