On the heels of a historic election in the state of Virginia, Andy Schmookler and I returned to 550 AM, WSVA to discuss the results. Although a majority of the polls predicted a victory for Democratic Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam, few pundits thought that the Democrats would make such massive gains in the House of Delegates. As one might expect, it was the focus of our discussion today.
Last week, while speaking to one of my friends about Virginia politics, he mentioned that one member of the Ed Gillespie for Governor campaign referred to me as “that troublemaker from the Shenandoah Valley who is trying to split the vote.”
When I first heard this news I thought to myself, gee, it’s nice to know that I’m so loved by a statewide campaign. However, when I thought about it more, I now consider the title a mark of pride which I shared at our local tea party meeting late last week.
This event reminded me of a passage in the Bible in which King Ahab calls Elijah a troublemaker because Elijah questioned many of Ahab’s actions. He didn’t do so out of malice, but because he wanted what was best for the people of Israel. His loyalty was not to a king or a political party, but rather to God and the welfare of his people. Therefore, “When Ahab saw him, he exclaimed, ‘So, is it really you, you troublemaker of Israel?’ ‘I have made no trouble for Israel,’ Elijah replied. ‘You and your family are the troublemakers…'” 1 Kings 18:17-18 (NLT)
I don’t know about yourself, but I want the governor of Virginia to be a strong, principled, honest individual who shares many of my most important values of promoting liberty, personal responsibility, and limited government. Does Ed Gillespie share my convictions? At this point, although I hope I’m proven wrong, I honestly don’t think he does. As I’ve discussed with one Republican, it is troubling that we’ve heard more about Ed Gillespie’s parents’ supermarket than where he stands on the issues.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, I believe that political competition and liberty are important ingredients to the health of our republic. Where does Ed Gillespie stand on these issues? Although his campaign has repeatedly refused to answer my questions, based on his silence and efforts in 2014 to squelch open, fair, and honest debates, the answer seems to be no. On one issue of personal responsibility important to many, Ed Gillespie is the only candidate for governor who opposes medical marijuana and again, he refused to respond to the Marijuana Policy Project.
Another important issue to me is access to my elected officials. According to my count, my Facebook friends include nine members of the Virginia House of Delegates, three Virginia senators, and three members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Most are Republicans but a few are Democrats. I appreciate the fact that when I reach out to these folks on matters of state and federal government, many of them take the time to speak with me. After all, isn’t communication necessary to the proper functioning of a representative government? Earlier this year, when I contacted the office of current Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe (who I didn’t vote for), his staff took the time to talk to me. Why would they do so? Well, it is because he is the governor of all Virginians, not simply the ones who donated to his campaign.
Speaking of such things, the Gillespie campaign bills itself as “for all Virginians”, but as far as I can tell, Ed Gillespie only speaks to people who he knows already support him and only attends events with friendly crowds. Yes, the Gillespie campaign has given me the runaround this year, but it isn’t all that shocking as they did the very same thing when he ran for U.S. Senate in 2014. Heck, I’ve had an easier time reaching out and connecting with Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican nominee for governor in 2013, than Ed Gillespie. My last conservation with Mr. Cuccinelli was several years ago, and yet it was still more recent than the last time I could speak one-on-one with Ed Gillespie in early 2014.
Believe it or not, this issue raises a serious concern. What if I have an issue that only the governor of Virginia and his staff can solve? Much like his campaign, will they choose to ignore me and others if it doesn’t suit their purpose? Could we be looking at a four-year term where the governor doesn’t serve all the people, but rather the select few he deems worthy? Think it can’t happen? Well, I assure you it can. Back in 2014, I repeatedly asked my state senator’s legislative assistant for a meeting with my state senator. However, he constantly refused, declaring that sharing my ideas with my elected official would be a waste of his time. Until my state senator hired a new legislative assistant after his old one left, I could not schedule an appointment, a period encompassing almost an entire year. And, to make matters worse, many of these Gillespie staffers who refuse to answer my questions now also previously worked for my state senator, Mark Obenshain.
