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The Tentacle


April 7, 2003

Greetings Faithful Tentacle Readers! Iím Back!

Michael Barnes

It has been a long time since my words have had the fortune of gracing these pages. And, since my last column many things have happened.

The Libertarian Party has lost official recognized party status in Maryland.

We have a Republican Governor.

We have entered into a military action in an unprecedented preemptive strike against a sovereign nation.

We have become the 10th state in the Union to offer some sort of protection to users of marijuana.

We have had a wonderfully wet winter.

We have seen protests and rallies for and against our military action in Iraq.

So many topics, so many ways to discuss them.

I guess I will tackle the first item in my list.

On December 31, 2002, the Libertarian Party officially lost its status as a recognized party in the state of Maryland.

Why did this happen? First and foremost this happened because the Republican and Democrat parties, not wishing Marylanders to have a broad choice in who governs them, have put in place extraordinary hurdles to deter any 'third' party from attaining permanent party status.

Not only does Maryland require third parties to petition to become a recognized party, it also requires those parties that already HAVE achieved 'recognized' status to petition to run candidates in local and statewide races. Can anyone say "double jeopardy"?

This takes its toll on the resources third parties have. Unlike the Republicans and Democrats, who receive money from their national committees, third party candidates depend mostly on grassroots organizations and very limited budgets.

Also, major media tends to ignore third parties, even though third parties have been spoilers in many state and national elections. Had Ralph Nader not run in 2000, we would be discussing President Gore's failure in the War on Terror instead of President Bush.

The NAACP, an organization that prides itself in promoting equality, denied the Libertarian candidate the right (he was listed on the ballot along with KKT and Bobby Ehrlich) to participate in the gubernatorial debate.

So much for equal rights, eh?

There is an old saying that goes "when you point your finger at someone, there are three fingers pointing right back at yourself." Try it.

Libertarians cannot place all the blame on the powers that be. They should also look at themselves for some of the blame.

They had four years to get one percent of the registered voters to register Libertarian.

They had an excellent candidate in Spear Lancaster. Not a professional politician like Bobby Ehrlich. Not a member of a political dynasty like KKT. They had the first Latino candidate for lieutenant governor.

What they did not have was support from the very people who had registered Libertarian. Had every registered Libertarian in the state donated $15, yes, you heard me right, FIFTEEN dollars, the operating budget of the campaign would have been tripled.

At election time, there were 302 registered Libertarians in Frederick County. How many "Spear for Governor" signs did you see? I saw one. In my front yard.

What happens now? Now Libertarians are once again collecting signatures to become a recognized party in the state.

Please, do yourself, your neighbors, and Maryland a favor.

If you are asked to sign a petition to get the Libertarian Party back on the list of recognized parties, sign away. It does not mean you have to register as a Libertarian. It doesn't mean you have to vote Libertarian, all it means is that you believe in the American ideal that we, the people, should be able to have a varied choice in those who govern our county, our state, and our country.



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