A Guest Post by David Benjamin Dull
To start, I feel it is important to explain how I was raised, and where my roots are. My father is a die-hard, Trump supporting, racist, social conservative and his parents were social conservatives as well while my mother is a bit of a hippie, but a conservative hippie. I was raised to vote Republican and did so starting with George Bush in 2000 when I was 18. I was never “involved”, never did any research and didn’t pay attention to the issues even though I smoked cannabis, was pro-choice and had close friends who were/are homosexual.
All of that changed, however, in the fall of 2008 when I accidentally ran across a motivational YouTube video for libertarian godfather Ron Paul who was running for the Republican presidential nomination. Without a shred of hesitation, I am proud to say the words of this modern-day prophet made me openly weep. For the first time in my life, my worldview was challenged in a way that was informative and more importantly, not condescending, which was needed to get thru to me.
Did I run right outside with my pitchfork and torch, ready to burn down the capitol? No. I spent a long time combing the internet for input. I researched Austrian economics, free-market solutions, non-interventionist foreign policy, individual sovereignty and ending prohibition. I began talking less and listening more. Eventually, fully confident that my new worldview was solid, I ventured out into the political realm by attending my first Tea Party Tax Day rally in DC in 2010, which featured to my surprise, Ron Paul himself. And yet, I still didn’t know how to get involved.
I left Baltimore and bought a home in Virginia Beach, and knowing no one political in the area, remained the guy who protests on social media… …until my mother sent me a friend suggestion for a local anarcho-capitalist. Finally, I had someone in my town I could share my disdain for waste, fraud, and abuse with! And what’s more, when a mutual friend commented about the Ron Paul 2012 campaign and I jumped right on that asking how I could get involved. I was directed to attend a dinner in Newport News across the river. The night of that dinner, I met a dozen libertarians who have become like family. Never in my life have I ever felt so connected to and loved by a group of individuals, not of my blood. Together, we took on the establishment, hard!
Luckily for us, there were only two candidates on the ballot in 2012; Ron Paul and Mitt Romney, which enabled a Tea Party/libertarian alliance to not only send 49% of Virginia’s delegates to the Republican national convention, but more importantly, the grassroots alliance overwhelmingly took over the Republican Party of Virginia state central committee and a host of district chairman seats and local unit chairman seats. We did it! We won! Or did we? With the primary firmly behind us, the “presumptive nominee” was hailed as the savior to the “Obama” problem with the Tea Party falling in line like good little Republicans. We Ron Paul supporters were soon left out in the cold. We were scorned for not eagerly volunteering for the nominee. We were constantly told by establishment trolls that “libertarians belong in the Libertarian Party” and our posts on Republican social media outlets were deleted. We were called isolationists, dreamers, liberals, and idiots.
When we rallied behind Susan Stimpson for Lt. Governor, who had an impeccable record of cutting taxes and fees while also cutting the budget of Stanford County while remaining temperate on social issues, the Tea Party and other grassroots social conservatives flocked to boisterous hot-heads like Corey Stewart who is in the middle of losing his third statewide race, and EW Jackson who just lost his third statewide race. When the votes were tallied for the first ballot of the seven-way Lt. Governor race, Susan came in second after Jackson, but when the names were put up on the Jumbotron, her name was at the bottom. When she failed to carry the third ballot, I voted for “moderate” (establishment) Pete Snyder because I wasn’t about to let Jackson pull down the ticket with his outrageous statements when Snyder would help libertarian-leaning Ken Cuccinelli win the governorship… which is exactly what happened despite Republicans complaining about the Libertarian nominee, who exit polls show actually took more votes from (D) McAuliffe than Cuccinelli… but I digress. This was in effect, the beginning of the end of the grassroots revolt of 2012. The establishment slowly took back the state central and local units. The Tea Party continued to rally around hot-heads like Corey Stewart year after year. Many of my libertarian friends, disgusted with the political process and the online nastiness from bigoted conservatives and paid establishment trolls, simply threw in the towel. Subsequently, the Ron Paul class of 2012 was all but gone by 2014.
To be fair, having left Virginia to seek my fortune in the oil fields of North Dakota in the summer of 2013 and not returning until December of 2015, I was in no position to blame anyone for leaving, and I didn’t. I did, however, unfurl my libertarian-Republican banner and plant it in the red sand of the Republican Party on last time for Rand Paul in the 2016 presidential primary, but was met with mild enthusiasm. I saw even less enthusiasm for Trump, but his bigoted and insulting rhetoric somehow positively reached the voters even though it turned off most of the politically active. The abysmal primary results coupled with the death rattle of the Tea Party in Virginia was the signal to me that “changing it from the inside” was a completely unattainable goal in Virginia Beach and highly unlikely in Virginia. So I left the party of my father and my grandfather after being undyingly faithful for eight years, somewhat hesitant for another four and actively engaged for the last four. Truth be told; it’s the best breakup of my life!
David Benjamin Dull is a libertarian activist who has volunteered for a dozen campaigns. Although admittedly brash and stubborn, he is working to better himself and is currently engaged in growing the Libertarian Party of Anne Arundel County by reaching out to disenfranchised liberals and conservatives as well as independents who lost faith in voting.