Despite secession talk, breaking up is hard to do

The move for independence, whether it’s from the right of the political spectrum as in Texas, or the left as in California, reflects the political division felt across the country, said Edward Meisse, a supporter of the Yes California secession group that just disbanded. “We have two diametrically opposed philosophies in our country, and we’re just not getting anywhere,” he said. “I think we should allow states to secede so California can be California and Texas can be Texas.”

Nationwide, interest in seceding is fairly strong. An online survey by Reuters in 2014 found that nearly one in four Americans want their state to secede. The desire was highest — 34 percent — in the Southwest, which includes Texas.

In some areas of the country there is no organized effort to split from the U.S., just a feeling that “we’ve been left behind and no one cares about us,” said Dwayne Yancey, editorial page editor of The Roanoke Times who in March wrote what he called a “tongue in cheek” editorial, “Should Southwest Virginia secede from the rest of Virginia?”

“Historically we have felt left out, and a number of those issues are coming to a head,” Yancey said. Southwest Virginia is mostly rural, white and poor. Coal mining has declined dramatically, although the city of Roanoke has had a stable economy with Virginia Tech University and other employers, he said. Yet, the feeling is that the state Legislature in Richmond is “not doing right by us here.”