State Representative Dan Gordon made the high profile switch from the Republican to the Libertarian Party in the Fall of 2011. Since then he’s been a “caucus of one” in the State House, which has allowed him to speak and operate more freely than ever before. Representative Gordon has taken a lot of abuse in the Rhode Island media, particularly following an arrest for driving with a suspended license and failure to appear in court in Massachusetts that led to a discovery about some of Gordon’s well documented past legal issues.
In addition to his duties in the Rhode Island General Assembly, Gordon has become a very active presence on social networking website Twitter. Sometimes firing off dozens of tweets each day, Gordon has attracted nearly 3,000 followers with his humorous pull-no-punches style of interaction.
Recently, Representative Gordon was kind enough to talk with Uncovered Politics about his first term in office, plans for seeking re-election, and his views on the Occupy Wall Street movement.
QUESTION: No stranger to controversy during your first term, following a break with the Republican caucus you announced you were joining the Libertarian Party. How has that decision to switch parties impacted your role in the General Assembly? Is it lonely to be a caucus of one?
REPRESENTATIVE GORDON: First some clarification on the break from the Republican Caucus. Myself and three other members had left the Caucus last May when an ambitious 2nd termer, Rep. Brian Newberry, decided to take a run at the Minority Leadership. The Leader at the time had had an arrest for marijuana possession. A vote of confidence was taken among the caucus and we decided to allow due process take it’s course before voting on a change in leadership. Note that the entire caucus was comprised of ten members at the time, versus the 65 in the Majority Caucus; we were/are numerically irrelevant. Days later, Rep. Newberry in collusion with Rep. Joe Trillo, who makes no secret his hatred for the former Leader, began burning up the phone lines of us in the caucus, trying to wrangle votes to oust the Leader. Four of us refused.
I had a business meeting the day the secret vote was planned, and asked for a one-day postponement. It was refused with Rep. Trillo saying, “we must strike while the iron is hot”, and that the rules didn’t permit a delay. That ‘rule’ is non-existent. It was a lie. The vote was taken with six voting for Newberry and the four of us, ‘nay’. We four then sent a signed letter to the Speaker of the House informing him that because of that treacherous act, we were leaving the caucus in protest and in disgust. Seating rearrangements in the House chamber were made to reflect the change. We leaving the caucus was only covered by with a brief blurb by the local NBC affiliate.
The next four months I was verbally, and on social media, active in decrying this purely politically ambitious coup, as well as the many foolish and unconstitutional pieces of legislation and votes certain members were putting forth. I received a letter from now Leader Newberry demanding that I cease from saying anything negative about members of his caucus, or there would be sanctions. I reminded him that I hadn’t been a member of that caucus for four months, and I absolutely would not remain silent. I then published his threatening letter on my Facebook page. A few days later, I received a phone call from a local reporter asking about me being “kicked out of the caucus”. He informed me that a secret meeting had been held by the six members and they unanimously ‘voted’ me out, followed by a pre-arranged press conference. It was a purely orchestrated move, much like what was done to the former Leader, to smear me in the press and public eye. Remember, I hadn’t been a member for over four months, but our lackluster press will feed on any Republican red meat thrown to them, truth be damned.
That is when I decided that being under the label of the ‘lesser of two evils’ was no longer acceptable, and contacted the Libertarian Party whose platforms I had always embraced. Being Republican was merely a symptom of the two party system.
My role in the General Assembly has actually become more relevant. The Democrat majority, knowing the truth, was sympathetic and new friendships were formed. Leaving the Party has been the most invigorating, freeing experience of my life, especially now that I can fire, unfettered, in all directions.
Lonely being a “caucus of one”? Not at all. The freedom to do exactly as I please in the interest of my constituents without Party shenanigans pushing or pulling one in calculated moves, is absolutely wonderful. I only regret not having that old file cabinet drawer in the Minority office for my snacks and stationary.
