Courage in Human Action
by Joshua D. Glawson
LPNC Strategic Communications Adviser
"Human action is purposeful behavior." -Ludwig von Mises
Courage invokes us to take action.
For Aristotle, courage is the virtue that helps balance our instincts against recklessness and cowardice.
For Biblical teachings, courage is the opposite of fear, and courage is to face fear while remaining positive for Good reason(s).
For Thomas Jefferson, courage empowers the individual to become as an army of one; "one man with courage is a majority."
For Ayn Rand, "Courage is the practical form of being true to existence, of being true to truth" and living confidently within that courage.
For Ludwig von Mises, courage is thrusting one's self into the intellectual battle of the individual versus the collective, for the victory of truth and freedom for all.
Overall, having courage has more to do with the actions we take than merely having a thought. There are many people with brilliant ideas in the world, and there are fewer people who express those ideas, and even fewer are the number of people who take action with their ideas. It often takes courage to act on our ideas.
There are ways we can instill greater courage while building a growing network of like-minded, liberty-loving, individuals…
The first thing is to train your mind by reading more about each topic you are passionate about, and the ones that cause you the most frustration when discussing with others. Each person in the group should be learning.
Secondly, have in-depth conversations with your local chapters, to ensure you and others learn more about the topic. This is a technique like the division of labor for critical thinking. Include frequently holding presentations on these topics.
Third, actively invite new people to the meetings, even if it is simply for these discussions. By having new people, we encourage participation and growth for everyone involved. Create an environment where people feel welcome and comfortable to speak or voice their disagreements.
Fourth, give each person in the group a chance to speak, and give each individual an official title and a duty. These titles do not need to be lofty, and the duties do not need to be grand. Do not give big titles to people who do not have the time, energy, desire, or capacity to fulfill the role. Giving each person a title and a duty instills confidence, bolsters a sense of unity and shared responsibility, and encourages action. Our groups should not be strictly controlled or dominated by a central authority figure just because of their title or experience.
Fifth, work on a particular cause within your city together once the group agrees on the topic. When we practice working together as a group on a project, we can see how we as individuals can come together and accomplish great things. This further instills courage and confidence, while it works on practical applications for instilling Liberty in the world.
Sixth, coordinate with other local groups on projects for shared causes. By utilizing our networks for larger projects, we increase our chances of winning locally and regionally. These incremental wins reinforce courage, nourish confidence, and build up the number of active participants. We scale up our wins by branching out.
Seventh, whether we win or lose, throughout each step come back together as a group and as individuals to learn from one another and for our own sake. In chess, we learn that more can be learned from a lost game than from a game that is easily won.
The more we engage in action, the more we as individuals learn and grow. When we coordinate with others, and continue to spread those connections further and further, we grow this movement well beyond our regions, overcoming the current difficulties we face.
We each joined the Libertarian Party because we believe in Liberty and that it has an invaluable purpose in the world. Let us be outspoken in our regard to that value and become more than people of thoughts and words, let us take purposeful action for the cause of Liberty. It is far better that we take action and learn from failure than sitting passively in social groups complaining in circles about our constant frustrations and losses after doing nothing. Let our movement not be in vain. Take action. Be the change.
Joshua D. Glawson is a writer and speaker in the Liberty Movement. He has been active with the Libertarian Party of California since 2015. He now resides in his home state of North Carolina. Check him out at Home - Joshua D. Glawson (joshuadglawson.com)
Interview with GNRC's Andy Stevens
by Rob Yates, LPNC Communications Director
The Tar Heel sat down with Andy Stevens, Vice President of Operations and Board member at Grass Roots North Carolina (GRNC), an organization working tirelessly to defend our Second Amendment rights in North Carolina. Andy is also the North Carolina State Director for Gun Owners of America (Gunowners.org). A lot has been going on that affects your 2A rights in NC, much of which the LPNC has communicated to you in real time over the last month. Because of pressure from Liberty warriors, we saw both the removal of NC's anti-Black pistol permit restriction law, and the override of Governor Cooper's veto that would've left that Jim Crow law in place.
Now, we are looking at the potential for Constitutional carry to be reinstated in NC, but, as always is the case when politicians are involved, we are up against politics. Few people have a deeper understanding of the issue and the inner working of the surrounding politics than Andy, so we wanted to hear more from the insider's perspective.
Tar Heel: Andy, thank you so much for talking to us today. Before we get into the bills and changes in the legislature, tell us a little bit about yourself and about GRNC. How did you get involved, and what is your role there?
Andy Stevens: I'm a North Carolina "transplant" having grown up in Chicago, Illinois. I received an appointment to the United States Military Academy, West Point just before turning 18 and never turned back. During my service I was assigned to the XVIII Airborne Corps at Ft. Bragg in the early 80s and liked the state even back then. I permanently relocated to North Carolina in 2000 and have been a resident ever since. In 2012 and 2013, I became interested in gun rights and started using my free time to visit legislators in Raleigh as an individual. During my visits, I often ran across F. Paul Valone, GRNC President, doing the same thing, and saw the effectiveness of joining voices and efforts with an organization demonstrating a record of success. Truth be known, Paul Valone cornered me in a hallway one day and made me an offer I couldn't refuse, lol. The rest is history. Currently I'm a member of the GRNC Board of Directors and serve as GRNC Director of Legislative affairs and Vice-President of Operations. By the way, we are all unpaid, 100 percent volunteers. No dues, money, or donations going to fancy suits and shoes.
I'd also point out to your readers that I am the NC State Director with Gun Owners of America. Again, in this role with this organization I take great pride that I am not a paid employee, but, by my choice, an unpaid volunteer.
I do what I do for gun rights because I believe what I do is important beyond monetary compensation. Therefore, no one can falsely tag me with the "gun lobbyist" moniker.
Tar Heel: GNRC has accomplished so much in the past. Is there one legislative accomplishment of which you are most proud?
Stevens: Well, there have been many, but, of course, what got me into this fight in the first place was our racist, Jim Crow Pistol Purchase Permit system. As I began to collect firearms, I found it totally in variance with the Bill of Rights to submit to special trips to a sheriff's office and unnecessary waiting to receive permission slips of paper to purchase handguns, especially when rifles and shotguns did not require such procedures. Thus, my satisfaction in achieving its repeal a few weeks ago. Doing so over the veto of anti-gun, anti-Liberty Governor Roy Cooper was icing on the cake.
