My Great Libertarian Party Adventure | Street Jazz

Thursday, March 1, 2012

My Great Libertarian Party Adventure

Posted By on Thu, Mar 1, 2012 at 11:30 AM

I have been fascinated by all things political for many years, but it wasn’t until 1988 that I took my first serious steps into the political pool. Up till then I has been content to do what every citizen should, stay informed on the issues, and vote. I also wrote scads of letters to the editor over the years, about all sorts of issues.

But in 1988, as I say, I was pulled in even further, and decided to run for Fayetteville’s City Board of Directors.

I’ve written about my three failed campaigns before - “How I got a Mandate from the People” - and I’ll post that here at some point, so I won’t talk about that particular election much. I will tell you this much - I came in last in a five man race. There. Happy now?

Fayetteville didn’t switch over to the mayor/council form until 1992, so in 1988, a person running for a seat on the board of directors had to hope for votes from across the entire city, and you didn’t represent just one distinct ward, as aldermen do now.

Around this time some of the people I respected very much convinced me to begin attending Libertarian party meetings. Now, I already knew a lot about my own personal beliefs, but not an awful lot about the Libertarian Party, so I agreed.

Later, in a fit a political madness, I represented myself to strangers as Libertarian. Sadly, often these strangers knew a lot more than I did.

This came up as quite a problem when I was trying to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot for the board of directors race. Though you didn’t have to declare a party, quite often folks would ask what party I belonged to, and in my sort-of-youthful innocence I’d say, “Libertarian.”

For some, it as if I had announced that I had not only just run over their dog, but I’d be looking for their cat the next day. A number even refused to sign my form, not wanting to allow a Libertarian even a chance to be on the board of directors.

Which was sort of silly, really, when you think about it, since Fayetteville was actually run by a City Manager. That was why we had the 1992 revolution; people really didn’t unelected managers running City Hall.

So there I was, a guy who thought he was up on his politics, who thought he was pretty sharp. What was going on? My fellow Libertarians seemed pretty nice, and they cared about what was going on in our community. It was the Clarion Inn meetings (at first we met at a bar on Dickson) where I began to get the feeling that just perhaps I was little out of my depth.

I am what some conservatives might slur as a “knee-jerk” liberal, though my views on some matters are a little conservative. And any opinion I have is because I have thought about carefully, and read about it, and talked it over with others. Pretty much like you, I suspect.

Well, I won’t bore you with the details of our meetings. If you are pro-Libertarian or anti-Libertarian, you have heard all the arguments before. Let’s just say that the basic Libertarian philosophy and I part company when it comes to looking out for our fellow human beings. There are no Ayn Rand books on my bookshelf.

Besides which, she’s a horrible writer.

The last meeting I attended had some moments of unintended hilarity, though no one was laughing.

We began talking about the minimum wage, and workplace safety. And this nice young couple from out of town were adamant that the government had absolutely no place in sticking its nose in that sort of thing. The “marketplace” would take care of everything.

On the subject of abortion, however, they were quite adamant. The government should ban any and all abortions - with no exceptions for the victims of rape and incest.

Though the discussion grew quite animated - and went on far too long, really, since nobody was going to change anyone else’s mind - it sort of sealed the deal for me on whether or not I was ever coming back to the Libertarian Party.

I never did.

I’d like to say that I learned my lesson, but two years later the same man who convinced me to give the Libertarian Party a try persuaded me (and several others) to run for Washington County Quorum Court as Republicans, so that we liberalize the local party.

Without even having to read my article, I think you know how well that turned out.

******

What do you mean you gave your Seed Money to someone else?

Every so often when I channel surf I happen upon a religious program with this heavy-set man and his obviously adoring wife, who seems to just wake up and open the Bible with his eyes closed and selects a Bible verse for his “lesson” that week.

The chapter and verse will have great meaning, because that will be how much you should tithe to his ministry, and he read read - and read again - the verse from the Bible - and tell you how many weeks or months you should send this (love offering?) so that Good Work can continue to be done.

I* know it’s perverse, but I keep wanting to call and say:

“You know, I have been so inspired by you that I have called Planned Parenthood and donated that exact amount of money in your name.”

*****

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A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something. - Frank Capra

sdrake@cox.net

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