Loomis Political Roundtable Discussion Group
In some towns, some folks actually dare to get together to discuss politics.
Our Candidates for Assembly District 4
Placer County Libertarian
CA Libertarian Party
Libertarian Party (National)
Yesterday, I went to the Loomis Political Roundtable Discussion Group. Here was a group of 15 or so folks, most probably all over 60, that actually dared to get together and discuss politics in this modern entertainment driven age. They had been gracious enough to give me a full hour to discuss my campaign and take questions from members. Thus, I went confidently forward, visor lowered and lance under my arm with some unseen god upon my side. After all, I had already swayed audiences from Rio Linda to Placerville. Perhaps, just perhaps, I was becoming a little too confident.
A full hour! We candidates almost never get a full hour. Perhaps I would introduce them to the Libertarian view. After all, introducing the mechanics of my campaign, to actually represent the people in my district verses special interests, wouldn't take long and there would be plenty of time to do a little plug for the Libertarians. I set Party brochures on the table, put the Nolan Chart on the big easel and waited for the group's authoritarian moderator to officially greet me. He was determined to run a tight ship.
Interestingly, I would find that the group was more interested in debating the Libertarian Party Principles and my principles than in my campaign even though Libertarianism and my principles of governance were irrelevant to it. I had promised to offer them representation for the first time in CA history, and that fact seemed to fly right over their heads. They are so used to elected officials doing what they want rather than what the people want that my promises to be their employee fell upon deaf ears. Indeed, when I reflected later, I thought that this particular group was a great sampling of the American collective reaction to the Party and politics in general. In a sense, if you were to study this group, you would basically have studied the American median voter response to all things politics. In the end, running with an "L" in front of your name, no matter how little or large it was, would be a liability in modern communist America. Focusing on the "L" would be a Libertarian Politician's biggest mistake. Americans are simply not ready to be either free or responsible. "Big Brother" is far too important to the security of the sandbox where all must play nicely, if not the parties that they will inevitably elect to run the sandbox.
More important than complete answers was the opportunity to actually ask questions directly to candidates. After all, how often does anyone get to do that? My stories to illustrate my principles were cut short. Answers when offered were not heard. They also couldn't wait to express their opinions, especially now that they had cornered a candidate. Unbeknownst to them, I would actually reflect upon what happened that day. I think my answers scared them. The idea of less government funding of education scared them. It was as though, if I got elected as the first Libertarian in the State Assembly, the whole system would come crumbling down. They would prefer to re-elect the same types and parties, that will never represent them. Business as usual would continue for yet another four years with the Loomisians somehow hoping against hope for different results. They would probably continue the Demopublican game of voting to keep the other party out rather to bring a new party in. I think the group represented the real America very well. And because they were there in the first place, the Loomis Roundtable is, in one sense, the best of America. These seniors were trying, against their own human nature, to become more informed and active. Trapped inside the sandbox of their own generation's design, they were still cautiously probing the sides to see if there was any way out, quick to define anything other than the status quo as idealistic, impractical or absurd. Determined that my solutions to the world of politics would not work, they posed like comrades that still believe in the Soviet system long after its fall on Christmas Day 1991. They seemed to be determined to stick to the failed policies of the Democrats and Republicans that continue our national legacy of war, crime and debt that has plagued every year of my own existence. The fact that they owed $500,000 to the Feds, didn't seem to phase them. This I construed to be the symptom of a left leaning group, especially when they advocated more government spending on certain sacred programs like education. To find this in Loomis surprised me. They were already pretty firm in their ideology and some young 51 year old, non-college graduate was not going to ruffle their social principles. Education must be government funded! Taxes are necessary, if not sacred! Taxes are not theft! Communism is the opposite of Democracy. Forced redistribution of wealth in America should not be considered communism because that is simply rude. Without regulation, kids would still be working in coal mines. Not once did anyone thank God for Uncle Sam and Big Brother though, indicating again, a leftist bent, since modern neo-conservatives seem to bring God into every political argument. Thank God it was missing from this one!