Tar Heel: That's a great segue into the current situation. Before we look at HB 189, though, can you explain, briefly, the pistol permit restrictions that were previously codified in law? Wehave covered this for our readers before to a degree, so I was hoping you could focus in particular on the operational aspects of that rule – why it contributes to so many delays in purchases and who it affects.
Stevens: Both our previous Pistol Purchase Permit and our current Concealed Handgun Permit systems were and continue to be flawed. They stand between citizens immediately exercising their rights to keep and bear arms. Despite state statutes, one hundred individual county sheriffs administer both programs. Some stay within the intent of the law, and others historically and currently abuse it.
The PPP by statute required your county sheriff to issue a permit or declare why not within fourteen days of application. Now, in Stokes County, my home, my Sheriff could accomplish this within 30 minutes. The same day! Not too inconvenient at all, except for the fact one had to go there in the first place.
However, sheriffs in counties like Wake, Guilford, and especially Mecklenburg, decided they could take weeks, months, years to drag out the issue. My two organizations have sued the Wake and Mecklenburg County Sheriffs multiple times and won judgements over the now repealed Pistol Purchase Permits and we are currently suing the Mecklenburg County Sheriff in Federal Court over his willful delays issuing Mecklenburg County applicants their Concealed Handgun Permits.
Interestingly, the newest Republican member of the NC Legislature, Representative Trisha Cotham, lives in Mecklenburg County. As a result of her recent Party switch, she and her family have been receiving credible threats, including death threats. At the legislature, she is provided physical security. At home, she is left to her own devices. She has applied for a concealed handgun permit, but, of course, her sheriff, Garry McFadden, has yet to see fit to issue her one. No better example of the need for permitless, or Constitutional, carry could be made, and this is the real-world example, not just a hypothetical example.
Tar Heel: That's so important to understand, as HB 189 would eliminate those barriers from people like Representative Cotham who have real need for protection. Can you further explain to the Tar Heel readers exactly what HB 189 does?
Stevens: In a nutshell, HB 189 would accomplish several objectives. First it would allow anyone in North Carolina who met the qualifications for issue of a CHP permit the right to carry in North Carolina without an actual permit. This, of course, would solve the perilous situation Representative Cotham currently finds herself in. It would also solve the real, although temporary, situation new residents find themselves in when they move to North Carolina and establish residence here. One cannot immediately apply for and receive even a temporary permit and new residents are thus left without being able to legally conceal carry until application and receipt of a permit.
Second, it specifically retains and does not repeal our current system of sheriff-issued concealed handgun permits. This is important because reciprocity with other states would terminate without an individually issued permit. Very important if you carry a handgun beyond our state's borders, for example. There are also federal statutes that limit where one can carry concealed without a permit that differs from where one can with a permit. Therefore, it is important to know the laws governing open and concealed carry in North Carolina. We can discuss this further in a moment, if you like.
Third, it reduces the age for lawful concealed carry to 18 versus the current 21. A federal appeals court has already ruled artificial age restrictions above age 18 are unconstitutional.
Finally, the last major piece of the bill would allow for expanded places of carry for elected officials. As was pointed out in the bill's debate, elected officials do make decisions that result in threats, including death threats. Not just Representative Trisha Cotham, either. Most importantly, this would allow legislators and elected officials to carry in the legislative buildings. This expanded carry privilege currently exists for some elected officials such as judges, district attorneys, and the like.
Tar Heel: But it wasn't clear cut, correct? Specifically, what was the training requirement? Why was that potentially problematic, or maybe a better question is, why are people over-reacting to that?
Stevens: Yes, training has become an unnecessary flashpoint regarding this bill. Ordinarily, a "true" constitutional carry bill would not encumber the citizen with a mandated training component. The bill, as originally drafted, was to be a Constitutional carry bill. However, such a bill would not, and I repeat, would not pass in the current legislature as a true Constitutional carry bill. The Speaker of the House, Representative Tim Moore, directed that a training component be added to the bill or he simply would not run it through his chamber. After much discussion, we at GRNC and GOA decided to support the bill with a training component to advance the bill. The merits of the bill even as a now-redefined permitless with training bill represent a significant improvement over our existing concealed handgun permit statute. During the hearing process, we recognized changing the nature of the bill required renaming it as well. Constitutional carry was removed from the title and the bill was simply and accurately renamed the "NC Freedom to Carry" bill.
Tar Heel: Following up on that, this seemed like a done deal just a few days ago, when you, LPNC members, and other defenders of Liberty gathered at the State House to make our voices heard. What changed since then, and what is the outlook right now?
Stevens: What changed? Well, at the last minute, the NRA stepped in and, without ever having been a part of the discussion, decided to kill the bill as it was not a "pure" Constitutional carry bill. More importantly, they killed it because it was not "their" bill. But guess what? Ask the NRA, where is their bill? The reality is, they never offered to run a Constitutional carry bill in this session of the legislature. Don't take my word, but ask the principal bill sponsor, Representative Keith Kidwell, of his opinion of the NRA. I dare say you won't be able to publish the result.
Of course, the reality also exists that some of the Republican supermajority in the House are not as fully supportive of gun rights as we'd like. There continues to be grumbling in the caucus of both chambers that voting on Constitutional carry, or even this version of permitless carry, is a step too far for them. Why? Because it may cost them their reelection in competitive districts. In other words, legislators often are more interested in their self-preservation and reelection than they are in the natural and Constitutional rights of their constituents. Surprised? Don't be! That's the reality of why, for example, it's taken ten years to repeal the PPP.
Tar Heel: The LPNC put out a call to action for people to sign your petition, which seemed to make a difference. What else can people do to send the message that they do not support politicians who do not support their rights?
Stevens: Encourage and support their competition. Run for political office yourself, or support candidates who share your views and positions. Do not concede the political battlefield to incumbents interested merely in their own reelection. In our situation, unfortunately, the best place to challenge incumbents is in the primary and not the general election. That's where unaffiliated voters can play a tremendous spoiler role. As for the Libertarian Party, develop and promote your own viable candidates. The key will be to focus on breaking the monopoly of the two-party system in Raleigh. Winning a well targeted race or two will send fear into the rest who will discover it "could happen to them," losing an election, too.
Tar Heel: If this ultimately fails, how can we hold our elected officials accountable?
Stevens: Politicians who are focused on reelection are often unwilling to take controversial positions and simultaneously make calculated decisions that take their base of support for granted. After all, "who else will gun rights voters vote for?" Replacing them at the ballot box is generally done during the primary, but promoting viable, electable third-party candidates, such as Libertarians, comes into play because, unfortunately, the reality is 95 percent of incumbents of either party who choose to run for reelection generally win.
