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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

One of the people I admire the most here in The Conch Republic, is the Secretary General of the Conch Republic himself, Sir Peter Anderson. Sir Peter, over twenty some odd years, has always been promoting The Conch Republic, both here and abroad. As our economy revolves around tourism, naturally he’s been immensely strong in this category. However, he’s also been a pillar in local community services over the years as well.

Sir Peter possesses the very rare quality of being an intellectual, with both a sense of humor, as well as common sense. In this day and age… or any other, for that matter, how rare is that?

Sir Peter’s says the Conch Republic is a “Sovereign State of Mind”. ”. Certainly I wouldn’t argue that, as it grants those not fortunate enough to live here,the freedom to call themselves citizens of The Conch Republic.

Myself, I also like physical boundaries. From my standpoint, everything Sir Peter Anderson states is wonderful, albeit, I like the physical aspect as well. Back a few years ago, Sir Peter flew to Fort Jefferson, in the Dry Tortugas, to quell a misunderstanding, so I consider that the beginning of the geographical western boundary of the Conch Republic. Continuing east, it picks up the Marquesas Keys, about thirty miles west of Key West and on through the Keys and up to The Last Chance Saloon, at the end of the eighteen mile stretch, in Florida City. This has always been the northern border, as this was where the original road block was set up that started the Conch secession to begin with. Naturally it also includes all of the islands in the Florida Bay, including Dildo Key, which lies six miles S.S/E of Flamingo. I mean… how could it not ?

Dealing with the public, both tourists and locals on a day-to-day basis, I’ll often pose the question “Well, you know you’re in a different country, right?”. I have yet to have anyone dispute the question. Sometimes it’s enlightenment. “Huh?…. Wow. You know? You’re right?”. Other times it’s reinforcement. “You’re not kidding!” or “Oh! Absolutely!”. To date, I’ve never had anyone say “Oh you’re nuts! This is the Unites States and nothing else!”

The Conch Republic is a state of mind, as Sir Peter says. Yet, it is a very different state of mind than one finds on the mainland. As all seem to agree, it’s a country unto itself. On the other hand, we’re all true Americans through and through. The Conch Republic is a country within a country. It’s also a country within a state. I had a customer off the cuff say “Well, from here we’re heading up to Florida”. The subject of the Conch Republic never rose prior to this, nor was it ever mentioned by name.

On the one hand, somehow I think that The Conch Republic could be used by the USA as a great go-between in international diplomatic sticky points. A non-official mouth they could speak through to work out issues. On the flip side, so few up there know how to laugh, they would most likely bring more condos, wreck the town totally, and push forward a mainland mentality. Nah, they'll just fuck it up. Maybe we should just leave it just exactly as it is…

Long live the Conch Republic and God bless it's boundaries, both in the physical sense and the State of Mind. :-)


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