Here at Constitution Me we believe that each of us are entitled to our freedom of conscience. We will never tell anyone how to vote, but from time to time we will share our insights on candidates, policy, and current events.
Trump vs. Hillary… Well where do we go from here?
What I would like to do is talk about our situation and a possible solution. As a Christian and as a constitutional conservative I feel that there is a complete disconnect between me and the Republican Party. I believe that the GOP no longer upholds conservative principles; that the republican establishment is pushing both a platform and a candidate, that do not represent me or my political beliefs. At times I feel that this candidate spends more time attacking other members of the party or my conservative convictions, than he does Hillary Clinton. And at times I feel as if I no longer have a place within the Republican Party. Can you relate?
I have seen many conservatives discussing, Gov. Gary Johnson, on social media as a viable option to the Trump vs. Clinton rhetoric being thrown around. In recent weeks I have had many of my Twitter followers ask for me my opinion on Gov. Johnson. But It’s difficult to express your stance on a presidential candidate in 160 characters… So I will dedicate this post to disclose my views. Please note that I met Johnson at the 2016 Libertarian National Convention; he is a nice man but I cannot bring myself to vote for him.
I agree with the argument that you will never find a perfect candidate and that we should just settle with the “best option.” But what are we settling on? Personally, I don’t want to vote for a candidate that says Hillary Clinton is “a wonderful public servant.” I don’t want to vote for a candidate that says, “73 percent of what Bernie [Sanders] says I agree with.” I don’t want to support a candidate that believes the free market killed the coal industry rather than government regulation (I was at the debate when he said this and booed him for this ignorant remark). To me his comment shows a lack of understanding of how the free market works. I believe that life is sacred and do not want to vote for a pro-choice candidate, abortion is not an issue that I am willing to settle on. And if a libertarian candidate doesn’t believe in the freedom of association, conscience, or defending religious freedom; is that candidate still a libertarian? Please allow me to make my case against Gov. Johnson:
- Religious Freedom
Religious freedom is not just the ability to maintain one’s beliefs without fear of persecution or endangerment, but the right to act upon such held convictions. Religious freedom is not freedom from religion but the freedom to act upon your religious faith.
I am not sure how many of my readers remember the number of cases where Christian bakers refused to bake wedding cakes for same sex couples’ weddings. Here is a link to one of the stories. In these situations the bakers all cited their religious beliefs as to what prevented them from baking cakes for these weddings. Gov. Johnson believes that these bakers should be forced by the federal government to bake the cakes for these couples. Then after being asked, he argued that a Jewish baker should be forced to bake a cake for a Nazi wedding, if the Nazi should solicit the baker’s services. I think that the most damning statement from Johnson, was when he described religious freedom as a “black hole.”
As citizens of the United States we are entitled to our freedom of association, and freedom of conscience. If I were to walk into a bakery owned by a Muslim and he denied me services citing his religious convictions, of course I would be irritated. But I wouldn’t force him to bake me a cake, because I am not here to force others to violate their religious beliefs or practices. I also wouldn’t want to support his business or promote his beliefs by purchasing his goods. As a consumer I have the right to pick and choose where I want to do business. And I also have a right to go to the press and express how I was “mistreated.”
But is this not discrimination? In the past, I have intentionally not bought a product from a store (where I know I could have paid less for the product) because I disagree with some of the organizations that they make yearly donations to. Am I wrong for doing this? I don’t believe that I am. I want to ensure that my money is going to organizations that I agree with or support my same beliefs. Why do we give the freedom of association to consumers and allow them to maintain their religious freedoms, but deny these same rights to business owners? Gov. Johnson’s position does not make sense to me.
I believe that the greater black hole lies in not defending religious freedom. Should a Christian wedding resort owner be forced to perform a same sex marriage? Should a church be forced to perform these types of marriages, wouldn’t denying such groups be discrimination? At what point does Johnson’s stance violate someone’s first amendment rights?
Also being a member of the LDS faith I would like some clarification on Johnson’s statements during an interview with the Washington Examiner: “I mean under the guise of religious freedom, anybody can do anything. Back to Mormonism. Why shouldn’t somebody be able to shoot somebody else because their freedom of religion says that God has spoken to them and that they can shoot somebody dead.”
I believe that the early history of my church is reason enough to defend religious freedom. My ancestors and other early members of the church, were witnesses of the cruelty and persecution that results when religious freedom is not acknowledged. Angry mobs were formed to uproot and forcibly remove members of the LDS faith from their homes and properties. An extermination order was signed by former Missouri Gov. Boggs to annihilate the Mormons throughout the state. These orders left more than 8,000 men, women, and children without sufficient food, shelter, and clothing during the winter months of 1838.