Tar Heel: While we acknowledge that the LPNC, the GNRC, and other defenders of Liberty don't see eye-to-eye on every issue – in fact, we think it would be awful if everyone agreed on everything – we are big on single-issue coalitions where we work together to move causes forward where we do agree. What can Libertarians in North Carolina do to help you all move the needle toward protecting 2A rights for all the citizens of our state, and where do you see GRNC playing a role in helping amplify the actions we are taking in the LPNC?
Stevens: Add your voice to ours! Sign up for our GRNC and GOA state level alerts notifications to keep informed of developments, and most of all, follow the suggested actions to take. Our rights are continually under attack. We must remain vigilant, and we must forcefully push back against every assault upon our right to keep and bear arms.
Tar Heel: Andy, thank you so much for your time today. One final question for you, what message do you have for lovers of Liberty out there who want to preserve 2A rights, but also want to do so in a safe and responsible manner? How can they move forward, and how can they make their voices heard?
Stevens: Don't give up the fight. Get involved yourselves. Get others to raise their voices with yours. Join organizations of like-minded people like GOA, GRNC, or other freedom-endorsing groups. Liberty is not a two-party affair, either. The Libertarian Party of NC has long been recognized as one that fully supports Constitutional guarantees and freedoms. LP of NC candidates for office who return our GRNC Candidate surveys are generally, without question, rated as GRNC 4 STAR.
We at GRNC and GOA do not believe HB 189, or something similar, is dead in the current session. We will be working proactively with bill sponsors to advance the merits of this bill in the current session and will undertake efforts to improve its prospects, if necessary, as we move into the next general election cycle. Again, subscribe to our GRNC and GOA state level alerts and stay informed.
I've enjoyed talking with you today and I look forward to doing so again.
There Is No Need to Protect Men from Trans Athletes
by Dee Watson, LPNC Secretary
When the government gets involved and spends billions of North Carolinian tax dollars in public schools, there are going to be a lot of arguments over how those schools are run. The latest argument is over House Bill 574 (i.e. the "Fairness in Women's Sports Act"), which determines who may compete in men’s and women’s sports within (K-12) public schools in North Carolina and schools that compete with them. Intramural sports in public colleges are also regulated by the bill.
The Libertarian solution would be to separate education and government, or at the very least to let the tax dollars follow the child so that parents may choose the school system their children attend, instead of having the money allocated for their child held hostage in the public system. If parents could choose where the tax dollars allocated for their children go, then they would influence and pick schools that align with their understanding of how people should be separated in sports. We would have a variety of solutions, and, while different conferences attempted different approaches to delineating people for the purposes of competitive sports, our experience and understanding of the pros and cons would grow in a respectful way while each group consented to the rules in the school of their choice. Instead, we have a system where legislators in the capital are determining the rules for every public school in the state.
Protecting women is great, and I mean that sincerely. Women have fought too hard for too long to see our rights stripped away under some arbitrary pretense that takes away power - which we have battled for, inch by inch, for centuries - and give it back to the government, subject to the whims of elected officials who bear allegiance solely to donors.
Libertarians know all too well how quickly our rights can be stolen. We also know that the only way to protect the rights of women is to defend Liberty for all, and protect everyone's rights, no exceptions. Republicans do a great job of talking up small government and proclaiming they want to defend individual rights, but they seem to use women's rights as an excuse to attack the rights of transgender people.
Who can forget the infamous HB2 (i.e. "The Bathroom Bill") that embarrassed NC. As is always the case when government comes in with a one-size-fits-all approach to "solve" a "problem" that only exists insofar as those elected officials have created it to anger their base, we are now looking at a proposal that creates far more problems than it solves in HB 574.
I am a former Division I athlete. If women weren't able to compete in separate divisions from men, I never would have been an athlete at all. Being in a sport was good for me, as it is for almost everyone who competes. Having clear, direct competition is healthy; it is fantastic that the number of girls and women engaging in competitive and recreational sports is increasing dramatically.
I want to make sure I am clear on one point; I agree that transgender athletes should not be included unrestricted in female-only sports categories. Females should have the opportunity to compete separately from others. If the person is transitioning from female to male, that usually includes hormone treatments that create a huge advantage over any woman not taking those hormones.
Further, males have biological advantages over females in athletics - advantages that have been selected for evolutionarily for billions of years across millions of species leading up to today. They have greater muscle mass, greater hemoglobin, greater height, greater mass, larger lung capacity, and hips that are far more conducive to athletics. Hormones will change testosterone levels, but have little impact on these other things. Males are just biologically different than females and transitioning from male to female does not erase all of these things. There is a clear issue that Riley Gaines should not have had to compete with Lia Thomas, but this bill does not solve that problem.
The categories for sports in the new bill are:
- Males, men, or boys.
- Females, women, or girls.
- Coed or mixed
A simple solution would be to change the males/men/boys category to open and allow anyone, males, transgender, and even women (who are more capable than I) to compete in the open category. This would allow everyone to compete. That is not what the NC Republican legislature did. For the purpose of the bill, the NC Republican legislature defined sex based solely on birth. That means that transgender men (biological women who are using hormones to transition) would be required to compete with women, even though they have a medical advantage. So the bill doesn't even protect women's sports, unless it is intended to exclude transgender people from sports entirely.
There is no need to protect men's sports from Lia Thomas or any other transgender person. However, the NC Republican legislature has bizarrely written a bill that does so. Slightly different bills have been passed in the house and senate, and I hope that they are modified to permit transgender individuals in an open category. Otherwise, I fear that NC will undergo the embarrassment of bathroom bill 2.0., or worse, see the state-mandated end of women's sports.
School Choice OpEd
Choose Your Schools, Choose Your Future
by Angela Humphries, At-Large LPNC EC Member
This was originally posted on Angela's blog, check it out here.
While the bill's short title seems corny, readers grasp the gist. There is no perfect bill, however, it is hard to argue against putting options and more freedom to choose in the hands of North Carolina families. Read the full bill here. Not only would the bill expand educational freedoms positioning all NC residents eligible, it removes the requirement to attend public school the prior year, as well as carves out a path for early high school graduation requirements and the creation of a scholarship fund for early graduation students.
What's striking for those who are fiscally aware, is the amount of spending in the bill. I want education dollars following kids, benefitting the taxpayers who made contributions, but at the same time I want to see another pile of money shrinking. The new legislation adds more spending, because the intent is to expand eligibility to more children (doubling the amount according to Sen. Lee). Educating more children would cost more dollars.
