Sunday, January 09, 2005

December 22, 2004


On January 1, 2005, a new nation state will be born. Congress has approved and the President has signed an unprecedented bill authorizing the secession of the western parts of Oregon and Washington. The new small country, to be known as The Washegon Nation, will have as its capitol the city of Olympia, located between the major cities of Seattle and Portland.

After weeks of feverish negotiation, beginning on November 3rd leaders of the proposed new nation and the Bush administration agreed on the terms of the secession and future relationship with the United States. When negotiations began no one gave them much chance of succeeding. However, concern over public outcry in the region and perseverance of the negotiators on both sides carried the day. When the administration and the Republican-controlled Congress realized that this move would give them two more red states, all of their opposition collapsed.

Until elections can be held, Washegon will be governed jointly by the two popular current governors, Patricia “Patty” Lee of Washington and Carl Ramon of Oregon. A Constitutional Convention will be held during the third week of January. The voting delegates will include community leaders from each municipality with more than 1000
citizens, as well as college presidents, labor leaders, corporate executives, and representatives o several Indian tribes. Scholars have been working on alternative drafts for weeks.

While the exact details and language need to be worked out, the salient points have been discussed and there is general agreement that the following concepts will be part of the Washegon Constitution:

In its national elections, Washegon will follow the principle of one person, one vote. There will be a president and one legislature. The presidency will be limited to three four year terms; legislators will be limited to four four year terms. .Each year one-fourth of the legislative seats be up for election..

Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, the right to privacy, and equal protection under the law will, above all, be preserved. Discrimination in all forms will be prohibited..

The protection against unreasonable search and seizure, the right to due process, and the right to speedy trial, with adequate representation, will be preserved.

The “right to bear arms” will be continued on a limited basis. Possession of assault weapons will be prohibited.

Leaders are also working on a Statement of Governing Principles. This will contain provisions setting forth guiding principles for the nation, some of which may be embodied in the Constitution: others may become part of the legal code. The Principles include:

In Washegon, there will be no civil recognition of marriage. The country will provide for civil union and define the rights and obligations of the parties and of children, but the institution of marriage is to be a private or religious matter for couples.

There will be complete separation of church and state. No school prayer, no overt manifestation of religion or proselytizing in public schools, government offices, or non-denominational workplaces.

Preservation of the environment will be paramount. All reasonable measures will be undertaken to protect wildlife, forests, air and water. The dangers of global warming will be recognized and Washegon will join with other nations to address this problem.

Measures to reduce suburban sprawl will be taken. It is recognized that addressing this issue may require limitations on immigration and on land use. Every effort will be made to ensure fairness at all times.

The government will not let political agendas or personal or religious beliefs override the results of research or scientific principles. There will be government support of stem cell research. Important as beliefs are in personal lives, the public schools will be free of their interference in the education of our children. There will be no “creationism” theories in the teaching of evolution, no astrology in astronomy texts. And Washegon schools .will not follow the Texas model of sex education as the teaching of the absence of sex.

Medical decisions will rest with patients, their families, and their medical advisors. A woman’s right to choose will be inviolate and ethical right to die decisions will be respected.

Education. The importance of quality education at all levels – preschool through college – is recognized. Every effort will be made to support and improve our schools and universities so that our citizens can achieve their potential and compete in the global economy. A task force will be appointed to work toward a plan to have college education subsidized in return for one year of citizen service.

Health Care. A task force has been appointed to consider all options for acceptable healthcare for all citizens. All options are under discussion, including negotiations with
Canada for joining its system.

1. As part of the secession protocols, Washegon will assume its current share of the United States deficit, bit will have no further responsibility. In addition, Washegon will pay for other U.S. services it contracts to use, including an agreed upon sum for defense against foreign enemies that specifically threaten Washegon.
2. Washegon will adopt anti-trust, consumer protection, bankruptcy, and other economic and regulatory laws that, for the most part, mirror those in the U.S. federal government and those in progressive states.
3. Washegon will join NAFTA and become parties to other international treaties. The U.S. will sponsor its entry into the United Nations.
4. Retirement Benefits. Washeon citizens over age 50 will remain in the U.S. social security sytsem on terms that will not unduly burden the workers and taxpayers of Wahegon. Others will be the subject of a similar benefit program, which, however, will have a higher retirement age and will be subject to benefit reduction or elimination for high income beneficiaries. There will also be provision for IRA/Roth type retirement accounts, with no tax on retirement withdrawals and tax deductions for contributions up to $10,000.

While much work remains to be done, including the holding of general elections, there is a highly optimistic mood among the future citizens of The Washegon Nation. As one woman on the task force put it, “Our new nation holds such promise that our main fear is the demand to immigrate here. Let’s warn the people of the United States, and the whole world, that we have an extremely rainy climate.”