North Carolina State of the State Libertarian Response
Hello everyone, and thank you for taking the time to read our response. My name is Joe Garcia, and I am the Chair of the Libertarian Party of North Carolina. It is my humble honor to be addressing you, my fellow North Carolinians, in response to Governor Cooper and Lieutenant Governor Robinson's State of the State Addresses. Because of the will and work of the people of this state, North Carolina is in a better position than so many other states in our country.
But there are forces in motion that seek to weaken us; as individuals, as families, as citizens, and as a people, attacking our values and trying to impose their own, stifling your businesses, chipping away at your paycheck, and infringing on your basic right to live.
Governor Cooper spoke of prosperity on the heels of his administration's draconian covid restrictions that went far beyond what was realistically practical, crushing business, setting children back in ways we will not understand for decades, and ignoring any basic concept of rights, granted to us as humans and guaranteed by our constitution.
Governor Cooper wants to highlight economic progress while touting environmental initiatives that do nothing to protect the environment but instead enforce arbitrary and growth crushing limitations. He protects polluters from action by the people they harm, in favor of his special interest backers. The Libertarian solution removes those protections for polluters that were built into the laws by lobbyists with deep pockets who fund political campaigns.
Under our plan, those polluters would be legally accountable to you, the people who suffer from toxic emissions, who saw coal ash spills in your waterways and were told to trust the ones who spilled it to clean it up. Our solutions would empower you, who watch ecosystems destroyed in your backyard with no plan to preserve the natural beauty of our great state's mountain, rivers, plains, forests, and beaches. With a Libertarian solution, instead of relying on officials to monitor polluters when those official's campaigns are funded by those polluters, you, the people who are harmed, would be empowered to hold liable in the courts those who promulgate environmental irresponsibility.
Governor Cooper speaks of increased state investments toward education from "cradle to career," ignoring the poor and declining quality of public schools in our state, as though government interventions are the path to success. As childcare and college costs continue to increase, driven largely by the tax of hyperinflation, these investments also come with strings attached that lead to bureaucratic, top-down requirements, causing teacher burnout and producing sub-par results. Yet Governor Cooper advocates for even more government intervention, asking for gasoline to put out a fire.
In the Republican response, Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson tells us that he's not a politician, he's just another average working citizen like you and me. Moments later, without irony, he tells us what teachers should be teaching. The Libertarian Party believes that you, the parents, should be the voice for your child's morals and education instead of the government. We know that you are best positioned to decide and promote what is best for your child's life and future. We advocate for real educational choice, letting parents choose the avenue that best serves their children. If we must have tax revenue fund education, then we also must eliminate any state interest or influence on what teachers teach.
Call to Action: Pistol Purchase Permit Repeal
The time to take an important next step in the expansion of liberty for our firearm rights has arrived. House Bill 50 (HB50) and Senate Bill 41 (SB41) repeal the Pistol Purchase Permit scheme in North Carolina that requires North Carolinians to acquire permission from their local sheriff before they can even purchase a pistol. This permit is wholly separate from a concealed handgun permit, which is a separate permission slip from the state for you to carry a concealed handgun. Both bills have passed the Senate and House and are now going to the desk of Governor Cooper, who will almost certainly veto it. The State House has a veto-proof supermajority on this issue, but the State Senate passed the bill a few votes shy of a veto-proof supermajority. We need your help to convince our representatives to support liberty! This is a straightforward Libertarian issue, as all individuals have the right to arm themselves appropriately. Look up your legislator below and contact them to tell them to support these bills and override the almost certain Cooper veto that is coming!
Below is a letter you can send to your representative, copy and paste and change at will.
Find your representatives and their contact info: https://www.ncleg.gov/findyourlegislators
As one of your constituents, I am urging you to support the repeal of the antiquated and outdated Pistol Purchase Permit law. In the coming days, Governor Cooper will almost certainly veto the expansion of rights that includes repealing the PPP and allowing church carry in churches with schools attached to them. You should resist this unilateral abuse of authority and allow the will of the people, reflected in the votes of the legislature, to prevail. Support this law and overrule the veto. The Pistol Purchase Permit was originally used as a way to prevent black North Carolinians from acquiring the means to defend themselves. In the modern era, it is used in a similar manner to prevent those of lesser financial means from acquiring the means of self-defense.
The critics are wrong that Pistol Purchase Permit repeal removes the only safeguard against private sellers ensuring criminals are not purchasing their firearms. Any FFL in the state can, and almost all do, provide background checks for private sales if the seller wishes. All the Pistol Purchase Permit currently does is raise the time and monetary commitment for North Carolinians to purchase a handgun for self-defense. All North Carolinians have the right and deserve the opportunity to decide for themselves, free of government coercion, how best to defend themselves. The repeal of the Pistol Purchase Permit is the correct step in doing so.
Guns Don't Kill People, Social Media Does
---Shannon Bray, Libertarian Party U.S. Senate Candidate for North Carolina
I have something I want you to consider. After every mass shooting, people cry out for gun control. For weeks or months, gun control is all you hear and then it goes silent. There are many people who believe that the availability of weapons is why we have mass or school shootings. The thought is that if you take the guns away from everyone, these types of events would not happen. If we just pass a few more gun laws, we will save our children.