Note in the two following sections, the span of time is the same, yet the figures are drastically different.
This section appears in H823 /S406
The current NC Opportunity Scholarship Program
As one can see, there's a lot of money involved, including current administrative fees up $7,788,500. I guess it costs a lot to spend a lot? I would not be so concerned about this pile growing had it not been for a recent phenomenon in public school spending.
In the past, schools have been held harmless for losing students during the ongoing (pandemic) failures. Imagine leaving a school, but you continue footing the bill although you no longer use that school. Those consumers are stuck footing the local tax bill which goes to schools they have ultimately rejected. In essence, public school systems continue to benefit without ever having to serve this segment of the school aged population. Recently during the covid-19 pandemic years, NC has set a precedent to reward public schools long after they have lost students, thereby holding them unaccountable for downward shifts in attendance for an even higher monetary value- state ADMs. Both incidents are examples of waste.
A Libertarian Critique of "School Choice"
by Ryan Brown, LPNC Chair
One way to describe libertarianism is, "don't hurt people and don't take their stuff." In this piece, we'll explore how, in both the short term and long term, "school choice" is a violation of both of these principles. We will also talk about the danger of an ever-encroaching government that will always try and maintain control over the schooling of all people.
Government taxation to fund schools is a violation of the NAP.
Involuntary taxation is anti-libertarian
A core belief of libertarianism is that involuntary taxation (a redundant phrase) is a violation of a person's rights. Libertarians believe that all people own themselves and, by extension, the fruits of their labor or the items they acquire via free trade. No government or other person has a claim to the fruits of someone else’s labor. That person is free to use their wealth to help others, but it must be done voluntarily. Theft or coercion to direct that wealth to fund public or private schools is a violation of a person's rights and is contrary to the basic tenets of libertarianism.
"School choice" is funded with involuntary taxation.
What "school choice" proponents talk about these days is merely the use of taxed money, taken involuntarily and by using coercion, to fund private schools. The fact that the money is going back to private schools doesn't somehow change how the money was first obtained by the government. Just because the government gives money back to some people who were taxed does not mean that the money is somehow redeemed. Unless the money is given back to the people equal to the exact amount that they had taken from them, defeating the purpose of the entire system, this system of funding is just wealth redistribution. Libertarians are against the socialist redistribution scheme of funding when it comes to everything that isn't schooling. We should be against it when it comes to schooling as well.
We're the party of principle, not the party of tinkering with the government to enact reforms.
Libertarians and the Libertarian Party are supposed to stand on principles and fight for what is right. We are not the party of reform. Libertarian principles are based on respecting the inherent rights of all people, non-initiation of force, and the right to peacefully and voluntarily contract and trade. While some may argue that "school choice" will improve educational outcomes or make government schools better because they have to compete with private schools, none of that should matter for Libertarians. The "school choice" system that many propose does not give all people a "choice" where the taxed money is spent. If you do not have kids or you pay more in taxes than you get back, you are subsidizing other people's "choice" while having no say where your own tax money is going. The system of tax and redistribute is inherently coercive and does not give everyone a choice.
We already have school choice.
Sure, it is not the best choice, but we're thankful the government isn't involved more.
In North Carolina, we currently have a system where the government has a light touch on private school education. Because of this, we already have a wide range of real school choices. People have the freedom to choose a school that truly will meet the needs of their students. While people are still taxed to pay for the public education system, the government is more focused on regulating and mandating public schools than private and home schools. That's because the overwhelming majority of school funding goes to public schools. In the 2022-23 school year, over $10 billion was spent on public schools and less than $140 million spent on private schools via opportunity scholarships (https://www.ncseaa.edu/opportunity-scholarship-summary-of-data/).
There are current freedoms that the government hasn't infringed on yet.
Currently, nonpublic schools have some restrictions on them, but, in the grand scheme of things, they are not as bad as they could be. Nonpublic schools currently can choose who to accept and determine what standards they use. Private schools are allowed to be openly religious and have the ability to teach religious classes and have religious ceremonies. With a straightforward change of statute, this could all change. As soon as the government decides they want to regulate nonpublic schools like public schools, the nonpublic schools will lose all the freedoms they currently enjoy. They will, either de facto or de jure, become public schools.
Even though the current system is not perfect, change doesn't necessarily mean it will be better
The current system is not perfect, but change does not always mean progress. The belief that any change is progress is naive. When "progress" comes via government funding you are bound to get the restrictive government regulation. The only way that a government can keep their citizens in check is by controlling funding. Moving more government funding into nonpublic schools is just creating more incentive to regulate nonpublic schools.
"School choice" will entrench government in schools even more.
With funding come strings
What most people understand, but apparently don't appreciate, is that with government money there comes government control. We have seen this at the federal level and there is no reason to think it won't happen at the state level. If funding for nonpublic schools goes to 10 or 15 percent of total school funding, up from less than 2 percent, you can almost guarantee that there will be an increase in government regulation. While Republicans seem to have a grip on the General Assembly, and do not seem to want to increase regulation, their latest capitulation on Medicaid expansion should give most people pause. Generally, and over time, the only practical way that a government can control its citizens is via control of money. By coercive taxation and the threat to pull funding, governments can focus, like the Eye of Sauron, on any specific area they want to control. When it comes to schools, the less funding they can threaten the better.
Future laws/court rulings can turn private schools into de facto public schools very quickly
Currently nonpublic schools have a lot of room to operate freely. However, there are people who are determined to regulate and destroy private schools. Republicans are seemingly against greater regulation for nonpublic schools but there is nothing stopping them from trying to regulate schools in the future. If the General Assembly decides not to further regulate nonpublic schools, the courts may. Should the courts decide that public funds mean public control, there may be years or decades long battles over who can regulate schools and to what degree. Playing with fire might make you feel warm and comfortable in the short term. It could end up burning you badly if you play with it too much.
The average person loves government subsidies. They won't ever go away.
Finally, and maybe most cynically, is the fact that many people love government subsidies. Most people, at least without being pressed on the issue, believe in some sort of necessary taxation and control of the economy. Once the government gives a class of people a subsidy it almost never takes it away. Libertarians need to consistently argue against the tax and redistribute system that socialists advocate for.
