"Live Free or Die"
- New Hampshire motto
"Conviction is worthless unless it is translated into conduct."
- Thomas Carlyle
His name was Sean Flaherty, a diminutive, dark-headed Irishman's son, and I had the severe misfortune to be seated next to him in algebra class at the beginning of my freshman year. The math was bad enough - I never had a head for the stuff - but what made the class intolerable was Flaherty's mouth.
It was the dominant part of his personality, and he couldn't help livening up the room with colorful invective. Unfortunately, most of it was directed at me. Barbs about my acne, gangly appearance, etc. elicited laughter from my gangly, acne-faced classmates, who tittered like girls because the puberty hormones hadn't yet kicked in. I hated taking it on the chin that way, but I was scared to death of fighting. So to spare my miserable hide, I just laughed nervously along with the other 40 children in the room.
Then, one day, in the middle of a boring lecture on numbers, it happened. The under-the-breath jibes, the infuriating grin, the quiet, mocking laughter all coalesced to produce a real-time example of Newton's Third Law. In other words, I snapped. It was just a quiet, little pop, actually, which no one noticed but me. But suddenly, irreversibly, it was better to get bloodied than to just silently take the abuse. Flaherty had finally pushed all the right buttons in sequence. I'd had enough.
"Don't ever say that to me again."
Silence dropped like a guillotine blade. Mr. Tayzak's numbers-laden monologue froze midstream. Everyone, and I mean everyone, stared at us.
With a dismissive smirk Flaherty loudly replied, "Yeah? And what'll you do?"
I never blinked. "I'll bust your head."
The surprise on his face was priceless. A shadow of fear flitted across his eyes and he faked a puny laugh, looked away, and never bothered me again. Mr. Tayzak smiled faintly and continued his lecture. And I discovered that self-respect felt real good.
I learned a valuable lesson that day: If you let people stomp you, they will.
The issue of state sovereignty has cannon-balled in the past three weeks. It is long overdue. Some 20 states have either drafted resolutions against federal interference or are in the process of doing so. Thankfully, Alaska's own House Resolution 9 "serves as Notice and Demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers ..."
Since the passage of the fiat money bailout, which blithely promises Americans that our "representatives" can spend us out of debt, more and more states are experiencing the first sluggish awakenings from a federally-induced hypnotic trance. The sparkly medallion swung back and forth before drooping eyelids, of course, is the so-called "funding" that a state gets if it grovels enough before the federal hierarchy. Unfortunately for the Washington, D.C., conglomerate, with a deficit in the trillions, a probable depression looming, current taxation nearly astronomical, multiplied millions out of work and American freedoms melting like snowflakes under a desert sun, many average folks have drawn a line in the sand.
The New Hampshire resolution was killed in the state house, apparently by those who either cannot comprehend or view with utter contempt the state motto. Happily, those same who voted against it will be remembered as federal lackeys and now face a constituency who've had a gutful of being legislatively bullied.
Yet, this movement is merely so much rhetoric unless it is coupled with decisive action. If H.R. 9 means anything - and it certainly should, given our own proud motto - then the people of Alaska have declared that we are taking a stand, finally, and that threats and intimidation from our self-described betters in Washington won't work anymore.
Freedom has grave responsibilities. We're about to find out if we're worthy enough to carry them, or if we are to shoulder the accusation from another era, spoken to another complacent people: "Crouch down and lick the hand that feeds you; May your chains rest lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen."