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Libertarian Crusader Diaryimage00316

1998 Midterm Election Era

Published by Gary L. Fincher

Volume III, Edition I – June 13, 1998

North Dartmouth, Massachusetts

  

 

 

Karen Fincher (shown here at the southern terminus of the Alaska Highway in British Columbia, Canada, in late February) nervously smiles as we anticipate warmer weather awaiting us in the “Lower 48”

Karen Fincher (shown here at the southern terminus of the Alaska Highway in British Columbia, Canada, in late February) nervously smiles as we anticipate warmer weather awaiting us in the “Lower 48”

 

 

 

 

Leaving Alaska

 

The last issue of LCD found us working in Anchorage, Alaska, on the Libertarian Party voter registration drive for permanent ballot status.  The goal was 6,400 registrations, and by mid-February, Kay and I had done the lion’s share of the 1,800 the Alaska LP had already accumulated to date.  Actually, once we started the drive in earnest in January, we found it wasn’t really that difficult.  It really is true that after some thought most people prefer the libertarian option in politics. The approach used in a registration drive (as opposed to a petition drive) provides for a much more thorough presentation of the libertarian credo, generally recognized as a far superior credo than the government-is-always-right claptrap people hear everywhere.

 

Univ. of AK Anchorage (top photo); Gun Show in Wasilla (middle photo); and Valdez Post Office (bottom photo)

Alaska venues: Univ. of AK Anchorage (top photo); Gun Show in Wasilla (middle photo); and Valdez Post Office (bottom photo)

 

 

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This, coupled with all that had been done by Dick Randolph and others in the late 70s and early 80s (see related article), made for a pretty receptive audience when it came to seeking to get voters to register Libertarian or change their registration to Libertarian.  On good days, we could get 125 people to sign up.

 

Kay and I wanted to stay in Alaska through the summer (we were curious to see what it looked like in the midnight sun, rather than the midday dark!) and see the drive through to its conclusion, but we had already made a commitment last December to George Phillies of Worcester, Mass., to take over the petition drive to get his name on the ballot (see related article).  So we decided we had to interrupt our operations and make a trip to Massachusetts and back.

 

We wrapped up Phase I of the Alaska registration drive in Valdez, a pretty little harbor village on Prince William Sound. From there, we undertook the long journey down the Alaska Highway, where we endured temperatures that sometimes reached 40 below – so cold, in fact, that our car’s heater was rendered ineffective at times.

 

Beautiful Prince William Sound in Valdez, Alaska (left)

Beautiful Prince William Sound in Valdez, Alaska (left)

Almost 5,000 miles and 10 days after registering the last Libertarian voter in Valdez, we reached the East Coast, making ourselves present and accounted for in Massachusetts.

 

Our Most Famous Libertarian ‘Catch’ in Alaska

 

The following is reprinted from a recent press release sent to the Libertarian Party News:

 

Alaska Legend Dick Randolph Registers Libertarian, Again

 

Dick Randolph, former two-time elected Libertarian state legislator and driving force behind the Alaska LP’s surging popularity in the late 70s and early 80s, and was a major contributing factor to Ed Clark’s (LP presidential nominee) unprecedented 12% take of the Alaska popular vote in 1980, but had defected to the GOP more than a dozen years ago, has now formally restored his party affiliation to Libertarian.

 

Randolph, 62, of Fairbanks, submitted his new voter registration application, on which he changed parties back to Libertarian, to Alaska voter registrar and longtime national LP activist Gary L. Fincher, as part of an LP registration drive begun in late 1997 for major party status not enjoyed in the state since 1986.

 

Randolph is one of only three state legislators in history elected solely on the Libertarian Party ticket, and achieved this twice, in 1978 and again in 1980.  He then gave up his seat in 1982 to run unsuccessfully for Alaska governor, on the LP ticket.  But in 1985, Randolph, who had by then developed a huge following in the state, left the LP to run another unsuccessful campaign for governor as a Republican.  The move left the Alaska LP with little organization and direction, and with minor party status it continues to hold today.

 

Fincher said he hopes that Randolph’s new action will spur others to register Libertarian and re-establish the Libertarian Party to prominence once again in Alaska.  Adds Karen Fincher, who also helped work on the Alaska drive, “This is quite the coup d’état!”

 

 

Gary L. Fincher (shown here at Phillies’ home in Worcester, Mass., in late March) closes the deal with George Phillies, as he holds the 3,000 signatures the Finchers collected that will get him on the ballot as the very first Libertarian in Massachusetts to run for Congress

Gary L. Fincher (shown here at Phillies’ home in Worcester, Mass., in late March) closes the deal with George Phillies, as he holds the 3,000 signatures the Finchers collected that will get him on the ballot as the very first Libertarian in Massachusetts to run for Congress

Libertarian Pioneer in Massachusetts

          

 

 

Kay and I spent the entire month of March in Massachusetts’ 3rd congressional District (Worcester to Fall River), gathering 3,000 signatures to ensure that George Phillies, physics professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, landed his name on the 1998 ballot to run for Congress, on the LP ticket.  The unpredictable New England weather that time of year slowed us down a little bit, but we were able to complete the task comfortably before the July deadline.

