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Johnson talks politics at Hofstra

By Sean MulliganSTAFF WRITER

A Libertarian candidate has new ideas to revamp the current course of politics.

Gary Johnson, Libertarian Party 2012 presidential candidate and former governor of New Mexico, spoke to Hofstra students at the Cultural Center Theater Saturday night. Johnson lectured the audience about a variety of issues including the decriminalization of marijuana, the lack of media interest in third party candidates and American foreign interventionism.

Throughout the half hour speech, the former governor heavily criticized the Obama administration’s decision to increase its use of drone warfare.

“We’re making more enemies out of our drones. Our decisions have consequences. History has shown that foreign interventionism has bitten us in the butt years later,” said Johnson.

Johnson also criticized the NSA’s PRISM program, which spied on millions of Americans’ and foreigners’ text messages and phone calls. Johnson said that although there was little President Obama could do to eliminate the program, there was enough room to stop it.

“At a minimum, the president of the United States can stop [PRISM] from advancing. [The president] can’t roll back without legislation. I would want to be getting legislation that would roll it all back. What’s really missing in all of this is due process,” said Johnson.

Johnson had many grievances about the current political scene. He called out the president for keeping many Bush-era appointees in his administration. He also spoke against the Republican Party calling its protection of moneyed interests “hypocritical” and “deplorable.” Johnson also went after the media for the lack of third party coverage in elections.

The former New Mexico governor also called for the decriminalization of marijuana and possibly all recreational drugs. Johnson dubbed the war on drugs as a failure, saying that if currently illegal drugs were decriminalized, less people would use them and those who did could be more easily monitored. Johnson conceded that police would need to redefined impaired driving, and referred to his college days as an example.

Johnson concluded his half hour speech by stating that with the help of free market principles, he believes that health care reform could be achieved without direct legislation like the controversial Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.”

“I’m really interested in politics. I think it’s a very current issue and people need to be aware of the issues… I thought that his views were very reasonable,” said Victoria Snak, freshman business and public relations double major.

Hofstra Students for Liberty’s president Brett Linley said that the event was in the works for months and was happy to finally meet one of his favorite politicians minutes after taking pictures with Johnson.

“I saw that his tour was being promoted on Facebook. I got in touch with his people who were very helpful and forthcoming with information, and month by month we just started setting all of the details, and here we are,” said Linley, motioning towards the small crowd of people inside the Cultural Center.

Linley was surprised at the turnout and the amount of audience members who wanted to discuss certain issues with the former governor. On a few occasions Linley had to break up heated arguments between audience members.

“We had an audience that was very active and interested in what he had to say. Some people were definitely more enthusiastic, and you know, not even if not everyone agreed with what he said, they here came to listen to what he said and we were able to get that dialogue started,” said Linley. “And I think if we could just have that dialogue more than it is today, I think more people would be siding with Governor Johnson.”

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