A new first for LP Cherokee!

Here I am again - the Chair in a chair!  This chair happens to be my favorite place at home - a big comfortable chair on my back porch where I find myself anytime I have a little spare time and need to burn some creativity.

Anyway - I am excited to say that LP Cherokee is finally running a candidate locally!  Why is that important to a political party?  We can work to make changes in law and influence policy, but putting someone in office gives a party continuous access to make day-to-day decisions that guide a local government toward the party's principles.

So who is this guy that is putting us on the map?  It's John Wilford!  John founded the LP in Cherokee County, arranging the very first county convention in 2012 where he was the filer, organizer, and sole attendee.  That county convention (John) nominated John unanimously to attend the state convention.  From there he moved forward to establish an active party in the county, but found himself holding meetings alone.  His dogged determination paid off in June of 2012, when he coordinated a big push to bring actual committed members into the party.  We were able to elect officers and establish by-laws and we had a going party!

John ran for State Rep in 2014 in his district, which by then included Anderson County, but not Cherokee County.  John's loss was devastating for liberty, because where John would have stood for transparent and limited government and access of constituency to the governmental process through him, the successful candidate, Byron Cook, has a reputation for promoting government intervention in personal matters of conscience and of shutting down anyone who speaks out against him.  Perhaps most disturbing, is that he had constituent Amy Hedtke physically removed for attempting to legally video a House committee meeting.

In that same year, John ran for Treasurer of the State Party and won.  He served in that capacity until 2016, when he ran for State Chair and won that position as well.  In John's tenure as Chair, he has established the practice of livestreaming leadership meetings because he strongly believes that anyone should be able to see and hear what is being discussed, even at the highest level of the party, just as he would have done as a State Rep.

John is now running for Cherokee County's County Clerk.  I'll not try to speak for him and tell you why he wants that role, but I think he would be a great addition to our county government.  What I want to know is - how do you want to help John win?  How will you help the Libertarian Party of Cherokee County get the word out about John?

And now, meet John:  www.johnwilford.com

Forward in Freedom,

Melina Baker

Chair, Libertarian Party of Cherokee County

Greetings from the Chair - on this Independence Day

Good afternoon!

I thought I would take a minute or two to say hello from my chair and share a few thoughts about what freedom means to me.  

Those of you who know me know that I have poured years into working with kids, thousands of hours into empowering young minds and molding them to be exemplary individuals.  It's been a humbling endeavor.  

Early in my soccer coaching time, I learned a valuable lesson that is innately libertarian - are you ready for this?  It's simple. Just - Let kids play.  Start by giving them as few rules as possible, give them a task, and set them about solving it.  If, in the course of their problem solving, they develop an idea that shortcuts the objective in a negative way, give them an extra rule - a little nudge really - to shut down that idea.  When I stepped out of my coaching comfort zone of regimented drills and barked commands, and when I trusted my players to play this game with me, I was treated to a work of beauty.  Their creative little minds each found a new and unique way to get the job done!  Their individualism surfaced while they learned to play together as a team!  I recreated this same situation over and over again, in a variety of settings (many not on a soccer field), and it never once failed.  NEVER.  

This experience gave way to an idea that led me to take the process a step further.  Simply give them the tools of a game (a ball maybe, or a stick, or a balloon, or whatever I could reach out and grab), and tell them to go play.  Children who are accustomed to detailed directions will stand and say "But what do we play?" or "What do you want us to do?"  and I would say "I want you to play whatever you want to play, but you must all play together and you must all play with this object I gave you".  They mill around a bit, begin to talk, tentatively throw the object back and forth, and before you know it, they have a game going!  They create rules for themselves as they go and they set the goal of the game and identify boundaries.  They have an ingrained sense of fairness, so that the rules they set are generally favorable to all.  If something isn't working, they change it up a bit on their own.  And they have fun AND self-govern!

You may say "This sounds good, but what happens when you get a mean kid in the mix?"  It does happen!  And I confess - when I first started observing this method, I wondered what would happen when that kid showed up for the game.  I assumed they would resort to tattling or whining or arguing, and while a little of that went on, when I refused to step in unless someone was in danger, they exacted justice themselves!  They weren't usually onerous in their discipline, but simply had a way of shutting the bully down, of pinning him in so he couldn't ruin their game, or of drumming him out.  

Wouldn't it be nice if we could operate this way as grown-ups?  Well - we can!  That's what we Libertarians dream of having!  Admittedly, government still has a place in a free society like what these kids at play create, but we need government only for very basic needs - protection from those who insist on infringing on our liberty in some way, a means of discipline when all else has failed, and someone to perhaps preserve for us the most basic of requirements to carry out our lives.  

I believe our founding fathers envisioned just this idea of wide-open no-holds-barred freedom to live life out to the very edge.  To take risks and experience both failure and success, to create a legacy of our own choosing for our families and for future generations.  To all live together in this manner and to interweave our lives in such a way as to create a cacophony of vibrant experiences akin to brilliant colors all thrown against a canvas.  Somewhere along the way, someone got the idea that protecting our freedom meant telling us what we can and can't do.  We come away from that with a woven blanket of the same dull thread, and one with lots of holes and gaps at that.  

We are each of us Americans and we deserve better than what we have!  Do you want it?  Will you take it?  Let's make today a day of Independence Revival!

Forward in Freedom,

Melina Baker

Chair, Libertarian Party of Cherokee County

Welcome, welcome!

So here I am - the Chair in a chair!  I had several more creative names for this little note, but this is what "they" told me we could name it.  It's still cool!

I've lived in Cherokee County nearly all my life, moving away and returning several times.  I met my future husband in Mrs. Richards' 3rd grade classroom at East Side Elementary in Jacksonville.  Both my kids have done the biggest part of their growing up here even.  And this - right here in Cherokee County - is where I had my political beginnings!

The first election I remember is Nixon's '72 victory.  The first election I worked on was the District Attorney campaign for a family friend, before I was old enough to vote.  My first presidential vote was cast for Ronald Reagan in 1984, although in that same year I went to the State Convention as a Democrat!  Yep.  I've bounced all over politically, at least until 2010, when Antony and I were watching Lee Wrights give his speech at the Libertarian National Convention and it hit me like a ton of bricks - I'M A LIBERTARIAN!

So how did you come to be reading my intro?  Do you suspect you are a Libertarian too?  Are you positive you're Libertarian?  I would love to explore that idea with you.  And so would all my Cherokee County Libertarian friends.  Won't you come and join us for one of our regularly scheduled meetings, or perhaps just shoot us an email here?  Let us know you're here!

Melina Baker

Chair, Cherokee County Libertarian Party


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