Much is being made of Ron Paul’s decision not to endorse Gary Johnson — at least not yet. I don’t expect to win any popularity points for saying this, but I think people should keep in mind that his son is seeking reelection as a Republican, and he’s not a shoo-in. The race is competitive, and the Republican establishment’s support does make a difference.

I have a great deal of respect for Ron Paul, and his pragmatism is one of the reasons I respect him. He ran and won as a Republican for decades, and often stood alone for liberty in Congress. Personally I think that GOP is dead or dying, and libertarian Republicans should permanently abandon it, but Ron is still a leading voice in that faction.

Bottom line: If there’s any chance that his endorsement could hurt his son’s campaign, he will not give it. And I respect that. But don’t turn a pragmatic political decision into a denunciation of the LP ticket that hasn’t happened, and don’t turn him into some kind of Libertarian leader when he is, in fact, affiliated with an opposing party (although I’d like to see him and Rand and all of the libertarian conservatives join the LP).

Whether Ron Paul eventually endorses Johnson or not, I don’t believe he wants us to sabotage our own party in the year it’s getting more attention than ever. So, enough with the sour grapes. If you can’t support Johnson, stop making critical memes and find someone you can support; maybe your local LP candidates. Be a positive force. Build something rather than tearing the party down through criticism and inaction. Run for office yourself. Johnson is only one Libertarian candidate out of hundreds — maybe more — so don’t allow your personal feelings about him to harm all of those other Libertarians who are promoting liberty at the local level.

Or, you could focus on the positive aspects of Johnson’s campaign. Hundreds of thousands of innocent Americans have been locked in cages for cannabis-related crimes, and he openly uses cannabis. How many lives could President Johnson restore? And would those people care how he felt about drivers licenses? What about the Middle Eastern families torn apart by American drones — can you really argue that the election of President Johnson wouldn’t save lives? And what about the two-party system itself, which uses stolen tax dollars and corrupt laws to protect its monopoly on power — if Gary Johnson can deal a blow to this system and clear the way for other Libertarians — Austin Petersen, John Mcafee, Will Coley, whoever — to run competitive campaigns on a level playing field, isn’t that a future worth working for?

All I’m saying is that the Libertarian Party has an opportunity, not just to do well in the presidential race, but to make a difference across the board. To change city councils and school boards. To make their neighbors more free in little ways for the next couple of years. I believe this opportunity and its potential results are worth setting aside ideological differences — or at least agreeing to disagree for the moment — and focusing, instead, on our powerful message of hope, and working together to offer it to a nation that is craving it.