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IT IS TIME WE did something to solve the Northern Virginia problem.
Let's get rid of it! Let's turn Northern Virginia into its own state.
North Virginia! Like North Dakota or North Carolina. We already have West Virginia so why not North Virginia?
It would be the inverse of the Quebec situation, in which that province has been attempting to secure its independence from Canada and become its own country.
Quebec wants to leave. I'm not sure how Northern Virginians feel about pulling out of the commonwealth, but there are plenty of Virginians who would just as soon see them go.
Realistically, Northern Virginia has little in common with the rest of the state. These people, for the most part, are more Northern than Southern and are far more at home with their neighbors in the Maryland suburbs than rural Virginians.
Like the inhabitants of Quebec, they speak a different language than the rest of us, conversing in strange geekish tongues that are more numerical and acronymish than simple, understandable English.
They worship education and their lives seem to revolve around their children's soccer fields. That's the yuppie creed: Soccer is our life; education is our god (copyright pending).
Their values are different. They seem to want only bigger houses, more educational degrees and less freedom. They want their children to study, not play, and they seem to delight in sitting in parked cars along freeways for hours at a time.
And these Northern Virginians want to impress their lifestyle on the rest of the state and bless us with their problems.
If creating the state of North Virginia seems ridiculous, take a closer look. The idea is not nearly as outrageous as it might first appear.
What would be the boundaries of North Virginia? Fairfax, Arlington and Prince William counties would make of the bulk, but parts of Loudoun County westward to Leesburg should also be included.
This would create a state almost as geographically large and twice as populated as Rhode Island. Its almost 2 million inhabitants would rank it about 38th in population in the United States, ahead of Vermont, New Hampshire, Delaware, Montana, Idaho and six other states.
North Virginia's population would be equivalent to Nevada, Nebraska, New Mexico and West Virginia.
In dealing with the state budget, Gov. Mark Warner has suggested time and again that the people of Northern Virginia should hold referendums to decide whether to raise taxes for roads and other improvements. Northern Virginians seem to agree with this idea.
Well, if it is self-determination these people want, let's give it to them. Let North Virginia become its own state and solve its own problems--the ones it created.
In fact, I don't think there would be too many objections
if North Virginia wanted to become its own country.
There would, of course, be numerous defections by those seeking asylum from the lifestyle of the new land, but that would be nothing new. The rest of Virginia has been dealing with such refugees for decades.
For years, Northern Virginians have told Richmond that they could do it better. Let's give them their chance to prove it.
I can see it now, a flag of blue flying over the Fairfax County Statehouse. In a red box in the upper left-hand corner of the flag there would be four stars surrounding a child with a schoolbook in one hand and a soccer ball in the other.
I have even come up with North Virginia's state motto: "We know how to do it better!"
OK, prove it!
DONNIE JOHNSTON covers the Culpeper area for The Free Lance-Star. Write him at The Free Lance-Star, 616 Amelia St., Fredericksburg, Va. 22401; or by fax at 540/373-8455.