By Jennifer Hicks
**The following commentary is in reply to a Facebook post from candidate for governor Breland Ridenour. The text of his post is below my commentary. Some of the comments are specific to him, but most of what I have written is commentary I would direct toward all candidates.
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Calling himself a constitutionalist doesn't make him one, and I have witnessed firsthand behavior from Breland Ridenour which has demonstrated that he is squishy when it comes to freedom of expression. He tried to get me to censor and manipulate the information that voters have access to in my Facebook group, and when he didn't get his way, he tossed false accusations at me publicly (which he refused to support with evidence because he could not) and made a childlike and dramatic exit from the group.
People DO need to choose wisely, and I believe that years of attacks upon our First Amendment rights are the reason our freedoms have been gradually eroded to the point which they have. It is what has made us complacent in the face of tyranny. Above all things, I believe that people have the right to be fully informed so that they may choose for themselves what is best for them. The disgusting world of social media has given cover to far too many people who claim to be conservatives, but who (when they think they can get away with it and when it will benefit them) will engage in the very same censorship tactics which they claim to despise.
It has been my observation that many younger people do hold a different view of what it means to protect freedom. As many are aware, I once held a leadership role in NAGO, which is an endorser of Ridenour. NAGO is an example of what I believe is one of the greatest threats to our freedom, for the guidance provided by the group has been that which gives the appearance of fighting back against government overreach, but which—in reality—has inadvertently taught the people who sought their guidance how to compromise and negotiate with their freedom.
Regardless of how well-intentioned their efforts are, I do not believe that we should ever agree to surrender any of our freedoms for the sake of temporary comfort. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and the consequences of being unwilling to take up the harder fight (which inevitably comes when we refuse to negotiate away our God-given rights) are that our freedoms erode at a pace which may perhaps escape our notice, and losses of freedom are mistakenly perceived as victories.
The left is (and has been for decades) playing a long game. They are patient and are happy with small victories as they chip away, little by little, at our freedoms. We should never meet with them at the table to negotiate our God-given and constitutionally protected rights. And yet, that is exactly what happened with LB 906, which many have been misled to believe protects medical freedom. It doesn’t. It came at the cost of now having it written into law that an employer may require masking and testing of employees. Ground was lost in the fight to protect medical freedom with the passage of LB 906. There is danger in thinking that we gained something from that bill, and I believe that those who proclaim themselves to be constitutionalist and who do not speak out against bad legislation such as this pose a very real threat to our future.
Ridenour says, “The primary election is the rare small window in which we as voters get the opportunity to aim for our ideals. The general is the time for political compromises and consolidation.” He is correct that the primary election in May is the only opportunity for voters to elect into office non-establishment, grassroots candidates. But I believe that Ridenour misses the mark when he has failed to adequately speak to the fact that our country was usurped in November 2020, rendering every election to follow essentially meaningless if we do not first acknowledge that our election process is a corrupt one which cannot be trusted to render an outcome that is a true reflection of the will of the people.
As an expert in IT, Ridenour is no doubt very familiar with the cybersecurity threats that we face when ES&S is permitted to exert full control over our elections, with no outside oversight of what they are doing. If Ridenour is the constitutionalist that he claims to be, then he should join the Voices of Nebraska team of candidates who have been trying to sound the alarm that our elections are being conducted unconstitutionally when ES&S is permitted to be involved. Every candidate who proclaims to be a constitutionalist should go on the record and state that the outcome of any election in which ES&S has been a part is one that should be considered unconstitutional and should not be trusted to truly reflect the will of the people.
Being a constitutionalist requires courage to take on the hard fights—and there is no reason that every candidate should not be taking on those fights RIGHT NOW. Promises of what they will do in the future mean nothing if a candidate is willing to forfeit your constitutionally protected right to a free election in the primary. We’ve already had our country stolen from us at the ballot box. The question which remains is whether or not we will demand that it be given back. The choice is ours, and we should seek leaders who have demonstrated the courage to speak the hard (and often unpopular) truth. The truth is that if we are to save our state and our country, sacrifices will have to be made. Uneasiness and discomfort will have to be embraced as a necessary part of the solution. It means that people are going to have to put in more work than they have been if they want to protect their freedoms, and cannot outsource that responsibility to any politician.
I believe that any candidate who isn’t speaking these truths to the people is doing them a disservice. People should not be looking to candidates for office to provide the solutions. The only effective solutions will be the result of what “we the people” decide and what we choose to consent to. We get what we accept, and in seeking guidance for what our role in protecting our freedom should be, we should not be looking to anyone on this earth, but instead to God.
Disclaimer: This is not an attempt to sling mud. Nothing against the other candidates here. However, I often hear candidates say how "similar" we all are and how we all agree on "most everything". That couldn't be any further from the truth - there's plenty that I believe sets me apart from the others. The results of this quiz seems to showcase this in a way...Aside from the two candidates who have yet to take this ActiVote political quiz, everyone in the GOP field has completed it. Notice how centrist or near the middle everyone is...then notice how much further I am to the right (in between Rand Paul and Ted Cruz). While I am open to hearing all angles of an issue (remember, 360 degree problem solving), this result shows you that I'm very principled, and integrity is the characteristic I pride myself the most on.
The moral of the story? Vote your conscience. If you are unsure about voting for me simply due to the grass roots nature of my campaign and therefore the minimal amount of funds involved, then just let that preconceived notion go. The general election is where those factors begin to matter more, and whoever gets the nomination will surely have an abundance of money to work with anyway.
The primary election is the rare small window in which we as voters get the opportunity to aim for our ideals. The general is the time for political compromises and consolidation. Vote for me on May 10th if you prioritize not only expanding but reclaiming personal freedom, enforcing a more limited government, getting rid of property taxes, and growing our economy the smart way - securely.
Let's go Nebraska! We CAN do this!