Joe from Rogue River has a problem — and no, it's not whether the waters will crest and flood his property. Well, at least not yet, anyway.
Joe wants to leave the United States. And he wants to take you with him.
"The Federal Government has imposed policies on Oregon that are not in Oregon's best intrests, and we as citizens would respectively and peacably seperate ourselves from a tyranical Government who cares nothing about creating a sustainable future for our children."
Yup, Joe is one of those guys ... he's among the 14,951 (and counting) people who have attached their names to a petition seeking to have Oregon secede from the United States.
Now, before you go and call him Traitor Joe and line up overnight at his door, know that he isn't alone. Travis from Medford has signed up, as have Jennifer from Central Point, Mark from Ashland, Janis from Butte Falls, Dennis from Jacksonville and Esther from Grants Pass.
These folks, apparently, are serious.
"With the Federal Govenrment increasing it's size much larger than our Founding Father's intended, and it's abuse of power trumping over the rights of State constitutions, and the forcing of unconstitutional laws over it's own citizens," the petition states, "the people of Oregon would like the chance to vote on leaving the Union immediately."
If we are to take them at their word — if not their spelling — they're mad as hell and they're not going to take it anymore.
Oh, look, Melissa from White City has joined the fray. Voters there apparently not only don't want incorporation as a city, they'd rather be a non-municipality without a state ... since, of course, if Oregon did secede, we'd just be a country.
The concept of Oregon going its own way is as old as the notion of Cascadia in the 19th century and as recent as the mythical State of Jefferson, which dates to the 1940s.
In other words, if at first you don't secede, try, try again. Heck, Ashland already has its own foreign policy, so there's a starting block — although it's unlikely that the good people of Pendleton would be marching to the same drummer.
Then again, look at the Korean peninsula, where North Korea this week announced it had unearthed the remains of a unicorn lair in Pyongyang, which it says proves the North's capital should be the center of a unified Korea. Good news for Ashland there.
Oregon's population is roughly that of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and look how well the taking apart of Yugoslavia worked for that region. We also have slightly more people than Puerto Rico ... which, oddly enough, just voted to seek confirmation as the 51st state.
Well, 50th if Joe from Rogue River and his friends are successful. At least we wouldn't have to change the flag.
Apparently, our good neighbors aren't alone in wanting to see Oregon go its own way. Petition signees come from all 50 states, along with the District of Columbia and ... whoa! ... Puerto Rico, where the folks are apparently hedging their bets on the statehood issue.
Signees come from Battleground, Indiana, Friendswood, Texas, and Olive Branch, Mississippi. From Lincoln, Nebraska, and Wasilla, Alaska, where they can see this coming from their back porch.
Now, to be fair, we're way behind other states who want to become breakaway republics. The government's "We The People" website, which chronicles all sorts of petitions, tells us that Texas has five times the 25,000 needed signatures to have their secession wish taken seriously.
That's about 125,000 for you readers from Texas.
Scanning other petitions on the website, it appears that thousands of people want to see an investigation into the NCAA — specifically as to how it conducts its championship tournaments.
Come to think of it, this actually might be the reason for the Oregon secession petition. Becoming our own country would just about ensure that the Ducks would earn a spot in college football's national title game. No wonder there are more petitioners from Eugene than Corvallis.
Joe, Travis and Esther are mad at the government. That's clear. But as Daniel Day-Lewis once said, a nation divided against itself cannot stand. Just look at what the road of good intentions wrought over at JPR.
What are we going to do with the interstate highway? Examine passports while sentry guards ask about apples and oranges? Hand out maps to those driving from San Francisco to Seattle showing them their best available route will take them through Boise?
At least Jackson County already has an international airport.
Secession is taking immigration reform to an entirely new level. If we don't want Californians escaping into Oregon, just cut down the trees lining the border so they have nothing to hold onto when they make the leap.
If secession weren't mind-boggling enough, Slate magazine has posted an article with this charming headline: "If Every U.S. State Declared War Against the Others, Which Would Win?"
In this hypothetical event, which the online article dubs "the Second American Civil War, also known as the Wars of Reunification and the American Warring States," Oregon falls under siege from Washington state by Day 63, eventually joining what becomes known as The North West Union.
Eventually, however, the state is overrun by Californians (who couldn't see that coming?) by Day 112, when Eugene crumbles and the invading armies march on Portland. Imagine a game of Risk, without Kamchatka as an exit strategy.
Speaking of which, the secession folks have that covered as well:
"At any time that the citizens of Oregon felt the Federal Government was no longer imposing on the Constitution we could re-vote to again join the Union under a new agreement."
"At any time" meaning, in this case, that someone they approve of gets elected president. They don't want to leave; what they want is a revolving door.
Here's a news flash for Oregonian petitioners such as Patty from Unity and Kimberly from Independence, the United States of America isn't perfect. But it beats the alternative. After 236 years and change we remain an ever-evolving grand experiment, even as our friends and neighbors collect their Social Security checks while ranting about redistribution of wealth.
We're still a nation where anything is possible, where any man (there are limits to our limitlessness) can grow up to be president and an Albanian immigrant can team with a dumped reality-show fiancee to dance a samba to "Love Is A Highway" and receive a sparkly disco ball trophy for their efforts.
Anyone who believes that our nation, our government, our politics aren't going to change over time doesn't understand the course of human events. Hell, we're already on our fifth iPhone.
From which you can add your name to Joe's and Travis's and Esther's without giving it a second thought. It's how to play a role in this secession business without really trying.
Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.