I appreciate the fact that, so far, when I have asked the Libertarian, Cliff Hyra, a question, he has responded in less than 24 hours. I’ve spoken with him several times as I do like asking questions. And, when I asked my latest question to the campaign of Democratic candidate Ralph Northam, his campaign politely answered within a few hours. And then we have Ed Gillespie, too busy to be bothered to answer the questions of ” that troublemaker from the Shenandoah Valley.”
This weekend, Denver Riggleman hosted an event for Ed Gillespie and the Republican Party at his distillery. When asked about the race for governor, Delegate Dickie Bell (R-Staunton), the only member of the General Assembly to block me on Facebook, (which a judge has recently ruled might be a violation of the 1st Amendment) said, “I think we want to win. You know, some folks are going to have to swallow hard if they have to.” I’m sorry to say it Delegate Bell, but I’m not going to “swallow hard” and support a candidate that doesn’t share my values and refuses to speak with me simply because his campaign has branded him the lesser of two evils.
As I stated at the beginning of this piece, yes, I want to win too. My victory isn’t achieved simply by electing the nominee of a particular party, but rather by electing a man or woman who shares my values and isn’t afraid to speak with anyone and tackle the tough issues of the day. And, to answer the Gillespie campaign’s other criticism, I don’t plan to split the vote but rather direct my fellow conservatives and liberty-minded folks to the candidate who most closely shares our principles. If Mr. Gillespie proves himself to be that candidate, then I’ll be happy to support him. But, if he isn’t that candidate, then he would actually be the person who is trying to split the vote. I urge you not to be afraid to ask questions of your elected officials and those seeking office. At least these are my thoughts on the matter, but everyone knows that I’m that troublemaker from the Shenandoah Valley.
Last night, several of my Facebook friends were sharing several posts about yesterday’s shooting at Smith Mountain Lake. Some declared that the event must be a hoax as the boyfriend of the reporter tweeted about the tragedy supposedly before it took place. Curious for the truth, I explored Twitter to see for myself. Here’s what I found:
The important factor for this article is the time stamp, 6:34 AM. According to news reports, as the graphic above (from The Roanoke Times) shows, the shooting took place at about 6:45 AM. Therefore, if Christ Hurst tweeted about the event before it took place, obviously it must have been pre-planned or didn’t actually happen. What a conspiracy, huh?
To test Twitter, at 11:20 PM, I tweeted a message to my followers wishing them a good night. However, I have to say that I was confused when the time stamp on my message was 8:20 PM. I assure you that I posted it at 11:20. Although I live in the Eastern Time Zone, it was 8:20 elsewhere, the Pacific Time Zone.
Going through my Twitter settings, I found that, apparently by default, they were set to the wrong time zone. I therefore changed it and checked on Mr. Hurst’s tweet again. This time I found this:
Although I don’t think I would be quick to express my grief on Twitter after losing the love of my life, I suppose we all cope with tragedy in different ways.
So I guess just that little bit of research shoots a hole in the grand “Smith Mountain Lake Conspiracy.”
Friends, I encourage you to constantly check the validity of your information before spreading it to social media or anywhere else. Are there some conspiracies afoot? Quite possibly. However, to assume that everyone is lying and that all tragedies are the result of some secret plan is just plain stupid and makes you appear exceedingly foolish and cold-hearted.
Pray for those affected by this tragedy, don’t mindlessly spread gross misinformation or immediately try to use this horrid event to advance your political agenda.
Thanks for reading and have a pleasant weekend!
Just a few moments ago, I received word that former Arkansas governor, 2008 presidential hopeful, potential 2016 candidate, ordained minister, political commentator, and author Mike Huckabee will be coming to Virginia to promote his new book, God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy.
His latest work releases on January 20th and so Mr. Huckabee has planned three stops in our state.
First, on January 26th, he will be at the Books-A-Million in the Highlands Shopping Center located on 16700 Highlands Center Blvd in Bristol starting at 7:00 pm.
