America is at a crossroads. We have to choose what kind of nation we are going to be. I think we can all agree on that.
The problem is that we have been fed a lie. We are told that we have two choices. Hillary or Trump. This is a lie. The choice is not between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump or Democrat and Republican or liberal and conservative.
The choice is much more important than that.
This choice is far more important than who will be president for the next four years. It's even more important than the appointment of supreme court justices during the next presidential term.
The choice is between liberty and tyranny. Freedom and totalitarianism.
You think I'm being overly dramatic... I'm not.
I am absolutely serious.
The freedoms that you and I enjoy are on the line and most of us don't even realize it. Most voters are so focused on our hatred for Clinton or Trump that we are blind to the fact that, on a real foundational level, they are the same.
"But, Jaredith...", you say, "one is conservative and the other is liberal. One is a Democrat and one is a Republican. One is a career politician and one is a successful businessman. They are nothing alike."
To that I say, "You are missing the point."
Sure, Trump may claim to be conservative (for the time being) and Hillary may be a career politician. Sure, their politics may be different. One may be pushing for one vision of America and the other for something entirely different, but in reality they believe in the same thing.
Trump and Hillary. Republicans and Democrats. Conservatives and liberals. They all have one thing in common. They believe the solution to America's problems is found in government. More government. More laws. More control.
All of the rhetoric is just that... Words that stir up emotion in people and incite them against their perceived rival. The end goal in either case is the same. Power.
This is where Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party come in. Libertarianism isn't just the third choice, it's the American choice.
This country was founded on the ideals of personal and economic liberty. These also happen to be the foundational principles of the Libertarian Party. The other parties pay lip service to ideals of liberty and inclusivity, but they don't practice what they preach. Their policy tells a very different story.
We are only free as long as we keep the government in check. The government will only continue to grow and take more power. We have seen this happen under the Bush and Obama administrations, with the executive branch seizing more power at every opportunity. The same thing has happened in the Supreme Court. We have reached the point that the executive and judicial branches are, for all practical purposes, the legislative branch 2.0 and 3.0.
"Let's write a new law! All the kids are doing it!" - Random Elected Official
We are in danger of losing more freedoms every day. This trend is only being perpetuated by both "major" parties.
I get why some Libertarian views are hard for conservatives to stomach. Gay marriage, abortion, legalization of drugs, etc...
(Not all Libertarians are pro-choice, by the way. Gary Johnson is, which is why I can't really get behind him fully and give him my support as a candidate. An unborn baby's right to life is a human rights issue that I believe will eventually trump the civil rights issue of a woman's. Conservatives should check out Austin Petersen, a strong, pro-life Libertarian.)
Liberals are concerned that Libertarians support the right to bear arms.
(What part of "...shall not be infringed" do you not understand? Anyway...)
Here is the reality.
I'm a Libertarian. I don't want to get high. I don't want to get gay-married. I just don't want the government to tell me that I can't.
This gets a little hard for some people to follow...
Here's how it works: Just because I believe/do/don't do something doesn't mean I want the government to force everyone else to believe/do/not do it.
That's hard to comprehend when we are so used to the Republicrat method of taking a hard right or left stance and forcing the losing side to acquiesce to your will.
Liberals want to ban guns, sugar, and freedom of speech (only for conservatives). Conservatives want to ban Muslims, Mexicans, and freedom of speech (only for liberals). I know I'm painting with broad strokes here, but this is what I'm seeing and hearing! What's wrong with good, old-fashioned freedom?!
We need to stop banning things and get back to what this country was founded on, the principle of individual liberty!
The problem is that we forget that if we want freedom, we have to give it to those who are different than us. Our freedoms are inextricably bound up in the freedom of others. We need to stop living in fear, rise up in defiance of tyranny, and take our country back.
The Presidential Debates
If you've read this far and I haven't convinced you that Libertarianism is as American as apple pie and baseball, that's fine... That wasn't really my point anyway.
My point is this: The two party system is destroying America, just as the Founders feared it would. The strange thing about the two party system is that it is a myth. There are many political parties in America. The only reason we have a "two party system" is because we think we have a two party system.
Perception is reality.
People THINK there are only two choices, therefore there ARE only two choices.
Did you know that there are most people dislike (and distrust) both Trump AND Clinton, but many voters are prepared to vote for what they perceive to be the "lesser of two evils"? What kind of choice is that?! I have something called personal ethics. I can't allow myself to cast a vote for someone simply because they are "the lesser evil".
The one thing that could change the course of the election is if a third party candidate would be allowed to participate in the televised presidential debates. Gary Johnson is not polling high enough to be included in the debates, but the numbers show that the American public thinks he should be on the stage. Far more people support Governor Johnson's right to debate than would actually vote for him. Taking the debate stage would be the only thing that would give Johnson a real chance at winning. Unfortunately that won't happen.
The candidate access to televised debates is controlled by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a "non-profit" (cartel) run exclusively by Democrats and Republicans. This gives them a monopoly on TV time, which keeps them in the front of voters minds when they visit the polls. They aren't about to give up any valuable attention to a third-party candidate. The Commission, through the collusion of the party leaders, always ensures that political power is kept within the two "major parties".
Americans of every political persuasion should support the right of third party candidates to be included in the debate. If you want your party to win and you don't care about issues, then the system is fine the way it is. If you care about issue, however, you should support as many candidates as possible getting their views across to the American voters via the most effective platform available, the televised presidential debates.
Gary Johnson likely won't get on the debate stage. If he doesn't, he will lose his only chance at winning in November. Governor Johnson, combined with the much-maligned "major" party candidates' likability issues, have drawn more attention to the third party option than at any time in recent memory. This is good for the country and I really believe it is the beginning of a trend that will give America REAL choices in future elections and I have the numbers to prove it.
The Libertarian Future
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, 47% of American voters said they would consider a third party candidate. This number has steadily increased, up from 38% in 2008 and 40% in 2012. The same poll showed that 91% of voters under the age of 29 would like to see a serious effort from someone outside the establishment of the "major" parties.
This tells me that we are on the precipice of change in American politics. The younger generation is looking for an alternative that offers personal and economic liberty, as well as social inclusivity. The Libertarian Party is the only party that offers all of those things that are so important to millennials and upcoming generations.
If we can't agree on that, at least we can agree that America deserves the freedom to choose. That starts with the freedom to know your choices and for most American voters, that means putting third-party candidates like Gary Johnson and Jill Stein on the stage for the presidential debates.