First things first: I am not a Libertarian. I want nothing to do with the Libertarian Party, or any other party for that matter. If you look on my voter registration card it says, “NPA,” which stands for “no party affiliation,” and that is where I am at today, nowhere, Jack. I probably shouldn’t even bother talking about these things, as well all know by now that talking about politics these days is akin to taking your pants down in public, but I have that rock in my shoe again and aim to get rid of it. I do think it’s worth exploring these things though because you’re not gonna get this kind of perspective anywhere else.
So why I am talking about the kooky Libertarians? Allow me to explain.
During the last presidential election (which was ridiculous beyond measure), like many others, I became disillusioned and disgusted with the Democratic Party and shocked at the idiocy and buffoonery of the Republican Party. Both major parties transmogrified into cults and while I would never find myself on the Right, the Left (where I’d been for years) now felt like it had been taken over by Charles Manson…and the right by Pogo the Clown. Take your pick, they said! You have to make a choice, they said! No, fuck off.
Knowing that I could not support either Charlie or Pogo, I found myself in a weird goddamn place – the middle, and not wanting to choose the lesser of two evils. No, scratch that, I refused.
I was not with her and fuck him.
Like others, I sought out an alternative, but where to look these days? Good question!
Before, during and after the election, I saw the writing on the wall. I knew what was coming. I saw the Us/Them dichotomy miles away and I knew people were going to become unglued…and boy did they ever come unglued! I wanted no part of that horse shit. It reminded me of every high school pep rally ever, and you probably know how I feel about pep rallies by now. I started putting out feelers for people who weren’t hysterical 24/7 and then slowly recoiled in horror as I watched people act out a real life version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.
Two things drew me to researching the Libertarian Party: the giant Chicano chip on my shoulder and my passion for free speech. I feel I should explain both of these things in detail because they’re important to the story.
The proverbial chip on my shoulder goes hand in hand with being Chicano. It’s who I am. I have been anti-authoritarian for as far back as I can remember and the more you try and push me, the more I will push back, damn the consequences. This is a staple of Chicanismo, in my opinion and experience, and the entire circus that was the 2016 election constantly reminded me of Corky Gonzales and how he viewed politics.
During the 1972 election, Gonzales famously criticized Richard Nixon and George McGovern as being “stew from the same pot,” and he declared that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party were the same two-headed monster feeding from the same trough! Boom! I can dig it.
This resonated with me. This still resonates with me. And it was for this reason that I could not in good conscience side with either major party. So I didn’t. But where did that leave me? Back in the 70s, Chicanos had a viable alternative – La Raza Unida Party. But no such thing existed today and I so I started taking a look at what else was out there.
Some of my friends ended up at the Green Party, and while I liked Jill Stein the GP felt a little bit too hippie-ish to me. For shits and giggles I went ahead took a couple of those online political compass tests and discovered that not only was I not a “pure” liberal or a conservative, but that my views landed me over in Libertarian territory. Huhn. So, after soul-searching for a while and writing off both major political parties, I decided to see where that led me. What the fuck, right?
The other thing that drew me to checking out libertarianism was my passion for free speech. I’d spent the past few years fighting for free speech after racist right wingers in the hate state of Arizona banned Mexican-American Studies and banned Chicano books. I’d spent the previous two decades advocating for free speech as an author, artist and a musician who vividly remembers Al Gore’s wife and the religious right trying to censor music. So imagine my shock these past couple years when left wingers all of a sudden abandoned some of their core principles and started cracking down on speech and became the thought police. Whiskey tango foxtrot, over?
My views on speech didn’t change, of course, but this election started to change people, radically, and I found myself where I always find myself and that is on my own: a stranger in a strange land. Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am…Again, Corky’s words echoed in my head: stew from the same pot!
And so, as people raged in the street in their role-playing costumes to the delight of the lying corporate media, and ate each other online at every opportunity, I withdrew. I said fuck it, ese. Chales! I did what I always do and read and researched and questioned.
I’ve always identified with misfits, people like Hunter Thompson, Oscar Zeta Acosta, George Carlin and Bill Hicks, and of course, Corky Gonzales. Those cats reflect my beliefs more than any politician. Was there a political party for cynics? Further, was there a political party for cynical Chicano writers who hate authority and see through the charade…?
Short answer: No.
Once social media became too toxic to have any kind of meaningful discussion I found myself seeking refuge in other places. I started watching and reading anything and everything that came from non-mainstream voices. Some of it was awful, some funny and some of it was insightful. Maybe I was on to something, so I went deeper down the rabbit hole trying to be open-minded.