There comes a time when we need to find the core of the issues and not just slap band-aids on everything. Everything in our community has become fuel for our cancel culture; if someone does not like it, they want it gone for everyone, but that is a topic for another day. For the sake of this article, let us call the band-aid gun control and let us consider the core of the issue: social media. No doubt you already knew where I was going with this since the title states it clearly but let me make my point and offer you several references so that you can come to your own conclusion. First, I will highlight the growth of social media. Second, I will present data that will show social media links to depression and anxiety. Third, we will discuss the characteristics of people who commit these crimes. And finally, I will offer various approaches that will help mitigate these issues and explain why Congress is unable to address the problems by simply passing a bill.
Realize that You are the Power
--- Thomas Hill, Soil and Water Supervisor candidate, Cabarrus, N.C. (Healing Our Cabarrus (thomashill4cabarrus.com))
Spike Cohen, Vice Presidential candidate in 2020, activist, and devout lover of humanity, has started an organization, You are the Power (www.youarethepower.net), to take the individual power that we each possess and unite people across the country to push back against forces designed to make us feel small, weak, and vulnerable.
Each one of us is unique, a miracle of statistical improbability with thoughts, opinions, feelings, and life experience that differs from every other person who has ever lived. At the same time, we are all tied together as members of the human race, with a communal bond in our shared individuality.
We are bombarded by messaging designed to make us feel anxious, powerless, afraid, and reactionary, and this is by design. The political machine that seeks to consolidate and grow the breadth and depth of its own power is fine-tuned to strip you of your individual identity. It wants you mired in the belief that your fellow human beings are your enemy, and only it can save you.
Under the constant drum beat of fear-mongering driving us further apart, we fall into the trap of focusing so intensely on hating people with whom we actually have so much in common. In doing so, we ignore abuses and misconduct by elected and appointed politicians and bureaucrats, or even defend their actions if we believe them to be on our "side."
We each have the ability to make a difference in our communities. We need only take a moment to claim that power in ourselves, and demand that those who would seek to divide and control us are no longer able to do so.
The machine is massive, though, and adept at making us feel that any attempt to stand up against it is futile. Even when we are willing to leave behind fear and anxiety and take action in service of our fellow humans, knowing where to start is difficult. Laws and regulations are intentionally complex, elected officials and the dark money that supports them play gatekeeper, and solving what ails our country is a long and difficult journey.
Spike realized the need for a non-partisan, grassroots coalition dedicated to helping those in need, that would improve our communities through direct charity and mutual aid initiatives. He created You are the Power (YATP) to address this need, its success fueled by a belief in empowering people.
YATP is a nonprofit, membership-based nonprofit network of grassroots activists, community leaders, and candidates for elected office who identify problems and work to implement solutions. While the focus is on issues at the local level, YATP has a shared social media reach of over 50 million people, and a working relationship with activists and organizations in all 50 states.
Under the aegis of Spike, YATP walks the walk. While it is a young organization, in the short time it has existed, YATP has been hard at work, defending those whose voices might otherwise go unheard in local communities around the country, and it is already logging successes:
- Promoted and participated in regular protests that the Libertarian Party of North Carolina (LPNC) organized in defense of homeless veteran Joshua Rohrer, who was abused by police in Gastonia, NC, resulting in the death of his service dog. While the fight for justice is ongoing in this case, Spike focused broad national attention, which, along with relentless efforts from the LPNC, resulted in the successful release of the police body camera footage from the incident, despite strong pushback from the police, the city, and the district attorney. (To learn how you can help us fight for justice in this case, please visit http://sunshineprojectnc.com)
- Fought the seizure of private property in Russell City, KY, where the city council tried to use eminent domain to build a parking lot where people had their homes.
- Spearheaded a massive campaign, comprising a petition drive leading to a ballot initiative in Columbus, OH, so that voters will have the chance to end qualified immunity as part of the state ballot.
- Informed Mississippi voters of their state's overturning of a ballot initiative to legalize medical cannabis through an aggressive statewide media campaign.
Spike brings star power and political gravitas, and garners broad and necessary attention for causes that would otherwise fade away. His selfless refusal to accept a status quo that sublimates people drives pro-human changes forged through the power of people untied in defense of the powerless.
Spike's presence at the Gastonia protests has boosted attendance at these events, with some activists traveling hundreds of miles to be there. The LPNC was able to catch up with Spike at the September 21 Gastonia City protest and ask him about YATP. He told us,
"We do best when we live in a society of mutual respect for one another, when we take the power out of the hands of those that took it from us and put it back in our hands where it always belonged. We find people who have been run over roughshod by their local governments and help organize them to get justice, like we’re doing tonight for Joshua Rohrer. We show them, their community, and the world that we can work together. We don’t have to live by the edicts of people who presume to have authority over us. We can live better lives, lives that are more prosperous, more peaceful, and happier, by working together to be more free. That's what You Are the Power is all about."
Membership ensures updates on events and ongoing activism and provides specific and actionable ways for each member to get involved. Members are integrated into the community, providing assurance of support with no concerns about being stranded in isolation against the political machine. Members can join these events, meet and forge relationships with people who have similar motivations, engage in online activism, or even organize an event in their area. For more information, details can be found at www.youarethepower.net.