Our country today is divided now more than I can remember in my lifetime. The Left vs. Right division is played up constantly in the news media. The President is loved by some, hated by others, and there are few in between. This level of identity politics has served the career politicians well. Since most areas tend to lean one direction or the other, and since most districts are gerrymandered to give one side an advantage, a politician is likely to keep their office for a long time. In that time, they can solidify ties with special interests that can bankroll their reelections, so that their real allegiance is with these special interests, not the electorate. With this system in mind, I would like to suggest that the Libertarian Party is the best home for those who consider themselves socially liberal.

Liberals have typically been against war, particularly wars of aggression. The last declaration of war by the U.S. Congress occurred before entering World War II. The last military action voted on by Congress was the 2003 war in Iraq. Yet, as we speak, U.S. soldiers are in a number of countries overseas carrying out the whims of the U.S. war machine. The defense contractor lobby is quite rich and powerful, but it surprises me that almost no one in Congress stands up to these endless wars. Tulsi Gabbard made headlines for questioning this policy in the Democratic debates, yet even her stance was not 100% against foreign intervention. The LP platform states, “We support the maintenance of a sufficient military to defend the United States against aggression.” Shouldn’t that be what National “Defense” is all about?

Speaking of endless wars, how has this War on Drugs been working out? The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world, with about 2.3 million people behind bars. Most of these are drug-related offenses. Yet this declaration of war has had little effect on drug use and abuse. The Libertarian position is that people should be free to decide what they put into their bodies. They should also accept the responsibility of those choices. If addiction is treated as an illness rather than as a crime, addicts can get the help they need, rather than having their lives ruined by prison and the stigma attached to having a criminal record.

The definition of marriage has been a topic of concern, especially in the LGBTQ community. Most liberals contend that gay marriage should be a civil right. The Libertarian Party agrees with that. In fact, the LP would rather see government get out of the business of consenting adults and their relationships altogether. Begging government to recognize the legitimacy of any relationship is absurd.

The reports of people being detained at the border in substandard conditions continue to make the headlines. Children being separated from their parents and housed in cages causes me to wonder just how anyone can justify this action. A nation that once welcomed immigrants with open arms, including my own ancestors, is now caging people indefinitely for wanting a better life. America was made strong and prosperous on the backs of hard-working immigrants, and the same should be true today. The path to entering the country should be as clear as it was on Ellis Island, not the impossible bureaucracy that exists today.

Hopefully these points will give the liberals out there a feel for how the Libertarian Party can represent your values. Perhaps someday, instead of voting against the Republicans, you can vote your conscience.

Darren Pollok is the Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Guadalupe County.

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