Old Drum Network
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Free Press Article

Libertarian and Green Parties in light of Homeland Security

For Warrensburg Missouri Free Press December 5, 2002 issue

This article was written in 2002 and very slightly updated to correct contact information and minor format edits on 6/23/14. All references to a "county" are to Johnson County, Missouri. Since the article was written, the Green Party lost statewide ballot access and the Constitution Party gained access; I do not intend to update the article to show the differences between the LP and the CP.

Civil liberties advocates are upset over several of the more intrusive provisions of the homeland security bill that passed Congress last week. Among these provisions is one that would allow the government to develop a database that could correlate all of an individual's transactions, such as credit card purchases, travel, banking, etc. (a fitting name for the computer might be Big Brother). The quick passage of the bill followed the 2002 midterm elections, when the Republicans bucked historic trends by gaining seats. It should be noted that the Democrats didn't oppose this provision of the bill.

During Missouri's U.S. Senate campaign, two candidates questioned Attorney General John Ashcoft's commitment to constitutional principles. Libertarian candidate Tamara Millay drew a big reaction at the Columbia debate when she stated that she thought Ashcroft has "misplaced his copy of the Constitution" and added that she did not think he had read it anyway. Green candidate "Digger" Romano said he'd impeach Ashcroft. Citizens who no longer trust the Republicans and Democrats to protect the People's civil liberties advocates might do well to learn more about the Libertarian and Green parties.

In several states, minor party votes exceeded the winner's margin of victory. Had many or all of these votes all gone to the losing candidates, the political face of the nation would look considerably different. Here in Missouri, the Libertarian and Green party candidates for U.S. Senate garnered 28,810 votes; Talent topped Carnahan by only 21,254.

The Libertarian and Green parties have some similarities and many differences. Libertarians put a great deal of emphasis on personal responsibility while the Greens emphasize environmental issues. Both parties see little difference between the major parties on many issues. Both parties support a non-interventionist foreign policy and call for the repeal or amelioration of laws establishing "victimless crimes." Both call for decentralization of government power.

The major differences occur in their vision of what government should do with that power. Economically, the Libertarian Party believes that market forces operating freely will yield the best economic results for individuals and for the country. The economic planks of the Green Party platform call for much more public-sector involvement in economic issues such as wage levels and universal health care. Libertarians explicitly support the broadest interpretation of the 2nd Amendment while the Green platform doesn't address the issue. Party platforms can be examined in detail at party websites.

Although the Libertarian Party has been on statewide ballots for some time, they have fielded only one local candidate; in 1998 their candidate for Presiding Commissioner drew slightly over 11% of the vote. The Green Party first appeared on state ballots in 2000 after a ballot-access petition drive.

The number of straight ticket voters in general elections as well as party voters in primary elections are good indicators of a minor party's core strength. Both have shown growth in this key indicator. Based on information provided by the Johnson County Clerk's office, it appears that the Libertarian Party has a core of about .65% of the registered voters. Their top vote-getter pulled almost 300 votes in a 5-way race for State Auditor. In contrast, the Green Party's core is about .2% with a top vote total of 150 in the Auditor race. Libertarians seem to be stronger in the western part of the county, while Greens draw support from the Warrensburg urban precincts.

Minor party activists believe it is important for people whose views do not coincide with those of the two major parties to get involved with a party that does represent their views. Those who vote straight tickets for a minor party could be considered such people. Missouri Libertarian Party Executive Director Greg Tlapek said, "If you're not a Republican or a Democrat, you have no representation. That's un-democratic. And taxation without representation also makes it un-American." One of the key ways a party can achieve growth on a local level is by running candidates. Tlapek adds, "I've noticed the Libertarian Party takes root where our candidates run for office. People need to point and say, 'That person ran as a Libertarian'".

To contact the Libertarian Party locally, contact Bill Wayne at 660-624-4944; email liberty@olddrum.net. Statewide, contact the party at 877-868-3487 or info@lpmo.org or call 877-VOTE-4-US. There is no Green Party organization in the Johnson County; contact their state office by email dberrygkc@gmail.com

Party websites are:

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