By Elisha Dorfsmith
Last week the AZ Daily Sun wrote an editorial endorsing “Top Two” for Arizona:
While “Top Two” may sound like a good idea on the surface, the truth is that “Top Two” eliminates voter choice and silences independent voices. Many third party candidates run without expecting to win. Their goal is to expand the dialogue, bring overlooked issues to the table, and offer voters a chance to cast a protest vote if they are not happy with the two main choices on the ballot. It takes a lot of money to win elections. Third party candidates do not have the backing and funding of special interest groups and they do not have giant fund-raising machines behind them like major party candidates do. “Top Two” will ensure that third party candidates never appear on a general election ballot again.
Ralph Nader offers some good insight into the problems with California’s recent “Top Two” law:
Much more information can be found here:
Arizonans must stand up to the special interests and major parties as they attempt to destroy competition and choice in elections. Don’t allow your voice to be silenced. Say NO to “Top Two.”
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Everywhere I turn, people are complaining and saying that they want change and accountability in government. They are fearful of the national debt, wary of excessive government spending, and frustrated as they watch the systematic chipping away at our Constitution by politicians. You would think that in this current political climate people would be jumping at the chance to get involved and work to bring about the change that they are looking for…right?
Last Tuesday’s primary turnout tells a different story:
Voter turnout was even lower than the last non-presidential primary. This is nothing short of pathetic. It seems that Arizona residents (and Americans across the country) are all talk and little more. They can’t even muster up the effort to learn about the candidates and cast a ballot.
I am sure these non-voters all have excuses:
The good candidates never win. Washington will turn even the good candidates bad. My vote won’t count. I don’t trust the system. I don’t have time to research all of the candidates.
One or two of these excuses might even be valid but the question remains: what good is complaining if you don’t try to do something about it? I am sure every Flagstaff voter could have found at least one candidate to get behind and support. Everyone I know has frustrated energy and that energy should be turned into action.
I will concede that some frustrated energy has been turned into action this past year. The tea party movement is a perfect example. Across the country people have hit the streets waving signs and shouting slogans. They have marched to Washington and held huge rallies. They have flooded congress with emails and phone calls. Some of it has been effective to a certain degree but as far as changing the outcome of elections it has accomplished little more than what we accomplish when we yell at our TV screens. It obviously didn’t do much to get out the vote in Arizona.
As November’s general election approaches we must ask ourselves how we can become more effective. We must be honest with ourselves and move past the tactics that do not work very well. You can get a group together and wave signs all day long but in the end, the impact you have on an election will be minimal. You can religiously attend tea party meetings or rallies but if you stop there, not much will get done.
So what does work? Saul Alinsky wrote Rules For Radicals, a book that taught a whole generation how to successfully accomplish their political goals. Many conservatives and libertarians cringe when they hear his name and the term “community organizer” but they would do well to embrace some of his ideas with an open mind and ask themselves what they can learn.
If we are going to make a difference we have to start getting involved in our neighborhoods and communities. We should all be spreading the message of liberty and educating those around us. Walking your precinct is a great place to start and you will see results. My wife and I walked our precinct and saw the results firsthand. While voter turnout was down across the county, our precinct had a 10% higher voter turnout. If we could do this county wide and at the same time let people know about the true liberty candidates, we could dramatically change the outcome of elections.
Are you brave enough to meet your neighbors? Are you willing to talk to those around you about the ideas of liberty? Are you ready to put in the hours it takes to make a real difference in your precinct? Complaining won’t get you anywhere. Time to turn that energy into effective action.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
All too often, when I tell Republicans, Tea Party Members, and other conservatives that I am opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ever expanding American empire they look at me like I come from another planet. To them, being conservative means beating the drums of war as much as possible and borrowing and printing money to pay for it. If you don’t join the program you are called a liberal or weak on defense or un-American, never mind the fact that the war on terror has cost over 1 trillion dollars and true conservatives should be in the streets protesting the huge expense of the military industrial complex.
Neo-conservatives (feel free to look up the definition) would have us believe that the War on Terror is keeping America safe. I suppose our leaders were also keeping us safe when they supported and helped strengthen Saddam Hussein and Iraq during the Iraq-Iran War. Or when they helped Osama bin Laden and the “Freedom Fighters” fight against Soviet occupation. The list of our involvement in foreign conflicts behind the scenes (and sometimes in the open) goes on and on. My point is not to argue who was right or wrong in these conflicts. My point is simply that the United States has been meddling in foreign affairs for years and our meddling has helped breed a lot of hate. “Blowback” is more than just a cute word.
Seems we have forgotten the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson:
“Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations–entangling alliances with none…” –Thomas Jefferson
It is important to remember that America has been seeking to expand it’s empire for many years. One of my favorite quotes by Mark Twain talks about the war you won’t find in the history books: The Philippine American war.
“I have read carefully the treaty of Paris, and I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem. It should, it seems to me, be our pleasure and duty to make those people free, and let them deal with their own domestic questions in their own way. And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.” –Mark Twain
Unfortunately, Americans are not taught much history in school and the little they are taught is often warped, twisted, and revised to promote an agenda. To truly understand how things got to where they are we must dig deep and study facts and truth.
I voted for George Bush in 2000. I was raised in a very Republican conservative Christian home and it was the natural thing to do. By 2004 my eyes were opened to how we were falsely sold the war in Iraq, how the Patriot Act trampled the constitution, and how Republicans seemed to only care about war and their version of morality that they wanted to push on people. Limited government and the Constitution seemed to be the last thing on their minds. I started researching the Libertarian party and while I did not (and still don’t) agree with every stand on every issue, they most closely represented my views. I voted for Michael Badnarik in 2004.
