I like choice, whether it’s going to lunch where I have a choice of restaurants and the meals they serve, or going into a clothing store and selecting precisely what I want, choice matters a great deal to me. In fact, I took an early retirement rather than work for someone with whom I did not agree. Over the decades, I have chosen to vote for Jack Kennedy, Richard Nixon, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Mike Dukakis, Barack Obama, and so on and so forth. In every presidential election there has always been one candidate who, in my mind, personified what I wished to see in a commander-in-chief and leader of the free world. This year, in this election, the two main parties have selected to run people who are the antithesis of my own beliefs. As a consequence, I have turned to a third party as my party of choice in this November’s Presidential election. Please, please, stop reading right now if you have already made a decision between Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump. From this point onward, I will be outlining the position on the issues of my third party candidate. If you, like me, feel that the Democratic and Republican parties have failed us, read on.
On foreign policy…“The objective of both our foreign policy and our military should be straightforward: To protect us from harm and to allow us to exercise our freedoms. Looking back over the past couple of decades, it is difficult to see how the wars we have waged, the interventions we have conducted, the lives sacrificed, and the trillions of tax dollars we have spent on the other side of the globe have made us safer. If anything, our meddling in the affairs of other nations has made us less safe. Many senior military and foreign policy analysts have concluded that the rise of ISIS can actually be traced back to instability created by our meddling in the affairs of others. This is because the last several administrations, both Republican and Democrat, have used our military resources to pursue undemocratic regime changes, embark on impossible nation-building exercises, and to establish the United States as the policeman of the world. This imperialistic foreign policy makes it easier for ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other violent extremists to recruit new members. We need to build a strong military. But we should not use our military strength to try to solve the world’s problems. Doing so creates new enemies and perpetual war. Besides, we have enough problems to solve right here at home.
“Gary Johnson will move quickly and decisively to cut off the funding on which violent extremist armies depend. He will repair relationships with our allies. And he will only send our brave soldiers to war when clearly authorized by Congress after meaningful, transparent deliberation and debate. The idea that we can defeat terrorism by simply putting more boots on the ground or dropping more bombs ignores the reality that this expensive tactic simply hasn’t worked. In fact, it’s made the situation worse.”
On immigration…”Having served as Governor of a border state, Johnson knows the complex issues associated with immigration reform first hand. Solving immigration problems is not as easy as building a wall or simply offering amnesty. We should appreciate and respect the diversity of immigrants that come to the United States to be productive members of society. But we also need to recognize that everyone who comes here is not so well-intentioned. Johnson [and his vice presidential partner] Bill Weld don’t want to build an expensive and useless wall. The only thing a big wall will do is increase the size of the ladders, the depth of the tunnels, and the width of the divisions between us. Candidates who say they want to militarize the border, build fences, and impose punitive measures on good people, ground their position in popular rhetoric, not practical solutions. Johnson and Weld believe that, instead of appealing to emotions and demonizing immigrants, we should focus on creating a more efficient system of providing work visas, conducting background checks, and incentivizing non-citizens to pay their taxes, obtain proof of employment, and otherwise assimilate with our diverse society. Making it simpler and more efficient to enter the United States legally will provide greater security than a wall by allowing law enforcement to focus on those who threaten our country, not those who want to be a part of it.”
On taxes…”Today’s federal tax code does all the wrong things. It penalizes productivity, savings and investment, while rewarding inefficiency and designating winners and losers according to political whim. For far too long, tax laws have been used not just as a means to collect needed revenues, but as a way for special interests to penalize their competitors while subsidizing themselves. The result is a tax code that is more than 70,000 pages long, enforced by a government agency with almost 100,000 employees. As a result, our tax code has created a nightmare for the average American, while providing shelter for those with the means to manipulate it. Johnson advocates for the elimination of special interest tax loopholes, to get rid of the double-taxation on small businesses, and ultimately, the replacement of all income and payroll taxes with a single consumption tax that determines your tax burden by how much you spend, not how much you earn. Such a tax would be structured to ensure that no one’s tax burden for the purchase of basic family necessities would be increased. To the contrary, costs of necessities would likely decrease with the elimination of taxes already included in the price of virtually everything we buy. Many leading economists have long advocated such a shift in the way we are taxed, and Gary Johnson believes the time has come to replace our current tax code, which penalizes the savings, productivity and investment we so desperately need.”
