CLARION – Clarion County welcomed a 2020 presidential candidate on Sunday afternoon with the arrival of the campaign bus of Dr. Jo Jorgensen of South Carolina, the official presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party.
About 50 people attended her talk on the lawn of Clarion County Memorial Park on Main Street. Jorgensen’s tour is starting in Pennsylvania and is part of a 16-day, 20-city tour using her campaign bus.
Jorgensen also made stops at Diamond Park Square in Meadville on Saturday evening and at Sandy Township Recreational Park in DuBois later in the afternoon on Sunday.
Running on a platform of cutting taxes, cutting spending, and criminal justice reform, Jorgensen advocates for a noninterventionist foreign policy and government transparency.
“We started in Pennsylvania because it’s a crucial state, and I want to be on the ballot in all 50 states so that all Americans have a real chance, because right now they don’t have one with the other two people running for office,” Jorgensen said.
She also collected signatures to include her name on the November ballot.
She presented background on her libertarian ideas and emphasis on a much smaller government, took questions from the crowd assembled and later met with the media.
“Right now, we’ve got two people who are both for making government bigger, who are both for spending your money, both for making your decisions, and both for pretty much locking you up in your home when there’s a virus instead of coming around and getting at the real cause and remembering that we are the land of the free, home of the brave,” she said.
“I’m emphasizing health care because that is literally a life or death situation that we have to get under control. And, if there’s one message, I would like to get to every American in this country is that we do not have a free market system right now. We’re hearing people say that the free market’s not working, and we have to go to single payer.
“First of all, we don’t have a free market system. Secondly, when I hear single payer, I hear Medicare-for-all. What I think of is a VA Hospital. We know that system is not working. The VA system is an abominable system, and it wouldn’t be good enough for any human being, let alone people who risk their lives for our country. We have to come up with something better. And, what’s really sad is that the politicians are not doing that.”
The World’s Policeman
“There is no reason that we should be the world’s policeman,” the candidate said. “We are in almost 150 different countries, and we have no reason to be there. The United States needs to take care of our country and not make ours less safe. Why should taxpayers in Alabama or Wyoming or here in Clarion, Pennsylvania, and your tax dollars go to pay for the defense of Germany, France, Japan, and other places? It shouldn’t.
“And secondly, the whole purpose of the military is to protect us. And, instead of making us more safe, they’re making us less safe as we saw with 911. There is no justification for what happened, but Bin Laden was able to twist our occupancy over there. They were able to twist the reason why we were over there into a justification to convince people to fly planes into our buildings.
“It wasn’t temporary, we’re still there. And, you know what, they’re trying to take over our government, and they’re trying to take over all religion. I know a lot of us wouldn’t be happy if people from Iraq, Iran, or wherever came over here, or, Saudi Arabia…if they came over and settled into our towns and started passing laws.
“We wouldn’t like it either, and they certainly don’t like it. I want the world to be at peace, and I want to be a good neighbor to the rest of the world and treat our neighbors the way neighbors should be treated. And, if you’re wondering about cost or taxes, we spend more than at least the next seven countries combined on the military. If all we did was protect our country, we would be able to cut costs dramatically, and we’d be able to save money and we’d be safer.”
“The biggest thing I would have done, and I would have done this even without the virus, is to get rid of the FDA efficacy requirements,” Jorgensen said. “If you hadn’t heard, there were about 60 different companies in America making testing kits and originally went bankrupt, or did they start making testing kits and sell them around the rest of the world? We kept hearing on the media how Southeast Asia was able to control the virus more than we were because they had testing kits. We had those testing kits made in America but didn’t have access.
“I saw Trump stand up on stage and say you only need to get tested so we wouldn’t need to shut down the economy. Companies can do that anyway, and we saw Walmart do exactly that — right? Walmart said, okay, you have to wear a mask to come into our store. Well, great. If you want to wear a mask, if you want to be around other people, wear a mask, you can go to Walmart. If you don’t, go to another store, and that’s it.
“It’s the freedom that our country was built on, and that’s the kind of freedom we need. I’m not anti-mask; I’m anti-one-size-fits-all from the government, which doesn’t fit anyone.”
A Third Party
“Statistics show that we actually draw equally from Democrats and Republicans,” Jorgensen said. “However, most of our votes come from independent voters or people who have never voted. But this time, personally, I seem to be hearing more from disaffected Biden backers. Seventy-five percent of our volunteers are from outside the party.
“I understand why people voted for Trump, because when he came in as an outsider, he said you know what, you don’t want a professional politician you want a business person who’s going to cut spending, and that’s not what he’s doing. He’s done the exact opposite.
“Now we see that even a businessman at the top without 50 years of political favors to payback can’t make government smaller, and the Republican party is never going to make it smaller. The Democratic party has lost all hope of being the party of anti-war. So, we are the only party with the choice to be safe and to make our own decisions.”
“I would get rid of a whole slew of government agencies. I’d like to point out that the government isn’t King. You might not know that by the people who are running for office. If I had the power on day one, I would get rid of the Department of Education, NSA, CIA — all of these groups that are not only not making us safer, they’re making us weaker.
“Don’t even bother sending me a bill because I’m not going to sign it until it’s balanced and lower than last year. By the way, the first place to look would be the Department of Education.
“I would also start freeing people who shouldn’t be in jail, to begin with, people like Julian Assange and the usual list of people.
“Part of our problem is that the federal government has gotten too involved, to begin with, and part of the police problem is from the free tanks, the grenade launchers, and all of that after 9/11. So, unlike past presidents, I realize that the federal government should be limited. However, on individual rights, such as blacks attending university or something like that, I think it should be involved.”