Thursday, December 22, 2005

Libertarian History

We had an LP meeting last night. It was a very small group. Kevin Andrews gave me a lot of material from the history of the Alabama LP to convert and save in an electronic format. Kevin is the historian for the LPA. I'll be converting that, and posting it online on our new webpage.

I looked in my personal journal and found this entry from the very first Libertarian Party meeting I attended:

9/5/03-The sky is filled with black, ominous clouds that threaten to drop into long funnels at any second. Across the county, hailstones bounce off the ground as high as a man is tall. Tornado warnings fill the air and airwaves, as the radio and emergency sirens ask us to 'take cover'. A friend calls and tells me he won't be making the trip with me, as the weather is just too much. I release a quick, "Alright then" and hang up the phone. I wonder if the get-together is still on. A call to Jack Kevin Andrews (no relation), chairman of the Selma Area Libertarian party, and county constable, assures me that the plans haven't changed. Time to hit the road.

I miss the Libertarian signs in the front yard and have to back up about 50' when I get to Kevin's place. I was told the newly elected Mayor of Valley Grande will be in attendance, but as I arrive, I get the news that he has changed his plans. The reporter from the newspaper won't be there either. Crazy weather... I suppose it's just as well, as reporter types and politicians make me nervous anyway.

"Pull up a chiar", Jack says as he slides a white plastic chair in my direction. I take my seat a few feet behind the grill. The air is filled with the aroma put off by the slab of pork ribs cooking. We talk for a few minutes about local politics; sharing opinions of local politicians and laughing at them. 'Moose' the dog comes and lazily flops down in front of us. I scratch his ears and rub his head.

The weather may have kept some away, but it doesn't keep away Mark Bodenhausen, chairman of the Alabama Libertarian Party. Mark recieved over 25,000 votes in his race for Secretary of State last year. His wife, Brenda, tells him to, "Get the video out of the car before it starts raining so hard you'll drown." He makes a comment about not liking to see himself on video, but after more matronly prodding, he treks back out to the car.

While Mr. Bodenhausen is retrieving the video, the group takes a seat around the grill and begins discussing his appearance on 'For the Record', the Alabama Public Television show. I get the idea that it must have been about getting a candidate's name on the ballot, and I seem to be the only one who missed it. His opponent was Democratic speaker of the House of the Alabama Legislature Mark Guin. Consensus is that Bodenhausen handled Guin easily. Mark gets back with the tape, and everyone moves inside to eat. I'm happy about this, but curious about this group of free-thinkers.

After dinner, we watch the tape. In a very evenly moderated debate, Mr. Bodenhousen flusters Mr. Guin on several occasions. I'm surprised, and impressed. In my mind, I had always set the major party candidates up as untouchable; almost invincible. Third party candidates were kooky billionaires or professional wrestlers, right? Apparently not. As I listen to these post-dinner discussions, I begin to realize that these people really know what they're talking about. They may well get my vote.