From your reporter at the Libertarian national convention.
They say you will always remember your first time. I’m not sure who they are, unless they are folks who have experienced their "first time" and many more. And I’m not sure what specifically they were referring to, as in first time doing what? From Thursday night through Monday noon, I was experiencing my first time. Your first thought might be, "wow, Mr. Moo, what stamina!" And believe you me; stamina, caffeine, ongoing encouragement and a passionate belief in what I was doing was only the beginning. I’m not sure if the mysterious "they" are meaning the same thing I am referring to but I am talking about my first time attending a national political convention.
About 6 months ago, I was asked if I wanted to attend the national convention for the Libertarian party in Hot-lanta, GA over Memorial Day weekend. There were many reasons I could have said no, such as I would miss my wife’s birthday, my employer may not approve of the way I spend my vacation and money was tight. But one by one the objections became resolved and I was able to go. There was one key reason that I wanted to attend. My good friend, Richard Campagna, had announced that he was going to seek the nomination for Vice-President. Knowing he could so much better than our sitting V-P and knowing he had never sold his soul to Halliburton or anyone else, I was ready to field trip to the east.
Upon my arrival, I had the opportunity to watch the beautiful Atlanta Marriot Marquis Hotel turn into one big party. Actually, it was three parties until the presidential nomination took place. Three candidates still had a chance at the nomination. They had been in the race for a variety of reasons and each one brought a different set of attributes to the table. Their positions were similar but wow, were they three different guys. Entering the convention radio talk show host Gary Nolan, movie producer Aaron Russo, and constitutional teacher Michael Badnarik were lined up with committed delegates in that order.
Saturday brought along the much awaited debate, carried live on C-SPAN, in which Badnarik scored huge points and the three candidates became involved in a horse race. If that wasn’t enough, there was talk of an unsuccessful candidate running for vice president. If nothing so far had gotten my attention, that did. You see, my friend had logged over 100,000 miles in his quest to become the candidate for V-P and this talk was not going to become reality, if Mr. Moo had anything to do with it. The presidential nomination was now a three person horse race with delegates almost equally divided between the three. The rules provided that one candidate must receive a simple majority or the voting goes to another ballot. It took three ballots and some passionate pleas from candidates and floor workers but we finally had a nominee. The underdog, Michael Badnarik won the nomination on the 3rd ballot and the fear of having one losing presidential candidate running for vice president was gone. Our delegation offered up a sigh of relief. Now the question would be, “Will Badnarik express his preference for VP?” He chose to leave it up to the delegates, which is what we were hoping for considering all of our hard work at the convention.
The vice presidential nomination was exciting for me because of my personal connection in the race but from most of the delegates, not near as exciting. My friend won on the first ballot against 3 opponents with about 57% of the vote. Richard’s 100,000 miles of driving and the hard work of his closest supporters paid off.
The weekend continued with the Iowa delegation being responsible for 2 other victories from within the state. Just as the Democrats and Republicans focus on Iowa in January, Libertarians were focused on Iowa in May. Not bad for a little state in the heartland? The majority of our delegation got what they wanted in the ticket and now comes the hard work. The general election. The Libertarians should be on all 50 state ballots and I hope that people will give them a good look in November. One minor party candidate put it this way: "I'd rather vote for something I want and not get it than vote for something I don't want and get it."
My experiences were enhanced by serving as introducing speakers at events and breakout sessions and moderating panel discussions. I also had the privilege of leading the delegates in a devotional/meditation time each morning before breakfast. And who could forget the beauty of the drive round trip through the beauty of Tennessee and Kentucky?
What a trip! Maybe "they" are right. I'll probably never forget my first time.