One of the things I found myself doing was talking to libertarians, or at least with people who identified as such, and after a year or so of doing that I reached a conclusion: the Libertarian Party is just as fucking nuts as Dems and GOP.
The most important lesson that I learned from this experience is this: when you seek the fringe, you will find yourself with the fringe of the fringe, and that is about as deep as the rabbit hole goes.
Allow me to clarify. As I stated, I do not like authority, at all. I don’t like the government telling me what to think/say, and I’m no fan of cops or bible beaters or moral crusaders. I loathe nanny government legislation. And I can’t stand anyone telling me what the fuck to do/think/say. For these reasons and more I said fuck you! to the left and the right this last election. Police my speech? Fuck you! Tell me what to think? Fuck you! I have to vote for who? Fuck you! I can’t burn a flag? Fuck you! I have to like who? Fuck you! I can’t criticize what? Fuck you! I have to speak a certain language? Fuck you! I have to worship a candidate or else? Fuck you!
No, thanks. And fuck you, kindly.
I stopped and got off the “moral crusade” train a long time ago, so that put me at odds with a majority of people. I’m one of those weirdos who believes in legalizing drugs, prostitution, taxing churches and above all, personal freedom! I believe people should be left alone so long as they are not harming others. Put simply, I believe in people fucking off.
Sounds simple enough, yeah?
Wanna know who else hates the government, cops and wants to be left alone to do whatever they want? Extremists. Hate groups. Militias. Neo-Nazis…lol. That’s right. When you attract the fringe of the fringe you start to realize the company there is…different.
That’s what’s so funny to me about all of this: after you puff your chest out and declare, “fuck authority!” you look around and see who else is also puffing their chests out and then you realize the fringe of the fringe is not such a great place to be after all. Great…
The more I talked with libertarians the more it became apparent to me that this was not for me, like at all. And believe me, I talked a great deal with many of them. I did all of this anonymously, of course, for over a year. They had no idea who I was, nor did I tell them. Here’s what I found.
Not all of them are nuts or extremists but they have a huge identity crisis, no cohesive goals, and a great deal of them are using the party as a shield for their extremism. The more I dug, the more white nationalists I found hiding there. And while there are some cool people involved, they allow their party to be infiltrated and overrun with extremists far too often, even at the highest level.
The biggest issue I found with the Libertarian Party is that they have no spine when it comes to confronting extremists in their own ranks. They would rather hide behind ideologies and have endless debates than kick someone out of the party. This has had the effect of driving more “sane” people from the party. I watched it happen.
I learned that not only were actual white supremacists members of the libertarian party, but some of them had even achieved leadership roles within the party! Shockingly, I discovered that there were “former” neo-nazis in elected positions in the LP and others who had run their campaigns as white supremacists. And though some people tried to challenge these things, they were eventually allowed to stand. And so, I stupidly discovered that not only was this not where I wanted to be but holy shit, man, the LP is fucking nuts.
And it gets darker.
Between the endless circle jerk discussions/debates I had with numerous white nationalists and outright white supremacists, between discovering that the LP allows and condones the election of neo-nazis to their ranks without question, and then finally discovering that the LP also has no issue with its nationally elected officials saying things in support of child molestation and condemnation of gays, I’d had enough.
The Libertarian Party can go fuck itself.
I say this as someone who foolishly thought I’d found an answer to this stupid Twilight Zone episode we’re all stuck in. I was wrong and Rod Serling won’t return my calls.
And so I find myself back where I was before any of this dumb shit started and that’s Nowheresville, USA, population: Me.
I do not belong to any party. I am my own party. My official political party is: go fuck yourself.
But what else is new? I never voted before the hope and change election and became disillusioned with the process shortly thereafter. I suspect that after the disaster of 2016, I will likely revert to my previously George Carlin-inspired days and say fuck it from here on out. You people are on your own with that mess because I am who I have always been and that’s a lone Chicano cynic walking out of the goddamn pep rally. Everything has come full-circle, again.
I want to make clear that I don’t regret any of this. I learned from it and that’s valuable to me. I am documenting it as part of my experience as a Chicano misfit from another era living in a land who will not have me. These are dispatches from the moon.
It turns out there is no party for me. There never was. And I still have Corky here with me, shaking his head and laughing, “…told you so, vato,” he says. “Told you so.”
Que gacho. You were right all along.