Yesterday, June 29, 2015, Augustus Invictus, a Libertarian candidate seeking to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio in Florida, has called for the boycott of large retailers. Related to their banning of the Confederate flag from their store shelves and websites, Invictus would like to see people stop shopping at Wal-Mart, eBay, Amazon, Apple, Sears, K-Mart and any other retailers who have banned the sale of the Confederate flag. These stores have stopped selling the Confederate flag because many people find it offensive; however, many of these same retailers continue to carry other offensive items such as items with Che Guevara’s image.
Last night, Invictus stated, “The Confederate flag is to us Southerners a symbol of rebellion against tyranny. It is the symbol of a people who believe in freedom and clean air. It is the symbol of our home, our land, our childhoods and our ancestry. It is a symbol of bayous and defiance, of Southern belles and Southern drawls. It is at once wild and aristocratic. And whether as a private Floridian or a United States Senate Candidate, I will support it. To this end, I hereby call for a boycott of Wal-Mart Stores, Ebay, Amazon, Apple, and Sears Holdings Corporation. Until these companies lift their ban on the Confederate flag, let no American support their disdain for free speech by purchasing their products or becoming patron to their stores. Being worshipers of money, they do not understand honor, dignity, or freedom – but they do understand a decline in sales and a dwindling market share.”
When Libertarians start talking about the Confederate flag and whether it should be displayed, sold or revered, the conversation evolves into a conversation about former President Abraham Lincoln. The national Libertarian Party has not issued a statement on the issue. The issue arose after a photograph was discovered of 21 year old Dylann Roof with a Confederate flag. Roof, who is white, killed nine black people while at church, stating that he did so because of the color of their skin. Nikki Haley, Governor of North Carolina, where the murders happened, has called for removal of the Confederate flag from state property.
As is often the case, Libertarians are ahead on issues. Two months prior to Roof’s hateful killings, David Boaz, Vice-President of the libertarian-minded Cato Institute, was calling for removal of the Confederate flag from government property. He states, “As long as the violence and cruelty of slavery remain a living memory to millions of Americans, symbols of slavery should not be displayed by American governments. Those who want to honor their brave ancestors who fought for Southern independence should fly the Confederate flag themselves, tend to Confederate graves and hold Southern Heritage picnics. They should not ask their fellow citizens to walk into a state capitol under a banner that proclaims the superiority of some citizens to others.”
Getting back to Invictus; he is a controversial candidate within the Libertarian Party of Florida (LPF). Some are supporting his campaign while others despise him and say he is not a Libertarian. Some have publicly said that he’s “crazy” and others say he’s “dangerous”. Newly-elected Chair of the LPF, Adrian Wyllie, has even gone so far as to state that he will work to make sure the public does not confuse Invictus’ campaign with Libertarianism and does not want to see him on the ballot.
Invictus may have competition as former Republican “trickster” Roger Stone may run for U.S. Senate in Florida as he has formed an exploratory committee to do so under the Libertarian Party banner. So far, only three Republican Party candidates have declared and there is a long list of Republican candidates that are considering a run. The number of Democrats running changes on an almost daily basis and the leading contender is Democratic Congressman Patrick Murphy. However, we will not know for sure who is in the running until next June, once qualifying week has closed. Then we will see who will be in the primaries.