The Emerson “Legacy” from a Libertarian viewpoint

The following is a special editorial from Rick Vandeven, who twice opposed former Representative Jo Ann Emerson for office. Originally published on the SEMO10.ORG website:

I was content to remain silent about former US Representative Jo Ann Emerson’s recent retirement. Even during my two unsuccessful campaigns as the Libertarian Party candidate for the Missouri 8th Congressional District US Representative in 2010 and 2012, I did not campaign publically against Emerson’s voting record. I chose to express my own ideas when given the opportunity instead.

However, I now feel compelled to speak out as the Southeast Missourian is attempting to do what the “Old Media” has always done: rewrite history to ensure that the status quo is viewed favorably and maintains power.

While I acknowledge former MO-8th Representative Jo Ann Emerson’s popularity among the majority of the minority of people who still participate in the electoral process; her 16 plus year career is pockmarked with a number of votes for bad legislation and wild spending that exponentially grew the federal government to alarming proportions, and may ultimately prove impossible to pay for. Allow me to elaborate.

The public debt is on the cusp of reaching $17 trillion. There are no solutions in Congress as both parties find themselves hamstrung by the restitutions they owe to the moneyed special interests that fund their campaigns in exchange for favorable legislation. Emerson voted to increase the debt ceiling limit nine times during her career. She voted one single time against increasing the debt ceiling when given the chance, and only then when it was politically convenient as the Democrats held a majority in the House in 2009.

To bring this into perspective, the public debt was $5.2 trillion (still unacceptable!) when Jo Ann Emerson was elected in 1996. Do the math.

The Missouri 8th Congressional District has grown progressively poorer during Emerson’s tenure. Job opportunity is bleak as a once vibrant manufacturing base has moved overseas as a result of so called “free-trade” agreements which only protect US corporations from having to compete in the free market. The same financial institutions that helped set the table for the economic crash of 2008 were bailed out with your money by their friends in Washington. Our children statistically finish in the lowest percentile academically, and an entire generation that grew up with the failed social engineering experiment of No Child Left Behind and standardized testing is struggling to keep up with the rest of the world as it comes of age. Our soldiers return home from perpetual war in the Middle East, and commit suicide in droves. Our privacy and civil liberties are continuously threatened by domestic spy drones and a growing police state legalized and codified by unconstitutional laws like the Patriot Act, REAL ID, and the NDAA. Our senior citizens fund their retirement on the backs of current and future workers through a doomed Social Security system, and a complex stock market that is controlled by the whims of the Federal Reserve. The family farm has given way to the corporate agriculture industry through crony capitalism legislated in farm bills.

However, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic, even as the federal government starts to behave like a cornered rat.

  • The growing number of vigilant, decentralized grass roots activist organizations dedicated to liberty that have been sprouting up around the district will ensure that whoever is elected to represent us on June 4th will be kept in check. Especially if the new representative attempts to continue the Emerson legacy.
  • The federal government is beyond broke, and their bag of tricks is depleted. It simply cannot continue to prop up the welfare / warfare state. The near future will expose those in higher public office who are genuine leaders willing to make the tough decisions that are necessary for a peaceful and prosperous future, and those who are mere lapdogs of their handlers.
  • Jo Ann Emerson’s true legacy is one of graft, war, favoritism, and a lack of leadership during a dark time in this country’s history when leadership was what we desperately needed the most. I am proud to have stood up against the Emerson “machine”, and I will continue to join those kindred spirits who also fight for individual liberty.

Let us “cast salt on the ruins” of the violent Emerson legacy with the hope that the good people of the Missouri 8th Congressional District never have to experience her brand of “representation” again.

Rick Vandeven is a two time Libertarian Party nominee for Missouri 8th Congressional District US Representative (2010 and 2012), the Director of Communications for the Missouri Libertarian Party, and the Chair of the LP Missouri 8th Congressional District Committee. He resides in Chaffee, MO with his wife Darlene and their daughters.

About aldermanlacy

I am just an average blue collar American who works hard and tries to be a good dad. I have a passion for history, music and freedom.

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