Independent Candidate Fights Back; Gets Arrested

Independent candidate for Congress, John Murphy (PA-16), who has been endorsed by several third parties including two county-level Libertarian Parties, found himself arrested after protesting a local ballot-Nazi’s attempt to remove a Green candidate on a rather trivial technicality. According to Murphy’s article published by CounterPunch:

This 24-year-old unibrowed gargoyle however was long past considering such foolish, romantic notions as “freedom”, “justice” and “democratic values”. When he instructed me to remove six signatures from Mr. Romanelli’s petition as invalid simply because the six people had all mistakenly printed their name in the first column and signed their name in the second column instead of the other way around, I slammed my hand on the table and shouted “shit, if you’re going to remove those signatures, you maggot”.

Now of course I realize that there have been times in the past when I have been more complementary to Democrats but I certainly did not realize that calling a Democrat a “maggot” was in any way similar to shouting “fire” in a crowded movie theater. At best I thought someone might call me impolite but instead I was surrounded by menacing members of the Democratic Party, grabbed by a court officer in Gestapo like fashion and forcibly removed from the room. When I refused to “sit down and shut up” as instructed by the court officer, the police were summoned. I was ultimately charged with “disorderly conduct”, at the insistence of the attorney for the Democratic Party, and was led away by the police. It is against the law, you see, to call a Democrat a maggot even if he is consuming the still living tissue of our body politic.

The world could use a few more John Murphys. He goes on to describe various tactics the mega party is using to marginalize his campaign as well. It is an interesting read.

posted by disinter
  • Stephen VanDyke

    It’s disturbing that third party and independent candidates are getting arrested for standing up for fair elections and free speech more and more each election (Badnarik/Cobb in 2004, Peirce supporters in 2006, now this guy).

    I wonder when the free speech pens will pop up to move the third parties into a different zip code than where the debates are held so we can’t bring attention to this kind of stuff?

  • Devious David

    What I want to know is what happens when every pretext of fairness towards other parties or even other ideas is discarded?

  • http://warcriminal.freeservers.com Sol

    In many respects the political system in this country is similar to the former Soviet Union. There one corrupt, immoral party had a strangle hold on power. In the USSA two corrupt, immoral parties have a strangle hold on power so most elections are charades.

  • geek

    While I don’t advocate arresting 3rd party candidates, there is a certain amount of respect and calmness you must have during the process. If elected, there will be many more times where he would have his intent foiled by “tricks” of procedure, etc. Maturity in the face of adversity is a must.

  • HippyChimp

    sigh… I was going to go on another rant about how we’ve got a broken political system and reiterate my belief that the majority of americans are stupid like frogs in a kettle not even noticing that the water’s been boiling for a while now, but I just don’t have the energy this morning. Suffice it to say these sort of shenanegans make me SICK.

  • Derrick

    When is it OK for us to start throwing Molotov cocktails?

  • Timothy West

    not until the Social Security Checks stop cashing. As long as they keep getting their money, the republic is “safe”.

  • http://voteoverstreet.org Kris Overstreet

    Oh, brother.

    Political protest does not include public profanity, personal insult of one’s opponents, or disrupting either a public event or (I can’t tell which it was from Murphy’s account) a courtroom trial. He doesn’t actually -say- what the venue was- and if it was a private event, like (for instance) a local Democratic Party meeting, then no he does -not- have free speech rights at someone else’s event.

    Mr. Murphy is acting like a spoiled little child- not a nice thing to see in a man of sixty, and definitely not what I’d like to see in a candidate endorsed by the Libertarian Party.

  • http://www.crazyforliberty.com Doug Craig

    Derrick I ask the same question .At what point to we take up arms.At what point will we have to lose our freedoms to get people that angry.I believe we will not reach that point as long as it is a slow trip down that road.

  • HippyChimp

    Kris, the issue here that’s bothering me isn’t freedom of speech related. It’s the ballot access issue that bother’s me. That some asshat bureaucrat can so flippantly keep a candidate off the ballot, or even the fact that they think they can and don’t see a problem with it, is absolutely infuriating.

  • http://www.myspace.com/10forliberty Mitchell Port

    Kris, private venue or public, this man should not have been arrested. I would have screamed far worse in the situation. Even if the venue was private, I would hope that the worst they would do is have him removed from the event.

  • PeterBB

    He probably shouldn’t have yelled “maggot” at the Dem, but to be honest I probaby would have too. Nonetheless, you don’t arrest people for getting mad at you.

    The worst part of this story is the creepy ballot-access shenanigans the Dem tried to pull.

  • R. E. Lee

    Maggots only consume dead tissue. The guy in question is
    simply a turd. However, he was enforcing the rules (too bad that any living body (or even a dead one) can vote in an election without producing ID). Lesson for us: when
    petitioning be explicit with your signer: “sign your last name here, etc.” while pointing to the paper. If they
    screw up, line it out and ask them to sign again. The hardest part is getting them to agree to sign in the first place, so don’t let your effort be wasted because you didn’t properly monitor the act of signing.

  • disinter

    One of the reasons that Mr. Murphy might be so upset is that Mr. Romanelli is fighting an uphill legal battle for ballot access that has to do with the number of signatures required.

    More Info

  • http://www.chuckmoulton.org/ Chuck Moulton

    Regarding comment 13, in my experience if I’m getting less than 5 signatures simultaneously I’m not at a good petitioning location.

  • http://www.tom-hanna.org Tom Hanna

    So the signatures were thrown out simply because the idiots who signed didn’t follow simple directions? Sorry, but if you can’t follow directions that simple your signature should be thrown out. His insult was in protest of something thoroughly correct. I was just an observer in an election recount and out of over 3,000 ballots cast the “change” was 16 people who circled the candidate name, put an X by the candidate name or something else instead of following the simple instructions. It didn’t change the outcome, but frankly those 16 votes should have been thrown out. A tyranny of the majority is bad enough, but subjecting ourselves to a majority that can’t even sign in the right column or fill out their ballot like the picture their given as an example is utterly ridiculous.

  • Seth

    Chuck: that also implies a heavily populated and trafficed area. In some places, that’s either rare or non-existent.

    Tom: In some places, having ANY bad signatures means throwing out the entire page. In Oregon, that happened to my signature a few years back. (It didn’t match the one on file [you try signing off the cuff one-handed at a grocery store], so they threw out 24 others with it. Talk about a broken system, and easily sabotaged too)

  • http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14 paulie cannoli

    “when petitioning be explicit with your signer: “sign your last name here, etc.” while pointing to the paper. If they
    screw up, line it out and ask them to sign again.”

    You’ll have good quality that way, but it will kill your numbers.

    “So the signatures were thrown out simply because the idiots who signed didn’t follow simple directions? Sorry, but if you can’t follow directions that simple your signature should be thrown out.”

    I don’t agree. If your intent was clearly to sign, what difference does it make if you reverse your signature and printed name? That’s nitpicking to the point of being beyond ridiculous.

  • LeoTolstoy

    I find it interesting the animosity the Greens feel for the Democrats who they are naturally pulling members from.

    do Libertarians feel similar animosity towards the Republicans?

  • http://www.lpalabama.org/blog/14 paulie cannoli

    Really, I feel animosity for the leadership of both parties. At the moment, the Republicans bother me more, but in the 90s it was the Clinton gang. I was a Democrat formerly and still don’t care for the NSGOP, for whatever that’s worth.