Friday, October 1, 2010

Why I became a Libertarian

My journey toward the Libertarian Party began roughly 10 years ago, almost nine years before it would dawn on me to formally register with this political party. Like more and more Americans in recent years, I found myself unable to identify with either major party.

Once I finally shed the mental blur – to which I like to refer as “partisan derangement syndrome” – that binds us to one party or the other and began taking that hard, critical look at the one with which I used to agree, politically I felt as though I was an island unto myself.

And then, the Tea Party movement arose in our country. I saw, lo-and-behold, that I am not alone.

What is funny from my perspective is when Libertarians discuss the Tea Party. The vast majority of the party’s membership here in Ohio are people who have been registered with it for years and their debates center on whether or not to reach out to the Tea Party and what would be the best approach. A number of longtime Libertarians have joined local Tea Party groups over the last year-and-a-half.

I, meanwhile, am the oddball in these discussions: I joined the party after identifying myself as a Tea Partier. Within a span of several months last year I went from fed-up voter to Tea Party activist to registered Libertarian to candidate for elected office.

Now, with a month to go before the general election, it is time to shed the last of my long-embraced comfort zones. In addition to the pair of debates coming around the corner on the calendar, the time to begin giving speeches is in high gear.

I can’t make any guarantees as to how interesting any of my speeches will be. I have not needed to stand before a crowd in that manner in over 12 years – in a persuasive speaking class in college.

Of course, if anyone reading this is willing to donate a teleprompter that’s a corner my campaign ought to be able to turn.

But speaking of my time in college, one of the lessons I still remember today best explains why I joined the Libertarian Party.

In 1998 I signed-up for Ferris State University’s Humanities 220 course – more simply titled “Intro to Logic.” In that class, we learned about what’s called the Either-Or Fallacy – where in a given discussion we are expected choose between agreeing with either Idea # 1 or Idea # 2; to solve a problem means adopting either Option A or Option B.

For most of the 223 years since our Constitution was ratified, this very notion has been applied to America’s election processes. We have been persuaded time-and-again to limit our focus as voters to either Candidate # 1 or Candidate # 2, to either Party A or Party B.

As we’ve witnessed over these past two years, the Either-Or approach to our political system brought forth sweeping winds of change to the balance of power in Washington – winds of change which have emboldened Party A to believe they can herd us all like cattle into accepting their legislative efforts – 2,000 pages at a time – regardless of how enormously unpopular they may be.

Of course, let us not forget that during the preceding eight years, Party B interpreted their position as King of the Hill as a mandate to run up discretionary spending by 50 percent and nearly double our national debt to $10.6 trillion.

A great many of us who are part of the Tea Party movement have come to understand the folly of the Either-Or method in politics – more commonly known as the Two Party system.

In recent years, the legislative majorities we’ve seen have left those who would serve as voices of reason ignored and disregarded, “We’re in control now. Let us do as we see fit.”

Introducing a third party to the political equation and splitting that power three ways both in Washington and our state capitals will force those career politicians who have taken to “nesting” on Capitol Hill to debate their policies more honestly as well as remind them to again pay attention to their constituents: We the People.

Electing Libertarians at all levels of government will send a clear message to everyone who has gotten comfortable in their various offices: “we are not pleased and – more importantly – we are paying attention.”

While the Libertarian Party is dedicated to reducing spending by shrinking the size of government, there is more to our philosophy on government than money and taxation.

Libertarians understand it is the individual who makes America great. It is the individual who creates prosperity through innovation. And, it is the individual who can best decide for themselves what path to take in life and how to raise their family.

A smaller government means a government that retains less authority to be able to intrude upon our lives and our industries.

Libertarians understand the most effective way to defend those values – true Christian values – which most of us here in America hold dear to our hearts is not by enacting new and potentially poorly-written laws – laws that serve mainly to expand the size of government and its role in our lives – but to begin eliminating old and failed legislation that has been proven to exacerbate society’s problems instead of solve them.

For nearly a century – and particularly these past five decades – those who have sought to represent We the People in Washington have steadily strayed – further and further – from the principles set forth by our Founding Fathers – those principles that guided them as they penned the Constitution of the united States of America.

Many times it’s been done under the guise of seeking “a new direction for America.” Either we try something new or stick to “the old way” of business.

I disagree with this mindset wholeheartedly.

The truth is America does not need another new direction. My goal in seeking the seat of U.S. House of Representatives, 4th District of Ohio, is quite the opposite.

It is not about finding a new direction for America but rediscovering the original direction – established by our Founding Fathers – that made this country great in the first place.

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