One woman came up to me as I was putting away my accessories and said, "you mean that people ought to become more responsible, don't you?" She seemed to like that as she got my business card and went back to her seat at the table.
That night, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, I was back to the 7 minute intro and a single question with the North Lake Tahoe Candidates Night sponsored by the American Association of University Women. What a relief not to make the same mistake twice. It went well with many promising their votes or wishing I was running for another office where Rob Haswell wasn't my opponent. As usual, and in all of our favors, Ted Gaines again and for the 7th time, did not show up! (You see, I know that if I were to throw the election to Rob Haswell, it would be far better for the District than 4 years of Ted Gaines who wears an "R" in front of his name despite his constant support for communism in District 4 and despite his developer financing from outside the District!)
The next morning, I spent a little more time to reflect in the coffee shop, and after the crowd there learned they had an assembly candidate in their midst, everyone around me shut up and not a single question was asked of me. We were back to the more common America, the ones that were more careful to avoid political discussion. They would prefer to talk about sports. Would Detroit win the world series? Perhaps politics should stay a private thing, something between you, your coffee, the newspaper and your sample ballot. Too bad my nature won't allow it. In my view, I would rather promote "shaken adult syndrome."
A Tale of Two Libertarians
The first Libertarian is the near anarchist. He wants zero mandatory taxes and may even question the application of taxes he or she does have to pay on such things as defense and the court system. He is rare and fringe and ignored as irrelevant to most Libertarians as well as to society in general. One doesn't dare let this kind of Libertarian view slip out in campaign discussions. We have lived inside the box of taxation and big government for far too long to find a constituency that would tolerate this point of view for more than a few moments. In fact, this is the exact mistake that I made before the Loomis Roundtable and let me tell you that I think the lesson learned is powerful enough to keep me from making it again, especially so late in an otherwise very satisfactory campaign. Perhaps, the campaign trail had worm me out a bit, but I can't believe I fell into that one. Ironically, it was the first time I made such an error on the campaign. It ended up becoming the main issue of the Roundtable. How could we defend the country or have police without mandatory taxation? (that night I learned that Sun City Lincoln Hills had a volunteer Security force and neighborhood watch that was working great!) If we didn't fund public education through taxation, how would poor kids ever be educated? Then, answers were chopped off and therefore never answers at all. Even this over 60 group seemed to fall for the sound byte generation. All answers had to be under a minute or whenever the moderator felt like I or the questioning "student" had rambled on too long. And for socialists living in a socialist system, it would take far more than a minute to address what they had assumed to be true all of their lives. If logic ever ruled over emotion, this still would have been an indefensible position in the time allotted.
This brings me to the second Libertarian. This is the one that simplifies and homogenizes. He or she might explain that Libertarianism is simply "social tolerance" and "fiscal responsibility." This sells very, very well. In fact, I'd used this approach at Lake Tahoe. Most folks find this palatable and there are few questions. In fact, Dan Warren, our candidate for Congress, has been using this technique with exceptional success. Perhaps I wasn't mentally at home in Loomis, my favorite town, but that winning view slipped my mind altogether. In my case, no taxes over shadowed a campaign that would only tax what they, the constituents wanted to have taxed. I'm sure that a few of them were even more solidified with their support of the Democrat, Rob Haswell, after this giant "faux paux." I think that a few of the Loomisians had already committed themselves in that direction anyway.