Studying libertarian ideas introduced me to many writers and leaders in the liberty movement including Ron Paul. When Ron Paul decided to run for president in 2008, Cindy and I were thrilled that a candidate who represented our views was actually running. Many Libertarians were upset (and justifiably so) when thousands of us left the Party and registered Republican in order to vote for Ron Paul in the primary. The Republican establishment was clearly not happy about Paul’s opposition to the wars. They along with Fox News (and other networks) went out of their way to smear Ron Paul and his supporters. He was even banned from the Fox debate right before the New Hampshire primary.
In the meantime, through Meetup and other networking sites, Flagstaff freedom lovers started meeting weekly at the public library conference room, holding sign rallies, and going door to door campaigning for Ron Paul. Years of frustration and anxiety suddenly gave way to the excitement and passion of supporting the Constitution and limited government. Yes, it is cliche but Ron Paul and the movement he energized cured my apathy.
During our sign rallies in front of City Hall guess who most often gave us the finger? Yes, you guessed it: People with Romney, Giuliani, Huckabee and other Republican bumper stickers on their cars.
That is not to say that attacks didn’t come from the left. An article in Flagstaff Live titled “The Dangerous Desperation of the Moonbats” by Avtar Khalsa (currently running for Justice Of The Peace) tore us apart.
“You can see them on Sunday afternoons standing out by City Hall with their signs and the devotion of true believers. They have a message. It can be summed up in 14 words: “We all believe he is the only hope we have to save our nation.” Strangely, they’re not referring to any deity or higher power. And they’re not out there spreading the good word about Jesus or Reverend Moon or Lord Krishna. No, for them, the salvation of our great nation depends on the election of a 72-year old Republican congressman from Texas who is running for president. His name is Ron Paul…”
He went on to claim that we were misguided and pretty much a bunch of racists. (sound familiar?)
We all know Ron Paul did not win the primary. Yes, we were discouraged and frustrated but as Ron always says, “freedom is popular” and us Ron Paul supporters had plenty of evidence to show that his ideas and support of the Constitution were catching on. (I choose not to insert the New Hampshire commercial here. 😛 )
When it came time for the Republican National Convention, Ron Paul was clearly not wanted there so he held his own rally.
Ron Paul did manage to pick up some delegates who went to the RNC to represent him. As I watched it live I could not believe how the Republican establishment treated those delegates. They refused to let them vote, they cut the mics, they did everything they could to silence our people. That same evening I went online and re-registered as a Libertarian. We were clearly not wanted in the Republican party.
The story goes on and on. Some of us did stay in the Republican party and some of us were successful there. Others joined the tea party or other liberty groups. One thing is certain, no matter how much the establishment wishes we would go away we won’t be going anywhere anytime soon!
I would encourage everyone to watch the For Liberty documentary which does a great job of showing what the Ron Paul revolution was all about. You can watch the full documentary here:
Keep fighting the fight. Don’t let the history books and media tell you what to believe. Dig deep. Find the facts. Be informed. Most importantly, lose the apathy and get involved.
By Elisha Dorfsmith
Freedom transcends comfort and popular public opinion. The Constitution of the United States guarantees that even unpopular and offensive ideas and actions are protected. Just because something makes us uncomfortable does not give us the right to trample the rights of others.
The “Ground Zero Mosque” is a perfect example. Many who claim to be strong defenders of the Constitution and Bill Of Rights in one breath are more than happy to disregard and ignore our founding documents in the next. The knee jerk reaction from the right is both frustrating and disturbing. First, let’s look at the facts:
Despite claims from certain groups on the right, this is a proposed Islamic center – not a mosque. Some would say that there is no difference but the fact is, the word “mosque” is going to spark a much stronger negative reaction. Secondly, the location is not at “ground zero.” It is several blocks from the site of the World Trade Center.
Over the last few days I have heard some very disheartening things from Republicans, Christians and members of the Tea Party movement. Some are saying the government should step in and take the property through eminent domain. Others say the government should mandate what is or is not allowed to be built on the property. Still others say that if they do build an Islamic center, they will get a group together and burn it down.
All of these people claim to be strong defenders of freedom but seem to be jumping at the chance to shred the rights and freedom of others. How can they pretend to support private property rights when they want to seize property? How can they say they support freedom of religion when they want to say where certain religions can or cannot be practiced? How can they say they believe in peaceful solutions to problems when they call for violence?
The sad fact is, many of these individuals only want people to be free to do things that they find appropriate. To them, freedom must fit in the box they put it in. They scream about their rights when their private property is taken. They scream about freedom of religion when their religion is infringed upon. They say that Christianity promotes peace and that Islam promotes violence and then they talk about attacking and burning down religious buildings that they don’t approve of. Am I the only one who thinks the hypocrisy is sickening? These people support the very same tyranny that they say they are opposing.
If we want to keep America free we should heed the wise words of Thomas Paine:
“He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.”
The Flagstaff Tea Party has two sign rallies planned in the next month or so. I plan on attending but want to make one thing clear…if anyone shows up with a sign that complains about the “Mosque at Ground Zero” I will pack up and leave. I have chosen to defend freedom and liberty and to oppose tyranny in all of its forms. I will not stand with those who insist on promoting their own version of tyranny. FREEDOM and LIBERTY for ALL!!! That includes Muslims.
Keep up the fight to defend freedom and the Constitution!