image00120Libertarian Crusader Diaryimage00318

1998 Midterm Election Era

Published by Gary L. Fincher

Volume III, Edition III – November 4, 1998

Santa Fe, New Mexico

 

 

 

Gary and Kay working with candidate McDonald, right, and campaign chairman Joseph Knight

Gary and Kay working with candidate McDonald, right, and campaign chairman Joseph Knight

 

 

Finchers Assist in Historic Breakthrough in New Mexico

 

For the first time in New Mexico history, the Libertarian Party plays in the major leagues with the Big Boys.  On November 3, Maurice McDonald, Libertarian candidate for Commissioner of Public Lands, swiped over 8 % of the statewide vote to give the New Mexico LP Major Party recognition, pending a registration drive that would boost Libertarian voter registrations to one-third of 1% of the statewide total.  That requirement can he fulfilled anytime between now and January 2000.  In the meantime, Libertarians in the Land of Enchantment are celebrating their party’s graduation from the school of minor party status.

 

Kay and I figured prominently in the McDonald campaign, of course, with Kay serving as fundraising director who brought in all the funding and I as campaign manager who ran the operation.  Other principals besides the candidate himself, who were instrumental in a successful conclusion to the campaign were:  campaign chairman Joe Knight, who conceived the campaign plan and implemented the ultimately successful campaign strategy; state party chairman Ron Bjornstad, who oversaw the smooth execution of outgoing bulk mail and who competently filled in for the candidate when Maurice had to be somewhere else; campaign treasurer Daniel Bartholomew, who expertly handled the campaign finances; Dave Meilstrup, who maintained the McDonald campaign website on the Internet; and Dean Chambers, who provided technical assistance in order for the campaign itself to have internet access.

 

I work mailers with Joseph Knight, left, and Ron Bjornstad, right, as ultra-lazy Dean Chambers watches

I work mailers with Joseph Knight, left, and Ron Bjornstad, right, as ultra-lazy Dean Chambers watches

Highlights of the campaign included a series of speaking appearances around the state where the candidate, Maurice McDonald, addressed the local chapter of the New Mexico Coalition on Private Property Rights.  I arranged all of these meetings as a front for the McDonald Campaign, on the presumption that organizing an assembly just to hear Maurice speak on behalf of his candidacy would be too overtly partisan and wouldn’t draw a crowd.   As it turned out, we couldn’t really draw big crowds at most of these meetings anyway, but a couple of them drew more than a dozen interested individuals.   Maurice made stops in Farmington, Gallup, Clovis, Ruidoso, Roswell, Las Cruces. Lordsburg, Silver City and Socorro as guest speaker at these meetings.

 

The other features of the campaign included a handful of candidate forums where Maurice appeared, several radio and cable TV talk shows and several newspaper interviews around the state that actually yielded some really good coverage.

 

Campaign chairman Joseph Knight and candidate Maurice McDonald listen as Kay gives campaign fundraising report

Campaign chairman Joseph Knight and candidate Maurice McDonald listen as Kay gives campaign fundraising report

Fundraising was another campaign positive, as our several thousand dollars raised set a. standard for Libertarian campaigns in Hew Mexico.  Several hundred dollars of that was raised at our own Homestretch Kickoff which was held in Albuquerque and was attended by about 20 New Mexico Libertarians, plus Kay and me.  Speeches were given by Maurice, Joe Knight, Kay and me.

 

All in all, it seems the campaign was successful:  we surpassed the 5%.  New Mexico Libertarians are inspired again, and the Establishment parties have stiffer competition.  Yet it seems unclear at this point how soon the subsequent voter registration drive will be funded and can begin in earnest.

 

 

 

 


When in New Mexico

 

It probably doesn’t need mentioning that Kay and I worked night and day on the campaign trying to make a big splash in New Mexico polities.  We wanted to see success just as much as the NM Libertarians.   Kay and I had our personal reputations at stake here and, hopefully, we’ve emerged from this race with a little higher profile than before we took it on.  For what it’s worth, it’s on our résumés.

 

Hanging out in Santa Fe has been an experience in itself.  This city of just over 55,000 residents seems unlike any other city in America – it’s quite the amalgamation of cultures Spanish, Mexican, Native American and Anglo.  I can’t remember anywhere else that I’ve ever seen people lined up in grocery store parking lots behind cast-iron smokers waiting for their 10-lb sacks of Hatch green chilies to be roasted before their eyes.  And I don’t know of any other downtown plaza so resemblant of a Spanish marketplace as Santa Fe’s, chock full of Navajo art, bronze sculptures, colorful woven rugs, clay pottery and an endless myriad of similar items displayed everywhere in amongst brown and tan adobe buildings of every size and shape.  Yes, Santa Fe was a refreshing change for us as we spent the autumn in the dry crispness of the desert foothills that define northern New Mexico.