Religious leaders were tarred and feathered, beaten near to death, and unlawfully imprisoned for months at a time. In the Hawn’s mill massacre at least 17 men and young boys were slaughtered for defending their property from angry mobs. LDS women were beaten, raped and sexually assaulted. Their temples and churches were vandalized and at times even demolished. Thousands were forced to cross the plains to the Utah territory in hopes of establishing a new home free of persecution and violence, many of which wouldn’t even survive the journey. This is why we have freedom of religion.
I realize that many groups and faiths have withstood and been the targets of similar hatred. When I think of the importance of defending religious freedom, the Jews come to my mind. For centuries these people have been attacked and been victims of unimaginable abuse. We must defend the rights of all groups to freely practice their religion as long as they are not harming or violating the rights of others. Gov. Johnson religious freedom must be defended.
- Right to Life
Although there are are pro-life libertarians, I have to admit I don’t understand libertarians and their pro-choice stance. This is a party that champions personal responsibility and defending minority rights, but in the same breathe they would deny a child it’s natural rights. I sustain the words of Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence when he said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” But by denying a child its right to life, libertarians are in essence denying that being its right to liberty and its pursuit for happiness. Either we are all created equally and have an equal right to life or we don’t.
I understand the two main arguments in defending this position are self ownership–a woman has right to choose–and not wanting the government to dictate how we live our lives. I’m not going to go too far into refuting these arguments, I want to remain on topic to the best of my ability. However I will say this. By arguing that a woman’s right to choose comes after conception is only an attempt to dismiss the consequences that can result from entering into a sexual relationship. In layman’s terms the decision was made when both parties took their pants off. In instances of rape or incest, does that child have less of a right to live as a result of its conception? Are we judged by the crimes of our fathers? I believe that all individual have an equal right to live.
Now I can understand the argument for less government intrusion in our lives but it is another weak argument. The real purpose of government is to defend the rights of the individual, when governments cease to perform this duty they become obsolete. It becomes the duty of it’s citizens to reform the government so that it once again fulfills its duties. Abortion denies individuals of their natural rights, I don’t know that I can stress this enough.
I would like to return to this topic and address it more extensively, however I will refrain from doing so until a future post.
Back to Gov. Johnson. I would like to refer back to his interview with the Washington Examiner to a statement that he made. “The law of the land is Casey v. Planned Parenthood. I have no intention of changing the law, and Casey v. Planned Parenthood says, ‘you, woman, you have the right to have an abortion up to viability of the fetus.’ And the Supreme Court has defined viability of the fetus as being able to sustain the life of the fetus outside of the womb, even by artificial means. That is the law of the land.” Yes, this is the law of the land. But it is an unjust law and all individuals that wish to remain free, have a responsibility to oppose and repeal inequitable legislation in all of its forms.
Johnson also is “opposed to cutting funding or eliminating funding to planned parenthood.” I don’t believe that we have a responsibility to give funding to an organization that provides abortions and has been known to harvest aborted children’s body parts. I especially don’t believe that we need to give them federal funding. And as a Christian I don’t want my money going to such organizations.
- Gov. Bill Weld (VP)
Let’s talk about his pick for Vice President, Gov. Bill Weld. Bill Weld was a two term governor of Massachusetts, in his state he proposed some of the strictest gun measures in the nation. He proposed a statewide ban on assault weapons–I would like a definition for this term–limits on how many handguns an individual can purchase, and set waiting periods (which don’t reduce crime). The second amendment doesn’t seem to be a strong point for Gov. Weld.
Weld not only supported the Patriot Act, a huge violation to the fourth amendment, but he signed a letter calling for the renewal of the Patriot Act. Weld endorsed Barack Obama for President, back in 2008. And he has spoken very openly about his “lifelong relationship with Hillary Clinton.” Weld also supports President Obama’s healthcare mandate.
I think that I have made my point with Gov. Weld. In my mind this VP pick illustrates a clear picture of who Gov. Johnson is and his policy. He has chosen to associate himself with someone that will not be a strong supporter for the second or fourth amendments, someone that claims to be a lifelong friend of Hillary Clinton, and someone that believes that President Obama is a “statesman.” Will you validate these remarks by voting for him?
- The Second Amendment
Now I have already addressed Gov. Johnson’s running mate’s attacks on the second amendment. But where does Gov. Johnson stand? And my understanding of his position is he opposes terrorists, the mentally-ill and criminals from obtaining firearms. As a human being I would agree, we should prevent the possibility of people harming other people. But as a constitutionalist I have to look at what this actually means.
