Thursday, November 13, 2003

Dixon Backlash

Rev. Greg Dixon ran easily the highest profile race for City-County Council the Libertarian Party of Marion County has ever seen. And yet, he may have been more vigorously opposed by long-time libertarians than any other candidate in recent history. I can only chalk it up to a superficial take on the man.

Most know him as his father. Obviously, he isn't his father, but when most people hear the name "Rev. Greg Dixon", they recall the elder man, who took his Indianapolis Baptist Temple to the wall in a tax dispute with the IRS. The elder man is now retired. The younger man now leads the Indianapolis Baptist Temple. I can see the confusion if one heard, "Rev. Greg Dixon of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple". The younger man ran for office this fall.

In case anyone has never experienced a father and adult son before, I'll point this out about the Dixons: they share a lot of values, but they have their own ways of expressing them politically.

I was among the LP officials who met with Dixon The Younger for an exploratory lunch, where we asked him to consider running for office, from Mayor to City-County Council. We knew we had common ground on taxes, but were concerned about his stand on issues such as reproductive rights, drugs, homosexuality, etc. Never mind that as Mayor or City-County Councilman he would not be in a position to affect policy on reproductive rights or drugs... we still wanted to know. His answer was shocking.

He said (and I'm paraphrasing) that he personally opposes abortion, and does not support drug use or homosexuality, but he does not believe that government should make those decisions.

That sold me that he is a libertarian. From then on, I supported and encouraged his campaign. I have also found myself defending it.

I emailed LP members who live in Klop's district, trying to drum up support. In the message, I mentioned that Brad had put together a radio spot with Dixon. I received a curt reply from one members:

"Greg Dixon is no libertarian. Count me out."

One Lucius Alexander had a letter printed in the Oct. 22 Nuvo, thirteen days before the election, that trashed Dixon and Libertarians alike, assailing his candidacy as an axiomatic lack of integrity.

I defended Dixon with a letter of my own, which was printed the day after the election. Thanks, Nuvo.

Nuvo has since printed in the Nov. 12 edition a "thumbsup thumbsdown" slag on local Libertarians,

"Known for losing elections but sticking to principles, this time the party smelled victory and heavily promoted City-County Council candidate the Rev. Greg Dixon, anti-liberty on choice and fuzzy on drug legalization. Libertarians lost both the race and some credibility."

Naturally, if we are losing credibility with the socialist Nuvo, we are probably doing a lot of things right. I will point out again that reproductive rights and drug use are not something a City-County Councilperson can legislate, so the critique is pretty irrelevant.

So, I'd like to know which libertarian principle promoting Dixon violated. OK- I can think of a few. He ran an active, vibrant campaign. He ran to win. Those are hard for the professional iconoclast wing of our party to accept. He raised money. He went door-to-door and met the voters. Those are hard for the air castle-building debate society wing of our party to accept. But he was plain that those things he does not personally support, he does not want government to dictate on.

How I LONG FOR candidates who enunciate this! How right that this sentiment was expressed by an LP candidate! Rev. Dixon expressed glorious tolerance with this position on these issues, something I am betting his detractors have not even considered giving him credit for.

He deserves credit for it.

That is why I wrote the following letter to Nuvo (who really should link their published letters as they do their articles):


Should we gather from Lucius Alexander's letter regarding Libertarian city-county council candidate Rev. Greg Dixon that all who refuse to comply with authority are "sleazy"? Or setting fire to their own house?

By that logic, the brave civil rights activists who sat-in at lunch counters merely "sleazy" and "obstructing" the proper mores of the day. Certainly, Rosa Parks was not following her conscience, but merely acting out in reckless defiance. Yes, Mr. Alexander, Parks should have known her place and found her way to the back of the bus, where she might have more properly passed the time drafting legislation to present to the Birmingham city council for the consideration of eliminating Jim Crow.

Far too many people react to the violation of their consciences with quiet acquiescence. A few rare individuals are true to their principles, no matter how grave the threat, and no matter how they may be perceived.

Rev. Dixon is one such man. People like Rev. Dixon make this world a better place for having the courage to do what 99.9% of the population lacks the resolve to undertake. The Libertarian Party reached out to Dixon because he is a man of sterling character and integrity. Agree or disagree with his positions, you know he holds them as a matter of deep, heart-felt conviction.

I must concede that these are characteristics not usually found in those running for public office, and I can sympathize with Mr. Alexander's bewilderment. However, if you want something other than business as usual from officials, you must be willing to vote for those such as Rev. Dixon who sometimes refuse to say, "yes, sir. I will obey."

Sincerely Yours-

Michael R. Kole
Vice Chair, Libertarian Party of Marion County

Besides, the LPMC has run other candidates who personally oppose abortion, such as Andy Horning and Webster Smith. I have never heard of any outcry against them. In fact, those two gentlemen have been revered by local libertarians. It's about time that the Rev. was too.

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