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08/23/2003 Archived Entry: "Free State balloting"

MULLING MY FREE STATE PROJECT BALLOT THIS MORNING OVER A CUP OF TEA. How marvelous it is to be holding this thing in my hands. Who'd have thought, just two years ago when Jason Sorens & Company had the horrendously bad timing to announce the FSP just before 9-11 drove it and everything else out of people's minds, that 5,000 of us would be making the Big Choice so soon (or ever)?

Merely to have gotten this far is astonishing.

Before I got the ballot, I thought my choice would be easy. In this voting you rank the 10 candidate states according to preference. I figured Montana first, Wyoming and Idaho next (because I'm a westerner), New Hampshire (because they've done such a darned good job of persuading Porcupines that even the east has its virtues) ... and after that, everybody else. Maybe with a four- or five-way tie for 10th place.

But now that I'm holding the ballot, I want to linger lovingly over it, as if it were a menu in the world's best restaurant. Reading the state reports that came with it, I revel in the virtues of Maine (Maine!) and South Dakota. About the only states that fail to convince are North Dakota (face it; no one would move there on purpose) and Delaware. Every time I read the Delaware report's opening line -- "I've rarely been to Delaware (just driven through, mostly)" -- I start laughing so hard I can't go on. Wow, what a ringing endorsement for poor old Delaware!

But to my surprise, the state that catches my imagination is Alaska. I used to want to live there when I was a kid. It seemed so exotic, so beautiful, so harsh ... and so far away. But be sensible. Alaska? Would 20,000 agree to move there for liberty's sake? I hadn't seriously considered it. It was going to be #5 in my balloting, only because so many other states seemed weaker. And because, well, it rates somewhere in my heart merely for being the Ultimate West. But then a friend whose brains I very much respect, and whom I'd figured all along as a Wyoming-Montana supporter, showed me her vote. Alaska, No. 1. And she piqued my curiosity and my curiosity fired my imagination. Vermont carry. Legal pot possession. Forty percent of the nation's fresh water. That endless ocean shore and long, long border with Canada (if it ever comes to secession -- which isn't the FSP's goal -- what could be better? And that border is perfect for free-market importing, as well). Low, low, low taxes. Big spaces with very few, and very independent people. And suddenly, all those kid desires for adventure and majestic beauty soared back into my heart.

Alaska ... hmmmm. No. 1? I dunno. But Alaska ...

Posted by Claire @ 10:46 AM CST

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