Next, on January 27th, Mike Huckabee will be visiting the Barnes & Noble at 4802 Valley View Blvd NW in Roanoke beginning at noon.
Later that day, he will travel to Lynchburg to stop by the Barnes & Noble on the campus of Liberty University located at 1971 University Blvd. in Lynchburg starting at 3:00 pm.
Anyone interested in meeting Mike Huckabee should arrive at least 30 minutes before the scheduled time, as he will be inviting people onto his bus to shake hands, take photos, and speak briefly.
For more information, please contact Ms. Terri Moore with Huckabee for America at Terri.Moore@mhfa2016.com.
Today in the mail, I received a letter from the office of my member of the House of Representatives, Bob Goodlatte (VA-6). At first, I must confess that I was a bit puzzled by it. After all, I hadn’t contacted Representative Goodlatte in many months and thus wasn’t expecting any sort of correspondence.
Once opening it, I discovered the letter was in response to a query I sent him back in the first week of January, some two and a half months earlier. It is a bit disappointing to see the response time of his office hasn’t really improved much. Nevertheless, I appreciate the fact that his office does answer, sooner or later, unlike Senator Mark Warner’s who has never replied to any inquiries.
Anyway, today’s message was in reference to the vote for the Speaker of the House of Representatives. If you may recall, I, like my 6th district Republican committee, had urged Representative Goodlatte to vote against re-electing John Boehner for that position. However, much to the disappointment of my conservative friends and associates in and around the Shenandoah Valley, Mr. Goodlatte cast his vote for Boehner anyway.
In his letter, Goodlatte writes “…I voted for Speaker Boehner and not Nancy Pelosi. Those were the two choices.” Was the election for speaker a choice of damnations? Can we all agree that Boehner may be bad, but if we didn’t support him, we would have gotten Pelosi and that outcome would have been even worse? To further bolster his position, Representative Goodlatte goes on to list several conservative members of the house who also voted to re-elect Boehner.
However, as I wrote in January, this line of reasoning presents a false dichotomy; a few members of the House of Representatives cast their votes for individuals other than either Boehner or Pelosi. Now, this kind of move was not without risk. Voting against the person who would become speaker, especially when he is a member of your own political party, can bring all sorts of trouble, such as the loss of a prized chairmanship or a position on a key committee. It was a tough spot, no doubt. Unfortunately, when presented with the choice of damnations of upsetting the leadership in Washington versus upsetting the entire 6th district Republican committee and scores of grassroots activists back home, Representative Goodlatte preferred the second option.
Given the vast multitude of political opinions, it is not realistic for an activist to agree with his or her elected officials all of the time. On occasion, we must expect our leaders to stand their ground, even when it runs counter to our own principles. However, even if it ends up making you pariah in either Washington D.C. or Richmond, I prefer it when legislators are more worried about the concerns of their constituents than pleasing the lobbyists or the politically powerful. Maybe that idea is an old fashioned relic from earlier days in our republic.
Last night, former Representative Ron Paul spoke to a packed room in Lee Chapel at Washington & Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. The building held about 500 while another location was set up nearby to provide live video feed for those unable to fit inside. The Contact Committee, the W&L Politics Department, and the W&L College Republicans sponsored the event.
Starting at 9 AM the day before, Contact began giving out tickets to Tuesday’s event. However, in a mere forty minutes, all 350 tickets allotted for early seating were claimed, leaving the multitude with the hope of snagging one of the remaining 150 seats prior to the event on a first come first serve basis.
Given Dr. Paul’s numerous contributions to the rise of the liberty movement, along with the work I did on his campaign staff in 2007/08, and the fact that this event marked his first visit to the Shenandoah Valley, I knew that I had to make every effort to attend. As I arrived slightly too late to secure one of the early tickets on Monday morning, I left Harrisonburg at about 3:30 PM on Tuesday along with fellow activist and blogger Helen Shibut of the Madison Liberty blog.
