On Oct. 20 2012, the Department of Communication’s Bully Pulpit Series sponsored a lecture by Libertarian vice presidential candidate Jim Gray. The lecture began at 2 p.m. and offered those in attendance an informative look into the Libertarian Party and the platform of Gray and his running mate, Gov. Gary Johnson.
Department Chair Beth Goodier made the opening remarks, thanking the Office of the President, Department of Public Safety, the Office of Student Life, Catering Services and the Grounds Department for their contributions in bringing Gray to campus. She then introduced Gray himself, noting his honors and achievements, including the establishment of his “stay in school” program, his work in the Peace Corps and his service in the U.S. military.
Gray said, “I am proud to be a Libertarian.” He also explained what being a Libertarian meant. Gray said that the platform he supported was one of financial responsibility and social tolerance and that, regarding his relationship with the audience, “We may not agree on all the small things, but if freedom, equal opportunity and posterity don’t work for you, then vote for politics as usual.”
He also expressed concern for the lack of opportunity Johnson has as a third party candidate to get his voice heard, because American politics makes it difficult for candidates other than the ones running for the Democratic and Republican parties to participate in the publicized presidential and vice presidential debates.
Gray said, “American politics is completely locked up for Democrats and Republicans, and all they are saying in their commercials and debates is how ‘my program is less bad than his.’ They point out how inept the other is, and we tend to agree with them both in that.”
Gray also spoke on the main points of his and Johnson’s political platform, the first being their desire to bring all troops home unless their presence abroad is the direct response to a national security threat and to close any military bases not crucial for the safety of the country. They also wish to address the nation’s bankruptcy by stopping significant military spending.
The Libertarian Party also supports the repeal of the Control Substance Act, legalizing marijuana. Gray said, “What is the soul of America? Freedoms and liberties, and they are under attack by our own government. U.S. Drug Prohibition is the worst policy in United States history, second only to slavery.”
By repealing the Control Substance Act and endorsing marijuana as a commodity, Gray said, “In California alone, we will save $10 million on prohibition policies and gain hundreds of millions in sales.”
Gray told the audience that he is fully aware that the Libertarian Party will not win the 2012 election but expressed confidence that “If we would have been in the debates, we would have.” His goal is not to win, but to receive enough publicity and votes to give the Libertarian Party the resources to stand a chance in 2016.
Gray then opened the floor to questions from the audience and ended his lecture by saying “Simplicity is good; we need to get the government out of this stuff. The government will be there for its people, but only as a last resort.”