Monday, November 10, 2008

What made me a Libertarian? One Libertarian's look at the events that made him choose the Libertarian Party.

I am a Libertarian. I am 33 years old. I have a high school diploma and most of a two year degree completed. I believe in education as the most important thing a person can achieve, and as such have educated myself far beyond my college courses in my free time. I believe in the power and sanctity of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I abhor the values set forth by the modern Republican and Democrat parties. I am a Libertarian. What brought me to choose this road in my political life?

As a small child, I remember by parents being staunch Republicans. Being so young, I didn't really understand what that meant, but as a child, I looked up to my parents, and called myself a Republican as well. A few years later, I remember elementary school civics classes. I remember my teacher defining the Republican party (during the early Regan years) as a party that wanted to ensure a small government, and largely remain out of the lives of the average citizen.

Now, I've always, as long as I can remember, been happiest when I've been left to make my own choices. I've always had a problem with authority. For the most part, I've also been willing to suffer the consequences of my independence. Growing up, my family believed strongly in spankings. My father had been raised with an oaken paddle often laid on his ass. He preferred to discipline me with bare-assed spankings. I received a lot of them over my juvenile years. I was never afraid of getting them, as if I was getting a spanking, it was because I did something that made me happy, but not my parents.

My issues with authority continued through my school years, resulting in detentions, even in elementary school, when my peers hadn't even heard of them. Most often the cause of these punishments were because I stood up for myself, spoke my mind, or disobeyed rules I didn't agree with.

To continue my thought from two paragraphs ago, I remember a teacher saying the Republican Party was one that stayed out of people's lives. I really identified with that notion, even though I lacked any real understanding of the practical workings of the political world. In the school's mock elections in 1984, when I was nine years old, I voted for Regan as the President, as he was the Republican, so surely he was all about leaving us alone - besides, he had been the victim of an attempted assassination in 1981 - that made him really important, didn't it?

As I grew older, in my early teens, many of my peers started siding more with the Democrat party. As my political awareness grew, some of the ideas of the Democrat party seemed reasonable to me, but others seemed like they wanted to dig too much into my own life. I had really adopted the anarchist political beliefs, thinking that it'd be great if there were no rules, and I could do anything I wanted. My political knowledge was still less than adequate.

My freshman year in high school, 1989-1990, the school newspaper published an editorial article about the Libertarian party. It was a scathing review, calling them Anarchists, anti-Christian, and generally completely crazy. It completely appealed to me. I researched them all I could, both between my father's technology fetish - we had brand spanking new 486 PC - so I had access to some of the local BBS boards, AOL, and limited internet access, and a quite liberal use of my library card, often spending my weekends digging through the card catalog for hours, trying to find that one book that would help to further explain the Libertarian party to me.

Finally, my senior year of High School came (1992-1993). With the exception of a couple of students that had been held behind, almost none of my graduating class would have been old enough to vote in the 1992 election. Later in the school year, when a good part of the class had turned 18, we were called to an assembly, in which we were further educated on the two major parties, and asked to register to vote. Having not fully made my decision, I registered as an independent, even after being told that as an independent in Maryland, I would not be able to vote in the future primaries. I simply replied with, "I don't think either major party really represents my beliefs, and I don't know enough about any third party to really make a choice." I had not been happy with Regan's later years.

After high school, I attended a local community college, pursuing a major in technical theater, hoping to eventually transfer to the local state university to continue towards a Bachelor's degree, after having completed my AA degree. It was during college that I really started solidifying my political opinions. Most of my college friends were quite liberal, and really supported the Democrat Party. With a few convincing arguments from them, I registered as a Democrat before the 1996 election. In that election, I voted for Clinton's re-election. It was the first Presidential election I had ever voted in (or had been allowed to vote in). The charge I felt after my candidate had been officially re-elected made me want to exercise my vote as often as I legally could.

After that election though, I continued to mature politically. While I remained a registered Democrat, I found that my votes most often went to more conservative candidates - specifically those that wanted to shrink the government and uphold the Constitution. I was reverting to the values taught to me many years prior. The values that meant so much to me as a child - keep authority out of my life.

In 2000, I was still a registered Democrat, and voted for Al Gore - the one thing I knew was that GWB was going to destroy this country. I seriously considered changing my party affiliation after that, but stuck with the Democrats as I became increasingly more pissed off about GWB's Presidency.

In 2004, I left my party affiliation as Democrat, in a personal campaign of "anyone but Bush". I voted for Kerry in both the primaries and the general election that year. I didn't really agree with his politics, but I knew that Bush needed to be removed from office. I lost in a second stolen election.

Finally, by the time 2008 rolled around, and the Presidential elections had been rolling already in earnest, I, having the greatest political knowledge of my life, finally re-registered as a Libertarian. The woman at the voter registration booth reminded me, "You know, registering that way, you won't be able to vote in the primaries..." I replied with, "I know, but frankly, neither the Democrats nor Republicans really support anything I believe in. I cannot, in good faith, support either party. Besides, if real change is ever going to happen, the Libertarians need all the support they can get."

Backtracking a bit to the end of 2007, when the primary campaigns started in earnest, I had seriously considered registering as a Republican so I could support McCain. After all, the last time he ran, he was a far better choice than Bush. He seemed to want to be an old-school Republican. How things change... By the time I re-registered, I knew goddamn well that McCain was no candidate for me.

I had gotten involved in the Ron Paul whirlwind. Honestly I felt that he was the best candidate running - and the only one that really supported my own beliefs in how the government should be run. I donated to the Ron Paul campaign - twice (even when I couldn't afford it). I convinced my mother (a lifelong Republican that has become disenfranchised with the current party) that Ron Paul was the best candidate out there - and she, bless her heart, voted for him in the primaries, in total agreement with his campaign to return to Constitutional values.

To this day, I feel that Ron Paul is the man for the job. With the exception of his age (McCain was slaughtered on that issue alone, and Dr. Paul would be older, if he were to run in 2012), I'd love to see him run - and win - in 2012.

What really made me become a Libertarian?

The short answer is this: George W. Bush.

The long answer is this:

Ever since I was a child, I've believed in the sanctity of personal freedoms. I've believed that America is the land of the free. As my political awareness has matured, I believe that America was founded by outcasts, refugees, rebels, and criminals who all shared one common desire - freedom. I believe in the Constitution, the Bill Of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. I believe in human rights. I believe in "By the people, for the people." I believe in freedom, liberty, and the right of the people in their of pursuit of happiness. I believe in all humans being equal, regardless of race, color, creed, gender, national origin, or sexual preference.

I believe that the Libertarian Party is the one that can bring America back to these core, fundamental, and sacred rights and values. I believe in America.

That is why I'm a Libertarian. That is why I still maintain hope for this country. That is why I actively campaign against the foolhardy machinations of the Republicans and Democrats.

I believe that America can once again belong to the Americans.

I am Libertarian.

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