A light rain marked our departure and it continued to be our constant companion as we traveled along Interstate 81 and into Lexington. Surprisingly, the parking lot closest to the chapel still had a couple of spots open and so we were able to avoid a lengthy walk. More shocking still had to be the number of people standing outside the chapel when we arrived. Given how quickly the tickets were exhausted, I envisioned a lengthy line of people waiting until they could enter the building at 6 PM. However, due, in part, to the poor weather, we were the 7th and 8th to enter. Even though not in line at that time, there were others who were already there. For example, Karen Kwiatkowski and a contingent of like-minded folks were lingering inside a nearby building until the time drew closer.
The weather continued to degrade, but the line grew steadily and by the time that the doors opened, one could not see from one end of the crowd to the other. Although the announcement indicated that attendees would be unable to come in the building without semi-formal attire, several people in line wore casual clothing such as blue jeans; it is uncertain whether these folks were allowed admittance.
Dr. Paul’s entered the main floor of the chapel to thunderous applause shortly after 7 PM. He spoke on a wide variety of topics important to the liberty movement including, but not limited to: a non-interventionist foreign policy, the need for a sound currency and the impending financial collapse, the importance of sticking to political principles, the proper role of government, and the constant erosion of our civil liberties. After his speech, he fielded a number of questions from the audience regarding what political party best embodied his principles, the issue of abortion, religious freedom, and concerns regarding the investigation into 9/11. The entire event lasted for a little less than an hour and a half.
All in all, I would rate Dr. Paul’s visit to Lexington as a success. The only change that I would suggest would be a larger venue. According to the various event notices posted on Facebook, W&L could have easily filled a space that was two, three, or even four times larger. So then, why did they choose the chapel? Well, there is no question that the location is picturesque and is steeped in history. The basement formally served as the office for Robert E. Lee and presently holds his remains. In addition, I was told that when Washington & Lee hosted Rudi Giuliani some time earlier, they had considerable difficulty reaching the 500-person threshold. But, such concerns were not necessary that night. After all, as Ron Paul reminds us, freedom, much like Dr. Paul himself, is popular.
Earlier today, the House of Representatives held a vote for speaker of that body. Although there was and still remains conservative animosity toward John Boehner, he secured re-election as speaker with 220 votes out of 426 cast. Nancy Pelosi finished in second place, garnering the support of the Democratic members of that body with 192 votes.
As you may know, prior to this vote, Virginia’s 6th District Republican Committee, the district that Bob Goodlatte represents in the house, passed a strongly-worded resolution calling upon Representative Goodlatte to oppose Boehner’s re-election as speaker. It should also be noted that this resolution passed unanimously, favored by Republican political activists throughout the greater Shenandoah, Page, and Roanoke Valleys.
For the record, the resolution reads as follows:
November 10, 2012
Dear Congressman Goodlatte,
The framers of the Constitution of the United States wisely instituted the division of powers, not merely to enable specialization of the respective commissions, but primarily to limit the powers of each community. Under the influence of both Christian thought and the abysmal historical precedents of foreign nations, they recognized the tendency even of the best of men to secure to themselves unlimited and unjust authority, and to employ it for the purpose of enslaving the masses. The authors judiciously embraced their moral obligation by including this mechanism (division of powers) for the simple frustration of such tyrannical efforts.
The imposition of Obamacare against the wishes of the people is an unequivocal expression of the anticipated tyrannical powers. Yet even though every member of the House of Representatives is aware of his ability to thwart this measure, no such effort of protection is forthcoming. Apparently few enough care more about the people they purport to represent than about their own political aspirations.
Speaker Boehner has called for “Repeal and Replace,” all the while he has been fully cognizant of the fact that the Senate and the President would not concur with him. Such disingenuous acts are intended to defraud the people while leading them to believe he is fighting for their cause. His unwillingness to lead the effort to de-fund Obama’s healthcare, a truly feasible mechanism for restraining this tyranny, is a conscious dereliction of duty. His recent commitment to active pursuit of its funding, coupled with his capitulation on the issue of amnesty and his agreement to raise taxes are acts that are nothing short of treasonous to our interests and our security.
