The Orlando, Florida shooting at a gay nightclub in Florida this past weekend saw a influx of political response from numerous candidates running for office. While each offered their own unique way of coming to terms with the tragedy, every response seemed to offer a divisional characteristic inherently present in our political system.
It is important to remember the victims of the Orlando shooting for not only being victim to the horrendous acts of worthless ISIS supporters and sympathizers around the world, but also because they have become victim to the dilemma of governmental action to prevent future tragedies from occurring.
As recent as today, democrats in Congress staged a filibuster to advocate stricter gun control, while the Republican Presidential frontrunner and presumptive nominee considered the expansion of governmental surveillance lists.
This is what tragedies have become now: tools of the political elite to advocate an expansion of government power that it doesn’t have the authority to hold.
So when is enough, enough?
We’ve witnessed what happens when the government has knee jerk reactions to terrorism: an endless war on terror, the Patriot Act, and less Liberty for the American people at the expense of the Constitution.
Our good friend over at the Libertarian Republic, Brett Chandrasekhar, painted a picture of Gary Johnson’s weakness. The Libertarian Presidential Nominee, when compared to the drastic interventionist and progressive responses from those of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, was not as loud – or progressive.
Fortunately, Gary Johnson was, again, the only adult in the room when it came to a response. Rather than politicizing the response, he simply aimed to reflect on the victims and bring people together. He didn’t jump to the conclusions our President did, our former President did, or our current leading Presidential contenders did.
This is important to note because, while Johnson seemed to have one of the best responses to the attacks, Chandrasekhar does point out that its effectiveness was incredibly poor. But this delves deeply into the fundamental flaws in Gary Johnson’s campaign and the media hype that has built around Trump, Clinton, and now the terrible tragedy in Orlando.
Quite frankly, Orlando will likely be, and to some extent already has been, a historical turning point in the 2016 election because of media coverage. Rather than pay tribute to the victims, the media has capitalized on Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s drastically different responses, which has in turn caused the attack to turn into a political circus that directly correlates to the events of the 2016 election cycle.
Johnson’s response to the attack, initially of course, wasn’t controversial. By refusing to play the political game, Johnson stood above all others in morals, but below them in media coverage.
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are cowards when it comes to dealing with terrorism and gun violence. They feel the need to blame someone or something and incite governmental action. But their cowardice is exactly what garners media attention. More people have heard about Donald Trump for his refusal to admit Muslims into the United States; more people have heard about Hillary Clinton for her persistence in limiting gun rights: these positions are controversial, not moral. That is what garners media attention.
Gary Johnson needs to hold his moral ground, but also be the reason the media says his name. While his reluctance to attack Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is commendable from a personal standpoint, the future of the country depends on the mud that is thrown at them and the controversy that it stirs. In other words, the truth about these two candidates is newsworthy alone; there doesn’t have to be lies told, or hearts or minds won over about the stupidity and evilness of these two candidates. But doing so doesn’t need to be eloquent; in 2016 it needs to be headline worthy. Free press is always good press. If any person in this world knows that like the back of their hand, it is Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Chandrasekhar notes that passivity is not the greatest tactic for an underdog. It is not. Johnson needs to advocate Liberty eloquently and loudly by taking the fight to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, not away from them. He can still get his talking points in; he can still delve into issues that might garner more support from Bernie Sanders supporters, or Donald Trump supporters; but he can’t shy away from the fight. After all, isn’t that why the delegates in Orlando chose Gary Johnson? He needs to transform his campaign quickly without stepping on his morals, or his campaign will quickly fall into the abyss of third party hell.
Johnson’s response to the Orlando attack was the only response from a Presidential candidate that any American should be proud of, and one that the victims themselves deserved: coming together and paying tribute to the victims and who they were without playing politics. But in the 2016 election cycle, it is not the response that the American people want.