Will New York secede?

There seems no exit now from the “monster of Monticello” — the headline that blazoned across the unbearably light op-ed pages of The New York Times not long ago. Not since George III has there been such a deep and venomous chant hurled at Jefferson, the father of American vision and transcendence. And coming from these thin reeds — Bono visits these pages on occasion — it brings palpitations. The piece was soon followed by another op-ed proposing America acknowledge that the U.S. Constitution is filled with “archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions,” and we should extricate ourselves from its bondage and move toward an “unwritten constitution,” like that of Britain. Got the picture. And New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, from one of the newer royal New York families, says he intends to ban guns there and other states will follow. Note to the young prince: I’ve been to the other states. Probably Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont will follow. Most of the others pack.

And rural distant quarters of Massachusetts want to keep Christian groups out of schools, The Wall Street Journal reports. There are a lot of Buddhists in that region, including myself. I recently attended a Buddhist funeral at one such school. There may be a way to do these things. Virginia legislator Jim LeMunyon has long called for a Constitutional Convention. Massachusetts and New York might sign on with the 20-some other states to pitch their pleas.

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But New York is really asking to secede. It wants to get away from the gnarly redneck states where people like Sarah Palin shoot moose and bears and varmints and cook them up on the Weber and eat them. They just haven’t crossed that river yet. But it is on the horizon. It’s been crossed over up here in Vermont since Carolyn Chute (“The Beans of Egypt, Maine”) and professor Thomas Naylor (“The Second Vermont Republic”) first proposed that Vermont secede at the beginning of the Bush invasion. The bumper stickers are common now. It cross-cultured dramatically among conservatives in New Hampshire during the Obama administration. Now it is slouching back.

Possibly New York’s nostalgia for the bucolic pre-constitutional state is just the afterglow of the delightful Downton Abbey; we default back every 20 years or so to England, like the Alaska sled dogs that need to breed to the wolf every third generation to keep their vigor. And New York probably does have greater kinship to London than it does, say, to Boston or Philadelphia. Or Dallas, or Raleigh or Deadhorse or Scottsdale, where it has none. But before they sign on to the new living constitution “like Britain’s,” bear in mind that when it comes to it, Queen Elizabeth II, acting within the constraints of “convention and precedent,” does have a say ( in declaring war, making peace, directing the actions of the military and negotiating and ratifying treaties, alliances and international agreements, etc.) and that is what makes it “living” — it can change with the times. Which may not be so bad, but how about Prince Charles? Or Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, she of the very large hat?

But then maybe young Andy is the man who would be king. Or Mike Bloomberg.