Therefore, we are writing to notify you of our unwillingness to accept such representation; to demand that you oppose the selection of Mr. Boehner as speaker for the next session; that you only select a representative who is willing to engage fully in battle against Obamacare and the many other imprudent and unconstitutional efforts of the Obama administration, and that our future support for you is contingent upon your efforts to lead the fight to deny President Obama every unconstitutional measure, and that this must be done without excuse.
Passed unanimously, this 10th day of November, 2012
The Sixth Congressional District Republican Committee of Virginia
Although some activists may appreciate the willingness of Goodlatte to stand his ground, this move to re-elect Boehner will almost certainly infuriate his base, the conservatives of the 6th district who believe that the federal government has grown well beyond its constitutional limitations and who also think our Republican leadership has been actively leading the country in the wrong direction.
A few moments ago, I called Bob Goodlatte’s D.C. office as well as all of his district offices to confirm his vote on this matter. Although I have been unable to secure a direct confirmation from these sources, I was told if given a choice between John Boehner and Nancy Pelosi, Goodlatte would choose Boehner. However, this either/or choice is not entirely correct. Although it is true that there was no single, unified Republican candidate to stand against Boehner, other options were available as illustrated by the fact that some Republican members of the house cast their votes for Rep. Eric Cantor, former Rep. Allen West, Rep. Justin Amash, Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep. Raul Labrador, or David Walker. Other also voted present or remained silent when his or her name was called. According to Republican Liberty Caucus Chairman Dave Nalle, Representative Goodlatte was not among the list of Republican representatives who opposed Boehner.
In this most recent election cycle, Bob Goodlatte faced a Republican challenger for the first time in his 20 years in office. Karen Kwiatkowski, his GOP opponent, attacked Mr. Goodlatte from the right, claiming that he was not conservative or liberty-minded enough to represent the people of the 6th district. Although she was unsuccessful in her first attempt, it should be noted that she did win the city of Harrisonburg and almost captured Page County as well. Today’s vote makes another challenge from either Kwiatkowski or someone else all the more likely.
Conservatives across the country are rightly upset with Boehner’s leadership and many will be unhappy to discover that he retains the position of speaker. The fact that our representative, Bob Goodlatte, chose today to ignore the wishes of some of his most important and influential constituents, the entire 6th District Republican Committee is quite surprising and could cause a particularly nasty fracture between Goodlatte and the committee.
So, the big question now is how will Virginia’s 6th district Republicans react to this news?
If you were to ask a political activist who strongly values the ideals of liberty and a constitutionally-limited government who was the best candidate running for president in 2012, chances are many of them would enthusiastically answer Representative Ron Paul of Texas. I know that I would! Unfortunately, due a number of issues, some relating the unfair tactics of the Republican National Committee, other due to errors on the part of the Ron Paul campaign, Dr. Paul is not the Republican nominee and will not be showing up on the ballot on November 6th.
As a result, some die hard Ron Paul supporters are planning to write-in Dr. Paul as opposed to voting for one of the other candidates. However, I must caution my fellow Virginians, for I believe such a decision is a mistake.
Here in Virginia, we have five candidates on the ballot for president. Besides both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, who presumably everyone knows, we also have Virgil Goode, Gary Johnson, and Jill Stein. Although write-ins are technically allowed in the Commonwealth, they are of practically zero value, as the state board of elections does not report individual write-ins.
Don’t believe me? In the general election of 2011, I worked as an election official for a precinct in Rockingham County. At the end of Election Day, we dutifully recorded each and every write-in response for each office and there were a fair number of them. They ranged from potentially legitimate candidates to fictitious characters like Mickey Mouse and “anyone but the guy in there now”. Look at the official results for House of Delegates in Rockingham County. The only two options listed are Tony Wilt and the rather generic Write In candidate. And that race isn’t some sort of anomaly. Every race in 2011 is the very same way, so too are the election results for each year available on the state board’s website. Let me tell you that the only people who know whether a write-in vote is for a legitimate and real person or someone absurd like Homer Simpson are the voter who cast the vote and the election officials. They are the only ones.