 

This means that George Phillies will be the first Libertarian to run for Congress in the Bay State since the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World” in 1775.  Statewide candidates running as Libertarians have been the norm in Massachusetts, but it takes a petitioning effort independent from statewide party status to the tune of 2,000 valid signatures in whatever respective congressional district. Phillies so far has been the only LP candidate to meet the challenge.

 

At the end of the petition campaign, I wrote an open letter to the incumbent, Democrat U.S. Representative Jim McGovern, in the Worcester newspaper, asking him to drop out of the race and to throw his support to Libertarian George Phillies.  As of press time, McGovern has not acted upon my request.

 

Tired of Big Government and High Taxes?

 

Call the Libertarian Party

 

Toll Free (800) 555-1212

 

 

CALIFORNIA DREAMING

 

Kay and I were offered an opportunity to stay in Massachusetts and work on the petition for statewide party status (this also placed all the statewide candidates on the ballot).  We did collect 1,000 of the necessary 10,000 signatures piggybacking on George Phillies’ petition.  But a couple of factors swayed us away from staying on the East Coast.  First, we were semi-committed to returning to Alaska and completing the registration project there; and second, a really           limited-time, high-paying project awaited us in the Golden State.  Being in California, of course, would provide for a much shorter trip to Alaska than if we would stay on the East Coast.

 

Karen Fincher pauses at the completion of an

Karen Fincher pauses at the completion of an east-to-west coast trip in early April

 

 

 

We couldn’t turn it down.  The offer (to work on a petition to prevent the state from shutting down the California casinos), included a travel voucher, housing allowance, as well as the highest rate we’d ever received for a petition.  In addition, there were two other statewide tax-reduction petitions that were relatively high paying as well.  Working on all three earned us enough money to see some debt relief.

 

Weren’t we just there?  Kay and I pose in Sacramento, Calif., after having just turned west at Ocean City, Md., just one week earlier

Weren’t we just there? Kay and I pose in Sacramento, Calif., after having just turned west at Ocean City, Md., just one week earlier

 

 

 

It also gave us a chance to go all over California, including the San Joaquin Valley (where we conducted most of our performance), the San Francisco Bay Area, the northern California Cascade Mountains, the Sierra Nevadas, the Big Sur and southern California coastlines, greater San Diego and Baja California in Mexico, and the Mojave Desert.

 

At Sequoia National Park in California (top photo); and at Arches National Park in Utah (bottom photo)

Southwest Sightseeing: At Sequoia National Park in California (top photo); and at Arches National Park in Utah (bottom photo)

 

 

 

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Upon completion in California, it became evident to us that the ducks weren’t all in a row on the Alaska registration drive, that it might even be next year before we could return there.  So we decided to drive back to the East Coast.  After handling mini-projects in Nevada and Ohio, and after driving across the country via Texas and the Gulf Coast, we arrived back in New England just in time for good ol’ summertime.

Short-lived petition to save Fess Parker’s resort in Santa Barbara, Calif. (top photo) and bargaining with Union boss John “Leo” King in Gardnerville, Nevada (bottom photo)

Couple of miscellaneous projects: Short-lived petition to save Fess Parker’s resort in Santa Barbara, Calif. (top photo) and bargaining with Union boss John “Leo” King in Gardnerville, Nevada (bottom photo)

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Our 12th Coast-to-Coast Trip

 

Our most recent trip across the country made a full dozen coast-to-coast trips that Kay and I have made since we went out on the road together in early ‘95. This trip started in the Sierra Nevada Mountain town of Truckee, Calif., near Lake Tahoe, and ended in the New England whaling village of New Bedford, Mass., on the Atlantic coast.

 

Our trip took us a few hundred miles out of the way because of our decision to reinforce some family ties in Texas before installing ourselves in New England for who knows how long.

 

Since it was warm and almost-summer by the time we started out (late May), we were able to save some money by using low-cost campgrounds and tenting out virtually every night of the trip. This also added an element of outdoor adventure to our journey.

 

Between California and Texas we saw the casino city of Reno, Nev.; the open range of sagebrush in Nevada; the gold mining town of Virginia City, Nev.; Arches National Park in Utah; Four Corners Monument at the intersection of Aria., Utah, N.M. and Cob.; Shiprock in N.M.; the Rocky Mountains; and

Santa Fe, N.M.

Stopoff in Texas to see daughter Jenny and sister Lisa

Stopoff in Texas to see daughter Jenny and sister Lisa

In Tupelo, Mississippi to check out Elvis’ birthplace

In Tupelo, Mississippi to check out Elvis’ birthplace

While in Texas, we stopped in Abilene to see my daughter Jenny for a while.  We had an opportunity to take the teenager and keep her with us for the rest of the summer, but finances to some degree but especially logistics prevented us from doing so at that time.  We paid visits to my mother and Sister in Moran, Tex. (west central Texas), to my brother and his family in Conroe (east Texas) whom I hadn’t seen in a dozen years, and to an aunt in Pasadena (near Houston) whom I hadn’t seen since the mid-80s. [Editor’s note: two weeks after our visit with my aunt in Pasadena, she died at the age of 86.1.

