Brandon Smith, Contributor
There is little doubt, even amongst the most uninterested and apathetic of people, that America has reached the threshold of a dangerous new era in 2012. Economically, the paper thin facade of recovery created by Federal Reserve fiat easing is beginning to fade, and the debt turmoil we currently see in the European Union is beginning to surface right here at home. Socially, Americans are being subversively divided by the false left/right paradigm and the exploitation of artificially induced race tensions by the mainstream media. Politically, Barack Obama’s presidential approval rating has hit all time lows, and the approval rating for Congress has hit a historic bottom. The path our country has been set upon can only lead to disaster; that much is certain.
One has to, at some point, begin to wonder if there is anything that can be done to turn back the tidal wave of impending crisis and encourage some modicum of reason in the midst of so much ignorance. The ideal, after all, is to avoid the flames of the fire, rather than diving straight into them.
In the Liberty Movement, there are as many particular solutions suggested as there are people. Some desire to work within the system and apply Constitutional principles to government once again. Others believe that the time has long passed for a regeneration of our original legal framework, and that the most we can do is ride out the inevitable deterioration of the U.S. with the goal of rebuilding after the smoke clears. Each activist has his or her own unique vision as to how this might play out. Personally, I do not see this as an ‘either/or’ proposition. We should, as freedom loving individuals, pursue both avenues with equal determination and measure.
Even though I have always had considerable distrust of the political framework and have worked diligently to discover methods for change outside of it, I have to also take into consideration the astounding accomplishments of those who fight for liberty through electoral means.
Ron Paul’s 2012 run in the Republican Primaries has been phenomenal, despite constant media blackouts one month, and attacks the next. He is the only Republican candidate that draws actual crowds to his speaking events. His delegates continue to pour in from numerous states, and the Republican National Convention slated for late August in Tampa looks to be the most exciting in a century or more. His campaigns, in 2008, and this year, have inspired vast numbers of citizens to engage their communities politically. Millions of people no longer sulking in a fog of nihilism. Millions of people taking action who have never taken action before. All thanks to Paul’s refusal to give up.
However, while I admire the national success of Ron Paul, I also realize that it is not enough to save our nation. The ultimate fate of America in terms of politics will not be decided on the national level, but on the local level.
It is within our counties and states that the line will be drawn between sovereign self determination, and centralized federal encroachment. Unfortunately, many Americans completely dismiss local elections as meaningless or irrelevant, and not without reason. The ‘Good Old Boy” syndrome has dominated local politics for decades, driving away sincere and honest candidates with subversive money games and trickery. Politics has become a vicious theater of fakery and deceit, rather than a service done for one’s community or nation. The political parties have homogenized around the ideals of globalization and collectivism, and it is almost impossible today to tell the Republican leadership apart from the Democratic leadership. For the common voter, the whole edifice has been poisoned, and most would rather not participate at all rather than continue the farce of choosing the “lesser of two evils”.
I have always cringed at discussion of local elections, but I now understand that I, like many others, have been conditioned to do so. Corruption succeeds where good men refuse to participate.
I submit to you that there are indeed good men and women running locally for office, and that these candidates need your help to prevail. I also submit that any success in local elections on the part of Constitutionalists makes the fight for a truly free America far easier in the long run. To illustrate my point, I recently interviewed two liberty minded candidates right here in Montana who wish to set things right again in a system that has been left to rot for much too long…
Rollan’s story is a fascinating one, and it sheds a great deal of light on the working of the establishment machine. I have met with Rollan on several occasions long before he decided to run for office, and was struck by his straightforward and sincere nature. It is a quality that runs deep among liberty minded candidates, like Ron Paul, and these men very often exude a consistency of character that is hard to ignore. I have always felt that elections should not be about the party, but the man. The party is inconsequential. The candidate is everything.
Rollan’s decision to run for the state senate was based entirely on a desire to bring the Constitutional ideal back to local government. It was not based on a desire to become a career politician. To be sure, this concept has confounded the state elitists among the GOP, who first were angered by his announcement to run for office, and then later tried to seduce him into the establishment fold.
The state GOP responded to Rollan’s campaign initially by introducing a third candidate at the last minute by the name of Jayson Peters. In my opinion, this was obviously designed to dilute the vote in favor of the neo-conservative incumbent, Bruce Tutvedt, a representative who, among other things, supports federal confiscation of private land for highly impractical wind energy programs, and sex education for Kindergartners (a little young yet for that, I would think, but maybe I’m behind on the times…) . It is an example of the kinds of dirty tactics used in local elections all over the country, but to see it occurring first hand has given me a new appreciation for the vast obstacles that are put into place to frustrate new candidates and dissuade them from running for office at all. Not only do honest statesmen face antagonism from the opposing party, but also from their own party if they refuse to accept the status quo. Even during the training courses that the GOP provides for those who wish to run for office, Tutvedt approached Roberts with the intent to talk him out of running. Indignantly asserting that he was already in good standing with the voters, and attempting to shame Rollan from further participation. The problem is that Tutvedt was one of the INSTRUCTORS at the training course, which meant that his actions represented a clear conflict of interest. These are the unkempt kinds of men who now occupy local political positions everywhere…
With Peters discovering he had little to no chance of winning, or even diluting the vote in Tutvedt’s favor, he dropped out. Rollan, with the support of the massive Constitutionalist base here in Montana, and especially the Flathead Valley, has skyrocketed in support and now looks to be the favorite to win. This development led to a new turn of events, which included certain establishment neo-cons approaching the liberty candidate with a different tone of pseudo-friendship. Certain figures suggested to Roberts that he was more than welcome to run on his Constitutional platform, but that when all was said and done, he would have to “compromise” and work within the guidelines of the establishment ideal. That is to say, he was welcome to say whatever he liked, but after he won, he would have to tow the establishment line.