So, now that we’ve established that a write-in vote is close to worthless in Virginia, why would anyone still write-in Dr. Paul? As I’ve already mentioned, we have five candidates running for president that will be on the ballot. Are any of them as great as Ron Paul? No. Although each has his or her merits and flaws, none are quite as good. However, given the fact that we do have a number of choices, at least one of them has to share a lot of our political principles. Now, as I’ve mentioned previously, if you don’t know much about them, I would recommend visiting iSideWith.com to find out with which candidate or candidates that you most closely align.
If, however, at the end of the day, you still feel compelled to write-in Dr. Paul, I will not condemn such an action. After all, I believe that the most important facet of voting is to never betray your convictions. Nevertheless, if you explore the candidates with an open mind, I’m pretty sure you’ll find one that is more than acceptable. I know that I did.
I encourage you to take heart. Remember! Regardless of the outcome on November 6th, this great movement spearheaded by Ron Paul will not die so long as we faithfully promote the cause of liberty in our words, our deeds, and in our votes.
Best of luck to you on Election Day, fellow Ron Paul supporter!
For liberty and responsibility!
A little over four years ago, I wrote an open letter to my fellow Ron Paul supporters. I will not rehash it again, although you can read it here if you care to do so. Today, I believe it is time to write you again, not to retrace old ground, but to forge ahead into the future.
Earlier this week, a fellow Ron Paul supporter criticized my efforts in supporting Dr. Paul’s 2012 movement. Specifically, he made mention of the fact that only two Paul supporters signed up to be delegates to the 6th district convention from my hometown of Harrisonburg. I suppose the thought is that as I am a Paul supporter living in Harrisonburg, I should have done more to get my fellow like-minded activists to the convention in Lexington. Now, I have heard this complaint before. According to one of my friends in the southern part of the 6th district, one Paul supporter has spread this point in the Shenandoah Valley presumably to try and discredit me within the movement. I’m not quite sure why this person would do so, but I did try to find out. However, I never got a reply when I sent the person an email about the matter.
Although I know that some of you are new, I would like to remind those who are involved in politics to treat all volunteers as a valuable resource. After all, they are not merely subordinates to be ordered about at our whim. They are our friends, neighbors, and activists in arms who freely give of their time, not in the hopes of financial restitution, but because they believe in the rightness of our cause. Until and unless a volunteer engages in a behavior that is either destructive to the movement or completely counterproductive, (such as threatening another worker or masquerading as an official campaign representative) one should never tear down a volunteer’s efforts. Now, that is not to say that we cannot steer a volunteer toward projects that are more valuable, but to demean a volunteer for not doing enough or not working fast enough is a great way to make certain that the volunteer will not help again in the future. Having been a volunteer myself for a good many years, once I became a paid staffer, good volunteer relations became one of my top priorities. After all, much like Christianity teaches us in relations with our neighbors, we should always treat volunteers how we ourselves would like to be treated.
But let’s return to the matter of the Ron Paul campaign. Prior to Virginia’s March 6th Republican presidential primary, I spent considerable time and effort in volunteering for the campaign. Regrettably, the Virginia effort was woefully understaffed and under-funded from the national campaign. As I stated, I found both a location and the funding necessary for a regional campaign office in Harrisonburg but was rebuffed by the head honchos in Springfield. Although Ron Paul had not won a single state prior to Virginia, given that only Mitt Romney and he would be on the ballot, my state would be an excellent chance for his first victory. Therefore, the volunteer effort had to continue. Despite the fact that we had no literature, no yard signs, and no bumper stickers, save for the scant few that the state director was under-rationed, we did the best we could to spread the message. I even had the opportunity to promote Dr. Paul on the local evening news. On primary day itself, I’m pleased to say that many of the precincts in both in Harrisonburg and the surrounding Rockingham County had Ron Paul supporters handing out materials that the Shenandoah County Ron Paul group had graciously gifted to us.
