Going separate ways might be best

There might just be some gumption and political initiative in the legislative branch of the New York state government after all.

Seems a state Sen. Joseph Robach and an Assemblyman Steve Hawley, have introduced Assembly Bill 391 into the State Assembly that would allow state voters the opportunity to vent to their opinion in a non binding referendum on dividing New York state into two separate states. It is an initiative that is well over 200 years past due.

Too bad other upstate Legislature members don’t have the backbone, cussedness and vision to get behind this. Rather than dismiss and criticize this effort, they might better transfer some of the flexibility currently found in their spines and swap it out with the rigidity found in their thought processes.

Even though this initiative has little chance of ultimate success, a resounding vote for it will dash any damnable illusions about New York being a united, harmonious state and prove to be a well deserved eminent embarrassment to current state political leadership. Through such an embarrassment might come some modest improvement in Upstate New York’s political fortunes in Albany.

The schism dividing the two halves of New York’s imperfect political whole is nothing new; this issue has lurked beneath the New York political landscape since before the American Revolution. Our common political direction would always seem to have lacked a shared vision. In a larger sense, perhaps harmonizing the needs and direction of a state with sectional political views as divergent and polarized as New York was never a realistic undertaking from the start.

A certain “nay” vote can be counted on from our current Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Despite his protestations to the contrary, here is a man exhibiting megalomaniacal tendencies, absolutely wedded to the corrupt, autocratic, “business as usual, Three Men in a Room” style of state government that has dominated Albany since the State’s first organization. If a “yea” vote were to result from this proposed referendum, it would be seen as a stark repudiation of Cuomo’s leadership; a fortuitous off-shoot would be the inglorious end of any national political ambitions he might have.

If the current proposal has a flaw, it is the proposed boundary the gentlemen set; they call for separating the state along the narrow confines of the New York metropolitan area as one entity and the remainder of the state as the other. The actual line they should advocate is simply extending the state line boundary of New York’s Southern Tier counties and Pennsylvania eastward, across the Hudson River to the Connecticut border. This would leave the City’s all important water supply largely within its own territory and placate Westchester County’s and Long Island’s liberal hordes. Such a sensible, “rifle-sight” boundary line might just tip the balance in favor of separation.

Granted, even if such a referendum revealed overwhelming support with state voters, it would be a long and difficult endeavor to ever effect such a separation. Nonetheless, the serial political corruption, excessive taxes, the unfunded mandates and disenfranchisement routinely served up since time immemorial by the corrupt Downstate political machine might finally come to an end for long suffering Upstate residents. The attempt is worth a shot; then perhaps, just perhaps, something Upstate New York has never known might just come to pass: a state government that had at least some semblance of a sensible, responsive, transparent, democratic process.

Nate Wilson, 67, is a lifelong resident of Sinclairville.