The state of politics across our fair state

Saturday, March 19, 2016

It's not often I agree with a lawmaker from St. Louis. But this time I might just change my mind.

A Democratic lawmaker from the big city has introduced legislation to make St. Louis the 51st state. Yep, he wants to secede from the rest of we rural folk and form a new state.

OK, so this legislation has zero chance of passage, of course. It's apparently just his somewhat humorous attempt to illustrate how far out of step the urban center is with the rest of the state.

If you pay any attention to state politics, you realize that the Democrat-controlled St. Louis holds views that do not play well in most of the state. St. Louis lawmakers are unanimous in their goal of greater gun control, higher taxes and expanded gay rights, just for example.

The Democrat says his legislation is an attempt to bring attention to the divide in the state, as if we didn't already know.

He blames the Republican-controlled Legislature for not imposing greater gun control that he believes would reduce crime in St. Louis.

He also says that the economic engine of the state starts and ends in St. Louis and Kansas City. He fails to acknowledge that some parts of the state have a fairly large base in the agriculture industry.

But he's from St. Louis and probably couldn't tell the difference between a corn crop and soybeans.

But he does have a point.

We do live in a divided state. But then again, so do Illinois and Tennessee and countless other states where the liberal Democrat urban areas compete with the conservative rural regions.

The politics of Missouri have shifted substantially in recent years. Missouri was once a solidly Democratic state and the Bootheel was most certainly part of that Democratic coalition.

But my have times have changed.

In Tuesday's primary election in Missouri, Sikeston voters cast almost 80 percent of their votes for the Republican candidates. Just a few short years ago, this would have been unheard of.

I have always argued that the issue is not the political party but rather out-state residents are generally more conservative and our comrades in the urban centers are clearly liberal in their thinking.

We don't need legislation to illustrate this difference. Spend just a day in St. Louis and the differences are obvious.

St. Louis will not become the 51st state any more than the Bootheel will become the 52nd state.

Wait a minute. The new state of Bootheel with its capital in Sikeston.

Maybe he's onto something after all.

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