The documentary film “Kon-Tiki” had an impact on me as a child that still influences my political activism today. The film is about a raft built and sailed by Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl in his 1947 expedition to demonstrate how South American people could have populated the islands of the South Pacific. Later I would read the book “Hawaii” by James Michener to learn in greater detail how these prehistoric sailors navigated. While we may have knowledge of these skills, almost no one remains with the ability to read the waves sitting at sea level on a raft or an outrigger canoe in the middle of the ocean to determine where an island is over the horizon. The stars, the weather and the fish and fowl were all used to make life and death decisions by a people much more sensitive to what was going on around them in an effort to discover a new land for them to make their own. On the other side of the world in another time Shakespeare referred to the future as the ‘Unknown Country’. The future has many unknown lands for us all and I know we are nearing the end of a long journey to a very bad place and we are too close for minor course corrections.
My friends and audiences that I have spoken to often hear me say “The sooner we get to a Police State, the sooner we can leave”, what I’m trying to express with this statement is that I think the effort we’ll have to expend to cast off another oppressive government will only come from a people that have experienced it first hand. The American people are on a raft heading for a future unknown to them and no attention is being paid to the many signs telling us where we are going and what to expect when we get there. We have little or no say in the navigation of our government and I fear what is waiting for us. As individuals we have great power and I am focused on inspiring its use.
Even the most libertarian anarco-capitalist will agree that we live in a utopia when compared to the majority of the planet’s population if we were to equate human happiness with how far we have come technologically. But just because we have the high-tech ability to track every item from production to consumption and every human being’s movements doesn’t mean we have a superior society than those that don’t. What libertarians understand is how much farther our society would have already evolved had the idea of coercive collective government (is there any other kind in the long run) not been allowed to dominate our culture. By now we would have far more independent living with cities, towns and rural areas developed by people based more on desire than a collective government’s central planning. Parents would be spending more time raising children than supporting the various parasitic collectives that demand tribute. This unknown country is known to many that understand the pain that is waiting for the unprepared.
I hope to share just a few of my experiences here in Arizona from past and present political election cycles so you can understand why I read the waves such as I do. I hope you will add your own comments in the space provided at the end of this article so we can all benefit from the information.
Tuesday October 10th 2006 was the day of the debate between the 3 candidates for Arizona Governor, Barry Hess (L), Janet Napolitano (D) and Len Munsil (R) ( Debate Video ). While the debate is a delight for libertarians across the planet, the story leading up to this debate is just as interesting and informative as to what is coming and why.
Many other states in the USA don’t have the same opportunities we enjoy here in Arizona. There is a reason for this. A few libertarian activists refused to compromise or give up. In 1982 a well known Republican Congressman did a favor for a good friend, Kathy Harrer, and ran for Governor. Sam Steiger’s race was entertaining and well covered due to his personality but there was no libertarian support structure to capitalize on the recognition. The 5% required for automatic ballot status for the next election cycle was achieved but with no candidates the reward was wasted. In 1988 Rick Tompkins had arrived on the scene as an interested libertarian activist. He was recently retired from the Air Force with some time on his hands and Kathy Harrer found her a candidate for US Senate against the Democrat Dennis DeConcini (Rick would also seek the Libertarian nomination for US President in 1996 to prevent the party from participating in federal matching funds). Kathy finally realized that to have Arizona organized someone had to take on the responsibility of doing the paperwork. It was Kathy that filled out the required reports and informed everyone else of deadlines and requirements if they were going to operate as a political party in Arizona. At the same time she was supportive of the most uncompromising individuals. Kathy is beautiful and competent but very content in the background doing the grunt work like editing the party newspaper with little direction given other than giving her principled opinion. In the early 90’s Rick and Kathy would marry and become the core of hard-core no-compromise libertarian activity in Arizona. I would meet these two in 1991 and join in their effort with several others. Dozens of us were all activists in our own right and each of us had our own focus.
The election cycle of 1990 gave me the standing I needed to challenge over 40 election laws that gave state sponsored advantage to Republican and Democrat candidates in the state’s support of a “two-party system” that had already merged into a single ‘Party of the State’. The election cycle of 1992 brought attention to these unconstitutional provisions due to the Independent campaign of Ross Perot.
The 1994 election cycle was different mainly due to how people now viewed the election process. Also, libertarians could now register people to vote as Libertarians ( before you had to be a registered “R” or “D”, certified by the County “R” or “D” Party Leadership and then anointed by the County Recorder in order to register an individual to vote ). With this ability it was time to educate the people of Arizona about libertarianism. John Buttrick (now a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge) and engineer/business owner Scott Grainger headed the ticket for Governor and US Senate. Good libertarian candidates filled the ballot with almost 3 dozen candidates. Libertarians exploded onto the Arizona ballot and into the minds of a population in great need of the Liberty message. We knew what we were up against. I was Maricopa County Chairman and Rick Tompkins was the Arizona State Chairman of the Libertarian Party during the mid 90’s. I was also the Libertarian candidate for Secretary of State. We opened an office on Highland and Central Avenue in the middle of town that was 3600 square feet of wall to wall libertarian purest activism. Everyday for 9+ months we broadcast our message at every event possible and made use of every media opportunity we could while creating our own news and publishing our own newspaper The Arizona Libertarian. For another year the Maricopa County Libertarian office continued operations due to the support of individuals that desired a continued presence in local elections. As the Internet matured the need for such a facility diminished. We knew Arizona politics would never be the same,… and so did those that didn’t want things to change.
