Originally published in LPNews, December 2021
When I was 14 years old, I started paying attention to the political world around me. As a “good Christian girl” from a “good Christian home”, this meant that I started watching The O’Reilly Factor and Hannity and Colmes at night with my parents and also started paying attention to the voice of Rush Limbaugh when riding in the car with my dad. This was just a few years after 9/11 and I was following the path laid before me as a Conservative, freedom-loving American.
I thought I was at least. It was all I knew. People who loved God and America were Conservatives. If you weren’t a Conservative, well, I knew what conclusions to draw.
Several years later that black and white worldview began to fade to grey. I had dear friends who I knew were good people, but politically we did not see eye to eye. Considering them as enemies or “unamerican” was simply not possible. Furthermore, the party I had followed wholeheartedly for years began to lose my trust. I watched them speak passionately about how hard they would fight for what I cared about most if I gave them my vote, but then I watched those promises slip away as soon as they were elected. Lastly, my own values and beliefs were challenged and I started to ask myself questions that would change the course of my life: Why do I believe what I believe? Are the things I have built my beliefs on really true? Do I even know why I care about the things I care about? I struggled with the answers to these questions for months before I knew there was a change to be made.
In 2013 I officially became a Libertarian. After writing in “Ron Paul” in the 2012 presidential election (I had found the word libertarian, but did not yet know there was a Libertarian Party), I knew my political home was no longer with Republicans. I made my first Libertarian friend that year and began volunteering in my county. Before long I was an officer in my local party and spending time on all of the unglamorous realities of working in third-party politics; even so, I loved it. I felt at home. I’m someone who always wanted to feel like my time here on earth mattered, and seeking to leave this world more free than when I got here matters to me.
When I was 30 year old, I became a Lifetime Member of the Libertarian Party. After seven years of involvement, I was now the vice chair of my state party and employed by the national party. I woke up each day ready to work for liberty, excited to find new ways to introduce people to the Party of Principle. I went to bed each night thinking about different strategies we could use or crafting a new fundraising appeal in my head — Lifetime Member seemed an appropriate title at that point.
But I didn’t become a Lifetime Member because I wanted a new title for myself. I became a Lifetime Member because I had realized that the consistency of libertarianism had answered those ever important questions I asked myself years ago. Why do I believe what I believe? Every human, regardless of where or when they were born, deserves liberty, and that is the foundation of all the rest of my beliefs. Are the things I have built my beliefs on really true? Yes. We humans are born equal in value and dignity and are due the same rights, without question. Do I even know why I care about the things I care about? I do. I care about ending the wars because my money should never go towards dropping bombs on children, families, and civilians just because they live somewhere our enemies of the year live too. I care about ending the failed drug policies in this country because families shouldn’t be ripped apart and lives shouldn’t be further ruined by our prison system because people made choices for themselves that the government did not approve. I care about fixing our disastrous immigration system, because humans seeking safety, opportunity, and dignity for themselves and their families must stop being used as a political football and then utterly ignored and left to suffer. I care about getting the government’s meddling out of our economy because a truly free market allows for the most amount of choice and self-determination for the individual. I care about protecting our right to self-defense because I see real life examples all around the world of people who have no recourse against a totalitarian state.
I care about people — I care about freedom. I know why I do the work that I do, and I know that the Libertarian Party is locked arm in arm with me.
As we wrap up our 50th year of life as a party, I want to ask you some questions. Why do you believe what you believe? Are the things you have built your beliefs on really true? Do you even know why you care about the things you care about?
I think these are important questions for everyone to ask themselves. If your answers lead you to seeing that the Libertarian Party is the only home for you, and the only place that consistently stands for the things you hold dear, then I invite you to add your name to the Lifetime Member list, and get ready for another 50 years of making sure what we do here matters.