This article originally appeared on the blog of Heretic, the magazine of We Are Libertarians.
I’m #InOnTheJoke… Are You?
(Note: This is my endorsement as the Editor of Heretic and as a contributor to the We Are Libertarians network. It is not the endorsement of the network itself.)
First, I laughed at them.
Then I was mad at them.
Then they won me over.
Like many, this was my path to embracing the campaign of Vermin Supreme and Spike Cohen in their magical campaign for the Presidency and Vice Presidency.
When I first saw that Vermin Supreme was running to be president in 2020, I chuckled. For years I’ve enjoyed Vermin as a performance artist, and I was happy for the chance to see him produce more content. Then I noticed that he was being taken seriously by many in the Libertarian Party, and I got angry. I’d seen the campaign’s #InOnTheJoke tagline, and I was indignant that this time it was my party, the Libertarian Party, that was the brunt of the joke. How dare Vermin and his running mate Spike Cohen make a mockery of my party!
Then, I actually listened to Vermin and Spike. It’s funny how actually listening to someone’s message can change your mind about them. After getting over my stubbornness and deciding to seriously give my ear to Vermin and Spike, they won me over almost instantly.
I was angry that they would make the Libertarian Party less respected by the establishment. The joke was on me though: they helped me realize that the establishment never would respect we heretics who stray outside of the two-party system. I was worried that my friends wouldn’t even consider voting for Vermin. The joke was on me though: many of my friends take the idea of Trump v. Biden far less seriously than they do Vermin’s candidacy. Most of all though, I was scared that Vermin and Spike didn’t actually stand for anything, that they were just here for the laughs and good times. The joke was on me though: these two fantastic men have built a campaign fueled by empathy, love, generosity, and goodwill with an incredible potential to make meaningful change in America’s political imagination. Now I’m proud to say that I and Heretic are in on the joke.
Vermin Supreme and Spike Cohen are brilliantly exposing our systems of power in America as the joke that they are. Do you think that Vermin’s jokes about a “pony-based economy” and utilizing zombies for energy production are bad? Wait until you see how the Feds handled the COVID-19 pandemic. You think that Vermin wearing a boot or Spike tearing his shirt off are tasteless acts? Wait until you learn what Donald Trump and Joe Biden have done to women. You think that Vermin and Spike are only this race for their own gain? Wait until you hear about all the insider trading that the “respectable” men and women in Congress get rich from.
You think Vermin and Spike are too absurd to be taken seriously? In a world were the policies of committing genocide in Yemen, drone-striking weddings and funerals, printing money out of thin air, and letting the crooks on Wall Street walk free while inner city dealers are locked up for life are taken seriously, being called “absurd” is high praise indeed.
Vermin Supreme and Spike Cohen have started something that could turn politics on its head, and it will if they are able to gain the Libertarian Party’s presidential nomination. They are trying to ignite a nonviolent revolution that exposes the politicians, the bankers, the fat cats, the bullies as the stumpy little Wizards of Oz that they are. They are radical apostles of anarchism – not of the smashing windows variety or the corporate domination fetish, but the purest form of anarchy imaginable: a world were love and empathy make our decisions rather than fear and anger.
I have never had the pleasure of meeting Vermin Supreme (though I would very much like to someday), but from what I’ve heard him say and based on the accounts of trusted friends who have had said pleasure, I believe him to be an incredibly kind, gentle, wise, and human person. I have had the pleasure of meeting Spike Cohen online briefly (during a debate the two of participated in on the topic of privatized police). He was enormously intelligent, charismatic, and exceedingly gracious to me (as I imagine he is to everyone).
All other issues of policy, philosophy, and piety aside, I can guarantee you that supporting Vermin and Spike means supporting two decent and thoughtful men – can you say the same about supporting Joe Biden or Trump?
If I haven’t convinced you or swayed your mind any, let me end this with some voices other than mine.
The following is an endorsement for Supreme/Cohen written by my friend and fellow member of WAL, Hodey Johns:
The following is a ten-minute, mini-documentary on Vermin and Spike’s campaign and crusade:
I sincerely hope that I have in some small way either increased your resolve to support Vermin Supreme and Spike Cohen if you are doing so already, or have swayed your opinion in favor of them even just a little.