This weekend I attended the Annual Convention of the Libertarian Party of Florida. I have been a delegate three consecutive years now, and I have sponsored the event in some capacity or another for two years. This year we at The Revolutionary Conservative co-sponsored the breakfast, which featured Ms. Lauren Rumpler.
Despite my support of the Party, despite my volunteer work at the State level and my past leadership at the county level, despite the fact that three of us at The Revolutionary Conservative are members of the LPF (and two of us are members of its Executive Committee), there is always talk by a vocal, outrageous group of discontented agitators that my supporters and I do not belong in the Party – and there is always a sense of uncertainty in the air at our annual meeting.
Plainly stated, the Convention Committee did not want me to speak. The Chair of the Committee, whose name I will keep to myself, tried to have me suspended from the Party altogether in an effort to prevent me from attending the Convention at all. And when that failed, our Editor, Raquel Okyay, was told that she could make the presentation for our sponsorship of the Convention – but that I could not.
Our enemies had failed to shut down the Convention; they had failed to cancel the sponsorship of the Convention by The Revolutionary Conservative; they had failed to expel me from the Party; and now that it was clear they could not bar my attendance, they sought to silence me.
What my enemies do not seem to understand is that every attack – short of a bullet to the head – has a counterattack. If they had shut down the Convention, I would have made a spectacle of it, like I did in Harrisburg after the Antifa shut down the Mid-Atlantic Liberty Festival. If they had canceled our sponsorship, we would have gotten a hospitality suite right next to the ballroom. If they had expelled me from the Party, I would have shown up with a hundred & fifty rough riders to match their hundred & fifty delegates.
And if they sought to silence me?
I knew that the candidates for each of the positions in contest for State leadership would be given a time to speak. Those at issue were the Chair, Vice Chair, and two At-Large Director positions. No matter what position I ran for, they could not prevent me from speaking as a candidate; but obviously the most havoc would be caused if I ran for Chair. So run for Chair I did.
The nominations were solicited from the Convention floor, and the first nomination was for Char-Lez Braden, the incumbent Chair. The second nomination was for Marcos Miralles, the only serious contender for the throne. The third nomination was for Zach Silva, an Antifa put up as a protest vote by leftists in the Party dissatisfied that neither Braden nor Miralles would kowtow to their every demand. Once the three nominations passed, Raquel Okyay nominated Yours Truly, and Ryan Ramsey seconded. I was at that point an official candidate for Chair of the Libertarian Party of Florida.
A hushed silence fell over the room. A sense of dread filled the hearts of my friends & enemies alike. Whether their vote was for Braden or for Miralles, this was sure to throw a wrench in the gears. The Orange County delegation was also concerned, certainly more for the fact that after all they had defended me as someone with the best interests of the Party at heart, I was about to burn down the house.
The Chair of the Convention Committee was so concerned that he changed his mind about not letting me speak about The Revolutionary Conservative’s sponsorship and told me I could have five or ten minutes, whatever I wanted. The Chair of Orange County; our former Treasurer; Miralles’ campaign manager; even Larry Sharpe asked me what I was up to. Everyone wanted to know what was about to happen.
But I kept strict secrecy. I wanted everyone to be on pins & needles. I wanted everyone to wonder what was going to happen. Was I really running a protest vote? Or was I going to tear apart my enemies on camera for ceaselessly slandering me as an evil, white supremacist, Fascist-Nazimonster?
The candidate addresses were moved back from the morning to the afternoon. I gave my talk about The Revolutionary Conservative at the luncheon without incident. When the business meeting resumed at 3:15pm, it was time to decide the order of candidates. As Fate would have it, Zach Silva the Antifa went first; then the challenger Marcos Miralles; then the incumbent Char-Lez Braden. And I was last.
Here is the speech I gave:
When I began my speech, I did not expect applause; what I expected was an awkward silence after all was said & done. To be quite honest, my descent from the podium was a bit surreal. My supporters are the strong, silent type who prefer cleaning their guns to screaming in a picket line. To be applauded by a crowd for the first time in my life was strange. But it demonstrated one overwhelming truth:
The Civil War inside the Libertarian Party of Florida is over.
No one in that room has to agree with a single policy position of mine. They don’t have to take a revolutionary position. They can be as uncomfortable with the prospect of armed resistance as they want to be. But one thing we can all agree on is that it is time for the Libertarian Party to quit the infighting, to break the circular firing squad, and to aim our rifles at the real enemies.
As for the elections themselves, the challenger Marcos Miralles became the new Chair. Omar Recuero retained his position as Vice Chair and Alison Foxall her position as At-Large Director. Our Treasurer from Orange County, Greg Peele, became an At-Large Director, as well. I congratulate them all, and I look forward to working with them and the rest of the Executive Committee to grow the Party and to end tyranny in the State of Florida.
The next morning, I sat in on an interview with Larry Sharpe. Kevin O’Neill of the Libertarian Party of Hillsborough County and Turn2Liberty News asked Larry about his involvement in the libertarian movement, and Larry’s answers were so on point I felt like I was back in school. I was privileged to have a literal front row seat at this.
Larry’s was a message of inclusion. He warned against witch hunts based on ideological purity, saying, “If he’s 80% libertarian, take him – he’ll get to 100% eventually.” Chasing others out because they do not agree with you is a losing proposition. It is a surefire way of limiting your numbers and keeping good people away from your movement.
Another point Larry made was that if you are trying to recruit someone to run for office, you need to show them that they have support. You need to build a team and show the person that they are not alone in their campaign. Many people, when asked to run for office, will say ‘no, thank you,” because they have to sacrifice their time, their career, even their family and reputation. To ask them to do all that and to go it alone is a recipe for refusal. If you want someone to represent you and to work for your cause, show them that they have support.
Larry said many other things besides. And there I was all the while, back in class.
We can all learn from each other, whether we are new fighters or old veterans. I was raised a libertarian by my father, and I have a great deal to teach my fellows in the movement. That being said, I learn every single day from libertarians who are brand new. The moment you think that you have nothing to learn from someone else in the movement is the day you stop growing and begin to decay.
We all need to set aside our personal differences and learn to work together – especially after this historic election – or we as a Party and as a movement will stop growing and begin to decay.