 

Kay in resort town of Taos, N.M. in October 1998

Kay in resort town of Taos, N.M. in October 1998

Although we spent an inordinate amount of time from early August to early November either out running campaign errands around town or stuck inside campaign headquarters, we did manage, as we always do, a tiny iota of time for travel and recreation.

 

The city that might be considered more like Santa Fe than any other would have to be Taos, to the northeast and higher in the foothills.  Like Santa Fe, it has a Spanish/Indian flavor and a downtown plaza, albeit smaller and with far less crowds.  Kay and I took a day trip to Taos last month and also took in the ski resort of Angel Fire and the Rio Grande River Gorge.

 

Also in October, Kay and I ventured down into southern New Mexico to see the Alpine wonderland of Cloudcroft, high in the Sacramento Mountains.  We took this trip in conjunction with dropping in on Maurice McDonald’s speaking engagement in Ruidoso.  Cloudcroft is less than 40 miles away from Ruidoso – and almost straight up.  I recall the first time I had come to the pretty little town, as a youngster more than 25 years ago, with my family as we came up from Texas on vacation, I always thought it was one of the most scenic of New Mexico’s towns, and I returned there a couple of times in the 1980s. Still, it had been about 14 years since I’d been and I wanted Kay to see it too.

 

Enjoying Telluride, in the Colorado Rockies

Enjoying Telluride, in the Colorado Rockies

The only other time Kay and I got away from campaign work was our August trek to the

Colorado Rockies as reported in the last issue of Libertarian Crusader Diary.

 

What’s Next For Us?

 

Kay and I can see the writing on the wall.   It looks like everything’s going to be pretty quiet as far as paid political projects between now and the New Year.  California, which normally hums along, albeit at a slower pace, when the rest of the country is quiet, now seems to be oddly quiet itself.  As for back home in Maine, it appears that activists are looking at the scene with minor trepidation due to the future of the entire citizen initiative process on the line right now in federal court.  The Libertarian Party is eyeing petition drives in Ohio and Alabama (for 2000) which probably won’t start until sometime in January.  Florida, being a warm refuge in the winter months as well as an “initiative” state, nevertheless usually doesn’t bustle with activity when the rest of the country is quiet.  Thus it seems to me that unless something pops up really soon in the Pacific Northwest, Kay and I could be in for a lot of downtime in. the desert.

 

 

 

Bad News on the Family Front

 

Time for some sorrowful personal commentary, underscoring the fact that LCD is not just a political newsletter.

 

When I first started publishing Libertarian Crusader Diary more than 3 years ago, the precarious situation with my daughter Jenny, although satisfactorily acceptable by no measurement, had begun to slightly improve.  That is to say that the situation had been so terrible between the 1988 breakup and 1993 or 1994 that any step, however miniscule, toward total access was a welcome change.

 

For those of you who aren’t familiar with my nightmarish and depressing ten-year plight to salvage relations with my little girl, some background info might be in order at this time.

 

My first marriage began in Texas in 1983 when I was but a 21-year-old youth, followed by the 1984 birth of my daughter Jenny.   Although times weren’t always a bed of roses and in fact we mostly struggled, I always took “for better or worse” as more than mere rhetoric.  But apparently my then-wife didn’t.

 

A toddler Jenny with her Daddy (me)

A toddler Jenny with her Daddy (me)

Around New Year’s 1988, she decided it was no longer worth it to her and thus moved to breach our original marital agreement.  Well, violating the terms of such an important agreement is not the coo1est thing to do all right, but I suppose people have a right to change their mind and breach agreements – don’t they?  But that’s one thing.

 

It’s something different altogether to unilaterally decide to break off relations for some other person.  In taking it upon herself to sever the father-daughter relationship that existed, without either my or my daughter’s consent, she entered untenable ground to say the least.  Add to that the fact that she employed fraud in order to enlist the powerful assistance of the State in carrying out this act, which was nothing short of kidnapping, and it’s clear that my ex-wife committed real crimes that libertarian principle forbids but which the State sca.ntly notices; instead the State attempts to further victimize the victim.  These actions thus set the stage for one huge nightmare for both me and my daughter.

 

If two people decide to marry and start a family, it seems to me that under that agreement, the family unit that exists is the de facto social arrangement understood by all of its members.  And while each individual member may have the right to “secede”, it would be a stretch of logic and common sense to suggest that one individual member (let alone a third party, such as the State) could have the legitimate right or authority to decide for other members whether or not they are to withdraw from the association, or whether to single one individual member out to be forcibly “pushed out” of the association against his will.  This is what happened to me and this is wrong. I didn’t want to be forcibly “pushed out” of my family forever, never wanted to lose my daughter in this way.  But when the “Powers that Be” decide that you are no longer going to have your child, then you are no longer going to have your child and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it, short of armed revolution.

