Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wash Post profiles the Free Staters

"I want to excite you to take hold of your liberty," Dan Itse, a New Hampshire legislator, tells more than 70 who fill the campground's TV room for a Friday afternoon declaration of state's rights to freedom from federal control. "You're the only one who can defend your liberty in the end."

The threat of overreaching government is not new, Free Staters say, but it is rising. They wonder if more Americans aren't starting to realize that, too - before it's too late.

Last fall's protests against the economic bailout has been followed by public disapproval of the Obama's administration takeover of General Motors. In 36 states, legislators have introduced resolutions modeled on Itse's declaring their sovereignty over matters including the right to bear arms, citing the Constitution's 10th Amendment, which delineates the federal government's powers. Free Staters approve - though they are distrustful of most politicians.

Still, they are convinced the country will eventually recognize the truth. Just have a look, says Free Stater William Domenico, pointing to 18 fresh recruits from Florida, North Carolina and beyond, piling off a bus after a day's tour.

"Why?" asks Domenico, himself a refugee from an over-licensed life in Colorado. "Because they want government off their backs."