As you know, for several years I have written a weekly column in a local newspaper, and some of these columns have been picked up by numbers of blogs around the country. As of the end of last year I have taken a respite from writing those columns so that I can use more time to write and compose another musical that is running around like crazy in my head. But, nevertheless, on occasion I will submit various thoughts to those blog sites, so that we may keep in contact with each other. And I look forward to your messages as well, which you can send to me at JimPGray@sbcglobal.net. So here is the first of this occasional series:
Recently I joined Governor Gary Johnson in Houston at a conference sponsored by the Houston's Republican Liberty Caucus and the local Libertarian Party. At that conference I was able to meet the Governor's cousin, whose name is Wayne Bostow. I felt the conference went well, and the Governor's and my views on many wide-ranging issues were quite consistent with the people who were present.
A few days thereafter I received the following email message from the Governor's cousin, and sent him a response. Since Governor Gary Johnson is an increasingly respected and well known public figure, I thought you would be interested in both messages. They are as follows:
"Hi Jim, I felt a very deep connection with you, something that rather surprised me. Where did Gary come from? What gives him the basis for his certainties and his quickness? What is the essence of being a libertarian? How did you like your Houston experience? –WB"
"Hi Wayne, Thank you for your thoughtfulness in sending me a message, and for your kind words. Regarding your questions, you are in a better position to say where Gary came from than I am. But my first introduction to the Governor came in 1999 on the front page of the Los Angeles Times, where it quoted Gary as saying that he had conducted his own 'audit,' and concluded that our nation's drug policy simply isn't working and must be changed. Shortly thereafter I met him at a drug policy conference in Albuquerque that he sponsored, and I was immensely impressed. And that has only grown stronger since that time as I have learned more about him and known him better.
"What gives him the basis for his certainties and quickness? My inferences are that he has been in business for a long and successful time, and that has given him direct insights about what works and what does not. He has seen and lived it, and has derived some certainties as a result. His quickness would then come from that experience and his instincts.
"The even more important issue is WHY? As you know, Gary has no ego about his decisions and desires to help his country and all within it. But he now is unselfishly spending a great deal of time, energy and money in pursuing an uphill campaign to implement important changes in our country. Where did that sense of unselfish public service come from, because it is so rare? Again, although it is often traced to one's parents and family, you are in a better position to answer that question. All I really know is that I like it!
"What is the essence of being a Libertarian? Many Libertarians would give different answers, but my answer is that it is a person who is financially responsible, and socially accepting. In other words, people who want to be left alone by government to live their lives as they desire, as long as their doing so does not wrongfully affect other people from being able to do the same thing. (That really does define Gary Johnson, do you agree?)
"But I would add to that definition that most Libertarians have a general willingness to help other people who, with honest efforts, are not able to take care of themselves. Not because we legally have to, but because we want to: because that is who we are. In fact, that is probably why I was a Peace Corps Volunteer between my graduation from college and entry into law school. And I still see what I am doing as an extension of that approach.
"Finally, in today's world like never before, I believe that good people tend to bond with each other because of the major threats that exist to our country and way of life. I have met so many good people, like you and Gary, during my involvement with drug policy reform and other crucial political issues, and this has been one of the most gratifying experiences of my life.
"So Wayne, again I thank you for your message. I enjoyed my time in Houston, it was great to meet and talk to you, and I truly look forward to seeing you soon again. In the meantime, Good Luck to us All!"
Lots of people involved in public life and political campaigns say and promise lots of things, but from my observations and direct experiences, Governor Gary Johnson wants to do the right things for the right reasons – and that is what he did for eight years as the governor of New Mexico. I believe in this man, I like him, and I was deeply proud and honored to have been his running mate.
Finally, I also firmly believe that our great country and virtually everyone in it would be more prosperous, secure and free had he been elected president in 2012. Please help me encourage Governor Gary Johnson to run for President of the United States once again (of course, as a Libertarian) in 2016. No matter who the other candidates may be, Gary Johnson will be the best one for the job!
Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)