Fw: [wyfsp] Re: "Hold Your Horses"~Time for a reality check
- ----- Original Message -----From: Tim CondonSent: Sunday, June 15, 2003 8:01 PMSubject: [wyfsp] Re: "Hold Your Horses"~Time for a reality checkOkay everyone, a number of people have already weighed in on Ben's recent letter to all Western Porcupines. First of all, let me say that I appreciate him throwing out what he said for discussion. It is also commendable that he has said he following:
Upfront, I disassociate myself and those that have supported our Western efforts, from any secessionist groups or individuals...whether by region (East vs. West) or by state (Idaho, etc.).
Ben also wound up his post with the following words, which I believe are important:
It may be too late to change the ground rules; however, that too could be either determined by the directors, or voted on by all current members. One thing is certain. Now is not the time for secessionist factions and individuals to be fanning the flames. It is tough not fanning the flames or turning the other cheek when flamed (indeed, I've used two tubes of
Orajel to heel by bloody lips).
I agree with the above, and I appreciate the fact that Ben has moderated his tone, and even endorsed the New Hampshire Getaway gathering where Elizabeth McKinstry and I will be speaking next weekend. When I say thank you to Ben for that, I'm saying thanks to a guy who for spent a *long* time gleefully name-calling and twisting the tails of Eastern state supporters, who in turn of course sent volleys back at him, all of which is fine. *However*, as the vote has approached, the interplay among us all has gotten much sharper, much harsher, much more "personal." As a result I've repeatedly asked everyone to calm down...and to all of your eternal credit almost everyone has. (Amazing! Libertarians and other freedom-lovers can actually work together toward a common goal! I heard it was impossible!)
We are at a sensitive time in the life of the Free State Project movement. We all know that. It's because "the vote" is quickly approaching. Everyone, it seems, has gotten more uptight, more sensitive, more touchy. Thus our ability to calm down the rhetoric and tempers is a true credit to all of us.
With regard to Ben's suggestion, I make these statements only on my own behalf. I'm only one member of a five-man (okay, "five-person") board. To me, Jason is the undisputed leader, and he will continue to be. This entire movement came about because he had a seminal idea, at the right time. True, he's only one member of the board, but I think of him as first among equals. And, as it happens, he's out of town and pretty much out of touch right now. I'm sure he'll have something to say as soon as he gets back in touch. In the meantime, here's how I feel about it:
If you go to http://www.freestateproject.org/part_guidelines.htm you'll see the participation guidelines, which everyone knows about when they sign up with the Free State Project. There are only five paragraphs, and the last one merely says "if we change things around, anyone who wants to can bail out." There are two references to the state-choice vote being taken. One says that the vote will be taken when we get 5,000 members, and the other says that the Statement of Intent---which we all have to agree to when we sign up---will become "void" if the State isn't chosen "within three years after time of signing." That means that, in effect, the statement of intent starts to evaporate three years after 9/1/01 when the organization was formally launched. If we change the state vote provisions now, a whole cascade of changes happen. I was not one of the original members of the board of directors or the organizers; I came on fairly late (my "Porcupine number" is 894). However, I do know that the question of whe n the vote should take place was hotly debated among the people who *were* there at the time, including Jason, Elizabeth, Debra, Mary Lou, Amanda, and Steve. Some wanted to have the vote when some lower number was reached, some wanted to wait. The consensus number was 5,000, and I think it was a good choice, for several reasons. For one thing, look at the emotions running wild at this point over the "which state" issue. Think how much worse it will be if we prolong the process! I can tell you all that among the leadership we have been saying to each other, "please let us get to 5,000 so we can have the vote, please let us get to 5,000 so we can have the vote, please let us get...." I'm telling you all, it is *tough* to be in the crosshairs like we are, to have the awesome responsibility of leading this organization and being responsible for conducting the vote. That *alone* would be enough to make me say, "don't change it! For gawd's sake don't change it!& quot; Plus there's the problem of the wholesale changes that will cascade down on us if we made such a change.
But there's another reason too: "The first 5,000" Porcupines is a pretty goodly number of people who are willing to pledge their lives, their fortunes, and their families to probably moving to an entirely new state. "The first 5,000" will be remembered forever as those who stepped up and "made the choice of the Free State happen," when everyone else was saying "it'll never work," or sitting on the sidelines waiting to see which state is chosen, or even if the vote would take place at all. 5,000 is not a very small number; it's fully 25% of the 20,000 that will officially inaugurate the beginning of the migration (of course, the migration actually begins the very day the voting results are announced; many people have said they're on their way as soon as they find out which state has been chosen). It is neither too large a number, nor too small a number. It was chosen by consensus after quite a bit of debate, and I can see that it was a good decision. It is fitting and right that "the first 5,000" should make the choice. Why wait for thousands more to come on board? We are the sharp end of the spear. We are the vanguard. Every one of you who are reading this and who have signed up as members, you are the future of the FSP, because *you're* going to choose the Freestate. It shouldn't be any other way.
Ben, I repeat that I really appreciate you moderating your tail-twisting of the Easterners. And I appreciate the Easterners moderating their answering salvos. We must keep our heads about us now. The vote will be upon us within a month or two if we keep growing like we are. It must be taken at 5,000. I appreciate all the discussion, and appreciate everyone's opinions, but I will fight like hell as a member of the board to stick with the original plan, and have the vote when we reach 5,000 members. Thereafter it's a whole new ballgame, for all of us, and it will be *twice* as exciting as it has been up to now. Depend on it, Porcupines! As I always say, "Next year in the Freestate!" ---Tim Condon, FSP director of member services.
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