Libertarians need to be the group of people who are consistently hacking away at government overreach, the ones who are fighting back against the ever-increasing government regulations. We need to be the people who preach the gospel of voluntary and contract-based life. Advocating for a better system of coercive taxation, more efficient socialist redistribution, and the merits of fine tuning of government systems, compared to abolishing them, is a job for reformers. Libertarians should not be reformers. Libertarians should be the party of principled truth seekers defending the best of the libertarian ideals. If we can't stick to first principles when we aren't in power, how are we ever going to convince the people to believe our position? If we want to win hearts and minds we shouldn't sell out when it costs us nothing to be principled.
North Carolina’s Pay-to-Play, or Else, ABC System
The NC ABC system provides no benefit, but protects its territory with the full force of the state.
by Mike Ross, LPNC Treasurer and Libertarian Candidate for North Carolina Governor
Imagine for a moment that you are throwing a lavish party as a huge boon to your career. The catch is, you can’t afford the party. You hold the event at your home to save cost, but the catering, decorations, and particularly the fancy alcohol are beyond your means.
To get around this, you charge for drinks. You aren’t looking to make a profit, so you charge just enough to cover the libations and catering. You bring in a tiny bit extra, all of which you donate to charity, for the karma. The party goes so well you are asked to do it again the next weekend.
This time, you up the charge on the drinks just a little. You still aren’t trying to make a profit, but party planning takes time, and you need to get some value back! Again, the party is a smash success, and you agree to throw one every Friday night.
Eventually, these parties are your full-time income. You take people’s keys when they come in to make sure no one drives drunk, and you refuse to overserve, as you don’t want to see people get hurt or regret coming. The parties get more and more popular.
You aren’t making the alcohol you serve, but you are serving enough of it that you feel like you should report it as income. Being an honest taxpayer, you make no attempt to hide the money. Word spreads about the parties, until one day the police rush in, decked out in body armor and guns drawn, to shut you down and lock you up for the abhorrent crime of serving people drinks without the state’s blessing.
On Saturday, March 11, the Gastonia PD raided a private business for being a speakeasy, a private facility serving alcohol without a permit. The owner had committed no other transgression. There is no information on how much the undercover sting operation cost the taxpayers. In return, though, the police confiscated:
"... 19 individual packed jello shots valued at $95. They also got 21 bottles of wine ($250 value), ten spirituous liquor bottles ($300), 82 beers ($200), an Apple iPhone ($200), a $300 laptop, and a $200 Square card reader."
This is an explicit example of the government interfering with the ability of private citizens to run a business. Instead of being given the room to succeed or fail on her own merits, the owner of this business was criminalized by the local government.
Like the hypothetical above, the point at which the ABC can assert dominion is extortionary in practice, and arbitrary at best. Can someone not charge for their time when purchasing alcohol that’s distributed to others? What about charging for a party but serving alcohol for free? Or even buying someone drinks as repayment for something?
Getting a liquor license is time consuming, expensive, and unnecessary, but it’s used as another way for the state to make money (nearly $23 million last year). If a license is granted, it puts that business under much more tax scrutiny than similar businesses, and holds them subject to ABC visits and pressures from appointed bureaucrats. Further, changes to regulations around alcohol production and consumption during quarantine proved how arbitrary and meaningless these restrictions are.
As governor, I will not watch the state close businesses and arrest people for “crimes” that have no victim and often provide benefits to the surrounding community. Nor am I willing to put police officers at risk by inserting them into situations or environments to enforce laws which exist solely to protect the interests of unelected government bodies. I will begin this by unwinding the corrupt ABC system on day 1.
I will ensure that your hard-earned dollars are used to stop actual violent crimes against person and property, while getting the government out of the way so you can earn more dollars without ridiculous state intervention. This is the core of my Liberty and Prosperity plan, to see all of North Carolina flourish under the simple idea of freedom.
The North Carolina Coup d’Etat and Prohibition
By Joshua D. Glawson, Strategic Communications Adviser
"Fascism is the stage reached after communism has proved an illusion." -F.A. Hayek
November 10, 1898, is an infamous day that forever symbolizes the brute force of a tyrannical government leaving many murdered and others terrified for life and limb. With the unfolding of this day came the genesis of many of the draconian laws that carry the echoes of terror even today. These terrorists and their sympathizers eventually implemented liquor prohibition, alcohol control state laws - including the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, state income taxes, state sales taxes, restricted voting rights, various race-based laws, upholding of Jim Crow laws, and limited political representation. Their vicious control was tied to their racist, communist ideology.
More than a race war or riot, the evil that took place on this day is widely considered the only successful coup d’etat in U.S. history where innocent lives were brutally taken, peaceful people were threatened and banished, property robbed and destroyed, and official government seats uncivilly stolen; and, all of this was accomplished without one single evildoer ever being held accountable for unjust atrocities.
This coup d’etat occurred right here in Wilmington, North Carolina.
It had been around 30 years since the end of the Civil War and the signing of the Reconstruction Amendments, and many Southerners were still angered. By the 1890s, North Carolina had seen a significant increase in the number of Fusionists, who consisted of whites and blacks cooperating to create a post-Civil War state, with their own new set of pros and cons. The race-based cooperation angered the masses the most, leading to the production of numerous race-bait cartoons and articles leading up to November 10. It was the 1896 election of Republican Governor Daniel Lindsay Russell that sparked outrage for Democratic white supremacist leaders in North Carolina.
A dark coalition of bigoted Democrats was aided by paramilitary support from the Ku Klux Klan and communistic Red Shirts, who terrorized, whipped, and murdered those who actively voted against them or voiced opinions that opposed their posturing, asserting domination, power, and control. Much like their more outright communist and socialist kindred spirits plaguing the world at that time - and for some time thereafter, they incited violence and silenced civil discourse by threatening all for what they perceived as "the common good."
Such devious efforts in North Carolina were led by people such as Furnifold Simmons, Alfred M. Waddell, Josephus Daniels, and Charles B. Aycock. These tyrants would lead a committee that started a slithering movement called the White Declaration of Independence in which they wanted to forcefully remove any and all power from blacks and prevent Republicans from serving in government within North Carolina. Many of their caricatures portrayed blacks as being lazy, drunkards, ignorant, rapists, and uncivil. They wanted to scourge the entire population of North Carolina to "purify" it in the way they thought best.
Furnifold Simmons rallied hateful troops by calling on men who could "write, speak, and ride" for the white cause in November 1898. Simmons particularly despised pubs and distilleries, more for political and racial reasons than for health or civic purposes, and worked tirelessly throughout his career to end them and make North Carolina the first Southern state to pass statewide Prohibition laws. He associated distilleries with black "Republican recruiting stations."