QUESTION: You’ve been identified as a supporter of the #Anonymous movement. Is this accurate?
REPRESENTATIVE GORDON: Yes, that is accurate. In fact, I am Anonymous, though not in the prevalent sense, not being anonymous online. Let me explain. Anonymous is an idea. The idea that regardless of race, skin color, age, social class, finances, or gender, we are all equal and united for the common cause of freedom without being judged. This is manifested in the adoption of the Guy Fawkes mask. That being said there are those that ‘color outside of the lines’ just as in every other segment of society. We see in the press quite often the term ‘hacktivist’, in regards to Anonymous that would paint the entire ‘idea’ with the same broad brush. Sure, there are those that hack. I obviously cannot and will not condone illegal activity, but I am neither law enforcement nor a judge. I have blood relatives that have done ‘wrong’, but I don’t love them any less. Same with my Anonymous family. What individuals choose to do is their business, and sometimes there are consequences.
There are many different demographics that make up Anonymous. Notably, many highly intelligent young people that just don’t ‘fit it’, are bullied by their peers in school, and just want to belong as we all do. It’s human nature to want to be loved. I get it. I didn’t ‘fit in’ so much growing up. It’s those kids in particular that I feel for and if we can share some camaraderie via Twitter and I can learn something from them, it’s a good thing.
QUESTION: What is your feeling about Occupy Wall Street?
REPRESENTATIVE GORDON: Glad you asked! Did you know the Occupy movement was started by Anonymous? True story. Look for the #A99 hashtag on Twitter. Unfortunately, AdBusters saw an opportunity to take a good thing and attempt to co-opt it for their own purposes. I support Occupy, but I think they are occupying the wrong spots, in my opinion. The banksters (sic) are what they are and they could care less about the protests, nationwide or not. Do an internet search for the parable about the scorpion and the frog to see my point. I believe they should be occupying their state capitol buildings, for the legislators are the ones that are supposed to be the gatekeepers of liberty, freedom, and justice. They are the ones that need to made uncomfortable to cajole them to do the jobs they were elected to do.
QUESTION: What do you think about your own chances for winning re-election this year?
REPRESENTATIVE GORDON: I don’t know. The voters don’t really pay attention to our votes or legislative accomplishments unless they directly affect their households in a tangible way. They pay more attention to reality-tv style foolishness or downright lies printed in the local newspapers. We’ll have to see what the feel of the constituency is. If it seems negative and/or I think I may be more effective by going back to being a citizen activist, I shall do just that. Plus I have an internet privacy project that I am working on with some of the best and brightest in the Country. We’ll have to see. I have until the end of June to decide if I am running or not again.
QUESTION: Have you decided who you will support in the Presidential race?
REPRESENTATIVE GORDON: Ron Paul or no one.
(Editor’s note: We asked Representative Gordon this question before the Rhode Island Republican primary. We’ve reached out to clarify if his statement as it relates to the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee and we will update this post if we hear back from Rep. Gordon.)
QUESTION: After your time in the General Assembly is completed, is running for any higher level office something you have considered? If so, what office?
REPRESENTATIVE GORDON: I never even had aspirations for this office. There was a void created when my Rep. vacated the seat for a Congressional run, and the Democrat that is a perennial candidate, running for everything from dog catcher, to town treasurer, to general assembly, was going to walk right in unopposed. I didn’t want him to be my Rep, so having the time, I had to give it a shot. But, no. I have no desire to wade any deeper into the swamp.
QUESTION: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us, is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
REPRESENTATIVE GORDON: You are most welcome, and thank you for the opportunity to speak. When you folks get a moment, do an internet search for the ‘Tytler Cycle’ and see where you think we are as a society.
Then do what you have to do to preserve what liberty you have left, and to take back what is rightfully yours.
Your government has failed you and now it’s your responsibility to yourself, family, friends, and posterity.
“Posterity, you will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it. If you do not, I shall repent in heaven that ever I took half the pains to preserve it.” ~John Adams