Springtime in New England
NOTE: The opinions and commentary expressed in this essay are those of the author and are an exercise of free speech. They do not necessarily represent the views of Free State Project Inc., its Directors, its Officers, or its Participants.
Springtime in New England
by Lady Liberty
Spring is traditionally the time for new beginnings. This year, however, it's the autumn that brings new beginnings, at least for those who wish to plant and nurture the seeds of liberty.
On October 1, the results of a vote of the more than 5,000 members of the Free State Project were announced. The Free State Project is the embodiment of an idea suggesting that a sufficient number of political activists could work within the existing system to repeal unconstitutional laws and return us to a Constitutional republic, at least within a certain geographic area. Ten states with sufficiently low populations that 20,000 activists could make a measurable difference were considered. Of them all, the top vote-getter was New Hampshire.
When members signed on to the Free State Project, they agreed that they loved liberty and that they would help to achieve Constitutional freedom in one state to be selected later. They acknowledged that the state would be chosen by the results of a voting process conducted after the membership reached at least 5,000 members. They also promised to relocate to the chosen state within five years of the membership reaching 20,000 members. Those who signed the non-binding contract were also permitted to "opt out" of certain states they found entirely unacceptable for whatever reason. Some members were so enthused they listed no opt-outs at all.
Prior to the vote, the Free State Project website posted many articles and editorials written about the Project as well as informative columns supportive of one state or another. In the ballot package itself, each of the ten states under consideration had two full pages to make the case for itself. Aside from Delaware (it's difficult not to laugh when the first sentence of the pages intended to tout the benefits of a state say, "I don't live in Delaware, but I've driven through it a few times..."), the states each had very good cases made for them. In fact, the arguments in favor of a couple of states were convincing enough to change my intended voting order (although admittedly not that of my first choice).
And so, for those of us ready to consider the next important steps in bringing the goal of the Free State Project just that much sooner, it's springtime in October. The seed has been planted. It's now up to all of us to water it and watch closely for the first living shoots to sprout up. There are already signs of new growth. At least one website geared to help FSP members in researching New Hampshire and arranging to move there is now live (an FSP member residing in New Hampshire created Free State New Hampshire, which offers everything from job listings to statistics about various New Hampshire counties), and some natives of the Granite State have sent e-mails to the group offering their assistance in varying ways.
But for some, October 1 didn't herald spring and new life. Instead, it marked the onset of winter, a time when chill winds blow and nature herself dies, at least while the season lasts. Some active members of the Free State Project decided they weren't happy with the selected state and thus they're taking their ball and going home, or at least taking it to another playing field. A Western Free State Project (which claims it's not in competition with the Free State Project, but which says it would like to get all of those FSP members who don't want to go to New Hampshire to join up) has begun to organize.
It's not that I have any objection whatsoever to more than one Free State. In fact, I'd like to see a dozen of them. And then 27, and finally all 50 of them. But people like me aren't a majority. In fact, we're barely large enough to call ourselves a minority. While it's true that the seeds for the first Free State have been sowed, it's also true that the hardest part is yet to come, and that's recruiting another 15,000 members. We need every single existing member we can get, and then many more new members in order to make a real difference! And one thing that makes the retention and the growth difficult is not the fact that New Hampshire has been selected as the destination state, but that a move seems rather a matter of convenience as opposed to principle for too many.
I want to live in a free state in my lifetime no matter what I have to do to get it. I didn't place Montana high on my voting list, but if Montana had won, I would have made the move. I didn't rank Alaska first, either, but I would have gone. Frankly, New Hampshire isn't a lot more convenient for me than Idaho would have been. But I'll get there. I'll make the move not because it's easy, but because I want freedom - or at least a good try at it - far more than I want anything else. I won't be alone as an individual in my efforts because there are a number of other FSP members already talking about making the move themselves. But will the group be alone because we don't have enough people to finish what we started, either because of disenchantment or competition?
If you're a member of the Free State Project already, I sincerely hope you're planning to move. If you're not a member, please consider becoming one. Remember that moving to New Hampshire need not even be permanent. At some time in the future, as it's shown the Free State Project can work and work well, the Free State Project will expand or other states will decide to follow in New Hampshire's footsteps. Perhaps one of those states will be the one you would place first on your own voting list. In the meantime, consider your sacrifice to be your own small contribution to this new revolution, one in which muskets and cannons are replaced by resolve and political activism.
Some time ago, I wrote that the Founding Fathers risked everything, including their lives, to establish a free nation. I compared that with the fact that all the Free State Project is asking is that we pack. The New Hampshire state motto is "Live Free or Die". Yet no one need bleed in this battle. No one will have to die to restore the Constitution and Bill of Rights. In fact, the only casualty could prove to be freedom itself if even those who profess to love it will only nurture it when it's most convenient for them to do so.
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