By John Keller | United States
Bill Kelsey is a graduate of the US Naval Academy, class of 1973, and spent his career as a pilot. He has flown in Africa, spent time in the Middle East, and currently lives in Texas. When not flying Bill reads the histories of the countries in which he works and studies their languages. He is fluent in Arabic, Chinese, and Spanish, and can survive in French, Portuguese, and Swahili, and is working hard on Farsi, Luganda, and Tigrinia. He is hoping to bring his passion for flying and history to the 10th Texas Congressional District to help America soar higher than ever before.
Keller: What motivated you to seek office as a congressman?
Kelsey: I have a strong desire to represent the libertarian message coherently. Running for office gives an opportunity to do so. In this case, I chose to run for Federal office because I have deep lifetime experiences in war and semi-war zones abroad. As for running specifically against Michael McCaul, the idea occurred to me in 2011. I was on a contract as a pilot flying around South Sudan in a situation which took me out into the bush and put me in contact with many people. Upon discovering that my Congressman was Chairman of the Subcommittee on South Sudan I wrote him a courtesy letter offering to stay in touch and keep him directly informed and help with any fact checking he might need. (I also have a background in African studies and languages). I received a generic email thanking me for my interest and so on, with no indication that he had received or understood the substance of my letter. Other communications to him on matters of policy have received similar generic responses. Realizing that he was impervious to communication from constituents, I made my choice.
Keller: You are running as a Libertarian. What makes a Libertarian different from a Republican and a Democrat?
Kelsey: The Republican and Democratic parties are both complicit in the wars and interventions abroad. As an individual and as a Libertarian I will be speaking out and working against this unfortunate phenomenon at every opportunity. In general, both parties support programs which cost taxpayer dollars. Libertarians will work to cut back programs which cost taxpayer dollars, preferring to rely on the market and voluntary action in society. The politicians of both parties boast of the Federal – that is taxpayer – dollars they bring to their constituents. The Libertarian will make no effort to bring taxpayer money back to the constituents, preferring not to collect the taxes from them in the first place.
Keller: Your primary opponent, Michael McCaul, is an incumbent Republican who has held his seat since 2005. Why is now the time for a Libertarian to represent Texas, and America, in Congress?
Kelsey: It has always been time for a Libertarian in Congress, though now, with both older parties in great disarray, we hope to be a breath of fresh air. Libertarians have never been dominant in American culture and politics, even during the Revolution. But we have always had libertarian lights shining in the darkness. Three and a half centuries ago a libertarian foremother, Mary Dyer, was hung in Boston for her views. A century and a half ago libertarian forefathers Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison engaged in debates which still inform internal party arguments today. We have a rich tradition in history.
Keller: If elected to office, what are the three most important policies you want to see changed or put into effect?
Kelsey: (1) I would work to completely change the relationship of the United States with the rest of the world. That means welcoming free trade of goods and ideas and travel. It also means withdrawing from all wars, known and unknown, declared and undeclared, many of which are taking place in countries most Americans have not heard of. I will work to end all subsidies to foreign governments, withdraw from all foreign military alliances, withdraw all US forces from abroad and close all US bases from abroad. I will oppose any government efforts to either support or overthrow any foreign governments. There should be no exceptions for any special allies or unique relationships.
(2) A society under stress tends to blame resident foreigners for its problems. Along with the libertarian movement I intend to show leadership on this matter and encourage Americans to rise above negative attitudes to new arrivals. We must recognize that immigrants bring talent and energy to our country. Our attitude towards immigrants must be one of tolerance, compassion, and gratitude for what they bring. A first step will be to simplify the process for legal immigration and get rid of the bureaucratic maze which they face now. All immigrants should be self-supporting or under the financial sponsorship of private citizens or organizations. To the extent there is fear of immigrants “going on welfare” the quarrel is with the welfare system and not the immigrants. As for so-called “illegal aliens” I harbor no indignation about the commission of victimless crimes. Many immigrants are “illegal” by virtue of obscure bureaucratic technicalities. Others are here as refugees from deadly situations and could not afford the time or expense of the legal process. We must put simple procedures in place to formalize the status of undocumented residents and allow them to participate fully in our economy and our legal system.
(3) The income tax system is a degrading insult to every American. My goal as a libertarian will be its abolition. The first steps towards that end will include a radical simplification of the paperwork and filing process. At the same time, taxation of income should be eliminated for the lower one third income bracket of the population, along with any requirement to file. Such an income tax system as might remain during a transition period must not be used to manipulate behavior through “tax incentives.” We must also ban the use of the system to punish or reward citizens for their personal beliefs or political activities. Most importantly, during the transition to eventual abolition, no citizen should be compelled to contribute to any government program which is in violation of the citizen’s conscience.
Keller: Gun control has become a major issue given the recent events in Florida. Where do you stand on this policy issue?
Kelsey: As one who has worked in war zones abroad as a pilot with humanitarian organizations, I have seen the horror and devastation caused by organized mass slaughter. I am conscious of the United States government as a merchant of death. I will not collude with the greatest producer and exporter of advanced weaponry and munitions abroad in any efforts to confiscate weapons from peaceful citizens.
Keller: For the past 158 years the two parties have run the White House and Congress. What will a Libertarian member of Congress offer in such a polarized political scene?
Kelsey: I would do my best to be a voice of reason and patience, a light in a dark place, a blade of grass emerging from the concrete.
Keller: Do you have any final remarks for the readers and the people of Texas?
Kelsey: Waste your votes on the declining old parties no longer. Reject the logic of choosing the perceived lesser of two evils. Choose life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Vote for Libertarian candidates.