A fellow Libertarian, who ran for office this year, had the following to say about the experience:
Running for office was an eye-opener! My experience was mixed. Met some delightful and insightful people, found I had support from diverse groups and individuals, and was surprised by the ignorance of most people regarding Libertarians.
The most gratifying element of running for election was the motivation to listen—really listen—to what people had to say. My first public meeting was a presentation of my views before the Vernal Chamber of Commerce. Neither of my opponents had anything to say other than to re-iterate their party’s position on very basic issues—nothing regarding Utah, the Uintah Basin, people, education, etc. From that meeting throughout the remainder of the election, I made it a point to introduce myself and ask for questions from the audience. “What is your greatest concern?” and “How can the Utah Legislature help you most?” were the two questions I asked. And the people responded. They shared their dreams and, most of all, their concerns; the most compelling of which was their universal concern for education.
Utahns LOVE their public schools! Just the mention of an alternative is a deal killer. Further, they want to be controlled and told what to do. This I gleaned from listening. They do not want to think and act in their best interests! They vote Republican, not because of the merits of Republicanism but because of their fear of any alternative—an attitude of “better the devil I know than the devil I don’t know” pervades.
Moab is politically more varied than the Uintah Basin. Here, the people seem to fall into three groups: those whose thinking is driven by the dominant religion (I heard a lot of this in my door-to-door campaigning!), political mavericks who have no particular party affiliation and don’t want any, and a conclave of liberal thinkers who oppose the predominant view. I suppose the latter group is the reason for Moab’s political isolation, which was forcefully driven by gerrymandering to minimize our effect on state policy. This liberal faction, though, was more prone to vote “Green” than Libertarian.
So, where do we go from here? Being a Libertarian in Utah is a bizarre experience. Almost everyone I talked with believes (and some quite strongly!) in libertarianism, yet cannot allow themselves to vote Libertarian. Their voice screams for independence while their hand votes for control.
Aaron’s note: Welcome to Amerika. Control is what it’s all about.