Let’s get some matters straight up front: The large, bearded man who stripped at the podium Sunday at the Libertarian Party Convention wasn’t the chairman of the Libertarian Party; he was just a candidate for that august position. As we’re not up on our national Libertarian politics, we’re not even sure how much of a change the man had at the big job. All we can say with certainty is that James Weeks, the man who attempted to get a crowd clapping and cheering as he stripped down to a thong at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando, Fla., is from Michigan.
In fact, Weeks is a candidate for Livingston County Sheriff. He’s a self-described “liberty activist” who has lived in Livingston County most of his life. The web page proclaiming his run for sheriff describes him as one who has "dedicated his life to achieving a free society, free from an omnipotent state that seems to wish to squeeze every last drop of freedom out of our lives."
It is unknown whether Weeks believes we should fight back by removing every last stitch of clothing.
Screengrab from C-SPAN
Some of the stuff on his website seems mild and sensible: Aside from an obvious distaste for the Livingston County Sheriff’s Department, the cluster of memes that makes up his platform seems to support civil liberties, especially when confronted with the power of the police.
But given 10 minutes in front of C-SPAN’s cameras, Weeks proved that “The Road to the White House” runs through some very unusual scenery.
Don’t take our word for it. Here’s the video:
Not to be size-ist about it, but Weeks has an unconventional body type for a strip-tease performer. This no doubt played into the increasing unease apparent among the convention audience. As soon as Weeks removes his blouse, the crowd begins loudly booing, which grows in volume as Weeks strips down to a thong with a cloth draped over his fanny. Many of the attendees look outright scandalized by the strip-tease — although as least one well-dressed convention member appears to run up on stage and tuck some money into Weeks’ thong.
Screengrab from C-SPAN
We’ve never seen C-SPAN dwell so long and lovingly on reaction shots from a convention crowd. One man does a double-facepalm. At one point, a young man in a purple shirt looks directly into the camera and shakes his head in disbelief. When the music ends, and Weeks understands he’s pushed the gag too far for this audience, he says, “Sorry. That was a dare. I’m gonna go ahead and drop out.” He’s barely gathered his things to get off the stage before one conventioneer with a hayseed accent (and a build not dissimilar to Weeks’) shouts, “Get off of the stage. You’re making an ass of yourself! Does anyone have the nerve to throw him out? Idiot!”
Perhaps this vocal objector was the delegates who sought to revoke Weeks' party membership, as reported by The Hill.
Now, say what you will about Weeks and his performance, but we have to take him at his word, that he’s committed to freedom, and unashamed to parade before his fellow Americans in all his pasty, white glory. Which is more ridiculous? A smiling, clapping man who disrobes for a few minutes? Or a political culture in which people seriously propose more bombs, more police, and more stringent laws? As a representative of a party that claims to value freedom and opposes excessive government, at least Weeks seems to walk the walk.
As for dancing, maybe he could spare us that part of it.