Although the primary wasn’t all that close either in the state as a whole or in the 6th congressional district, due to the hard work of my fellow volunteers in the area, Ron Paul won a majority of the votes cast on primary day in the city of Harrisonburg. We showed that a small band of dedicated volunteers could make a difference and I am quite grateful to my fellow activists for their work.
However, March 6th made me realize that there was absolutely no way that Ron Paul could win the Republican nomination. His national campaign missed an important opportunity to score their first victory on Super Tuesday and the momentum now swung too far in the favor of Mitt Romney. I’ve heard claims that Paul’s national campaign was nothing more than corrupt nepotism, was generally incompetent, or that they were simply too inflexible to modify their strategy. I don’t know what their specific problem was, but, if Virginia is a typical example, clearly the national campaign did not accomplish what they needed to. Nevertheless, if you must place blame, do not thrust it upon the volunteers.
I believe that a lot of other local Paul volunteers felt the same way about the campaign as I did and so they disappeared completely. Morale was shattered; we thought the national campaign had abandoned us. How could they ask us to fight on when it was painfully obvious that they were not putting in the needed effort to do so as well? Another I rule I have when it comes to volunteer relations is that you should never ask a volunteer to do a task that you have not, at some point, done your yourself and would be willing to do again should the need arise.
Anyway, prior to the March 6th primary, I got in a debate with another volunteer over which was more important, winning the March 6th primary or securing Ron Paul delegates to the national convention in Tampa. I argued that the primary was of far greater value, which is why I focused my efforts there. It makes little difference the personal positions of our delegates if they are bound to vote how the congressional district voted on March 6th on the first national ballot. After all, every single delegate in the state could be a Paul supporter, but if they are pledged to vote for Romney then who they are doesn’t make a hill of beans worth of difference. Bear in mind, if Paul could not win a single state’s primary or caucus, even if he won a considerable number of delegates through clandestine means, then Mitt Romney would be the nominee.
Once the primary was over, I focused my volunteer time on other ways that I thought would benefit the liberty movement. Specifically, I spent time helping Karen Kwiatkowski and Jamie Radtke, two women who were still viable candidates in their respective races and encouraged many of my fellow volunteers to do likewise. Sure, volunteers could spend a Saturday in Lexington to pick national delegates, but quite a few of us realized that the Republican nomination for president was lost and over and it was time to find new and more productive avenues.
But, all of the supposed Paul candidates won at the district convention in Lexington. Therefore, it seems to be particularly strange to quibble about this matter. Didn’t the Paul slate win? If so, why should there be any complaint? It seems foolhardy to lay blame after a victory. Is someone upset that they did not win by a larger margin? One important fact to remember here is that Harrisonburg’s votes did not change the outcome nor could they have. The margins of victory were larger than Harrisonburg’s entire voting strength, even if it had voted as a solid block, could have swayed. After all, we had a scant 39 votes split among the Harrisonburg delegates while some counties like Rockingham County had over a hundred more votes than we did. Many of my fellow Ron Paul delegates signed up in Rockingham, but when taken as a numbers game, Harrisonburg’s delegation wasn’t all that important in the grand scheme of things.
Anyone who has spent any time dealing with Paul supporters knows that they are a freethinking lot. Who is to say that Paul supporters would have voted the same way? Although a sample “Paul friendly” ballot was provided, I’ll freely admit that I voted as I thought best and not merely regurgitated what some piece of paper had written on it.