Every election cycle Libertarian activists in other states are amazed at how much coverage we get here in Arizona and our inclusion in most if not all of the debates. At the same time we are very adamant about being included and doing our best to punish media outlets that claim to represent the people in their quest to be fully informed voters but then fail to include the libertarian option. Quality campaigns focused on the education of those interested in politics have done more to propel us onto the political scene than vote totals that are soon forgotten.
The election cycle of 2006 has far fewer opportunities for candidate interaction with the people. This was not an accident. The IRS sent out 100s of thousands of notices to organizations warning them of a potential loss of their tax exempt status should they violate new election laws that have yet to be clearly defined. There have been many examples of a desperate status quo struggling to maintain control of a population able to seek the truth using the Internet in far greater numbers than ever before. Online video and audio files, interactive web pages and new news sources have busted the monopoly of information. This collectivization of information and opinion is required to maintain a monopoly of power by those that definitely do not want competition for the support of individual minds.
I will use just one day in the life of an activist on the campaign trail to provide an example of what is happening in the political realm. From a sea level perspective you can see the waves of change.
Tuesday, October 10th 2006 was the first of 3 scheduled debates for Arizona Governor that was open to public attendance. Over a thousand people crowded into the ballroom of the University of Arizona. Building up to this planned debate has been news coverage we knew to be inaccurate and we looked forward to exposing at least a few of the worst examples. The most telling is the widely publicized polling data for the top three statewide races. The incumbents enjoyed comfortable leads with Libertarians reported to be in 3rd place with 2-4% numbers. My race for Secretary of State in 1994 had me even in the polls with the (D) President of the Senate for much of the race and I ended with 8% and no money spent, now I http://ernesthancock.com am at 4%. Barry Hess for Governor http://hessforgovernor.com, and Richard Mack for US Senate http://richardmackforsenate.com, are both reported to be at 2% in the most recent polls. Months ago before Barry Hess even announced he was running he was at 6%. Richard Mack was an elected Sheriff in Graham County as a Democrat and was the Sheriff that challenged the Brady Bill all the way to the United States Supreme Court and won. So we knew the data was bogus but since this is what we expected there was nothing to do about it but wait for the right time to expose the fraud. Just a few days before the TV debate we learned that the reason our percentage was reported so low was due to the fact that our names were not even in the poll. Without the Libertarian candidates even mentioned we were still getting responses greater than what Libertarian candidates expect around the country at the end of an election.
Of course the media knew what was going on (who do you think told us) but what are we to do? A great deal of time and money can be wasted worrying about such things when the time could be far better invested campaigning directly to the people. Tuesday the 10th we also learned that Sheriff Richard Mack was to be excluded from the first of three televised debates this coming Sunday on CBS’ KPHO TV5. Kyl (R) and Pederson (D) had negotiated a deal with KPHO that specifically stated that under no circumstances would Richard Mack be allowed to participate. Kyl fears Mack because in 1994 then Sheriff Mack was very public in his condemnation of the Crime Bill that severely limited the 2nd Amendment rights of the American People and was given assurances by Kyl that he would not support the bill. In the end Jon ‘Sieg’ Kyl voted for the weapon ban. Kyl was also awarded an A+ rating by the NRA after this vote and they have yet to recover here in Arizona for their actions. Richard Mack later went on to represent Gun Owners of America across the USA and has written several books on the subject.
I am of the opinion that if you go high enough in the political food chain you will find the same people directing both parties. This is especially true in the Arizona Senate race since Jim Pederson and Jon Kyl share many of the same supporters. The status quo of Arizona’s economy is centered around real estate development and that magic carpet ride is about to get pulled out from underneath them and at this level of political involvement you will find that there are those that do not take chances when the stakes are so high. No matter who you vote for, the central planners always win.
Planning for this article I wanted to get the response from KPHO TV 5 as to their thought process on the issue. A producer in the news department stated that they would like to give me a comment but that it should come from the General Manager Steve Hammel. On my way to Tucson Tuesday morning I received a call from Mr. Hammel. He made it clear that Kyl and Pederson would only agree to debate under the following conditions; that the studio be closed (no audience), that they know the questions ahead of time, and that Libertarian Richard Mack not be included. I stated my concern about our country being at war with 2 countries and threatening war with a third while a forth country we are hostile towards had just detonated a nuclear explosion and the only clearly anti-war candidate was excluded. Later in the conversation he offered to have his news department contact Richard Mack for an interview after he learned that Barry Hess was going to make the subject an issue on statewide TV during the debate that evening, but I made it clear that I had already advised Richard against it since it would be a very poor substitute and only encourage such decisions in the future. There are many other good reasons, not the least of which is the fact that I had already contacted all of the other TV news assignment desks to provide them with Richard Mack’s contact information to discuss the issue after Barry made it known to the Arizona voters.
