It’s been approximately a year since I joined the Libertarian Party of Broward County. I jumped in with all my enthusiasm because I knew I had found my political home. I knew these were people who believed what I believed. I threw myself into learning the philosophy and the language of libertarianism. I became an evangelist. I wear a Gadsden Flag lapel pin and I have a “Libertarian” bumper sticker on my car because they are great conversation starters. I want to tell as many people as possible about what I’ve found in the LP because I truly believe everyone can benefit from it.
If only every member of our beloved party felt the same.
I have, in my short time in the party, been personally attacked. I have witnessed the kinds of palace intrigue that the writers of “House of Cards” would dismiss as too far from reality to work as good fiction. And worst of all, I have been trapped in the Libertarian Echo Chamber.
Too many libertarians are interested in being more libertarian than other libertarians, rather than creating more libertarians. They would rather win a pointless debate against a member of their own party than win a new member for the party they claim to represent. It’s the big stinking fish in a small pond mentality that has kept the LP from being a viable third option.
I had a conversation with a friend last week. He told me he knows in his heart he is a libertarian. I asked him why he hasn’t come to one of our events. He explained to me that he fears he will be shouted down. He is concerned that the issues that matter to him, while entirely in line with Libertarian Philosophy, might not fit our narrative and so he would be wasting his time. While I assured him this is not the case, he had a point.
My friend is a young, dynamic, attractive black man with a beautiful wife and three beautiful children. He is educated, intelligent, thoughtful, and photogenic. In short, he is a leader, and would make a great candidate for office. But we turn him off because we’re too busy trying to out-libertarian each other.
I understand how he feels. I’ve seen it from the inside.
Here in Florida, there is a little situation where letters are circulating in libertarian circles. It would seem a candidate for office has attacked an activist, reporting this activist’s immigration status to the federal government. This was the belief until the next rumor came out that this letter is a forgery, written by one of the candidate’s political enemies. We’re not sure yet, but we are trying to find out. I believe there should be no mercy for whomever wrote the letter, whether it was the candidate or the accused forger. I call for banishment. Expel them from the party and never let them back in because if siccing the federal government on someone isn’t a violation of our principles, nothing is.
The person who allegedly wrote the letter and set this palace intrigue in motion is not a candidate for office, not an elected official. In fact, I never heard of this person until this idiocy came to light. This person only wishes to destroy fellow libertarians. If found guilty, this person must be removed from our party. Forever.
State parties must focus on building local parties. Until we have a libertarian organization in every precinct of every state, we’ll never get a candidate in the state and national debates, much less elected to high office.
The way we will grow this party is by turning away from the echo chamber and sharing what we really are with the public. People need to know we are more than fat guys in thongs and hippies with boots on their heads. If we are to grow this party, we need to look outward. We can’t do that if we’re too busy fighting one another to become Lord High Commander of the Echo Chamber. If we’re going to keep doing that, we need to stop calling ourselves a political party. We need to be honest with ourselves and admit we are nothing more than a debate society.
Don’t convince me you’re a libertarian. That’s a waste of your time and mine. Convince others why they should be libertarians. Bring them into the loving embrace of the only political party that actually cares about them and respects them as individuals. It’s not hard to get someone to love us if they know what we are. But politicking, pissing and moaning about the system or the last election, and destroying our own won’t do it. We need to help them see why we are good for them. We are good for them, aren’t we?
Let’s stop arguing with each other. Let’s grow this damn party and save this country!
by Adolfo Jiménez – Vice Chairman, Libertarian Party of Broward County