Opinion

Take South Florida’s proposed split seriously

As election season begins to kindle patriotic sentiment, keep in mind that our beloved national flag may soon be imprinted with one more star.

In a resolution that passed 3-2 among the city commission and the mayor, the city of South Miami recently proposed that the region of South Florida break away and form its own state.

With some possible revision, this resolution has enormous potential to succeed and should not be written off as just another misguided secessionist movement.

According to the resolution, southern Florida is only 15 feet above sea level on average, and the region will be one of the first to disappear as a result of ongoing climate change. Northern Florida, on the other hand, is about 120 feet above sea level.

The resolution argues that this discrepancy renders the state government, located in Tallahassee, insufficiently sympathetic to South Florida’s plight, and to avoid political deadlock and most effectively address the immediate dangers it faces, South Florida must form its own state.

Similar secessionist campaigns have punctuated United States history, but all have failed. This one, however, is different. It centers not around political disputes, but on the debilitating effects of climate change.

Of course, the road to statehood is cluttered with obstacles. The resolution would claim crucial economic areas for the state of South Florida. The 24 counties that would compose it currently generate about 69 percent of the state’s revenue, and the government in Tallahassee is unlikely to let these areas simply slip away.

Perhaps the exclusion of Disney World from the new state would grant the resolution a greater chance of success.

In addition, it is unclear what specific policies only statehood would permit South Florida to undertake. The proposal might appear less outwardly farcical if examples were made public of the Tallahassee legislature blocking measures against climate change.

At any rate, South Florida is doomed to disappear from the U.S. in one way or another; whether it does so by becoming its own state or by being swallowed by the rising ocean remains to be decided.

The issue has not yet been put to public vote, but it is not too early to begin spreading awareness about the proposal. A possible revision to America’s fundamental structure deserves attention, at least by those whom it would most affect.

So as you navigate the streets of Miami, consider whether or not you would prefer to do so in scuba gear, and translate your conclusion into active advocacy of the methods that could prevent Miami from turning into a barnacle-encrusted ruin.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

October 26, 2014

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The Miami Hurricane


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