In November, the United States government shut down...no passports, no parks, no services...shut down over the budget. The Conch Republic immediately faxed the world the following:
"KEY WEST - The Conch Republic, "Americaâ€™s Own Little Country", is pleased to announced that it is unaffected by the U.S. Governmentâ€™s partial shutdown; and that anyone needing a passport can apply for a Conch Republic Passport (overnight service available) through the Office of the Secretary General.
The Conch Republicâ€™s Conch-sulates remain open in Atlanta, New Orleans, Maine, Switzerland, and Havana. All government services remain open in the Conch Republic.
We realize that the shutdown in Washington may further delay processing of the foreign aid we requested from Washington in 1982, but since we have been waiting for fourteen years, a few more days or weeks wonâ€™t matter.
Anyone desiring a Conch Republic Passport may conch-tact the Office of the Secretary General at 3O5-296-O213 for immediate assistance."
On day two of the shutdown we sent out, "Day Two, Conch Republic Still Open" and the text as it reads, above. Day Three, the same, and so on. Our persistence won a masthead editorial from the Editorial Board of the MIAMI HERALD in praise of the Conch Republic entitled, "A Stab at Nation Making" on Thanksgiving Day! Thank God for humor...", said the HERALD.
Things became less than funny, however, when the United States shut down again in December.
Our tour operators (who had lost a combined approximately $30,000.00 per day in revenues) during the Thanksgiving Holiday were facing the same devastating consequences in the single busiest time of the year, the Christmas week holiday.
Our report to the Nation on the steps we took to try to remedy that situation follows: â€¨The Taking of Fort Jefferson