An Open Letter to the Alabama House of Representatives

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To the Distinguished Members of the Alabama House of Representatives:

I realize that you very well may face a most important decision regarding who will be the next governor of Alabama. At the present time, the results from the November 5 election are quite inconclusive, with both candidates claiming victory. Bob Riley the Republican says he has a 3,000 vote winning margin, while incumbent Don Siegelman the Democrat insists he has won by 4,000 votes.

The controversy centers about disputed votes in Baldwin County, which while voting heavily Republican, either gave Siegelman approximately 12,000 votes or 19,000 votes, depending upon who is doing the counting. Because no one trusts anyone else, and because it is doubtful that either side is going to accept the results without going to court, the outcome will likely be decided by the House.

On paper, this should be an easy win for Siegelman, since Democrats dominate both chambers of the legislature. However, I would like to offer another solution, one that both would make sure that the shenanigans committed by both parties are not rewarded, and one that would actually make the citizens of Alabama better off. That solution is for you to appoint the Libertarian candidate John Sophocleus.

I suppose you are in stitches right now, since you believe that your first and most important duty is to further the fortunes of the Democratic Party. Nothing could be further from the truth. Please tell me where in your oath of office does it say that "we will further the interests of our political party, and funnel money to those folks who are politically connected."

No, all of you claim to run on a platform of "serving the people" of the state. Well, here is a golden opportunity to do just that by making a most historical decision that actually will improve both the lives of the citizens of Alabama (who you claim to represent) and to improve the political health of this country as well.

Yes, I know that Sophocleus received just two percent of the popular vote, which actually is not bad, given that he had virtually no news coverage and did not have the multi-million dollar campaign budgets enjoyed by Riley and Siegelman, paid in large part by those parties hoping to receive large wealth transfers. Furthermore, John did not fill the airwaves with the political brand of air pollution, which consists of those ridiculous negative advertisements that present the lie that one candidate is good and holy while the other is Beelzebub himself.

No, John presented real solutions to the lives of the people, who are overtaxed and who are expected to reach further into their wallets to fund that insatiable monster known as government. Furthermore, as the victim of vicious mistreatment by the Alabama Department of Transportation, which seized his home to build a highway, Sophocleus knows firsthand about the excesses of the state.

None of you ran on platforms of abusing citizens, and no doubt none of you would want to experience what John and his wife, Teresa, did when the government tried to force him to sell his house for mere peanuts and then threatened to fine him $10,000 a day if he did not move out two days before Christmas. (The problem was not that the state needed to tear down the house right away. Instead, it wanted to use the house in order to provide a place for highway workers from out of town to live temporarily. If it reminds you of what is prohibited by the Third Amendment, you are correct.) If you want someone in office who actually would try to safeguard those rights all of you declare Alabamians possess, then John is your man.

However, if all of that talk about rights is just that, talk, then by all means pick Siegelman (or even Riley). Neither man even mentioned anything that approximated what the founders of the United States and the State of Alabama declared to be the role of government: to protect the God-given rights of individuals.

No, during the campaigns, both men promised to provide more and more government services to Alabamians. Neither spoke of those precious rights that all Alabamians held (and knew they held) when it first became a state in the early 1800s. Of course, in order to provide such services, they will have to confiscate the hard-earned income of the working people of the state. (Somehow, I don’t recall either candidate telling the voters that taxes consist of money taken by force from individuals. No, they convince people that they will tax the other person, that social parasite who has the audacity to earn more money than someone else.)

In fact, Siegelman promised to bring back the biggest failure from his first administration, the attempt to establish what he calls an "education lottery" in order to raise even more government revenues. While I believe anyone should have the freedom to set up a lottery should they so please (private lotteries, called "numbers games," are illegal), it is quite another thing when the state sets up a monopolized, rigged con game to entice people to part with their money.

Just think about what a Sophocleus administration might mean to Alabama. First, you would (for the first time in many years) have an honest person in the Governor’s Mansion. Second, being that the State of Alabama made John and Teresa homeless for a while, it would be quite fitting for them to be the state’s First Couple and to have a good place to live, courtesy of that same government.

Third, John would slash government spending and taxation, and provide a place where honest individuals could pursue an honest living. There would be no crony capitalism, no kissing up to wealthy bankers and their sycophants, and no sweetheart deals to fatten up the pocketbooks of politically-connected people. In other words, you actually would see a state government run in a manner that would make people want to live in Alabama. Fourth, John believes that individuals should have the right to own firearms without the constant interference from government. Thus, not only would you be protecting the rights of law-abiding Alabamians, as you are sworn to do, but an added effect will be to lower the crime rates in your districts.

Fifth, he would not be running to Washington, D.C., every few days to beg for more money. He understands that a welfare state ultimately is an unpleasant place to live, since it is based upon a lie.

From what I can see, John is your best choice. Oh, I realize that the Republican and Democrat candidates garnered more votes, but in the aftermath of the voting, neither person has demonstrated his fitness to occupy the governor’s chair. (In fact, Siegelman has spent the past four years demonstrating quite forcefully that he should not have an ounce of the reins of political power.)

George Wallace, who was the standard bearer of the Alabama Democratic Party for many years, ran as an independent candidate for President of the United States in 1968, declaring, "There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the Republicans and Democrats." Of course, Wallace didn’t believe a word he said, and his overall record as governor of Alabama proves that he was just another tax-and-spend politician, albeit one whose racial rhetoric made him stand out nearly 40 years ago.

Sophocleus, however, does believe that in the final analysis, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are fit to govern anyone. Both parties would like to convince all of us that there are almost no similarities between Republicans and Democrats, but when one takes stock of their performances, all we can say is that both parties have actively sought to enlarge the state at every opportunity.

Think about this. If you were to appoint John to the highest office in Alabama, you could reverse an evil trend that has been going on here for a long time: the growth of government. John is someone who believes government needs a crash diet, not another helping of tax dollars.

More than transferring money to your pals, I would bet that every one of you legislators would love to be a genuine hero. Well, here is your opportunity. Please don’t blow it, as it is likely to be a long time in the future before you are presented with a person who actually will shrink state government, not just talk about cutting back. It is something that is too good for you to ignore, and I for one encourage you to take a bold step, one that you will never regret, and a decision that many hard-working Alabamians would appreciate until their dying day.

You tell me that such a decision simply is not practical. I beg to differ. The legislature who votes to appoint someone who sees state government as the big money machine is the one being impractical. It’s time you recognized you opportunity and jumped on the bandwagon. Vote for freedom. Vote Sophocleus.

William L. Anderson, Ph.D. [send him mail], teaches economics at Frostburg State University in Maryland, and is an adjunct scholar of the Ludwig von Mises Institute.

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