The Liberty Tour, a national tour founded by Governor Gary Johnson, made a stop at the College of William and Mary Tuesday, Oct. 18 to talk to students, faculty and other members of the Williamsburg community about the upcoming presidential election.
The Liberty Tour was started by Our American Initiative, a non-profit organization, and has been touring college campuses since Sept. 26. The tour aims to use comedy and entertainment to draw students into a discussion about many of the issues important to the Libertarian Party, particularly those most relevant to college students. As it travels across the country, the tour brings noted comedians and key political figures to every school that they visit to help spread their message.
Our American Initiative co-sponsored the event with the College Libertarians, a student group on campus. The event featured a discussion that touched on a variety of issues, ranging from the inclusion of third party candidates in presidential debates to the war on drugs. All of the speakers at the event shared their personal career paths, and shared how they came to join the Liberty Tour.
Former Vice President of the Republican Liberty Caucus Ed Lopez was one of the speakers who used his own personal experience to talk about today’s politics.
The main reason that I chose to come on this tour and talk to millennials and talk to students all over the country is because in addition to being libertarian, I’m a realist,” Ed Lopez said.
“The main reason that I chose to come on this tour and talk to millennials and talk to students all over the country is because in addition to being libertarian, I’m a realist,” Ed Lopez said. “And so, I sympathized a lot with one of Gary Johnson’s principles of good government. And that’s a principle of realism.”
Like Lopez, many of the night’s other speakers shared how their libertarian leanings came from a disapproval of the two major political parties’ current leadership. Lopez represented the Republican-libertarian perspective.
On the other hand, former Baltimore Police Chief Neill Franklin represented a view of frustration with the current two party system that dominates the United States.
“The best and most effective way to make these changes is to change the administration,” Franklin said. “That means a new party. That means not just a new party but a new party that understands what the Constitution is about, what the Bill of Rights is supposed to be about. And that’s a party of liberty folks.”
Former Press Secretary for the Democratic National Committee Terry Michael was also in attendance, representing the Democratic-libertarian perspective.
“Your purpose is liberty,” Michael said. “Your purpose is keeping liberty alive, among millennials and among children and grandchildren. And that’s why I’m a libertarian.”
Michael’s message to college students that it is their responsibility to spread liberty was repeated throughout the night. He and other speakers mentioned that the Liberty Tour was geared towards college students because many of the leaders of this movement hoped to use the youth of college students to encourage change for the future.
Williamsburg community member Gregory Garcia was in the audience Tuesday night and said he shared many of the same core beliefs as the evening’s presenters. Garcia said he decided to come to the Liberty Tour to support a cause that he felt deeply about and hoped that college students would also support the mission of the tour.
“The way they tell us in the military is that junior enlisted marines are the future of the organization, the same way I think of colleges and high schools, that’s the future of society at large,” Garcia said. “So I think it’s really important that we cultivate those ideas as soon as you get them that ground to be able to challenge ideas intellectually.”