Friday, October 15, 2010

Are we there yet?!?!

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win." - -- Mahatma Gandhi

10 years ago, when I happened across Harry Browne on C-Span speaking at their national convention, I had never heard of Libertarians or the Libertarian Party. I liked what Mr. Browne had to say, and the more I read about the Libertarians, the more I liked what they stood for. It was quite a change from the Republican ideology that I had become comfortably accustomed to, and required a re-examination on my views of the proper role of government, but after a couple of years I was pretty much converted.

Third parties face an uphill battle in Indiana and the United States. The major parties place obstacles to keep them off of the ballot. Even after achieving ballot access, the Libertarian Party has struggled in many areas of the country to be included in debates and election coverage. There have been a few exceptions, and local newspapers in this area have been very fair and accommodating to our candidates.

Anyway, what started as an unheard of political party with a few candidates getting 1% or 2% of the vote, has become a party that this year is running over 100 candidates across the state. Libertarian candidates have won local elections, and many candidates finish with 30% or more of the vote.

We can't say that we have won yet. We haven't reached major party status, and we haven't started winning at the state level. We don't have as many candidates as we would like to have, and some of our candidates aren't as engaged as we would like them to be.

But Libertarians aren't being ignored as much as they used to be, and as more and more people gain an understanding of Libertarian positions, it's getting a little harder to ridicule them.

As for the fight part, I keep a blog over at the Palladium-Item website called TheBellCurve 3.14159. In the last week there were a couple of pretty nasty attacks against Libertarians. One couldn't understand the national platform, and another one tried to blame a failed government operation on them. While their attacks were misguided and ill informed, I guess it's better than being ignored.

I was heartened by the number of people who stepped up to point out the errant bloggers mistakes. I don't know if that would have happened just a few years ago.

I don't suppose either one of those bloggers will ever accept the personal freedom and personal responsibility that Libertarianism both offers and requires.

But that's okay. When we finally win, they can get together and live their lives as they see fit.

As long as they let me do the same.

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