When, my hour was up, they went on with what I learned was actually a "class" led by the moderator. I needed to leave, but my accessories were trapped on the table where removing them might mean a lot of noise. I felt that I had to sit, listen, and bite my tongue. According to the moderator, my time was up and I couldn't join in any more of their political discussion. One woman told the story of going to Nicaragua with her Church to help the poor and advocated that their government should do more for them. The answer was in her own actions through the church and yet to me, she couldn't see the forest through the trees. Where would the government money come from? Through her church, she was demonstrating how Libertarianism actually works! For me, it was frustrating as they moved through the subjects of college Pell Grants to Central and South American politics. I bit down harder. So frustrated was I over the Pell Grant attitudes of the group, I silently handed the moderator my ISIL flyers on public education, then thought, why not all of the ISIL flyers I brought? On the way out, and to address their outrage at the missing grants, I mentioned, with Roseville's "Friends of Roseville (FORE)" in mind, that some private groups actually provide grants to local students. What a novel way of privately funding student education? I don't think this fixed income, off on a Thursday, group liked hearing another peep from this Libertarian that didn't go to college but somehow founded the world's first Aerobics Instructor Training organization, became a member of the American College of Sports Medicine and author of "The Government."
I hope that today, through all their differences with my interpretation of Libertarianism, at least a few will recall my promise to vote based on the consensus of the people that live in my District. They were caught up in party rivalry where Democratic and Republican shenanigans were still better than any third party offers for social tolerance (which was never discussed) and fiscal responsibility. For them, it appeared that even more money had to be spent to solve the country's ills. All but one of these Loomisians had a solution as to where the money would come from to pay for any of it. End the War in Iraq and bring our folks home! They were stuck in the "if only big brother was good" mode and the time bomb of American debt wasn't threat enough to change them. When the country is no longer able to borrow money, is forced to sell off its land and finds itself facing the greatest financial crisis in its history, where will all proposed Pell Grants go? And in that event, the immediate emergence of anarchy will raise its ugly head. As in Iraq, we'll be trying to figure out how to repair our utilities and get food on the table, and yes, even the kids will be digging in the ground once more.
While I think that its time we take responsibility for our government and its time for the best representation that money CAN'T buy, perhaps these folks of the Loomis Political Roundtable are not ready and don't mind leaving the costs of their follies to their grand children. Like 911 and Katrina, even this politically active group will end up succumbing to future events before doing something to prevent those events from unfolding. Despite their discussions, I sensed they were ill prepared to deal with the realities of supply and demand, debt, war and crime. Sadly, I think this roundtable is a microcosm of how most Americans view the landscape. Socialism is the prevalent point of view, and yes, I would rather use the word "communism." This country, determined to go down that path, will get what it deserves and if Libertarians do not become more personally prepared, we will also get exactly what they deserve, too. The flood of socialist Americanism that placed into law all the platform items of the Socialist party when it reached its peak in 1912, will drive us into the same primal decline that faced the Soviets over 15 years ago. Our government's intervention into the internal affairs of foreign governments will only expedite the funeral of what once was the great American experiment. We the people will not have fought off a king to gain our freedom this next time around as we rebuild from the ashes of America, but instead will have to deal with the demons that took over our own minds and which caused the ignorance and inaction that let communism in the door in the first place. History tends to numbingly repeat itself over and over again. Yet the tree of knowledge continued to grow, even in the "Dark Ages." Perhaps the next renaissance will be one of more Libertarian ideas. Only the patience of history will record the events and though we would have liked to see the change within our own lifetimes, the light of that candle grows dimmer and dimmer with each passing night. A totalitarian state is our reward for our own ignorance and inaction.
But, in the dead of night, fast asleep, there will always be the dream of Camelot and once upon a time where we the people lived happily ever after.
NOTE: My campaign is not orthodox Libertarian because I have committed to vote based on the consensus rather than based on Libertarian ideals. However, I plan to use the bully pulpit to promote social tolerance, fiscal responsibility and accountability. My website will show my complete record in the Assembly AND my campaign funding. It's time for a thrifty California government that does a few things well rather than so many things badly.
are needed to Run Against Rocklin City Council
and Placer County Supervisor Incumbents. Let's
bring social and economic freedom back to Placer
Mike's views do not necessarily represent
the views of the Placer County Libertarian Party Mike
can be reached at email@example.com