Thursday, July 17, 2008

My answer to a wasted vote question....

The question asked me "Rob, please explain why I should waste my vote on a candidate who isn't going to win. Why does that make sense?

I support a multi party system in this country. I hope I see it in my lifetime. But the other parties are going to have to build a following before they run candidates. It would also be smarter to start with local races and grow from there rather than running a failed candidate in the presidential election."

My answer:

There is no such thing as a wasted vote...

The only thing that you would have a chance to convince me was a wasted vote - would be someone writing in a person or thing (think Ron Paul or Donald Duck) that the Secretary of State will not count. Even then, the protest value in this case is worth something.

A vote for Bob Barr for President is a choice
A vote for Randall Hodgkinson for US Senate in Kansas is a choice
A vote for Joe Bellis for the KS 3rd congressional district is a choice
A vote for Rob Hodgkinson in the KS 37th is a choice

Voting FOR any of the above is NOT a waste - the vote will be counted, the vote will be recorded, and a vote could (I'll admit, a long shot) elect someone from outside the two party system. We just have to get enough people to see the folly of our current path that has us in this mess.

Telling me you have to vote for a probable winner is like saying all Kansans have to be NY Yankee or New England Patriot fans - or you just wasted your time/money etc.

Voting is a hell of a lot more important than sports. Take a chance on an (this) underdog - it will pay off in many positive dividends for the future of this state.

Rob Hodgkinson
It's a great time to be a Libertarian in Kansas!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Independence? or Dependency - by Steve Shute

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life,
Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. - The Declaration of Independence

232 years ago today - on
July 4, 1776 - a truly momentous event occurred in the history of the world. A small, rag-tag band of colonists, comprising no more than 3 percent of the population of American subjects of the British Crown, had shown the rank audacity to take on the collective might of the most powerful nation on Earth at the time. The stage had been set over a year earlier, on the fields of Lexington and Concord in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, as Massachusetts Minutemen militia members engaged British troops on the North Bridge and fired the “shot heard round the World.”

When the 56 members of the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence and pledged their Lives, [their] Fortunes, and [their] sacred Honor to formally support the Revolution, they were truly risking everything. The second that they put pen to paper in
Philadelphia and endorsed that seditious document with their signatures, they were in effect signing their own execution orders, for the penalty for high treason to the British Crown certainly was death. These men had plenty to lose - most of them were prosperous landowners, in some cases with vast properties and estate holdings. Many would lose their estates, their wealth, members of their families, and some even their own lives in the ensuing years of conflict.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

So what exactly would have moved such men to literally risk everything for an abstract principle of freedom?
By the time the Declaration was signed, the colonists had attempted by all possible diplomatic means and appeals to the British Parliament to have their concerns heard, only to have a deaf ear cast toward them. In fact, the louder their grievances became, the greater the pressure the British authorities brought to bear on the colonists. First, oppressive taxation was imposed, without the consent of the colonists. Then, to enforce the collection of the taxes and to quell increasing dissent, the king dispatched British Army garrisons to the colonies. Then trade to and from the colonies was strictly curtailed, and a virtual blockade was imposed by the British Navy on all goods entering and leaving
Boston Harbor. Trials for British government officials in Massachusetts were arbitrarily moved to other colonies or even to Great Britain, which in practice prohibited those who were harmed by these officials to testify against them in a court of law. Finally, the Massachusetts legislature was effectively dissolved by the Crown and replaced with an authority reporting directly to Parliament. This last affront was the final straw for many of these men, who felt that if Parliament could arbitrarily dissolve one legislative body, they could remake any colony’s legislature by force of whim.
Quite frankly, these men had a choice to make. They could either do nothing, and surrender unconditionally to a despotic King who could not have cared less about the welfare of the colonists, or they could take a stand. For liberty. For self-determination. For freedom.

