"Party labels are really relatively meaningless these days," Adam Kokesh
tells SFR, which is part of the reason he hasn't named his party affiliation in his race to replace US Rep. Ben Ray Lujan in New Mexico's Third Congressional District.
He may not have a party label, but the Ron Paul-endorsed candidate is gathering steam after his July 4 fundraiser. Celebrate American r3VOLution featured a brief speech by Adam Kokesh himself, but the main event was the music of activist Jordan Page, lauded as the Bob Dylan of the libertarian movement, who played rousing anti-war songs to a small but fiercely enthusiastic crowd. There was something strangely reminiscent of the sixties about the youthful determination to take the world by storm and set it right. Also, at one point, Adam Kokesh jokingly yelled at Jordan Page for calling him a politician.
SFR interviewed Kokesh, an anti-war veteran on the economy, his health care plan, foreign policy and the 9/11 Truth movement.
Lujan is both a Democrat and the son of the Speaker of the House, both things that could be viewed as strengths. How do you expect to fare against that?
Well, I view those as weaknesses, especially in 2010. In 2008 people were clamoring for change. On the most significant issues, what Obama has done and what the Democratic Congress has done in 2009 is perpetuate and exacerbate Bush policies. I think that by 2010 people are going to realize that the Democratic Party as it exists now really doesn't represent them.
Are you relying on the grassroots that sprang up to support the Ron Paul campaign to fund your campaign?
We just had a fundraiser called No Lobbyists Allowed when I was in Washington, D.C. So, there is a distinct problem with me running this campaign with my platform: Nobody stands to make any money through what I'm advocating. We really are relying in large part on grassroots supporters online. And we're seeing it from all over, from Ron Paul's page, from the anti-war movement from civil liberties groups from tax-payers' union type groups...
But you haven't decided whether to run as an Independent or a Republican...
Or Democrat or Green. Party labels are really relatively meaningless these days. I mean neither one represents their base, neither one represents what their party actually stands for, and neither of the major parties come close to representing what the American people really want.
So why choose a label at all?
Well, unfortunately we do live in a corrupt two-party system. ...... But I'm running to win, and when 40 percent of the voters vote Democrat without thinking and 40 percent vote Republican without thinking, you know, it's kind of silly to compete for that middle 20 percent and lose to someone just for someone putting a letter next to their name.
What specifically has Ben Ray Lujan, your opponent, done wrong?
What really makes me sick about the Democratic Party as a whole that Ben Ray Lujan has been a part of is posturing against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan and then voting to fund them. I think Ben Ray Lujan has voted with the party 99 percent of the time and that's inexcusable.I don't think Ben Ray Lujan is taking initiative on any of that but he's going along with it. And as Martin Luther King Jr. said 'There come's a time when silence is betrayal.'
Could you tell me your position on renewable energy and energy independence?
Well, in terms of energy policy the restrictions on drilling in this country are absurd. What they result in is the unintended consequence of us having to be dependent on foreign oil. What I want to see is economic empowerment from the ground up. We had an electric car, a fully functional electric car from General Motors decades ago and it was a corporation that killed it because they would make more money that way.
How could we stop empowering corporations?
It's a huge topic. We have an entire legal structure that favors large companies because of this artificial too-big-to-fail mentality. The reality is if it's failing because it's not serving people, then it should fail. Remember, every company that exists today that's been great in forwarding innovation and human values and quality of life for Americans started out as the little guy.
You've said that New MExico be responsible for its own health care system. Is that even possible?
I think anything's possible in this country. This is America, land of opportunity, right? Now, it may not be possible immediately. Something has to happen at the federal level to make that possible.... Specifically, what we have in the health care industry that's been so destructive is health management organizations. HMOs are not a product of free exchange or voluntary interaction or people wanting to provide health care for each other. If we simply took away that special corporate structure of HMOs, that would go a long way to empowering individuals to come together at the state level or at the county level or the community level, rather than creating a national system and forcing it on everyone.
Could you tell me where you stand on the 9/11 Truth movement?
There's actually incompetence that was covered up about what happened that day. As with most things the Bush administration was involved with, a disturbing lack of accountability. I think all of the theories out there are speculation. What I'd be concerned with around the issue of 9/11 is making sure that this country is safer by really understanding what our government was doing on that day.
Is there anything else you would like to put out there?
I'd appreciate being able to say that my political philosophy is really the ultimate one of nonviolence and peace and ensuring that government is held to the same moral standards that we would hope to hold ourselves to as individuals.