Collin Peterson has the dubious
distinction of being the only congresscritter
in the 20th Century to call for secession
In 1998, Peterson, acting supposedly in the interests of resort owners, proposed that the Northwest Angle1 secede from the United States and become a part of Canada. The resort owners had concerns about the Canadian fishing laws that were cutting into their profits. Peterson took this action unilaterally, not divulging his intentions until the call for secession.
The local Indians were, to put it mildly, pissed. Part of the Northwest Angle is reservation land, and the choice of whether it was to be Unitedstatesian or Canadian belonged to the tribe before a congressman trying to look good to a small but influential part of his constituency -- kissing up to resort owners means a lot of money and votes up here in L'Etoile Du Nord. I had the opportunity to ask, not Petersen, but his top aide, about this at the 1998 District 7 Democratic Convention.
The conversation ended there, and Noteponymous
and I were both kept at arm's length
for the rest of the convention, and at all political functions we attended that Peterson was at. The Northwest Angle was not handed over to Canada, there was no northern version of Fort Sumter
, and, in the end, nothing changed, except for the acceleration of the erosion of my faith in the political process.
1: The Northwest Angle is this little chunk of Minnesota that pokes up past the rest of the border into canada. It's a little squiggle in the straight line of the international border, a sport of surveying.
2: "Bobby" refers to Bobby Whitefeather, the tribal leader whose business is to get his nose all in political maneuvering that affects his people.