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California State Government March 2, 2004 Election
Smart Voter

Individual Rights are Your Rights

By Gail K. Lightfoot

Candidate for United States Senator; Libertarian Party

This information is provided by the candidate
Discusses affirmative action, domestic partnerships, veterans, Drug War, Abortion, Death, Campaign finance reform, Limiting power of government
When you fight for individual rights you are fighting for women, gays, minorities, everyone. Those who understand this, step up and say, "I do not need special treatment. I can take care of myself."

The only affirmative action that matters is for individuals. Individuals who make the effort to learn in order to better themselves will succeed in life. You, any business owner, and I should all be free to decide what wage a worker is worth. Let each person be paid according to his skill, ability and our need for his skills. Increased skills and abilities will bring higher wages.

Each person is free to form partnership agreements. You may not wish to be bound by state law regarding your personal relationship. Instead you might write a contract or enter into a verbal agreement. You may want your friend instead of your parent to visit you in the hospital. You should have that choice. You and your boss decide who can share in the benefits included in your earning package. It is becoming increasingly evident that government has no business deciding who can be your life partner.

The U. S. should meet our military needs with a strong land and sea based voluntary force armed with the latest in defensive technology. No U.S. armed forces should be stationed based outside the territory of the U.S. except during times of declared war. Promises and commitments made to our military personnel at the time of their enlistment should be honored. Individuals should be free to enlist in the armies of other nations. Individuals and organizations should be free to offer technical or other assistance to the citizens of other nations as they see fit.

The First Amendment guarantees Freedom of Speech. What does that mean exactly? It means the freedom to speak out against government, against those in power. We do not need censorship to quiet offensive speech. We only need to ignore it. What you ignore has no audience and goes away. Attempts to control campaign finance are another way to curtail your freedom of speech.

The Second Amendment grants each individual citizen a right to own and use firearms for self defense. Today when we are reminded daily of the need for more police to protect us, that right is more important than ever. Let no one be denied the right to defend themselves from harm. Let the criminals wonder who does or does not carry a lethal weapon for protection.

The War on Drugs is a War on People, particularly the poor or disadvantaged. This unconstitutional prohibition of some substances over others along with Asset Forfeiture is a clear violation of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. Legalizing, taxing and controlling is not a solution. Decriminization is the only solution. If a governement or any other certifying agency wants to advise us on the efficacy of drugs or other substances, fine. Meanwhile, stop arresting people for possession. Possession is not a crime; Actions or Behavior that effect others are. End the Drug War now!

Unfortunately, abortion is a fact of life. Either by accident, illness, other medical problem or deliberate act many pregnancies end before viability of the fetus. Families and women need financial and emotional stability before they can be comfortable taking the responsibility to raise a child well. Those who recognize their inability to be responsible for an unborn child need support and help -- not a closed door. If women cannot safely abort a child they know they cannot care for properly, they will abort it dangerously and illegally. There are some things you cannot prevent. Abortion is one of those things. You can only teach other means of birth control and voluntarily provide supportive assistance to those in need. This very education effort and the use of more effective birth control have abortion rates on a downward trend.

If you think a certain level of living is intolerable, you are free to say so and request freedom from medical care. You may make your wishes known to others and ask to be allowed to die with dignity. If you provide clear instructions stating exactly what your wishes are, I would hope those wishes would be honored rather than see you left in some room or bed until I death rescues you. If no medical insurance or family member can or will continue to pay for your care in a non-communicative state, let those who can and will take on the responsibility. You may not be aware or truly care but we cannot be sure and if someone cares enough to care charge, so be it.

You should be in control of your electoral decisons. It cannot be right for government to tell you how to spend your hard earned money. Limits on contributions to political candidates will not change the methods used to increase voter support. In addtion, campaign finance rules are universally ineffective. Powerful politicans with big bucks, highly paid consultants and experienced fundraisers can ignore or end run around the rules. Meanwhile, you and I cannot compete in the political arena because we do not have the money and incumbent party advantage. The only way to change how elections are won is to change what convinces you to cast your vote. Reformers claim elections are won by the guy with the most money to spend on prime time TV advertising. If this is true, and evidence suggest it is, you must ignore the ads. You can vote absentee before the ads go on the air. You can look carefully at the candidates positions on the issues and vote for what you know is right. When advertising no longer work the politicians and action groups will no longer use such advertising.

If politicians are making laws you dislike, vote them out of office. If politicians seem more interested in the needs of special interests, vote them out of office. If the system rewards campaign donors maybe we need to take away some of the politicians ability to grant special favors to those donors.

Maybe the problem is not campaign financing.

Maybe the problem is the power of government.

Maybe the problem is the government programs politicians can use to attract donors to help them win elections.

Maybe we need to limit the power and privilege government has to give away.

Gail Lightfoot

California Libertarian for U.S.Senate

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