Friday, 11 May 2012

Gary Johnson and the 2012 U.S. presidential race

Gary Johnson
 Image by Gage Skidmore

Texas Congressman Ron Paul's following is one that eclipses political campaigning. It is something of a memeology. Then again, the enthusiasm Barack Obama in his original presidential run was easily comparable (though with it did not come a deluge of internet ubiquity).

The essential importance of Ron Paul in the political arena has always been as a voice taking an enlightened stand on issues where the majority of the establishment would not fray. Whether this be on U.S. foreign policy, corporatism, domestic civil liberties or drug prohibition. Noam Chomsky for example has always defended his objective stance on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, which in a Republican Party debate brought him nothing but derision. Of course, I agree with Noam Chomsky far more than Ron Paul on issues in general. As I do with Ralph Nader, who debated such differences with Paul (such as on provision healthcare) amicably. But in that debate their focus was on the converse agreements. Those are the debates really worth having: ones of definite significance. Not just slight variations of narratives within oligarchical corporatocracy (which Chomsky, it is important to note, would not define as a free-market economic system) and imperialistic militarism. There is somebody who I agree with much more than Ron Paul however; former Governor of New Mexico Gary Johnson, who is the 2012 presidential nominee of the U.S. Libertarian Party. Unlike Ron Paul, he is a consistent advocate of individual freedom: in aspects such as LGBT civil rights, and abortion rights for women.

Of course, President Obama should be commended for supporting the right of same-sex couples to marry, following the lead of Vice President Biden. But if only the Vice President could voice objection to drone strikes, detention without trial, complacency to police statism and human rights abuses, suppression of Palestinian self-determination, arms trading to the Bahraini regime, and persecution of medical marijuana users.

Gary Johnson could play a major role in the November presidential election: if he polls at 15%, which would especially be a possibility if he was endorsed officially by Ron Paul (who will probably not defeat Mitt Romney), he could be featured in the presidential debates with Obama, and presumably, Romney. The essential importance of people like Paul and Johnson are their stances that enlighten where the mainstream will not tread for fear of violation of monopolistic power narratives. They attack it as extremism, or perhaps "kookiness". Rather, it is an intellectual challenge outside the prism of their own rhetorical homogeneity.

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