Alfred M. Waddell wrote and spoke loudly in front of crowds calling for mass murder and violence against blacks in North Carolina, encouraging white supremacists to kill any black man seen voting in November 1898. Waddell acted as significant support for Simmons and Aycock.
Josephus Daniels led the newspapers in printing of false narratives and racist propaganda, stoking the flames of racial tensions, fearmongering, and provoking outright violence. With his caricatured portrayal of black men, he associated any and all consumption of alcohol with belligerence, rape, and general fears of chaos.
Charles B. Aycock ran his entire North Carolina political campaign around the ideas of what author Gregory P. Downs called, "[White supremacy and the] management of the state through education, public health, segregation, disenfranchisement, and alcohol prohibition."
By the end of the bloody day of November 10, 1898, at least 60 people had been murdered, with some counts suggesting upwards of 200. The coup mocked existing laws, tore officials from their political seats, and set precedent for an era that would send a cruel message across the entire state while allowing the perpetrators to maintain significant control.
For nearly 40 years, overall, Simmons held control and authority over North Carolinians in what is known as the "Simmons Machine" through acts of despotism, nepotism, and favoritism. This is still echoed throughout the alcohol control state laws, particularly with the appointing of officials in the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission network in North Carolina today. The legacy perseveres, perpetuating nepotism and favoritism at the sacrifice of civility, liberty, and markets, and all at the expense of taxpayers, entrepreneurs, tourism, market representation, business development, and job creation.
When the first ABC store was opened in North Carolina by the General Assembly in 1935, after the repeal of the 18th Amendment, it was approved in order to raise more money and taxes for implementing the New Deal in the state while running a state monopoly on liquor and alcohol sales. It was a system that touted modern progressivism and extreme government control, while maintaining deeply embedded beliefs in eugenics and racist ideology associating blacks with alcoholism.
Once the reign of terror by white supremacists, Red Shirts, KKK, and others had subsided, and the centralized control of communists and socialists began to deteriorate in North Carolina, the remnants dug in and have remained intact through control via fascist means. These have consisted of continuous powers over social, commercial, and political entities. Just as the economist F.A. Hayek noted in his book The Road to Serfdom, "Fascism is the stage reached after communism has proved an illusion."
Joshua D. Glawson is a writer and speaker in the Liberty Movement. He has been active with the Libertarian Party of California since 2015. He now resides in his home state of North Carolina. Check him out at Home - Joshua D. Glawson (joshuadglawson.com).
It's Time to Get to Work (April 2023)
There is a rare opportunity that we can't afford to miss
by Rob Yates
LPNC Communications Director
Comic by Noah Zenger
Official positions, events, campaigns, support, and on and on. There is no time quite like the present to get involved...
It has been a big news month for North Carolina politics. Over the last few weeks, we saw several bills passed and become law. This includes the pistol purchase permit repeal, which Governor Cooper vetoed, and which the legislature subsequently voted to overturn, due in no small part to the pressure campaign of you, the people of North Carolina.
We saw a representative switch parties and the torrent of local, state, and national publicity that came with it. We saw the state house pass a budget and a medicaid expansion bill. We saw a bill introduced covering safety and emissions inspections, another bill that shifts power from the governor to the general assembly.
At the national level, yesterday "officially" ended a covid "emergency" that many of us had ceased to acknowledge years ago. We saw Trump get arrested, grandstanding for all at the Tennessee legislature, and the RESTRICT act quietly making its way to restrict our Liberty. It has garnered the moniker "The Online Patriot Act," which is truly ignominious company, as far as legislation goes.
The machine moves forward regardless of how we feel about it. It's time to take a stand.
The stars are aligned for us to gain significant ground
The year 2023 is the relatively infrequent election cycle where there are neither state nor national level elections. There are definitely elections, though. In fact, a number of city and municipal level races are coming up in 2023, including city councils, mayors, and other municipal-level elected position. We expect to have several candidates. There are open races for several more to join. (We will have coverage on running for office next month, including filing dates, what it takes, and what to expect, as well as resources for candidates.)
In 2020, NC broke records as we pushed $1 billion dollars in total campaign spending. While spending was not that insane in 2021, it was still the most expensive down-ballot election year in history. We bounced back in 2022, with nearly $200 million in campaign spending, and 2024 projections are already at $150 million and more for the governor race.
Here in quiet, little 2023, though, spending is not expected (as of right now) to cross the $30 million mark total, and some projections are significantly less than that. The fundraising reports are coming, and the Republicrats and Democrans are predictably building up their war chests by cozying up with the big donor special interest groups who own their souls and ultimately control legislative action. But next year promises to be a doozy for spending and partisan aggression, and next year's candidates are locking down the money they need to turn their "base" into aggressive attack dogs against their opponents, while they all talk about "democracy."
Given that so much of the machine will be looking ahead, we have the chance to win races where we will be on relatively equal footing against uniparty candidates who don't have an unlimited ATM at their disposal. Further, the apparatus is in place. We have great candidates, infrastructure, materials, support, strategy, and the data to back it all up. However, these races take time and resources to win. We need people to message, phone bank, table events, fundraise, and so much more.
Every tiny contribution matters. They add up to a #2023goldrush.
So much more to do now and into the future
It isn't just local campaigns this year where there is opportunity to get involved. We have an immediate need for an Outreach Director as well as three committees that we are looking to fill. There are a number of other open director and staff positions for those of you who want to share your talents.
Especially with the success of the pistol purchase permit efforts, we are looking to effect positive legislative change where we can, and that takes resources. We already have people in NC working on driving legislative changes in a number of areas (which the Tar Heel will cover in detail in future editions). If you have ever wanted to be involved with the legislative side of things, but not running for office, let us know, and we can connect you.
We have a highly dedicated IT team that always needs good people for our internal development initiatives around data, website refreshing, and CRM maintenance, among others. The communications team needs people to contribute content, help build out our social media profile, edit, handle regular press releases, develop press contacts, and craft messaging and design materials. Our affiliates team needs support and people to start and join local affiliates. There are events through the summer, fall, winter, and into next year where we need people to manage our tables and actively engage with the crowds, building our presence and spreading our message.
Two candidates have announced their campaigns for governor next year, and they will both need people to help them compete. And then there will be a full slate of other candidates on ballot in 2024, and they will need the same support as candidates this year.
