I promised you once that I would only write one blog about politics. Well, that was sort of a lie. Because today I met Gary Johnson and you’d best believe I’m about to write about it. I like to think this falls more into the “personal experience” category than “political stances,” but just in case you feel cheated and/or lied to, I’m sorry. But also low key I’m not because this was one of the most exciting things that’s ever happened to me and it’s my blog so I can do what I want. I’m going to start at the very beginning here, because this is really kind of an amazing story.
I haven’t been sleeping that well the past few weeks; I used to be a very heavy sleeper and I no longer am. The jury’s still out on why. Anyway, I wake up in the middle of the night a lot and my subconscious memory is chock full of disjointed dream fragments from my restless nights. So as I scrolled through various social media sites, something sparked a memory of dreaming that Gary Johnson was doing a rally in Minnesota. I have been checking his website on the regular just in case this happened, so I figured I might as well give it another look just in case. This was approximately 5:04 PM on October 27th.
Under the “upcoming events” section on JohnsonWeld.com, I saw a rally on the calendar in Shakopee, Minnesota at 6:00 PM on October 27th. I shouted. My first reaction was disappointment– this opportunity was so close, and yet so far away. I missed my chance. Then my second reaction was, “Wait. Shakopee is 45 minutes away. I have a car. There is literally no reason I can’t go.” So I grabbed my keys and I went.
The drive down was agony, because I was running late and it was 5:00 in Minneapolis. If you have never driven in Minneapolis at 5:00, let me assure you it is not driving so much as parking and then yelling. But I eventually made it to Canterbury Park with minutes to spare and ascended an escalator within a casino to the second floor, where someone handed me a Johnson/Weld 2016 sign and I joined the crowd.
There were two introductory speakers who are wonderful and amazing in their own right but also not Gary Johnson, so I won’t dwell on them in detail. The woman who kicked things off, however, beat cancer, like, kicked cancer’s ass, and has worked her own ass off to advocate for libertarian principles and visibility, and I think that’s amazing.
So did Gary, who was so happy to hear that his friend was officially cancer-free that he was legitimately teary when he took the stage. He gained his composure fairly quickly, however, and spoke for 20 or so minutes about his platform, passions, and goals. For someone who occasionally feels like she and her BFF are the only Gary supporters in the world, it was really, really incredible to hear a person of influence say something that I honestly, passionately, and thoroughly believe in, and then hear an entire roomful of people cheer for it. Governor Johnson is a candidate of integrity, passion, and principle, and it was an honor to hear him speak. Fact checking Hillary Clinton and/or Donald Trump is a full time job, but Gary Johnson believes in honesty– so much so that it was the opening of his speech.
He is also a man with a sense of humor, which he was not averse to sharing with the crowd, from addressing his own Aleppo faux pas to poking fun at his opponents. He asserted that he agrees with Trump’s main platform, and he thinks Clinton’s primary stance is absolutely correct: You shouldn’t vote for Hillary, and you shouldn’t vote for Donald.
I don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of Gary’s speech, because I’m sure none of my readers are interested in hearing a retelling of his own words from a very excited college student. But he was inspiring. He meant every word he said, and it showed. He is a candidate whose vision for America is realistic and optimistic, who hasn’t let the circumstances of his life uproot him from his values or human decency, and who I can honestly believe in. And he raises what I think is one of the most important questions of this election: If you have the choice between voting for the lesser of two evils or voting your conscience, which vote is really a waste?
The other great thing Governor Johnson said that really impacted me was that America is the best it’s ever been. And he’s right. It’s not perfect by any means, no one in their right minds could think that, but it’s never been better than it is now. Not to point any fingers, but there’s no reason to hearken back to the “good ol’ days” when the brightest face of America is the future. And I believe President Johnson is the best way to get there.
While all of this is personally significant and, in my opinion, worth sharing, it’s actually just build-up to the most important part of the night: I took a selfie with Gary Johnson.
It is extremely blurry because the shakiness of my hands is directly proportional to my level of excitement. Needless to say, I was very excited. The exchange went something like this:
Me: Can I get a picture?
Gary: Yeah, let’s do it!
Me: My best friend in the whole wide world is a huge fan too and is running for city council!
Gary: That’s very cool.
Me: Thank you
Gary: Thank you
And then I left. It was very overwhelming. I was too excited to say about 80% of what I wanted to say because I was, you know, talking to the guy I voted for for President of the United freaking States. He’s so cool and I want to be his best friend. And later I will carve his face into a pumpkin.