On our criminal justice system…”How is it that the United States, the land of the free, has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world? The answer is simple: Over time, the politicians have “criminalized” far too many aspects of people’s personal lives. The failed War on Drugs is, of course, the greatest example. Well over 100 million Americans have, at one time or another, used marijuana. Yet, today, simple possession and use of marijuana remains a crime — despite the fact that a majority of Americans now favor its legalization. And who is most harmed by the War on Drugs? Minorities, the poor, and anyone else without access to high-priced attorneys. More generally, mandatory minimum sentences for a wide range of offenses and other efforts by politicians to be “tough” have removed far too much common-sense discretion from judges and prosecutors. These factors, combined with the simple fact that we have too many unnecessary laws, have produced a society with too many people in our prisons and jails, too many undeserving individuals saddled with criminal records, and a seriously frayed relationship between law enforcement and those they serve. Fortunately, a growing number of state and local governments are taking steps toward meaningful criminal justice reform. The federal government must do the same, and Gary Johnson is committed to bringing real leadership to this long-overdue effort.”
On the environment…”The environment is a precious gift and must be protected. Governors Johnson and Weld believe strongly that the first responsibility of government is to protect citizens from those who would do them harm, whether it be a foreign aggressor, a criminal — or a bad actor who harms the environment upon which we all depend. We need to stand firm to protect our environment for our future generations, especially those designated areas of protection like our National Parks. Consistent with that responsibility, the proper role of government is to enforce reasonable environmental protections. Governor Johnson did that as Governor, and would do so as President. Johnson believes the Environmental Protection Agency, when focused on its true mission, plays an important role in keeping the environment and citizens safe. Johnson does not, however, believe the government should be engaging in social and economic engineering for the purpose of creating winners and losers in what should be a robust free market. Preventing a polluter from harming our water or air is one thing. Having politicians in Washington, D.C., acting on behalf of high powered lobbyists, determine the future of clean energy innovation is another. In a healthy economy that allows the market to function unimpeded, consumers, innovators, and personal choices will do more to bring about environmental protection and restoration than will government regulations driven by special interests. Too often, when Washington, D.C. gets involved, the winners are those with the political clout to write the rules of the game, and the losers are the people and businesses actually trying to innovate. When it comes to global climate change, Johnson and Weld believe that the politicians in Washington, D.C. are having the wrong debate. Is the climate changing? Probably so. Is man contributing to that change? Probably so. But the critical question is whether the politicians’ efforts to regulate, tax and manipulate the private sector are cost-effective – or effective at all. The debate should be about how we can protect our resources and environment for future generations. Governors Johnson and Weld strongly believe that the federal government should prevent future harm by focusing on regulations that protect us from real harm, rather than needlessly costing American jobs and freedom in order to pursue a political agenda.
On education…”Gary Johnson worked tirelessly as governor to have a more substantive discussion about the best way to provide a good education for our children. He did so while working with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature and despite fierce opposition from powerful special interests. Knowing full well that the establishment would resist calls for change, he nevertheless advocated a universally available program for school choice. Competition, he believes, will make our public and private educational institutions better. Most importantly, Governor Johnson believes that state and local governments should have more control over education policy. Decisions that affect our children should be made closer to home, not by bureaucrats and politicians in Washington, D.C. That is why he believes we should eliminate the federal Department of Education. Common Core and other attempts to impose national standards and requirements on local schools are costly, overly bureaucratic, and actually compromise our ability to provide our children with a good education. Johnson and Weld believe that the key to restoring education excellence in the U.S. lies in innovation, freedom, and flexibility that Washington, D.C. cannot provide.
On abortion…”Johnson’s approach to governing is based on a belief that individuals should be allowed to make their own choices in their personal lives. Abortion is a deeply personal choice. Johnson has the utmost respect for the deeply-held convictions of those on both sides of the abortion issue. It is an intensely personal question, and one that government is ill-equipped to answer. On a personal level, Gary Johnson believes in the sanctity of the life of the unborn. As Governor, he supported efforts to ban late-term abortions. However, Johnson recognizes that the right of a woman to choose is the law of the land, and has been for several decades. That right must be respected and despite his personal aversion to abortion, he believes that such a very personal and individual decision is best left to women and families, not the government. He feels that each woman must be allowed to make decisions about her own health and well-being and that the government should not be in the business of second guessing these difficult decisions. Johnson feels strongly that women seeking to exercise their legal right must not be subjected to prosecution or denied access to health services by politicians in Washington, or anywhere else.
On the national debt…”By 2017, the national debt will be $20 TRILLION. That is not just obscene, it is unsustainable — and arguably the single greatest threat to our national security. Responsibility for the years of deficit spending that has created our debt crisis rests squarely with BOTH the Republicans and the Democrats. The debt doubled under President George W. Bush — and doubled again under President Obama. During that time, both parties enjoyed control of Congress, and the deficit spending just kept piling up. It doesn’t have to be that way, despite what the politicians say. But the idea that we can somehow balance the federal budget without cutting military spending and reforming entitlements is fantasy. What is required is leadership and political courage. As Governor of a state with an overwhelmingly Democratic legislature, Gary Johnson stood up to excess spending, vetoed 750 bills and literally thousands of budget line items … and balanced the state’s budget. Johnson has pledged that his first major act as President will be to submit to Congress a truly balanced budget. No gimmicks, no imaginary cuts in the distant future. Real reductions to bring spending in line with revenues, without tax increases. No line in the budget will be immune from scrutiny and reduction. And he pledges to veto any legislation that will result in deficit spending, forcing Congress to override his veto in order to spend money we don’t have.
