Gary Johnson Speaks at Civil Rights Event In Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA—Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson made a brief appeal Monday to a handful of people attending a civil rights event sponsored by the National Union of American Families at Independence Square in the heart of Philadelphia.

The former New Mexico governor delivered an abbreviated version of his stump speech that touched on his non-interventionist foreign policy, support for civil liberties, and dire view of the current fiscal climate. Johnson emphasized his opposition to the drug war, too.

Johnson, wearing jeans, a blazer, and a t-shirt with the peace sign on it, spoke over an hour later than scheduled due to some complications with the event.  

“I think that we need to balance the federal budget now. If we don’t balance the federal budget now we are going to find ourselves without a country. I think we’re going to find ourselves in the midst of a monetary collapse. A monetary collapse is, very simply, when the dollars we have in our pocket don’t buy a thing,” he said.

Johnson drew the strongest response from the crowd when he talked about his position on legalizing marijuana. 

"Let's end the drug war, let's legalize marijuana now. Let's stop the incarceration of 2.3 million people in this country. Let's stop with arresting 1.8 million people a year in this country," he said.

Johnson spoke for approximately four minutes before departing for New York City for a slate of media appearances. He was introduced by longtime civil rights activist Jesse Epps.

The issue of ballot access also came up. Johnson's goal of nationwide ballot access is not out of the question but his campaign was dealt a significant blow by the Oklahoma Supreme Court when it ruled that he could not be on the Americans Elect ballot line in that state.

"It's definitely not over. It's still in litigation," said Johnson campaign spokesman Joe Hunter.

If Johnson was bothered by the late start to the event he did not show it. He smiled, mugged for the camera, and shook hands with all who passed by.

“Hey, it is Constitution Day after all,” he said while talking with people that stopped by the historic venue.

One passerby was puzzled as he was in search of the local Occupy Wall Street event.

“Hey do you guys know where Occupy is?” he asked.

“Ah, no,” responded Johnson’s impressively dapper body man Andrew Miller, a protégé of longtime Republican strategist Roger Stone.

Johnson is at the beginning of a multi-week nationwide tour of college campuses. He spoke earlier on Monday in the Philadelphia suburbs at West Chester University.

Here’s video of his speech in Independence Square. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • crazyfingers||

    I liked the speech except for the Fair Tax bit. Disregarding all of the negatives, it just seems like such a non-issue that probably goes over most people's heads.

    It looked like there were maybe a dozen people there. Democracy is alive and well in America!

  • Josh M.||

    Taxes are a non-issue? The government takes 40% of our income and you don't see that as an issue? Yikes! Fair Tax makes much more sense. Also, once income tax is abolished, starting and running a company will be much easier, leading to more new companies, jobs and more innovation.

    Gary Johnson 2012!

  • SIV||

    The fair tax is gay. Make every household in the country eagerly await their "prebate" check from the government?

    It is a political non-starter as well. "Oh, we are going to have a 30% National Sales Tax on top of everything you are paying state and locally. Kiss your home mortgage deduction goodbye. And ALL you savers and Roth IRA contributors? TIME TO PAY YOUR FAIR SHARE OF 30% ON TOP OF ALL THOSE OTHER TAXES YOU ALREADY PAID ON THE MONEY."

    The "abolished-IRS" will have to hire a lot of new people to monitor for compliance on every retail commercial transaction and the gov will still need to collect income data so they'll know who to pay welfare to. That is all if it is passed as written and even then it doesn't repeal the 16th Amendment.

    It won't pass as written Too much social engineering opportunities in taxing good transactions like buying things "for the children" and green stuff like Chevy Volts less while taxing BAD things like tobacco, guns and gas guzzlers more.Not to mention exemptions on stuff sold by favored constituencies and "fairly" taxing some used goods like cars, gold coins, and houses.

  • John||

    Speaking of civil rights. This is something else.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v....._embedded#!

  • Romulus Augustus||

    I heard Johnson earlier in the day - he spoke for maybe half an hour and answered questions from approx. 100 students. I had heard him in Las Vegas and I think he's improved 100% as a speaker. If by some miracle he got in the debates (by, say, Obama demanding he be included) I think he would do extremely well because he is in such sharp contrast to the Obamney.

  • SIV||

    They would have to include Green Party Jill Stein and Obama isn't going to let that happen.

  • Colleen McCool||

    Gary Johnson scores at 4% in CNN/ORC poll against Obama and Romney (those forsakers of the American Dream, self-government free of oppression) before his radio ads were even booked! "The survey marks the first time that CNN/ORC has included the Libertarian Party candidate in its 2012 presidential national polls." Thanks for all you do for reform: tweeting and other uses of the Internet to connect and spread the word about Gary Johnson and Judge Jim Gray! We can get them in the polls and the debates! And finally the White House!

  • Ryan60657||

    I'm a big supporter of Johnson, but here are my suggestions:

    He needs to drop the on the ballot on all 50 states line -- OK is looking like they won't allow him on.

    He also needs to lose the peace t-shirt. Not presidential at all. Jeans are fine, but put on a big-boy shirt please.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement