It’s not fake news. It’s simply not the real story
So, when the media decides not to cover serious people making a serious effort, why would anyone be surprised that some candidates resort to tactics of outrage or stunt? Too often Libertarians have been ignored – and some find a way to reach the public.
Such was my thought when my friend and colleague U.S. Senate hopeful Brian Ellison, in an effort to bring to light a subject that matters to him, advocated his plan “Arm the Homeless”. For a media that hasn’t given his candidacy any attention, this caught the imagination of media between political scandals – whether a long-serving Congressman whose #metoo was really an admission of past crimes – to the many-sided lineup of silliness coming from Washington these days – Brian’s suggestion simply provided a brief distraction from all that is wrong with politics.
Spare us the outrage.
Politics has long been full of proposals designed to garner attention – with no real expectation that public policy would be formed. Perhaps the most well known is Jonathan Swift’s “A Modest Proposal”. And to some, arming our homeless population may seem as ridiculous as feeding the babies of poor people to the rich.
As most people go about their day-to-day lives, but for turning a blind eye when confronted with a homeless person, most Americans don’t give them much thought. Perhaps the thought of all the unclaimed Doe’s resident in the coroner’s office is a fact too few Americans choose to give a damn about – but, let’s at least give credit to Brian for raising a few eyebrows and maybe a little awareness about this population.
Maybe, just maybe, a more serious interview of Brian’s background would reveal his service to the country in the military. Concern for the reality that so many veterans are homeless and living in despair ought to be somewhere on the agenda of a serious media. That so many are left defenseless is a metaphor, stupid!
As a candidate for Governor, I’m not prepared to endorse providing shotguns to the homeless. But, please stop acting like Libertarians are the only folks tossing out unusual solutions to complicated and intractable problems.
Remember Midnight Basketball? Did that solve the gang problems plaguing our cities? Not even the most ardent supporter of Bill Clinton’s agenda would argue that this was even marginally effective. And these days we talk about investing billions to build a border wall. Why not just go straight to building pyramids to distract the people? By comparison, Brian’s rationale seems quite grounded: At least by taking a homeless person through a program of training we acknowledge their existence – and maybe by investing our time and resources we can remove some of the stink of our ongoing neglect.
If homelessness and despair were a simple problem to solve, some crafty politician would have done so long ago. But before you can marshal appropriate resources, you must admit there is a problem. Let’s consider Brian’s suggestion at least as the beginning of our public 12-step program.
The question for our fellow citizens lay in Step No. 8. Are we a good enough people to make amends with those we’ve wronged? Put your outrage in your pocket – and either lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way.
Some media outlets have finally begun to understand the liberty movement and give candidates an opportunity to offer serious ideas. If a major party candidate for the United States Senate can’t get a fair hearing of his ideas, then the result is a candidate finding the circus and trying to play ringmaster.
Will the media play a constructive role in facilitating debate with a serious Libertarian candidate? Or, will they try to find the unusual, attention-getting byline to present their own idea of the crazy Libertarian. Unless you’re willing to dig deeper, spare us the outrage.
Proud to have the endorsement of the last three candidates of the Libertarian Party for Governor: