I used to think that my love for Oregon bordered on nationalism. Then I compared myself to the people who support this idea.
The Republic of Cascadia is the name of a proposed country by a modern group of secessionists who believe that the American states of Oregon and Washingon, along with the Canadian provence of British Columbia, should secede from their respective governments to form an independent nation. The main reason given for this is that the capitals of Washington, D.C. and Ottawa are too far away for the Cascadian states to have their rightful power in the United States/Canadian governments. Also, the geography of the Pacific Northwest brings the people closer together. The people of Oregon and Washington have much more in common with each other than they do with people in New York or Florida. Likewise, British Columbia citizens find they have more in common with Washington than the people of Quebec or New Brunswick. As such, adherents to the idea of Cascadia find it natural that the Pacific Northwest becomes an autonomous nation.
The capital of this new nation would be the city of Cascadia, which would be founded in what is now British Columbia. The reason for this location is twofold: First, the capital would be roughly the same distance from all parts in the Republic of Cascadia*, and Second, by creating a new and small city, the Cascadian government would be "tucked safely away from centers of urban decadence." Estimates as of 1997 place the population at 12,653,850 people, with a Gross Domestic Product of 320 billion U.S. dollars. Also, the official language of the Republic of Cascadia would be called "Cascadese", which is described as "a dialect of English."
As far as an economy goes, the main natural resource would be timber. This comes as no surprise to those who have seen the forests of the Northwest. In fact, Cascadia could easily become the top exporter of lumber in the world. Other natural resources would include fish and shellfish. The main industrial resource would be software and technology. Indeed, odds are that you are reading this using Cascadian software right now. Also, Cascadian sympathists forsee utilizing the natural beauty of the nation to start an enormous movie industry.
The main voice demanding the formation of Cascadia is a group known as the Cascadian National Party. This group is primarily focused with the secession of Oregon and Washington, but they are keeping in close contact with Cascadia supporters in British Columbia. The CNP has released a manifesto, which reads as follows:
Our geography, our environment, our rich vibrant culture, and the way we view life and society dictates that we are unique from that to the rest of the United States. From these, we are worthy of being our own nation and we must guard, promote, and protect it in a peaceful and democratic yet vocal manner. There are those Oregonians and Washingtonians who believe the United States has become far too powerful and increasingly oppressive throughout the World and even in it's own borders. It has been very evident in the last couple of years with the downturn of the economy, the increase in World tension, terrorist attacks, the threat of destruction of our own environment in the name of progress, and the growing scrutiny and disposal of our civil and personal rights. Both political parties that currently control all aspects of government from the federal level all the way to state and local levels have showed this arrogance and indifference. This blatantly cavalier attitude towards the people and the World may trigger the self-destruction of the United States and the values we hold so dear. Over two decades ago, Cascadia was one of the most pristine and most unique places to live, with forests and green belts lined along our largest cities and one could find farms and meadows just minutes away from the city centers. Traffic gridlock and mudslides were almost unheard of. People also had cheap and affordable housing and had a quality of life that was second to none. We also had an identity that was distinct but sadly, all of that has been changing.
...Our economy had become more diverse, but at what price? We have had a population explosion that would not have been even contemplated in the 1970's. Even the current economic downturn, people are continuing to move here, thus creating stress on our infrastructure as well as nearly chronic gridlock on our highways. Our whole neighborhoods and towns are being torn down and replaced by gentrification and corporatism. The poor are being driven out of these communities. Along with this gentrification, our old buildings and symbols of the Northwest are either being exploited or torn down. This is particularly evident in Seattle and Portland. Our two largest cities Portland and Seattle and even the other cities like Spokane and Tacoma are experiencing unbridled sprawl that make our cities resemble Los Angeles! We even are witnessing the breakdown of civility and sense of community as a result of this population impact and sprawl.
Our environment is also under the increased threat of what corporatists and those who support them as "progress". The fact of the matter is that our forests are disappearing, plus as a result, the ecosystem is being destroyed. We see increased mudslides and floods happening annually. Two great symbols of the Northwest, the salmon and the killer whale were once plentiful but now are under threat of extinction and hardly anything has been done to curtail this. If the bald eagle can be saved, so can these symbols!
The leaders in the government... have been resting on their laurels from all of the prosperity as well as the corporate money they receive for representing their interests. They have been doing plenty of talking but have not backed up this talk with actions and plans that have real teeth. The only promises they have really kept are raising taxes while cutting off essential programs claiming they are broke. This complicity harkens back to the last days of the Roman Empire. Both major political parties are equally guilty of this display of indifference.
The Republicans... have been a prime example of pure arrogance and mean-spiritedness. They all claim they want to get government out of our lives and yet many of them, particularly in the leadership roles, want to increase surveillance on the populace and have the power to detain those deemed "subversive" or a "threat". They, and particularly in the state of Washington, also want to force-feed their moralist, single-minded Judeo-Christian view on society. This is the contradiction of what they say when they mean "less government".
The Democrats, the supposed "left of center" party, has abandoned their progressive potential a long time ago. They have a way of saying one thing and then turning around and doing the opposite of what they say. They preach that they want to be "bi-partisan" and work with Republicans, but what good is an opposition party when you do not have the backbone to make a stand and back up your words with actions? The Democrats sold them out just like the Republicans and therefore are nothing more than a token opposition. The programs that the Democrats have promoted to help people have very little money in order for them to be effective. In addition, they are all geared not to help people, but to make them more dependent. People need to have help, but not by handouts. It should all be based on "give" and "take".
The CNP believes the time is coming for Oregonians and Washingtonians to wipe the slate clean in government and truly take charge of their own lives. We can be able to shape our future and create an open, free, and just society without constraints and interference. We can preserve our heritage and quality of life. We can streamline and decentralize social services as well as localize the system and give the people more say in the day-to-day running of government through plebiscite and referendum. Through the rewriting of our respective states' constitutions, we can have a broader version of the Bill of Rights in the form of a Charter of Rights and Liberties that will acknowledge the rights of peoples regardless of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, age, and creed.
The CNP also believes that it is possible to have a higher standard of living, better education for children, a cleaner environment, and a return to a sense of community without having to be represented by greed or special interests. We can achieve such things without having to compromise our security and freedom. We can have a Republic of Cascadia where our top priorities are safeguarding the environment, education, helping those who need it without a handout of crumbs, greater civil rights and liberties, and promoting peace without the exploiting the will of others through adventurism and corporate gain by a superpower.
If any of these ideals and goals appeal to you, you are a Oregon and Washington voter, and you are concerned about your quality of life, then you are urged to join and become leaders in your community. We need your voice added to the cause. Together we can achieve the goal of a peaceful, free, and prosperous Cascadia!
If the Republic of Cascadia ever becomes an actual nation, the primary goal of the CNP would become -I swear I'm not making this up- the annexation of "NoCal", or northern California. The CNP's reasons are once again twofold: First, the Cascade Range extends into northern California, making it technically part of the Cascadia region. Second, the people of northern California, particularly Del Norte and Humboldt counties, tend to think of northern California as being quite different from the rest of California. Should this annexation take place, the NoCal region would combine with southern Oregon to form the state of Jefferson.
So, as an Oregonian, what do I think about this? I think it would be a great idea- until the United States decides to take us back by force.
"The Republic of Cascadia is not yet officially recognized by Canada, the United States of America, or the United Nations. Not that it is any of their business." -The Republic of Cascadia homepage