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Bill Shipp - South Georgia should secede

The great water crisis proves at least one thing: Georgia should be divided into two states. The present single-Georgia system is not working.

If our senators and congressmen were in tune with the pressing needs of their South Georgia constituents, they would start pushing a charter for the state of South Georgia.

Time is running out. Metro Atlanta and North Georgia have become giant vampires, intent on draining South Georgia of its lifeblood and leaving little more than a dried-out wasteland.

Look what Portugal did to Mozambique. Or how Great Britain drew the boundaries of Kenya and Iraq. Our British cousins forced people who didn't jibe with each other to live in the same state. Inevitably, one side exploited the other - and civil war erupted.

If the state of Georgia (another dastardly English-created polyglot) goes through with its present, hastily drawn "water conservation" plan, you'll see the same cycle begin.

Under the cash-scented influence of gigantic Atlanta-centric developers, Gov. Sonny and his pals are working on a plan that would allow metro interests to tap into South Georgia's bountiful water supply. They would transfer the liquid gold meant for the plains into North Georgia so that developers could keep on developing.

Alabama and Florida have already made it clear: They want Georgia to quit slurping up more than its share of their common water resources.

If Georgia can't prey on neighboring states, why not do it right here at home? Georgia government can skip all that interstate legal hassling. We'll just take the water from our own hapless citizens below the Fall Line. Of course, a few palms in the Gold Dome may have to be greased to get the proper laws passed, but the guys in shiny suits know how easily that can be done.

Then the Atlanta barons can start piping the cool, clear water northward. Just think, Buckhead groundskeepers can get back to work. Developers can tear up more mountains and build more McMansions, this time with two swimming pools instead of just one. Economic developers might even lure a new brewery or two into the mountains. Good times will roll again, right along with the flow of South Georgia water.

Our feckless state leaders could then stop frowning and begin smiling again. They will be rich, rich. Sonny can stop dabbling in real estate and take it easy. Romeo Richardson can float away to Club Med and forget other matters.

This will only happen if we let it, friends, but there is another way.

Call Sen. Saxby Chambliss. Let's get the ball rolling for a brand-new state of South Georgia. Saxby understands the problem. Being from Moultrie, he'll be delighted to help. Tell him to draw up a petition to create the 51st state, South Georgia. Let's re-establish our first capital at Savannah or, better still, build a new one in Valdosta or Statesboro or Albany.

In no time, the new state of South Georgia, having escaped the clutches of Atlanta interests, could become a bustling commercial center rivaling parts of Florida. South Georgia could make its own water rules instead of having to kow-tow to those white-shoe lawyers in Buckhead.

Tifton could be the new Atlanta. Oops, I take that back. Tifton could become the shining city we always dreamed about on the Coastal Plains.

This is not a new idea. In the 1980s, several professors at the University of Georgia conducted extensive research on the disparities between North and South Georgia. As I recall, Gov. Joe Frank Harris of Cartersville was not impressed. He fired Dr. Talmadge Duvall, the main author of the Two Georgias scenario, a fellow who will undoubtedly be recognized one day as the George Washington of the great state of South Georgia.

Do not misunderstand. I do not advocate revolution. I simply subscribe to a peaceable and sensible revision of state lines to group people with similar interests and goals into their own province. And, of course, to prevent predatory legislative practices.

As things stand now, North Georgia and South Georgia are as different as toad frogs and hoot owls. People move from Atlanta to South Georgia all the time because, it is said, they "can't stand Atlanta anymore."

The idea of a state of South Georgia is so appealing that, if it caught on, I might even move from Acworth to Bonaire, to spend the rest of my golden years helping Gov. Sonny with his memoirs. Of course, I would have to be invited.

You can reach Bill Shipp at P.O. Box 2520, Kennesaw, GA 30156, or e-mail: shipp1@bellsouth.net.