by R. Lee Wrights
“Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost.” – John Quincy Adams
Your vote is the most important, the most critical, the most precious gift you can give anyone running for elected office. It doesn’t belong to anyone but you, it cannot be taken from you by any politician, and it cannot be wasted unless you choose to do so. Your vote is your voice, your conscience speaking, and should always reflect your principles.
That is why I’m very careful whom I cast my vote for in every election. I never automatically vote for someone because of their political party — not even if they’re a Libertarian. I remember having to think long and hard about whether or not to vote for the late Harry Browne, a person I knew and admired, when he was running for president. As great a libertarian spokesman as he was, I didn’t think he was radical enough. It took some thought and reflection, but I proudly voted for him both times he ran.
Anyone running for political office has to earn my vote. They must earn it by taking principled positions on issues that I agree with. I vote for them because they agree with me. That’s how I came to join the Libertarian Party. And that is why I’m voting for Gary Johnson. I’m voting for him because he agrees with me.
We still have our differences. Gary doesn’t agree with me on every issue, nor do I expect him too. My primary hesitation was that I consider Gary an incrementalist. He doesn’t take radical libertarian positions on every issue. But it is through small encroachments on our liberty and freedom that politicians have mired our nation in debt, plunged us into perpetual war, and devastated our economy. So I don’t think the incremental approach to resorting our liberty and freedom will work. We need radical change.
Still, I firmly believe that Gary Johnson gets it. He knows, in his heart, that we must make fundamental changes in the way our country is governed. More importantly, Gary Johnson has a track record of actually governing like a libertarian. His record as governor of New Mexico, where he took the state from a budget deficit to a surplus, and reduced the size of government, is a clear example that libertarian solutions work.
Gary may not agree with me on every issue, but he agrees with me on the fundamental issues. And on the issues we may not totally agree on, Gary has proven to me he’s open-minded, willing to listen, and possibly willing to adopt more radical positions. That open-mindedness and his willingness to genuinely listen to others is perhaps Gary Johnson’s most important character trait.
So on November 6, I will proudly cast my vote for Gov. Gary Johnson for president of the United States, and for Judge Jim Gray for vice president. And I fervently hope that my vote will be one of at least one million votes cast for a Libertarian candidate for the first time in history.
R. Lee Wrights is an editor, writer and political activist living in Texas. He is currently the Vice Chair of the Libertarian Party national committee. He is the co-founder and editor of the free speech online magazine Liberty For All. Contact Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org.