Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mr. Bell goes to Washington..

For the most part, I don't get to town much. Hagerstown has a nice hardware store, and if it still had a lumberyard, I wouldn't have to venture out even as often as I do. Still, on occasion, a worthwhile adventure presents itself, and I wander out of my comfort zone.

I had the pleasure of visiting Washington D.C. for the first time in my life for a couple of days last week. Mark Rutherford, past chair of the Libertarian Party of Indiana, and John Vaught LaBeaume, editor of ElectionDissection.com , set up a chance for a few Libertarian candidates from Indiana to meet and conference with a few of the libertarian minded heavyweights in the nations capitol.

Mark accompanied Eric Schansberg, candidate for U.S. Representative, Steve Keltner, candidate for Indiana Senate,
and myself on a whirlwind one day tour.

We started out with the honor of meeting Dick Heller.
Dick Heller and me at the University Club

You may have heard of him. He's the Heller in the recent Washington D.C. vs. Heller decision that overturned the D.C. ban on the peoples ability to lawfully own a handgun. He's been in this fight for 5 years.

Apparently the powers to be in D.C. are unwilling to give up their control over their citizens so easily, though, and have instituted a different set of of overly restrictive laws in an effort to neuter the courts decision. Mr. Heller assured us that D.C. vs. Heller II is already in the works.

Thomas Jefferson said that "The cost of freedom is eternal vigilance". It's good to know Dick Heller is still on watch.

We took a tour of the National Libertarian Party Headquarters, and taped some interviews with Volunteer Coordinator Austin Petersen. I'm happy to say we found a lot of young people involved with the LP in D.C. I'm happy because some of us old guys could sure use the help.

Then we had lunch with David Weigel. He's one of the editors at Reason and Reason.com. It was quite a treat for me, as I have long been a fan of Mr. Weigel's writing style and analysis. Enough so that I linked Reason to my campaign website, and use it as one of the news and opinion feeds. If I wasn't a Libertarian, I'd say it should be required reading.

We found that Fred Smith of the Competitive Enterprise Institute is passionate about his desire for Libertarians and Libertarian candidates to communicate libertarian ideas better to the voters.
Fred Smith and me at the CEI offices

It's something we all agreed needs to be done.It's certainly something I'm going to work on.You can find a lot of solid support for the benefits of competitive free enterprise at www.cei.org .

We also took the opportunity to tour the headquarters of one of the premiere think tanks of the world, the Cato Institute. We had a round table discussion (minus the table) with Tim Lynch, the Director of Cato's Project on Criminal Justice.
John and Eric at Cato Headquarters

If you are familiar with the works of Cato, you would have to agree that there are a lot of intelligent people in Washington. Unfortunately, they're not always in the right places or positions.

As I said earlier, it was a whirlwind day. It ended with an informal (and noisy) meet and greet with a group of DC area Libertarians. Again, most of them were younger than me, and a lot of them were younger than my children, so they probably didn't think it was as noisy as I did, but all in all, a nice evening.

From the tidbit section:

There were 5 of us traveling from the University Club to the Darlington House. Three of the group climbed into the first cab, while Eric and I grabbed the second. I've waited 56 years to shout "Follow that cab!!!!". I don't think Eric or the driver enjoyed it as much as I did, though.

Apparently drivers in D.C. believe that honking your horn can displace matter.

I had the chance to do a little touring before my flight home the next day was delayed. I went to see the reflecting pond where Forrest Gump's speech wasn't heard. I don't know why they can't find someone to pick up trash and pull weeds in the area. Hopefully some of those TSA agents from the airport can help if we go off of the Orange Level Alert. That's all I have to say about that.

There are a lot of memorials in Washington, for a lot of patriots, both soldiers and statesmen, that have given their lives and fortunes in an effort to protect our freedom. I hope we decide that we are not going to give that freedom up to easily.

To anybody.

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