by Tonie Nathan by Tonie Nathan
Recently, a radio newsman in Portland, Oregon announced that Ralph Nader had submitted enough voter signatures to get on the Oregon ballot thus “providing a choice for those who don't want to vote for Pres. George Bush or Sen. John Kerry.” I ran to my phone and dialed the radio station.
“Don't you know,” I asked the newsman, “that there already is a u2018choice' on the Oregon ballot, whether Nader is on or not?” I asked. “The Libertarian Party has been on the Oregon ballot for years,” I huffed.
As a matter of fact, the LP has been on the ballot of almost every state in the Union offering a third Presidential candidate for years. Boasting over 600 Libertarians in office, the Libertarian Party candidate for President, Michael Badnarik, is obviously a major choice of the undecided vote. A Zogby poll released August 30th showed Michael Badnarik performing better than any other alternative candidate among the critical block of undecided voters. But you'd never know that to listen to radio, TV or newspaper reports.
Badnarik's website is the third most popular Presidential website on the Internet. According to Rasmussen Reports, a major polling firm, Michael Badnarik not only has 3% support nationwide, but 10% of Americans identify their ideology as libertarian rather than conservative or liberal. Yet, in most of the media, Badnarik has been virtually invisible.
What would happen to Badnarik's support if the media mentioned him 10% of the time? Unfortunately, that is not likely to happen. In fact, Michael Badnarik's name has been suppressed. Dean Ahmad, a Libertarian friend of mine, former treasurer of the national Libertarian Party and a representative of Muslims for Badnarik, was invited to appear on Fox News' “O'Reilly Factor,” but was told by the producers not to mention Badnarik's name on the air. Earlier, Badnarik himself had been invited to appear on the show but he was cancelled the day before his appearance, without any reason given.
It makes you wonder, doesn't it. What is the major news media afraid of? Could it be that most Americans share the Libertarian ideals of Republican fiscal conservatism (reducing the size and cost of government) and Democratic social liberalism (allowing citizens control over their personal lives)? Perhaps such Libertarian views represent a genuine threat to both major parties…
It is possible that during the coming debates President Bush or Senator Kerry will discuss the many issues that created reasons for new political parties to form — issues on environmentalism, a possible draft, the Drug War, abortion and gay rights, the falling dollar, immigration laws, foreign policy principles, the unwieldy IRS code and the Supreme Court's adherence to the Constitution.
The American public has a right to hear discussions on ALL issues that affect them. If all views were represented in the dialogues preceding the national election, there would be more voters participating and a better indication of what voters really wanted. If the winning candidate could know the major concerns of the public, he/she could act upon them. After all, the election is the most revealing and authentic poll of all, providing voters are aware of all viewpoints and vote for the ones they support.
The election isn't a horse race and voters don't have to pick a winner. They should vote their consciences and pick the candidate who best represents their values. This way is really the only way of getting their concerns before those who will ultimately determine the direction of this country on matters of supreme importance.