Dear Gary Johnson,
I am sure you’re very busy picking out your next mountain to climb or next marathon to run, but I wanted to write to you anyway.
I wanted to write to you to say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
As I’m sure you’re aware, the Libertarian Party has trouble picking worthy candidates for their seats. Michael Badnarik was too obscure and radical to really represent the “mainstream” libertarian. I personally try to forget that Bob Barr even exists most days. You are the first candidate we have chosen in my lifetime—perhaps who has even been available to us—with a distinguished record, sound, consistent principles, and the charisma to walk the line between the radicals in our party and the ever-growing population of people who are ready for freedom. Thank you for being a credit to our party, our ideas, and our movement.
Unlike other Libertarians who have run in the past, your campaign was focused on the big picture. You focused on a tangible goal: 5 percent of the vote. In doing so, you sought to anchor Libertarians in the political landscape for the future. You also showed that the campaign was not about your own ego but rather about the liberty movement and the best way to further it. You embodied the one thing that libertarians most respect, admire, and are known for: principle.
You inspired people to vote their conscience. You told people that doing so was not a waste of their vote. You were charismatic. You communicated moderate libertarian positions to people who were not familiar with them. You stood up for women’s reproductive rights and their right to make their own healthcare decisions. You stood up against drone strikes, aggressive wars, and currency manipulation. You took the best of us and gave it to the country to see.
And it paid off. Because, you see, I’m also writing to congratulate you on what you already know: You are (arguably) the most successful Libertarian candidate in the history of the party. With just under 1% of the vote (1,139,562 votes), you clearly made an impression on this country. I do not think it’s a coincidence that the year you ran is also the year that voters legalized marijuana in two states and gay marriage initiatives were passed in three (in a fourth an anti-gay marriage legislation was denied). These initiatives remind us that even when our politicians don’t win (however much we may like them to), our efforts are still worthwhile as long as liberty reigns.
So, thank you, Governor Johnson, for impacting the 2012 race in ways that far exceed merely being elected president. You gave a group of disaffected libertarians a candidate that they could believe in and a chance to participate in the democratic process. You stood for liberty, and, even though you did not win, liberty did.
Thank you for helping us get the message out. Thank you for representing libertarians with honor, dignity, and conviction. And, for what it’s worth, I’ll help you get to 5% again in 2016 if you’d like to keep working for it.
Editor, Thoughts on Liberty
P.S. I recommend Stone Mountain, myself.