The Tyranny of Complacency

Against us are all timid men who prefer the calm of despotism to the boisterous sea of liberty. We are likely to preserve the liberty we have obtained only by unremitting labors and perils. - Thomas Jefferson

So, today, as we look back over the last 232 years, what have we as a people done with that great sacrifice borne by those 56 men, and by all of those other innumerable Patriots - at such places as Valley Forge, New Orleans, the Alamo, Antietam, Gettysburg, the Argonne, Normandy, Guadalcanal - that have lost their lives in the centuries since that moment when we declared our freedom.
For most of the last 232 years, we developed and nurtured a “grand experiment” in our Constitutional representative republic that was the envy of the entire planet. It was so admired that many millions of people from distant shores risked everything to come here and make a new life for themselves and their families. We welcomed them into the great American “melting pot” with open arms, only asking that they participate fully in our society and contribute their labor and vigilance to the continuation of the “experiment.”

But, somewhere in the last 80 years, something has gone wrong.

We have become too comfortable - too self-assured - too arrogant.

We have allowed powerful and influential interests in industry and politics to pervert the democratic process to benefit themselves, while allowing ourselves to be seduced into believing that they were doing this to benefit us. We have seen government expand its reach and control into every aspect of our daily lives, and far beyond what the Founders believed was proper. We have developed an ‘entitlement’ mentality, and ascribed “rights” status to things such as “free” medical care, “free” education with assured equality of outcomes, and “free” retirement. We have allowed our national and economic sovereignty to be sacrificed at the twin altars of multicultural diversity and globalism. We have been cowed into allowing the most sacred protector of our individual freedoms, our Bill of Rights, to be trampled on and shredded in the name of patriotism and security.

In our complacency, we have forgotten that true freedom, true self-determination, must be defended through educating ourselves about the workings of our republic and being intimately active in the process of government.
And so, while we have had our backs turned and our heads in the sand (or in the television set); the experiment has gone terribly awry. We have allowed ourselves to be bound with velvet handcuffs, and in the name of safety and security, we have accepted abuses and usurpations on the part of our own Government that those 56 men who risked their lives for freedom would have found beyond reprehensible.

A New Birth of Freedom

The issue today is the same as it has been throughout all history, whether man shall be allowed to govern himself or be ruled by a small elite. - Thomas Jefferson

So, now, as a nation we find ourselves in the same position as those signers of the Declaration were 232 years ago. We have a choice to make. Neither road will be easy.

We can choose to do nothing, and surrender unconditionally to being ruled by a despotic elite that does not have the nation’s interest at heart, but instead is interested in corrupting the political process for its own gain; to depend on government to provide our every need, but at the terrible price of the confiscation of the fruits of our labor and the loss of our ability to determine our individual destinies; and to ultimately trade our hard-fought freedom for a comfortable existence in slavery.

Or, we can do as the Founders did, and declare our independence.

We can wake up, tear ourselves away from the Wii's and the televisions and the computer screens and the bread and circuses that the entertainment wing of the corporatocracy have given us to dull our senses and lull us to sleep, and begin to challenge their newspeak that intrusive government is good, that they are here to help us and to make us happy, and that we don’t need to think for ourselves.

We can fill ourselves with righteous anger and funnel it to constructive purposes, such as getting educated and active, and we can move to reassert ourselves in the body politic.
We can find the true patriots of our age, or even better, be the true patriots of our age, and be willing to support those people in their runs for political office or run for office ourselves.
We can work to inoculate ourselves from the inevitable siren’s calls of corruption that will come from those who will want us to forget why we are being called to serve, and carry ourselves with the same kind of self-sacrificial spirit that those 56 men displayed in
Philadelphia. We can wage war against those enemies of our freedom who wish to tighten the hold of those velvet handcuffs.

Even though the experiment has gone awry, it is not at all unsalvageable. We are still a shining beacon of hope to the world, of rugged individuality, of self-reliance, of entrepreneurship, and ingenuity. These have always been the hallmarks of the independent spirit of
America, and they are our greatest and most enduring assets. It is now up to us to take up the tools at our disposal and work to recreate the Republic as the Founders intended, and retake our God-given freedoms unto ourselves. Yes, the task is daunting, and will seem close to impossible at times. But, as that rag-tag band of colonists found over 200 years ago, daunting tasks are not futile ones.

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom; go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen. - Samuel Adams


Note – This was reprinted with permission from the author. The author and I have chosen different paths (at this time) to try to restore our freedoms. Steve is active in the Republican Party and I with the Libertarian Party in Kansas. We need more people like Steve whatever political party we chose to work with.

-- Rob --