But mostly, we need you to represent the LPNC in North Carolina. We need you to spread the message and help other people see what we do. We need to come together to push back against self-interested, and well-funded, forces dedicated to advancing their own causes at the expense of our Liberty.
Rage Against the War Machine Recap (April 2023)
by Rob Yates, Communications Director
This February, the Libertarian Party organized the "Rage Against the War Machine Rally" in Washington D.C. Hundreds of people gathered at the National Mall to protest the government's endless wars and military interventions overseas.
I attended the "Rage Against the War Machine Rally," and I am sharing my experience hoping to inspire increased activism against the war machine and the military industrial complex from coast-to-coast.
The rally opened on the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial, with Lincoln’s 19-foot marble statue the backdrop, and the Reflecting Pool the centerpiece for the audience facing the stage, as the Washington Monument towered in the distance. D.C. is a beautiful city, a shiny veneer covering the corruption it hides within, and the blustery wind of the late-winter weather formed a stark contrast with the energy of the audience who gathered for the speakers before marching to the White House.
The list of speakers was a venerable who’s who of activists from across the political spectrum, all fighting to end the incredible death, destruction, and suffering that is an inevitable consequence of military conflict between nations. Among the notables who took the podium were Jimmy Dore, Scott Horton, Dennis Kucinich, Cynthia McKinney, and Roger Waters (on video).
As speakers took to the stage, the crowd listened with rapt attention to insight around the root causes of war and violence, and the ways in which the United States has played a central role in perpetuating these conflicts. The speakers called for an end to the never-ending wars in Iraq, Yemen, and Syria, (and that's the direct military action we know about...), to stop funding a proxy war in Ukraine, and for the United States to redirect its resources towards addressing the urgent domestic issues that are currently facing our country.
An Army veteran spoke of his own experiences on the front lines and how they led him to question the legitimacy of the wars he was fighting. He argued that the U.S. government's policies in the Middle East have only created more instability and violence, and that a more peaceful and non-interventionist approach is needed.
A college student (and self-described Libertarian) criticized the government's use of taxpayer money to fund military interventions around the world. She argued that this money could be better spent on domestic priorities like healthcare, education, and infrastructure.
Of course, the speaker list, and the rally itself, was headlined by Liberty icon Ron Paul, who spoke passionately about the need to end the endless cycle of conflict and bring our troops home. Dr. Paul is a well-known vocal critic of U.S. foreign policy and has been a leading voice in the anti-war movement for decades.
In his speech, Dr. Paul emphasized the importance of liberty and individual rights. He argued that the government's obsession with global military domination is a violation of the principles of limited government and non-interventionism. "We cannot maintain a free society at home while constantly waging wars abroad," he declared to cheers from the crowd.
Dr. Paul also praised the efforts of fellow anti-war activist and former congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, another featured speaker. Gabbard, a Democrat who famously resigned from Congress in 2022 over the federal government's captivity to special interests, including those who promulgate endless wars, has been a frequent ally of Libertarians on issues of foreign policy. In her own speech at the rally, she reiterated the need for a foreign policy of restraint and diplomacy, arguing that "our strength as a nation lies not in our military might, but in our moral authority."
One of the most striking aspects of the rally was the diversity of the attendees. People from all walks of life came together to voice their opposition to war and the military-industrial complex that fuels it. There were veterans of past conflicts, many of whom had been disillusioned by the realities of war and the toll it takes on soldiers and civilians alike. There were families who had lost loved ones in wars overseas, as well as young activists who had grown up in a world where war has been a constant presence throughout their lives.
Politics were cast aside for the day, with members of every party represented, united in the common humanity of wanting to end the suffering perpetuated on innocent populations by the infliction of military aggression.
Of course, the Libertarian principles of limited government, individual rights, and non-interventionism were on full display at the rally. Many of the speakers and attendees argued that the government's endless wars not only violate these principles, but also harm the very people they claim to be helping. Nothing violates core Libertarian principles more deeply and more completely than wars of aggression, and members of the party showed up to defend those most defenseless, the victims of the United States government’s infinite war campaign.
As Dr. Paul and others pointed out, the principles of liberty and non-interventionism are not just important for moral reasons, but also for practical ones. The endless wars and military interventions overseas not only cost trillions of dollars, but also result in the loss of countless innocent lives and destabilize entire regions of the world.
The Libertarian Party, along with allies like Tulsi Gabbard and other anti-war activists, are working to build a movement that puts an end to the war machine and promotes a more peaceful and prosperous world. As Dr. Paul put it in his speech, "the cause of liberty and peace is not an easy one, but it is a righteous one."
Finding The Gold in a Purple State
by Joshua D. Glawson
Growing up in North Carolina, I spent many Summer days playing in the forests. My friends and I would trek deep into the woods to play hide-and-seek, build forts, make bows and arrows, climb trees, and play along creeks and rivers. Before heading out the door, my grandmother often told me to search for quartz rocks for her - they were her favorite, especially purple amethyst. Simply walking into a wooded area or along a creek, it is quite common to find pieces of various types of quartz scattered about. North Carolina is filled with quartz and gemstones, including aquamarine, citrine, smoky quartz, and amethyst.
It was years later that I discovered when you find an abundance of quartz, you can also find pyrite and actual gold. With North Carolina being plentiful in quartz and gold, many lapidarists, miners, and geologists frequent the state. The way these scientists can quickly tell the difference between pyrite and actual gold is by scratching it with a piece of copper or hitting it with a hammer. Pyrite will not scratch with copper, but it will shatter with a strike of a hammer. Gold, on the other hand, will scratch with copper, but not break with a strike of a hammer. To purify the gold, it is then put in a fire to rid it of impurities.
Although geology and physical geography were some of my most memorable courses in college, my major was political science. In my field of study, we often become inspired by the world around us and apply those ideas to the study of politics and government.
North Carolina is not only filled with quartz and hues of purple amethyst, but it has also become a purple-voting state. This means the voting population has become equally Democrat and Republican, with unaffiliated voters surpassing them both. Of course, "unaffiliated" does not mean these voters do not tend to vote Democrat or Republican. Rather, there are specific issues unaffiliated voters do not believe are being answered by either of the two main political parties. I believe this is an opportunity to search the political landscape for something deeper buried in this political purple pattern - the gold of liberty.
Increasingly, many Gen-Z voters are finding they do not resonate with either Democrats or Republicans, while older voters are getting tired of the political turmoil and feel frustrated with the limitations of the two-party representation. There are several issues on which North Carolinians on both sides of the blue and red aisle are finding agreement.