So, for those who still condemn me for the fact that only two delegates were open Ron Paul supporters from Harrisonburg, should I similarly scorn Paul activists from Roanoke, Staunton, or Lexington? After all, how did Ron Paul fair in your area on March 6th? And given that Paul outright won both Covington and Lynchburg, does that result give activists from those cities cause to rebuke the rest of us? If so, should we apply the same standard to results of the June 12th primaries? Should we look down upon the efforts of volunteers in other parts of the 6th because Karen Kwiatkowski won Harrisonburg, but not other localities? The answer is no. Here in the Shenandoah Valley, we must not devolve into this kind of infighting. It is detrimental. How do pointing fingers and tearing each other apart advance the cause of liberty? Should we be concerned with inflating our own egos and promoting individuals as opposed to the greater concept of liberty? Heaven forbid!
Given the attacks against me, I assume some people must think that I am all talk and no action. But this line of thinking is false. For example, I proudly served the 2008 Ron Paul campaign as the director of grassroots organization for the state of South Carolina. And although I don’t talk about it much, I was briefly hospitalized with internal bleeding as a result of an injury sustained on the campaign trail. Unfortunately, it periodically flares up to the present day. But I continued, for the battle was too important to give up before primary day. I was a volunteer in 2012, I once again helped out Dr. Paul because he and I share a commitment to the Constitution and to liberty. I write of these experiences not to make some boast of my greatness or to make the claim that my devotion is greater than anyone else, but merely to illustrate the point that I have been involved for many years and have a good bit of knowledge and experience in the matter.
The main idea of the letter is much more far-reaching than merely who did or did not attend Virginia’s 6th district convention. Heck, it is more than about you, myself, or even Ron Paul. It is a matter of respect for volunteers. Whenever a person, whether he or she happens to be a staff member or a fellow volunteer, berates a volunteer, you should be appalled. Remember that volunteers are the lifeblood of our movement. I assure you that without dedicated volunteers, failure is all but a certainty. An activist or politician working alone can accomplish very little. If you have a complaint about how 2012 primaries turned out, is tearing down your fellow brothers and sisters in liberty who freely volunteered their time a productive way to vent your frustration? Therefore, the next time you hear a person speak ill of a volunteer except in the very limited circumstances listed above, you should stop them from doing so immediately. If they refuse to comply, then have nothing more to do with that person; there is no sense in dealing with people whose words and actions will lead to the destruction of the movement from within.
For liberty with responsibility!
On Thursday night, I attended my first meeting of the Jefferson Area Tea Party. As expected, the membership primarily consists of folks from the city of Charlottesville, where they are based, and the surrounding Albemarle County.
The leader of the group noted that there were a considerable number of new faces in the crowd that night. That situation likely stemmed from a general sense of dissatisfaction as a result of the Supreme Court decision earlier that day upholding the constitutionality of Obamacare. Although there were a few topics discussed, outrage over nationalized healthcare and the general belief that the courts failed to defend the law of the land took center stage.
After the meeting, the leader spoke to a local TV reporter who was compiling a story on the tea party. The Charlottesville media was not alone in seeking tea party reaction; an outlet attended the Harrisonburg Tea Party as well. As luck would have it, both that organization and the Staunton Tea Party held their monthly meetings on the same night as Charlottesville’s.
So, the real question is will the tea party be able to harness this overall frustration and disgust into tangible political successes? The answer is a definite maybe. As I reported from previous gatherings across the state, Parke West, one of the leaders of We r Virginia, spoke about the effort to train and mold tea party activists into a grassroots army. The purpose of this work is to influence the outcome of the November elections. In response to this call, a vast number of the attendees eagerly signed up to learn more.
Regardless of what path you take, if you are concerned about the state of our country and the apparent continued demise of federalism, the 10th amendment, and the idea of a constitutionally limited government, you must take a stand, and you must do so now. It is my hope that the tea parties will lead this movement; if they do, they will continue to grow in strength as they work tirelessly to restore our nation.
As I’m sure Thomas Jefferson would tell us, assuming he was still alive, we all know that Obamacare is just one of many federal programs that must be repealed. Isn’t it past time to begin the rollback of the federal government?