Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Conch'd Out

On the subject of separatist movements, Steve Serbalik mentioned the Conch Republic in class yesterday. Here's what Footnotes to History has to say about it.

In April of 1982, the U.S. Border Patrol blocked Highway 1, which connects the Florida Keys with mainland Florida. The purpose was to search for illegal aliens and drugs, but it also impeded the lucrative tourism industry in the Keys. The Key West City Council passed a resolution declaring the secession of the Keys as the Conch Republic, in order to protest the action. The Conch Republic declared war on the United States and then, taking their cue from The Mouse That Roared, surrendered and applied for economic aid. A few weeks later, the roadblock was removed and the crisis ended.

Adam Holdridge's comment on the post concerning separatist movements ("What about the People's Republic of Santa Monica?") made me think of the Conch Republic. Perhaps it could serve as a model for the PRSM.

Incidentally, for those who are unaware of this, Santa Monica has long been known for its progressive public policies. The "People's Republic of Santa Monica" label is generally considered a conservative put-down of a city that believes in rent control, legislation friendly to homeless people and so on.

And, on a lighter note--and one that bears only the most tenuous relationship to the former topics (although it does get us back to conchs, which, because "conch" is pronounced "konk," is spelled "conchs" and not "conches")--here's a link to the New York Times Magazine interview with Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog. (Triumph, some of you will recall, said in reference to liberal talk-radio Air America, "I own a conch shell with more listeners.")