Mental illness: How are we to define mental illness? The Mayo Clinic states that the term, “Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors.” Does this mean if my family history shows depression or I personally have had depression in previous years, am I not eligible to possess a firearm? What about an addiction, if I have an eating disorder or am an alcoholic am I not allowed to purchase a firearm? What if I need medicine in order to function, does this disqualify me of gun ownership? I need more clarification before being able to definitively say yes those that suffer from mental illness shouldn’t be gun owners. There is too much variance and room for fluctuation within this term; to me this sounds a bit like “No fly, No buy…”
Terrorists: I agree with Johnson on this one. I don’t want terrorists getting guns. But while dealing with domestic terrorists (or American citizens) we cannot deny them of their right to due process. Before someone can be denied a right they must be tried and found guilty of committing an act of terror or there must be genuine evidence that this individual will commit such acts. Either way all American citizens need to be given their right to due process.
Criminals: Like terrorists I don’t want violent criminals getting a hold of guns. But do criminals follow the law? If they did we wouldn’t call them criminals, and this always seems to be the issue with gun control. Proponents of gun control measures fail to realize that gun control takes guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens rather than those that wish to do them harm.
This is my belief when it comes to the second amendment, the purpose of it is to give individuals the ability to protect themselves from those that wish to do them harm. Wouldn’t it make sense to make it easier for good people to obtain guns and then to allow for them to protect themselves? After all an armed society is a polite society..
Johnson believes in an open border policy. In other words anyone can come in and anyone can go out, there wouldn’t be any restraints when it comes to immigrating to the United States.
First off this is crazy. We need to protect our borders and encourage assimilation as a measure to promote our constitutional republican style of government. We should encourage legal immigration; and encourage immigrants to be a part of our system, and to promote the ideals that our founding fathers left us. We need to teach them the importance of the constitution.
But an open border system is the beginning work to an anarcho-capitalistic nation. We need to understand that many libertarians support what is known as voluntarism or the non-aggression principle–it’s all the same. This philosophy argues that force is never to be used against others, that all human action should be done at a voluntary basis. It sounds great except, what this calls for is Anarchy and the abolishment of the constitution. Volunteerism argues that such social contracts are no longer necessary, and that government should be abolished because no one is fit to rule, even if such representatives are elected by their peers. I understand the principle behind the idea but I don’t think it is practical. I believe that governments are instituted by God for the betterment of man as a means to protect their natural rights. This form of government assumes that all individuals will adhere to this philosophy, but what if they don’t? Or what if a nation realizes the decentralization of the United States, wouldn’t this leave us vulnerable?
I have to say there were a few redeeming parts to Johnson on immigration, I liked the following quote in reference to illegal immigrants: “They work the lowest-paying jobs. And they are taking jobs that other Americans don’t necessarily want. They’re hardworking people who are taking jobs that others don’t want. That’s the reality.” I think it’s important to understand that sending 11,000,000 people back to their respective countries will affect our economy. As Johnson states, many of these people are working jobs that Americans don’t want. This will create new jobs but having Americans work these jobs will force the cost of labor to sky rocket. So what is the solution?
These individuals broke the law by entering the US illegally, we need to be a nation of law and order and granting amnesty should not be an option. I think a great start to solving this issue would be to ask ourselves why are they immigrating here illegally? Yes, they immigrate here for opportunity. But they immigrate here ILLEGALLY because of the system that we have in place. Our immigration process is extreme and insane. I am currently in the process of bringing my fiance to the US, and I can’t imagine how a normal person can get citizenship. My fiance is lucky in the sense that she has me and I am her connection to the US. Without me it would be nearly impossible for her to come over because of the time, cost, and ridiculousness of this process.
We need reform and to make the process more simplified. I like what are known as the “Ellis Island” immigration checks. It’s a background check to see if you are a criminal or have ties to terror groups. A medical check for disease. If you pass both then we should be granting both work and student visas. From there they can work to citizenship, by being productive members of society.
In the near future I will be writing a post dedicated to immigration reform, more than anything what annoys me is when people say I am for immigration but only legal immigration. As Americans we have no real context or understanding of what legal immigration entails. It’s not at all like it’s portrayed in the movies.
This is my analysis of Johnson. Please note that I disagree with him on more issues but these are the five main reasons outlining why I will not be voting for him. I understand this post is just me pointing out what I disagree with him on,but there are some policies that I do agree with him on. And again I have met him, he is a very nice guy; but being a nice guy doesn’t necessarily qualify someone to be president of the United States of America.