Michael Badnarik Visits Colorado
Overview -- by Ari Armstrong (September 10, 2004)
Michael Badnarik, the 2004 Libertarian candidate for President, visited Colorado September 7-9 (as noted in advance). Following are some notes and photographs about his campaign stops.
On Tuesday, September 7, Badnarik traveled to Colorado Springs, as described by Steve Gresh below.
The next day, Badnarik spoke with the hosts of a popular morning show in 103.5 FM, then hit another station (KGNU) in the afternoon. He manned a table at the Auraria campus in the afternoon, talking to a rotating crowd that remained about a dozen strong. A reported and photographer from the Denver Post met him there, and a story appeared in the paper the next day. Finally, Badnarik joined David Kopel on KBDI, Channel 12. (Kopel substituted for Peter Boyles.)
Badnarik traveled to Fort Collins for a morning breakfast on Thursday. After a radio interview, he spoke about the Constitution at a lunch in Lafayette. He headed over the University of Colorado, Boulder, for a speech and more interviews with print media (the Rocky Mountain News, the Daily Camera, and the Longmont Times-Call). That evening, he attended a fund-raising dinner organized by Michele Poague.
I attended the events at both college campuses. Badnarik's consistent theme was that the proper role of government, ideally a Constitutionally limited republic, is to protect individual rights. He argued the IRS should be eliminated, gun laws should be repealed, social security should be privatized, and the government should get out of welfare and education.
Badnarik said the terrorist attacks in America were retaliation for improper U.S. foreign interventions, though the U.S. may properly use military force to bring individual terrorists to justice. He believes the "war on terror" will increase the threat of terrorism. He wants to pull American troops out of Iraq as soon as they can be transported out.
While on the television show Kopel hosted, Badnarik said he hasn't paid the income tax since 1997. He also discussed Rick Stanley's recent criminal case and other controversial matters. (I'll have quite a lot more to say about Badnarik's visit in the future.)
Colorado Springs -- by Steve Gresh
Michael Badnarik addressed a crowd of more than seventy at the Pioneers Museum gazebo in Colorado Springs on Tuesday, September 7, 2004.
His address followed a busy day in Colorado Springs which included a speech before a group at the Penrose Main Library, part of which was broadcast later on KOAA TV Channels 5 & 30; an interview with the editorial staff of The Gazette; and a guest appearance on Joseph Michelli's KVOR 740 AM radio program.
Badnarik said he's on the ballots in 42 states and he's optimistic that he'll be on the ballots in all 50 states. He stated that his main goal in running for president as a Libertarian is to get into the debates with Bush and Kerry.
When asked what his top three priorities as president would be, he listed the following:
1. Repeal all of the 20,000 plus federal gun control laws. 2. Return the U.S. to a monetary system based on a gold and silver standard. 3. End U.S. intervention in the affairs of other nations.
Related to this last item, he described current U.S. foreign policy as being analogous to using a baseball bat to try to kill hornets inside a hornets' nest. While some hornets might be killed, many more will be provoked to attack the bat's wielder in retaliation. Our foreign policy is causing an increase in the number of terrorists who want to attack us.
Desiree Hickson announced that more than $1000 was contributed to Badnarik's campaign by those in attendance at the rally. Badnarik said he had only $200 in personal assets left in his name. He truly has pledged his "fortune" to the cause of liberty, possibly to a greater extent than any other Libertarian candidate ever has. And, considering the numerous anecdotal accounts of other Libertarians' sacrifices with which I'm familiar, that's saying a lot.
Photos of Badnarik in Colorado Springs -- by John Geltemeyer
Lafayette -- by Tom Parker
Michael Badnarik, the LP's 2004 presidential candidate, spoke at a brown bag lunch in Lafayette on September 9 at the "Rocky Mountain Center for the Musical Arts."
The event was organized by Eva Kosinski of the LPBC, and attracted about 25 attendees -- mostly Libertarians, but also a handful of Democrats, Republicans, and Greens, as well as a few reporters and a community cable TV representative (who taped the event for possible future broadcast). The topic was "The Constitution: why we need it more than ever," and Michael was introduced by Bo Shaffer, chairman of the LPBC.
Badnarik, who is a constitutional scholar and teacher, gave an informative and inspirational talk of about 30 minutes, that at one point had the crowd on their feet (at his request) as they shouted "It's good to be king!", to emphasize the point that the citizens are in charge and that government works for them. (That phrase is also the title of Michael's new book, which can be ordered through Amazon).
Michael led off by explaining the important difference between "rights" and "privileges" -- a "right" is something you can do without asking permission, while a "privilege" is the exact opposite: something you CANNOT do without asking permission.
He discussed the contradiction of "free speech zones", which are often fenced-in barbed-wire holding pens. Everywhere you are should be a free speech zone he pointed out, because we have the right to speak.
He asked if we needed a permit to attend church. Certainly not, because it is our right, as emphasized in the First Amendment. Similarly, we should not need a permit to keep and bear arms, as this is also a right, as emphasized in the Second Amendment. Yet, there are 20,000 gun laws on the books.
In one stunning moment, Michael asked the crowd if the constituion applies to them, and of course, everyone raised their hand. But no, actually the constitution applies to the government -- it limits what they are allowed to do, and it addresses the congress, president, courts, and state legislatures.
Some other points:
- The purpose of the constitution (and the government) is to protect life, liberty, and property of the citizens.
- Liberty is the ability to make your own decisions. Why do young people want to leave their comfortable homes and supporting parents? Liberty.
- Libertarians want to make the federal government smaller, and give you more control of your own life.
- We need the constitution more than ever, because the government is depriving people of their rights. Our rights are under attack.
- Constitution lives in our hearts, not just on a piece of paper.
- LP is working together as a team and is more focused than ever.
- 68% of public wants to see third parties in national debates. And Michael thinks he would do very well against the two big-party candidates, with his message of constitutionally-limited government, and liberty.
- There isn't much difference between the Democrats and Republicans. Both want to raises taxes, continue the war in Iraq, institute a draft, and support gun laws. Basically, they want to run your life, and thus take your rights away.
- Michael's mother told him "only floss the teeth you want to keep." Similarly, Michael says we should "only fight for the rights you want to keep".
- What is more important than your liberty?
- Americans are going to realize they're being ripped off and that violation of our rights is unacceptable.
Michael closed by urging liberty lovers to work for freedom, and, as his campaign slogan says, to "light the fires of liberty one heart at a time."
The talk was followed by Q&A, and then Michael was off to Boulder for a speech at the CU campus. His day had begun with a well-attended "Breakfast with Badnarik" in Ft Collins, and closed in the evening with a fund-raising dinner at Boulder's Broker Inn. This was all part of Michael's three-day campaign stop in Colorado. Next stop: Nebraska.
Michael Badnarik's web site is www.badnarik.org.
Tom Parker is Membership Director of the LPBC.