On veteran’s rights…”Gary Johnson believes strongly that we have a solemn obligation to honor those who have fought for us, sacrificed for us, and put their lives on the line to defend our great nation. When it comes to fulfilling that obligation, there can be no equivocation. For. Johnson, honoring our veterans begins with a pledge that those serving in the military today will only be asked to go into harm’s way for clear, defined and justified reasons. The men and women of our armed forces signed up and swore an oath to protect and defend the United States – and that is precisely the mission they will have with Gary Johnson as Commander-in-Chief. They will not be sent to risk their lives just because politicians decide to topple a foreign government — with no clear U.S. interest in doing so or plan for what comes next. Our military will not be asked to engage in nation-building or to somehow resolve conflicts on the other side of the globe that have defied resolution for hundreds of years. The men and women of our military will only be asked to protect and defend the United States – and to do so with a firm understanding of the objective. For our veterans who have served and returned to civilian life, many with injuries and emotional scars, Johnson pledges to provide them with the health care, support and transitional assistance they deserve – and rightfully expect. First, Johnson will put health care choices where they belong: With veterans themselves. While there are many dedicated, caring professionals working in VA facilities, the bureaucracy of the VA is more concerned with its own perpetuation than with providing veterans with the care they need. That must be corrected NOW.
“From elder care to PTSD to the specific health challenges of women who have served in uniform, veterans have a wide range of urgent needs. For some, the VA medical system is the best or only option. That system must function efficiently, provide timely care, and meet the standards we would expect for our own family members. For those who need care from private physicians or hospitals, that option must be available. A strong believer in the power of competition and the marketplace, Gary Johnson will bring that power to bear in the provision of care to our veterans. Likewise, as many veterans’ organizations have asked, Johnson will remove outdated federal obstacles to the testing and use of medical cannabis to treat PTSD and other conditions for which it has shown promise. Likewise, Johnson understands the challenges faced by many veterans in their transition to civilian life and careers. The discipline and skills earned from military service are of tremendous value to many employers, but Gov. Johnson believes it is part of our moral contract with those who have served to not only maintain the GI Bill, but to enhance public-private partnerships designed to match veterans’ skills with the career choices they wish to make. Johnson also understands that family support, counseling and other tools for helping veterans deal with their unique challenges are essential. Homelessness, substance abuse, and yes, suicide are all-too frequent among veterans as they re-enter civilian life – and our obligation to support those who have served does not end when they sign their discharge papers. Behind our veterans are spouses, children and parents who have sacrificed much, and Governor Johnson recognizes and appreciates those sacrifices. The men and women of our military give us their best — and deserve no less in return.
On legalizing marijuana…”Legalizing and regulating marijuana will save lives and make our communities safer by eliminating crime and creating an industry that can legitimately participate in America’s economy. The Federal government should not stand in the way of states that choose to legalize marijuana. Governors Johnson and Weld would remove cannabis from Schedule I of the federal Controlled Substances Act, which will allow individual states to make their own decisions about both recreational and medical marijuana — just as they have done for decades with alcohol. Eliminating the Federal government as an obstacle to state legalization decisions is not only constitutionally sound, but would allow much-needed testing of marijuana for medical purposes, as well as regulation that reflects individual states’ values and needs. We need to treat drug abuse as a health issue, not a crime.
“The War on Drugs is an expensive failure. We spend money to police it. We spend money to incarcerate nonviolent offenders. And what do we get in return? A society that kicks our troubled mothers, fathers, and young adults while they’re down, instead of giving them the tools to be healthier and more productive members of society. We can save thousands of lives and billions of dollars by simply changing our approach to drug abuse. That is why Gary Johnson came out as an early proponent on the national stage in 1999 while Governor of New Mexico, and publicly stated his support of marijuana legalization. Johnson and Weld do not support the legalization of other recreational drugs that are currently illegal. It is, however, their belief that drug rehabilitation and harm-reduction programs result in a more productive society than incarceration and arrests for drug use.”
Okay, so Gary Johnson didn’t know where Aleppo was, I’ve had a few brain freezes in my own time. But, there you have it. I don’t consider that I will be wasting my vote. I just want to make a statement. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Trump have just scared the daylights out of me. I’ve listened to Gary Johnson speak, and I’ve worked with Bill Weld on occasion. Their positions on issues agree with my own and therefore, they have earned my support for their candidacy.