Such purple topics include: ending many of the limitations of the alcohol control state laws in the archaic ABC system; making changes to the bureaucratic laws that prevent more affordable and alternative housing options; ending the brunt of the overreaching laws associated with the war on drugs; and, combating the increased costs of medical services and health care due to strict limits of health insurance and Certificate of Need laws. With this fertile, purple, political ground gold, i.e. Liberty, can be found. Of course, testing will need to take place to determine if this is fool’s gold or actual gold.
Beyond cops merely scratching the surface and the faulty forged proclamations of judges’ gavels, North Carolinians are feeling the fire of a political refinery that will determine the purity of gold that exists in the state. Some of the impurities have included severe limitations on personal liberty, curbed small and large business development, restrained affordable housing options, persistent mass incarceration, ceaseless civil asset forfeiture, and hindered health care provisions. If North Carolinians can come together to rid the state of these purple political impurities, as the writing is on the wall, the gold of Liberty can glisten while the destructive overreach of the state can be left numbered, weighed, and divided.
A slightly abbreviated version of this article originally appeared in the Carolina Journal
Joshua D. Glawson is a writer and speaker in the Liberty Movement. He has been active with the Libertarian Party of California since 2015. He now resides in his home state of North Carolina. Check him out at Home - Joshua D. Glawson (joshuadglawson.com).
LPNC Convention Recap
A lot of Liberty packed into one weekend
by Rob Yates
LPNC Communications Director
Comic by Noah Zenger
A spirited reception, a campaign announcement, bylaws and new officers, and an all-star lineup of speakers...
The Silicon Valley Bank crash was actually a fitting backdrop for a full, productive weekend at the LPNC State Convention, with its theme of "Celebrate Local" a stark contrast to the national news headline.
I want to start by saying how gracious and helpful the staff at the Village Inn was. The service was excellent, the accommodations were comfortable, and we were allowed to conduct our business in peace. Shout-out to the woman at the counter (withholding her name for privacy reasons) who gave Treasurer Mike Ross and I some hope with her pursuit of Liberty.
Registration and the welcome reception began Friday evening in the hotel bar. Old friends, familiar faces, and new Liberty warriors all came together to share some laughs and libations as we geared up for the weekend ahead.
We were happy to spare a few minutes to listen to Kelly Mann, Grassroots Director for The John Locke Foundation, who dropped by to share details on the wonderful and in-depth research the John Locke Foundation provides. Kelly is also a contributor to the Carolina Journal. If you are not using the resources these two entities make available, you are selling yourself short.
Of course, the highlight of the evening was Mike Ross announcing that he would be seeking the Libertarian nomination for North Carolina's gubernatorial race in 2024. After a poignant introduction by Liberty warrior Pastor Moses Colbert, best known for his ardent and selfless defense of those who have nothing, Mike gave his announcement speech to the gathered convention attendees. The crowd was boisterous with excitement, and the applause was loud as Mike finished his speech and introduced his team.
Saturday started off extraordinarily smoothly given the unusual requirement that a convention Chair needed to be selected. Fortunately, LPMeck Chair Steven DiFiore was up to the task, and he did an outstanding job of, as one of the younger attendees put it, "herding cats, only they all have their claws out."
Steven delivered the State of the Party address for outgoing Chair Joe Garcia, and we observed a moment of silence to memorialize fallen Liberty warriors Donald Reid Deal and Tom Howe. After that, it was down to business.
Somehow, we got through ten bylaw amendment proposals, one resolution, and a 90-minute lunch break before Executive Committee and Judicial Committee elections began. There were even two votes that received unanimous support, proving that nothing is impossible.
Once nominations began for EC positions, I was struck by how many qualified and passionate people we have working together in the party. Elections went quickly, and we ended up with an exciting slate for the EC (I plan to get interviews with each of them in the upcoming weeks), as well as the Judicial committee.
For LPNC Executive Committee, the delegates elected:
- Chair: Ryan Brown
- Vice-Chair: Sean Haugh
- Secretary: Dee Watson
- At-Large: Christina Aragues
- At-Large: Nick Taylor
- At-Large: Mac Browder
- At-Large: Angela Humphries
For Judicial Committee, the delegates elected:
- Ken Penkowski
- Phil Jacobson
- Steven DiFiore
- Tom Bailey
- Sarah Brady
Saturday Evening - Time to Let Loose
Our speakers began as we were finishing up dinner, and we were lucky to have two of the most effective and powerful voices in the Liberty movement address us. Dan Smotz, host of The System is Down podcast, was the opening speaker, and Larry Sharpe was the keynote speaker. Their speeches, while different in substance, covered similar themes, as they called for party unity, reinforced the need for hard work, extolled the advantages of putting aside your ego to communicate, and closed with messages of hope.
We went straight into the auction, emceed by Larry. Items ranged from questionable to exceptional, but all those who won their bids were happy, and we raised some money to boot.
Sunday's session opened with energy, despite the weight of the time change hanging over us, as Christina Aragues gave a detailed seminar on how to run a successful campaign. Christina is an experienced candidate who has run some of the most successful campaigns in LPNC history, and she gives a fun and informative perspective on how to replicate her success.
Next was the Governor candidate forum. Mike Ross answered questions about education, the second amendment, criminal justice reform, and nullification, among others, laying out his plan for a successful Libertarian candidacy and governorship. When he thought he was finished, the three presidential candidates each surprised Mike with a question of their own before their panel started.
As mentioned, the next item on the agenda was a panel with presidential candidates Chase Oliver, Mike ter Maat, and Jacob Hornberger. They answered questions about their candidacies, their solutions to problems we are facing as a country, Libertarian messaging, and host of others for about 45 minutes. The session was engaging and educational from three exemplary stewards of the Liberty movement and representatives of the party.
The day and the event closed with a presentation by Kim Acer covering our affiliate strategy. She explained where we stood, where we would like to see growth, and how we plan to achieve it. For a theme of "Celebrate Local," instead of the contrast of the national background under which we opened convention, Kim's affiliate discussion was a perfect and appropriate ending. I highly encourage anyone who is not currently participating to join your local affiliate or start one yourself; we have several unaffiliated counties waiting for you to organize.
There is plenty more to come from convention. There are videos, pictures, speeches, and additional write-ups and interviews, but I wanted to make sure to capture some of the magic of the weekend quickly, before it got too far away. Zac Lentz and the convention planning committee nailed it. Now it's time to take the energy from this weekend and ride that to so much success for the party.