 

I never paid the ransom that was demanded of me.  It is in this vein that so-called “child support” is an immoral government institution, a redistributionist program constituting not much more than the enablement of people like my ex-wife to do what she did and get away with it.  Rather than capitulate to the ransom demands, I focused my efforts into attempting to ameliorate the situation by whatever means of persuasion I could employ and whatever pragmatic means that were at my disposal.  But this never included resorting to negotiating with terrorists (state officials) or fighting her fraud with fraud of my own in order to “win” some variation of State- awarded fiat “custody”.

empty stocking at Christmas

empty stocking at Christmas

 

 

These strategies, for the most part, never worked in any meaningful way.  They only afforded me brief and infrequent windows of opportunity to see and talk to Jenny as her formative years flew by without my being able to play a significant role.  Moreover, without going into great detail, conditions with her mother were atrocious and unacceptable to me, as great mental and even minor physical harm occurred to my daughter while in my ex-wife’s care.  (The physical part was never revealed to me until well after the fact.)

 

 

 image01913

 

For about 3 years there was no interaction at all, since I’d conceded it was hopeless and decided to let the situation lie for a while.  Part of the reason was that I was losing my sanity and could no longer deal with it any more without serious detriment to the function of my own independent life.  Then, in late 1992, I abruptly decided to try to improve the situation and fill the lingering void by employing a strategy consisting entirely of diplomatic relations with my ex.

 

This seemed to be working so well that by the summer of 1996, when Jenny turned 12 years old, my ex actually (at my insistence) put her on a plane bound for New England where Kay and I took her into our care for a period of about a week and a half.  The following year that stay was extended to an entire month, but a combination of circumstances prevented a similar summertime stay in 1998.

 

Toward the end of the summer, when Kay and I were still in New England, my ex – much to my p1easant surprise – actually offered to have Jenny stay with us.   However, logistics and finances combined to make it impossible for us to make the connection with our being over 2,000 miles away in New England.

 

As soon as we found out we were bound for New Mexico, I called Jenny and said that we were going to be making connections after all, since we’d be only “next door” to Texas  The 14-year- old seemed to be content with that plan.

 

However, when we arrived in New Mexico and called for Jenny I discovered that the phone had been disconnected and then no one called us to follow up.  Contacts with her relatives in Texas alerted me to a disturbing event: my ex reputedly, beleaguered by outstanding warrants for hot checks in Texas, fled with Jenny to Alabama, too far away for Kay and I to travel.  After several weeks, Jenny did page us and tell us where she was, but by that time she was in school in a little town halfway between Birmingham and Montgomery.  I made the call to Alabama to express my disapproval but I was placated by learning that a return to Texas was imminent and that when that happened Jenny could come to Santa Fe to stay for the rest of the school year.  This was a great improvement, I figured, and Kay and I began making preparations for that scenario.

 

Then, even as they’d made it safely back to Texas, I didn’t hear anything at all from them for weeks even though they promised to call me immediately upon arrival so that we could make arrangements to meet.  Then, when they finally did contact me, I was told that all they needed was money from me and that there was no way Jenny would come stay with me during the school year.  And moreover, I was told, if didn’t send a certain sum of money pronto (the NM. campaign only paid us enough to barely get by), it would be decided that Jenny wouldn’t be able to even stay with us during the summer.  These latest developments represent major regressiveness in the progress I’d made over the past few years and even saddens and depresses me.  It looks like I won’t be seeing her for a long time   I am in fact considering giving up on the whole situation and cutting my losses.  There may be no use to continue.

 

Political Commentary

 

The other day as I picked up the Sunday paper and went to look for, as I always do, the Ask Marilyn column in PARADE magazine, I was daunted to see that Marilyn was starting to lose some rationality. When I first started reading Marilyn’s column a few years ago, I noticed that when she commented on the government and how it operates, she seemed to be approachmg from the perspective of a realist, recognizing that the government operates in a way that makes no sense – no economic sense, no practical sense, certainly no moral sense.

 

But lately it seems Marilyn has been somehow losing her once keen perspective.  It’s gotten so bad that upon perusing her latest column I felt compelled, as I’d never in the past, to write to her via email to query her as to what the heck is the deal.

