....I love your site.I think it helps give us a sense of belonging to our area. I have always felt that upstate should be a separate state and that we should have our own flag. Something simple like New England's Pinetree flag. What do you think?
The idea of Upstate New York seceding from New York State (or New York City seceding, which would do the same thing) is one that has been danced around in this blog without being directly addressed; we always remain studiously neutral on such issues. Well, since we're up for all types of debates here, I thought it might be interesting to bring up both Brian's request for flag ideas and the topic of secession in general. The idea of one area of a state seceding from another is not a new one. States created in this way include: Vermont from New York and New Hampshire), Kentucky and West Virginia from Virginia, Tennessee from North Carolina and Maine from Massachusetts. The last time this occurred was with West Virginia and that was during the context of the Civil War (1863).
There are several advantages to secession including:
1) Control over local laws. Many of the laws governing taxation and business in New York are created around the idea that businesses will be willing to pay for the privilege to exist in New York City. Of course, that doesn't help us much and may be one of the causes for our continued economic depression.
2) Reflection of our values. Upstate tends to vote more on the libertarian (less government) end of the spectrum and an Upstate state may allow Upstaters to have a government that reflects their values.
3) Protection over local interests. We are susceptible to NYRI, the flooding of the Catskill Valleys and other such tragedies because of our close connection to the City.
4) Development of an Upstate identity and Upstate culture. We could begin to emerge out of our 'shells' and express who we are to other Americans, foreigners and--of course--ourselves.
5) Between ourselves and NYC, there would be a net gain of 2 Senators. In addition, there would always be Senators from our region representing us in Congress; likewise, our Electoral Votes would be decoupled from the City's.
Disadvantages also mount on such a momentous idea as secession:
1) We are economically weak and benefit in many ways from our attachment to the City.
2) It would be a legal nightmare to break the two regions apart. This has not been done in a long, long time. We may have other, more pressing issues to deal with.
3) For Liberals in our region, there would be a relative weakening of status. This could be an advantage, if you're a Conservative.
4) We currently enjoy the prestige both nationally and internationally of the name "New York," we would most likely lose this in a secession event.
I, of course, have probably missed several advantages and disadvantages. What do you think of Upstate secession? A good idea? Absurd? Moreover, what would the new state be called? What do you think would be a good flag?
The idea of a flag--a uniting symbol--is one that I particularly like. A flag does not necessarily have to represent an independent state, there are flags for ideas and dreams. Thus, we will be accepting submissions of ideas for Upstate flags at firstname.lastname@example.org, they can be in JPEG or GIF format (or written if you're not much of an artist). We'll survey them, and if there are a number, submit them for public discussion. Perhaps it can become something of a logo for us to come together around to search for a new direction for our communities.