 

Between Texas and Massachusetts, we saw Galveston, Tex. On the Gulf Coast; the Big Thicket piney woods of East Texas; the Mississippi delta in Louisiana; the Natchez Trace Parkway all the way from Natchez, Miss. to Nashville, Tenn.; Elvis Presley’s birthplace in Tupelo, Miss.; the Great Smoky Mountains in Tenn. and N.C.; the Blue Ridge Parkway in N.C. and Virginia; and the Hudson River Valley in New York.

 

 

Current Project

 

 

Summertime is finding us in Massachusetts working on something really meaningful again.  This page’s exhibit is a self-explanation of our project, which we’ll be working on until mid to late July.

 

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LCD Special Due This Summer

 

In last November’s issue, I promised that an LCD special, entitled Wish You Were Here: Postcards from 48 States would be forthcoming in the near future. The special was still delayed in production when January’s LCD was published.

 

At press time, the special is still in production, but only because our travels have provided more material to add and it promises to be bigger and better than originally anticipated.

 

Once again, Postcards is an LCD special feature covering our more than 3 years on the road.  Publicized now is the fact that Kay and I, in our travels as Libertarian Crusaders, have been to 49 states (all states except Hawaii), as well as several Canadian and Mexican provinces.  Postcards is a celebration of this, a recollection of scenes and memories from all over North America.  Look for it in your mailbox by summer’s end.

 

Political Commentary

 

As I sit here at my word processor, I can’t help but look ahead with optimism and pride at how much progress the Libertarian Party and the libertarian movement is making in recent years.

 

As a libertarian living in the 80s and even early 90s, my ideas were never taken seriously, even downright ridiculed.  As recently as the 1992 election, I think I was viewed (outside of partisan LP circles, that s) as an anomaly, as someone irrationally hung up on the idea of individual freedom.

 

Now, here in the late 9Os, times have changed for the better. No longer are libertarian ideas ignored and not taken seriously. Terminology previously used only by overtly libertarian messengers and activists, are now being routinely used in “mainstream” political discussions. Terms like “less government”, “abolishing the income tax and IRS”, “privatization”, and “alternative plan to Social Security”.  The Libertarians are indeed infecting the national dialogue with positive ideas.

 

The head of CORE (Congress of Racial Equality), Roy Innis, recently joined the Libertarian Party, as did talk radio titan Art Bell, the 4th most listened to radio personality in the nation.  Actors Clint Eastwood and John Larroquette have been heard recently saying some positive things.

 

As for positive media, consider:

 

·         Hugh Downs, nationally respected media figure, recently said on national TV: “All the really good ideas belong to the Libertarians.”

 

·         The Dallas Morning News said, in an editorial: “Many of the ideas that are on the [political] front burner today were floated by Libertarians in recent years.”*

 

·         Ken Lanterman of the Galveston, Texas, Daily News, said: “The Libertarian Party, unlike other parties, is a party of principle…”*

 

·         Nationally syndicated columnist Joseph Sobran: “The Libertarian Party has more integrity, clearer principles, and higher intellectual standards than the major parties.”*

 

·         And James Ridgeway of the Village Voice (New York), says: “A vote for the Libertarians is a vote for the only coherent ideological political approach now heard in the nation.”

 

Consider also that there are now over 250 Libertarians who now hold public office around the country, with 34 new Libertarians elected just last year. In Texas, there are Libertarians running in all 30 congressional districts, a feat that neither Republicans nor Democrats could even accomplish.

 

Then, when you take in the fact that Massachusetts might, in 1998, elect the first Libertarian congressman in history, and that Alaska, thanks to Dick Randolph, might be on track to more Libertarian victories, you might begin to appreciate how a longtime Libertarian Crusader might sit in eager anticipation of the fruition of a free society in his own lifetime, especially after having joined on with the

movement so many years ago when it wasn’t so popular. I can remember being the lonely voice in a storm of statism.

 

I’ll close out this column by inviting you to look over the next page, an outreach piece I wrote/edited (borrowing some language from an advertisement from the national LP). I hope that it will inspire you to get of f your easy chair (if you haven’t already done so) and do something to advance the cause of human liberty, Write or call for a free information packet. Write an op-ed to your local newspaper. Join the Libertarian Party. Become an activist. Do something.

 

 

Next Edition (September 5, 1998):

https://libertycrusader.wordpress.com/libertarian-crusader-diary/archived-back-issues/september-5-1998-lcd/

 

 

LCD Special – Wish You Were Here:  Postcards from All 50 States:

https://libertycrusader.wordpress.com/libertarian-crusader-diary/archived-back-issues/special-wish-you-were-here-postcards-from-all-50-states/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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