To add to my mood was the fact that The Republican and the Democrat candidates for governor had been given spreads in the Sunday newspaper edition but that Barry Hess’ was a very sparse presentation running on Tuesday. Normally these slaps in the face run on Mondays but that particular Monday was Columbus Day so they waited until Tuesday.
My race for Secretary of State has been unusually quiet. The Election Fraud controversies have been ignored in Arizona’s media and for good reason. The incumbent Secretary of State, Republican Jan Brewer was one of only a few Secretaries of State that were also George Bush’s state campaign chairmen. The push for Computer Voting has been monumental. In an effort to get Libertarian fingerprints on the move to computer voting, Barry Hess was asked to be on the Help America Vote Act implementation committee here in Arizona. Barry was the only “NO” vote in the entire country due to his knowledge of what was being done.
The press here in Arizona were opposed only by the hundreds of activists from all over the political spectrum that were successful in twisting the legislature’s arm into passing a manual vote count law that Jan Brewer failed to implement. Even my filing a Special Action filed in Arizona Supreme Court pushing implementation along got absolutely no press coverage that I know of by the Arizona Republic.
Some TV appearances and two statewide TV debates went very well for me but were only due to a law requiring the other two candidates to face me if they wish to cash in on the public money made available to those that’ll take it (Barry and I won’t).
Here in Arizona early balloting has already begun and only now have the newspaper reporters made any effort to fill in the bio blanks for the newspaper (How old you are, where do you work, how many children do you have). The issues are of no importance to them and the whole political process is seen as a nuisance to the reporters.
I always do my best to make myself available to reporters and media outlets. But I have no intention of adding to their credibility when they do not deserve it while at the same time they do their best to diminish ours. The 3 candidates for Secretary of State have been known since June of 2006. I’ve participated in several editorial boards, TV and radio interviews, feature articles in newspapers and online media but only after early balloting has begun was there an interest in the editorial board of the Arizona Star in Tucson to talk to me, and after they had already spoken to the other two candidates. My emails and phone messages went unanswered and after I learned that they had already spoken to the other two candidates I had no desire to help them with their credibility as a source of information for voters after many had already voted. Just moments ago I received a phone call from the Arizona Star asking that I confirm some bio information for an article they would like to run on me 2 WEEKS FROM TODAY (2 weeks from the election). As nicely as possible the conversation ended with my desire that they print that I was unwilling to cooperate with their efforts. Newspapers are soooo last century and I’m not going to make any effort to charge the defibrillators in an effort to save them. I’ve given the Arizona Republic similar treatment (and gotten more coverage as a result) and the East Valley Tribune’s coverage has been just as bad and it is now too late to interest me in cooperating with them either.
Immediately after the Tuesday Debate a press release was sent out by the Hess for Governor campaign stating that they were collecting donations, not against Barry’s Republican or Democratic opponent but against his other opponent The Arizona Republic http://hessforgovernor.com ( detailed here in an interview with Phxnews.com’s Todd Hartley ). $25,000 is the target for ads making fun of the Arizona Republic’s inability to count to 3. The copy has already been developed and production begins tomorrow morning with a hopeful start time of tomorrow afternoon on both English and Spanish radio programs The response has been surprising and we anticipate continuous ads through the rest of the campaign. What is the media going to do,… not cover libertarians some more
Print media doesn’t understand what has happened in communication and where our focus is. My campaign questioning the entire voting system and election integrity uses graphics directed at a very young audience. The emotional impact is totally lost by those in control of a media that is totally ignored by an entire generation that know how to get the information they want with a “truth button”. The Internet has evolved to naturally fill the void in the free-market of ideas and we are not likely to go back in any significant numbers. The monolithic media that are controlled by fewer and fewer people representing a generation too far out of touch to understand what is happening might be better informed after watching this - EPIC 2015
Too many activists are blinded by vanity to understand that getting your name in the newspaper isn’t the real goal. Accurately having the Philosophy of Liberty explained to a liberty starved populace is the goal. In this effort I am of the opinion that every so often we must take the time required to demonstrate who is blocking this message and why. I went to an early screening last night to see The US vs John Lennon with my wife and had my opinion of the press reinforced tenfold.
Libertarian activists around the country have rarely understood Arizona activism but can’t deny our success on every measurable level (vote percentages, media coverage, laws passed, laws prevented, FUN) so most often we are ignored for not following traditional doctrine created by those that we oppose. Here in Arizona we liken ourselves to Hobbits, we do not wish to wear the Ring of Power. And I will neither be a slave or a master of slaves and I choose to directly engage those that advocate a requirement that we have both.