Rollan has refused to accept this dynamic.
Rollan Roberts is the kind of local candidate that Americans around the country need to be on the watch for. Whether you believe that county and state elections will make a difference or not, our principles and our consciences demand that we give support where we can. Each new liberty movement participant who takes back a seat of office from the elites is a shield against corrupt practices. They sit at the root of the process. Simply having an honest pair of eyes in such a position is a substantial advantage for the public trust, making dirty dealings behind the scenes more difficult, and giving back the right of participation to the lately disenfranchised masses.
Ben Stormes – Montana, Flathead County Commissioner, District 1
The exuberant Ben Stormes is a business-man by history and trade, but not the kind that sits in a conference room waiting for the bailout money to roll in. He has always taken a more hands-on approach, experiencing personally the difficulties of organizing complex budgetary issues and reducing unnecessary expenses. In government, such men are few and far between.
Stormes makes no bones about his position. He is a Constitutional champion, a member of Oath Keepers, and a long time supporter of Ron Paul. His plainspoken nature is refreshing, especially after listening to so many conmen candidates whose only foundation is to tell people what they THINK they want to hear (look into the Livingstone and Zinke campaign for an example of snake-oil style deceptive campaigning). I was particularly floored by Stormes’ view on the advantages of the Commissioner seat in terms of insulating a community from federal mismanagement. The Commissioner determines the budgetary policy and limitations of local law enforcement for one; which means that he can, indeed, put a stop to the flow of federal funding with strings attached. The same federal funding which, for example, traps county officials into backing federal mandates against farmers through the EPA or the BLM. The less a county is reliant on federal fiat, the better.
The Commissioner also has the power to force federal alphabet agencies to enter into a coordination process whenever they wish to take any action within the boundaries of a state, though, Ben notes, most county officials don’t even understand that they have such authority. A Constitutional candidate in such a position could put a stop to any federal overstep of authority within a county, and ensure that they act within the bounds of Constitutional law. There is undeniable value in having a strong liberty minded individual in this seat in any jurisdiction.
Imagine a county commissioner who keeps federal goose-stepping in check, who encourages local law enforcement to honor their oaths to the Constitution, who is able to introduce programs that insulate counties from economic distress, like emergency food bank projects. There are infinite possibilities for a community that has a commissioner that actually cares about the county in which he lives, instead of only caring about the amount of federal cash he can devour while shooting the breeze in a cushy government paid job.
I can’t stress enough the importance of having a truly down to Earth and competent person in the commissioner’s role, and I view its significance as comparable to that of sheriff. Think about it! Living in a county in which you, a freedom loving citizen, never have to worry about being persecuted for your political philosophies by local authorities. What kind of price could you put on that? I can’t even quantify it…
Ben Stormes gives me the opportunity to hope for more in my county than a slow burn into tyranny. His conviction makes being a Constitutionalist safer, and that is more than enough to earn my vote.
Rollan and Ben will run the gauntlet of primary elections on June 5th, and I wish both of them great success, for their advancement means the safety of the region I live in from overt tyranny. I have little doubt given current developments that 2012 will be the last “normal” election year, without the shadow of national emergency, that we will see for a very long time. It is a duty of every awake and aware person in the U.S. to find and back candidates like these two men regardless of where in the country they may live. Be sure to check the records and background of those you vote for, instead of merely buying into their rhetoric. A strange and ironic twist to the expansion of the Liberty Movement is the development of disingenuous Constitutional candidates. Montana, in particular, is now rife with clowns pretending to be “guardians of freedom”. The best litmus test is to examine their actions, and to take their podium blatherings with a grain of salt. This is, at bottom, about honor. Do they have it, or are they devoid of it? If you are lucky enough to discover it within a statesmen who lives near you, do not take this lightly. You have in front of you an opportunity that most Americans dream of. Vote for that candidate in force, and do not let them go to waste. The times ahead of us are going to be saturated with hardship. As proponents of truth, we’ll need every advantage we can get…
Brandon Smith is the founder of Alt-Market is an organization designed to help you find like-minded activists and preppers in your local area so that you can network and construct communities for mutual aid and defense. Join Alt-Market.com today and learn what it means to step away from the system and build something better or contribute to their Safe Haven Project. You can contact Brandon Smith at: [email protected]