Part of that is the commitment to letting all legitimate voices be heard no matter how much we may disagree with them.
Currently, in North Carolina, there is a situation that needs our attention, and--if you're willing--our voices.
North Carolina has some of the most restrictive ballot access rules in the nation. Despite that fact, the Libertarian Party of North Carolina this year raised over $200,000 and did the legwork to collect 108,000 signatures to get the party, and gubernatorial candidate Michael Munger on the statewide ballot for the first time in history.
Michael you have all met through my previous posts, if you are a regular reader. He is the Chair of the Political Science Department at Duke University, who recently gave the keynote address at the Libertarian National Convention. He is a thoughtful, well-grounded man with an incredible sense of humor, and about as far from a whacko third-party candidate as you can get. He is currently polling around 4% or more in NC, and his paving the way for Libertarian Presidential candidate Bob Barr is probably the main reason NC is in play in the general election.
The North Carolina Bar Association is sponsoring five gubernatorial debates this fall, and they have not extended an invitation to Mike.
There are only three candidates certified to be on the ballot; they have ignored one of them.
As a Libertarian I understand that they have the right to do as they damn well please, but we also have the right--even the ethical obligation--to let them know this is a baaaad idea.
I am sending the following email to the NC Bar Association:
To whom it may concern:
The decision by the NC Bar Association not to invite Dr. Michael Munger, the Libertarian candidate for Governor, to participate in your upcoming series of debates is both unfortunate and disturbing. Dr. Munger and the Libertarian Party of North Carolina have met exactly the same requirements for placement on the statewide ballot as Ms. Perdue or Mr. McCrory.
It is generally accepted that sponsoring candidate debates is a politically neutral decision; that is, you are providing an open forum for public information and not choosing a side or endorsing a candidate.
By choosing to exclude a legitimate, qualified candidate, you are limiting the access of North Carolina voters to the views and policy positions of one candidate and one party. That is not a politically neutral position; it is the position of an institution demonstrating a commitment to partisan politics and the limitation of the voter's choices by stifling alternative voices.
I urge you, in the name of fair play, open electoral process, and transparency, to invite all three ballot-qualified candidates to your debates.
Invite Dr. Michael Munger to the debates.
Steven H. Newton, PhD
Professor of History and Political Science
Delaware State University
If you are willing to join me and send your own email to the NC Bar Association, here are what appear to be the relevant addresses (and you can find the web page here):
Dept. Web Site: www.ncbar.org/about/index.aspx
NAME TITLE EMAIL
Assistant Executive Director
Assistant to the Assistant Executive Director
NCBA Administrative Assistant & Statewide BarCARES Coordinator
Dept. E-mail: email@example.com
Dept. Web Site: http://www.ncbar.org/public/communications/index.aspx
NAME TITLE EMAIL
Director of Communications
Assistant Director of Communications
Assistant to the Director of Communications
This is an election year that promises to be like no other in a long time; please help me help Michael Munger insure that it isn't one that closes down the process to alternative voices.
If you do write an email, I'm sure Michael would appreciate it if you left a note to that effect either in the comments section here or at his campaign blog.