Poo-Pooing Party Politics
Written By Stephen Eli Harris on Saturday, March 05, 2016 | 3/05/2016 01:47:00 pm
I started thinking deeply about political parties and the whole system after that, but it wasn't until after my experiences with the Green Party in 2006 that I swore off any direct involvement with any political party ever again. It's not that I had any magnificently horrible experiences with that particular party. I interacted with some very lovely people in fact, and I gained a tremendous amount of experience running as a federal candidate. My split initially came with the seal hunt. I'm not going to rehash all the details, but it can be summed up quite simply; they were against it, and I was for it. I didn't toe the party line on that one, not at all. And let me tell ya, it's not fun attempting to run a campaign for a party that was barely visible at the time, while at the same time infighting with members about a foolish position that I refused to support. It wasn't long after the election that I decided to walk away from the party, and swore off branding myself all together.
That was until I found the Libertarian Party of Canada.
Having self identified as a libertarian for much of my adult life, it seemed logical to me that if I were to give another party a chance, it would be that one. Having witnessed the liberty movement grow over the years, and finally discovering the manifestation of it within our country, I thought I should do my part to help it grow. I can actually credit Norman Andrews for my decisions to be more vocal about being a libertarian. It was his decision to run as a Libertarian candidate in a Labrador by-election in 2013 that gave me the drive to 'come out'. I think it was that 'wow I'm not alone' feeling that pushed me. And here I was thinking that I'd be the first Libertarian candidate in Newfoundland and Labrador. I was certain that I'd be the 2nd one though, and since that by-election I had been mentally, and otherwise, preparing to run as a candidate in the next general election, whenever that would be.
Sometime early in 2014, a fellow libertarian who I had earlier friend-ed on Facebook wrote me a message asking if I minded him nominating me to the Libertarian party board of directors. It didn't take me long to say yes, and a couple months later I was elected to the board. From there on out I met monthly with the other board members from across the country. It was a new board, with a new leader in Tim Moen at the helm, all focused on building awareness and money for the coming election. This was perhaps the most 'in' a party I've ever been.
It's funny how quickly things change...
In debating libertarianism, I frequently propagated the fact that most libertarians respect each other, no matter any differences they may have. There is plenty of debate within the liberty movement, as the 'left' and 'right' and in-between liberty lovers push their personal positions forward. I always thought this was a beautiful thing, frankly, and it was something I commonly bragged about as I shared libertarian content. There is sometimes a limit to this, however, and that limit does not come within the movement as a whole. The limit comes within an organized group of liberty lovers with a goal. Sometimes that goal requires decisions that cannot respect all debate, all positions. If an organized party within an organized system wants to be noticed in said system, they have to play by certain rules. These rules manifest as party politics...
And back to the beginning we go - my disdain for party politics.
A few months before the election, for reasons I won't get into right now, and maybe never will, I stepped down from the board, and removed myself pretty much totally from the Libertarian Party. It was my decision, and one that, after some careful consideration, I thought was best. I haven't really looked back since. After years of prepping myself to step into the political arena again, including a long time within the party, helping where I could, I walked away, and it's most likely that I stay on the outside of any political party forever, for real this time.
I do feel pretty horrible that there was no candidate for the party at all in Newfoundland and Labrador though, and thus the option not available for anyone who may have wanted to support them. I'm sorry for that. The decision did not come easily for me, but it was definitely for the best, for me and the party. I still support them, and I hope they get millions of votes in years to come. There's some pretty incredible people involved within the organization, and I wish them all the best - moreso, I thank them for pushing the idea's of liberty forward.
What all this boils down to really, is that I've solidified the fact that I am far better off being a small l libertarian, on the outside looking in. It took a few eye opening moments for to get me back here, but it feels right. I feel good. I feel like me. Free.