 

The column that made me start wondering was a forum on the American criminal justice system, where she wrote: “The defense counsel is obligated to make the State prove that the client is guilty even if the attorney believes that the client is guilty…The situation is different for the prosecutor who represents the State.  Because the State is interested m convicting the guilty and acquitting the innocent, the prosecutor must always disclose any information helpful to the defendant.  In sum, the defense is free to employ tactics that lead to unfair acquittals, but the prosecution is not free to employ tactics that lead to unfair convictions” (Emphasis added)

 

Yes, Marilyn actually made those incredible claims. And can you actually fathom the last clause of the last sentence?  After being wrongfully arrested (for collecting signatures at a public place) by 5 thuggish police who knew exactly what they were doing by issuing trumped-up charges to make it appear that I committed a crime, and after witnessing the unscrupulous prosecutors railroad me, an innocent person, into a year of criminal probation, I’m more than slightly offended by that last inflammatory remark.  Kind of makes you wonder who paid her to write that.  That statement, of course, is totally ludicrous to anyone who has been unfairly convicted by a prosecuting State

 

And who can seriously believe the assertion that the prosecutor is interested in making sure the guilty get convicted and the innocent go free?  On Marilyn’s part, this is either a deliberate misrepresentation of something that she should already know, or it’s unbelievably Pollyanna.  Last I observed, the prosecutor in any criminal case couldn’t care less if his latest target is innocent at all, let alone worry that he might not go free. Actually, this is almost laughable.  And should his target be convicted who turned out to actually be guilty (of a real crime), it’s but a mere incidental fact.  Truth is, the prosecutor’s goal is to convict, convict, convict.   And how could it be, as Marilyn suggests, that because the prosecutor works for the State, that he somehow possesses the integrity to care that an appropriate verdict is rendered?   Isn’t it the opposite, if anything?

 

And therein lies the problem, which I addressed to her in my email.

 

The fact that only somewhere between 14 and 35 percent (depending upon the charge) of all accused persons actually beat the rap is nothing random and arbitrary, the way I see it. There’s one very good reason why it’s tough to get a fair trial in America and why odds are that if you’re ever a target of prosecution, you’re gonna lose.  Here’s my theory on why:  The police who make the arrest write the “official” report of what happened and completely control the evidence and investigation get paid from – the State.  The prosecutors who closely cooperate with the police and who are the beneficiaries of any “findings” of evidence turned over by the police get paid from – the State.   The court itself, as manifested in a judge or judicial panel, whose critical function would demand they be impartial get paid from – the State.   And generally, the most economically vulnerable among us, who can’t afford pre-eminent legal counsel, is represented by a public defender who gets paid by – did you guess correctly – the State.  Uh, did somebody say “conflict of interest?”

 

image02112KAY’S

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by Karen “Kay” Fincher

 

I eat, breathe and dream about campaigning these days.   Before I even wake up, I’m busy sorting mail or talking to Libertarians on the phone, in my sleep. My psyche is consumed with not so sugary press releases and rhetoric, dancing through my head, as I awake on this grey October morning.  The hot, clear blue skies of summer dramatically disappeared in early October and left the chilly dankness of Autumn in New Mexico.  Most days a light drizzle, so soft it tickles as it blows on skin, gently falls front morning ‘til night.  The dryness of New Mexico returns at night as it cools down below 30° in this high desert.  All inorganic objects look sturdier, more solid and impenetrable, because of the dryness.  Everything organic, an eyelash or a fingernail clipping, stands out starkly suspicious against this dry backdrop, and locks alive enough to crawl.  The vapid air turns skin cloudy.  Zits can’t survive – they just powder up and blow away.  The sheets and covers practically crackle and draw body moisture so quickly that I itch the moment I turn in.  Only free time I have is when I put on my makeup, I think of my friends and family and worry about them a bit and wish I could be with them. All campaign work and no play makes Libertarian Lady a bore (rather, actually sore) due to sitting at the phone, 9 to 9, six days a week.

 

Except that 173 art galleries and as many different religions camouflage Santa Fe as an artistic and spiritual mecca, it is still the capital seat of New Mexico, and as usual, here the bread is very much buttered on the side of the incumbent hierarchy who promise more pork barrel while they pick the citizens’ pockets.  Only Maryland and Virginia, home to many Washington inside-the-wide-belters, seem to top New Mexico, like Alaska, for genuflection to the powerbrokers.  Both New Mexico and Alaska have their “permanent funds”, welfare kickbacks to the masses, based on oil and gas taxes.  “Thick as a brick” is the wall of socialism around Santa Fe.  Not to be “deked out” as they say in Packerland parlance, we called all the counties to make sure our candidate was listed on the ballot to circumvent losing valuable votes.  Sometimes pighead clerks can’t fathom there could be more than two parties.  It’s happened before in New Mexico.  Why does Jimmy Carter monitor elections in the Third World and not right here in our own backyard?

 

Friends and compatriots, how I do miss you all.  As they say in the insurance business,  WORKING OVERTIME FOR YOU – Much love as always.

 

 

Next Edition (February 13, 1999):

https://libertycrusader.wordpress.com/libertarian-crusader-diary/archived-back-issues/february-13-1999-lcd/

 

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