I suppose the most monumental event for me, at least politically, was running for city council. Although involved in more elections than I can count, that race marked my first time as a candidate. It was a unique experience and I had the opportunity to meet a lot of folks that I may not have otherwise encountered. It also gave me an insight into my fellow candidates, viewing them from an angle that most voters would never know. Yes, the voters preferred other choices, but I’ve said that one win or loss isn’t as important as advancing the liberty movement. Taken as a whole, running was both rewarding and discouraging.
2014 marked the end of my 19 year involvement with the Republican Party as I was expelled from my local unit in February. It was disheartening to see the party place blind loyalty over their principles, but for far too many people in politics, values are a mere smokescreen to advance their own power. A few months later, about a decade after attending my first meeting, I joined the Libertarian Party. Although I am keenly aware of the potential pitfalls of political parties, it is difficult to promote and advance your ideas by yourself and have discovered a number of good people who call themselves Libertarian. I especially appreciated the opportunity to meet Will Hammer, the Libertarian candidate for House in the 6th, and Paul Jones, the Libertarian candidate in the 5th. Thanks also to Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian senatorial candidate, as well as John Buckley, the West Virginian Libertarian senatorial candidate and former member of the Virginia House of Delegates who helped my campaign. Also, I don’t want to forget Josh who created a fine website for me and Jonathan who crafted a bunch of campaign literature; thank you too to my friends that are still within the GOP. Before moving on, let me offer another big thanks and shout-out to Marc Montoni, the LPVA Secretary, whose assistance, advice, and friendship were valuable to me in so many ways.
I feel I should mention that earlier this year I faced a pretty significant political threat. Although I’ve been bullied by a variety of sources previously, this particular threat had a rather nasty sting to it especially considering it was done by someone who once declared me a good friend. I shouldn’t be surprised that some people in politics will say or do almost anything to try and achieve their goals, but that doesn’t make the encounter any less disappointing.
On a lighter note, I had the opportunity to learn a little bit firsthand about Guatemalan politics during my mission trip with my church to that country. Comparative politics is usually interesting.
I was glad that the radio show with Andy Schmookler on 550 AM WSVA continued and am grateful to Karen Kwiatkowski for filling in for me on two shows I could not participate due to my run for council.
I’m pleased to say that this website, The Virginia Conservative, still is going strong; it’s a little amusing that it continues to accumulate more fans that my run for council did. Not seeking to garner praise from any particular group or person, I pledge to continue to offer my candid thoughts and news into my seventh year.
Moving on to politics at JMU, I wonder if I am the first person to be refused entry to a meeting of the JMU CRs. I’ve been active in trying to promote college activism for years, but several months ago, like George Wallace enforcing segregation, a leader of that group blocked the door to their meeting and requested that I not come in.
Although I’m disappointed that Nick, the former leader of Madison Liberty, has graduated and left the area, I’m looking forward to seeing how Emery advances the group next year and plan to aid him however I can. I also hope that Students for Sensible Drug Policy continues to be a force on campus. Although my time with the JMU CRs was brief, I must I was glad for the opportunity to meet Christian, a like-minded activist, and hope he presses that group in a more principled direction.
Lastly, I’d like to take a moment and recognize two of my fellow former candidates for city council. Although we certainly disagreed on a number of issues, both Republican D.D. Dawson and Democrat Alleyn Harned showed themselves to be particularly worthy opponents and I appreciated their warmness and decency in a field that sorely needs it.
Have I missed something or someone? I have no doubt that I have. But please forgive me; after all, it’s hard to condense an entire year into a single post.
Best wishes to you all in 2015. Let’s see where the next year takes us!