Back to the Constitution, a retro political movement grows among the young
COLUMBIA, 3/26/11 (Beat Byte) -- To see Mitch Richards, at the tender age of 28, command the stage as he did at this month's NAACP candidate forum was impressive.
Instead of knee-jerk, Richards was knowledgeable. Well-organized, articulate, and thoughtful, he was also the only candidate confident enough to take the contrarian point of view on several issues -- from affirmative action to payday loans.
He came across as polished, professional, and prepared, entering the local political arena at a stage distinctly more advanced than the conventional wisdom might have predicted.
First time candidates more often flounder than flourish (this observer ran for school board on a tepid platform in 2005).
Richards, on the other hand, has had his act together since entering the First Ward City Council race last December, all of which raises the question: Where did this guy come from? And are there others out there like him?
Plenty of others. Thousands of others, in fact. Not exactly Libertarians -- nor Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Progressives, or any other political party hereabouts -- they are all about the most basic American principle -- liberty.
You know: that Constitutionally-guaranteed basic human right God and man and woman -- and plenty of soldiers in arms -- joined to assure. This singular focus on human liberty makes Richards' political peers intersect virtually every other political party, and yet it also makes them unique.
And young. Liberty is an old concept, but Columbia's liberty lovers are a twenty--something crowd. A new generation of retro-politicos, they share much in common with the Beat Generation: the Jack Kerouacs, Allen Ginsburgs, and William S. Burroughses who celebrated freedom On the Road.
Oddly enough, American political parties have watered down the concept of liberty, content instead with growing government maternalism -- the Nanny State -- and a broad-based shifting of personal responsibility from the individual to the collective (life's so much easier when the other guy gets all the blame).
Perhaps fulfilling Isaac Newton's basic physical law -- for every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction -- as government has grown, feeding itself on basic citizen freedoms the world over, so too has resistance.
In Columbia, it's resistance to red light cameras, midnight SWAT raids, eminent domain abuses, and various other Big Brotherisms that have come at our community from every side in recent years. Citizens seem happy to open their wallets and cede their freedoms -- at least, citizens over the age of 35. Perhaps because olden folk have taken liberty for granted, they've driven it onto the retro racks young people love to explore.
Explore through local chapters of the Ladies for Liberty Alliance, rallying behind up-and-comers like Liz De Foe (left) profiled on these pages last year.
Discuss during events like Liberty on the Rocks.
And of course, do what the Sixties generation did: protest, implore, intercede, and now, run their first candidate, Mr. Richards.
As a simple measure of their influence, I've used the number of friends Liz De Foe has on Facebook. Last I looked, she had surpassed 3,000. NASCAR hero Carl Edwards only has 2,128 friends. Facebook allows 5,000 friends max.
The upshot: Pay attention, as the Liberty Lobby comes soon to a ballot box near you.