On September 5th, 2018, Stephen Gordon passed away unexpectedly at the age of 56.
You may have never heard Stephen’s name (I called him “Gordo”) but there’s a very high likelihood that you’ve read or seen his work, but more importantly, with 100% certainty, his work has impacted the trajectory of your own life.
Gordo was one of those very rare men that work in the background, without a desire for fame, money or power . . . with the sole, passionate focus to protect and further Liberty in America.
And as a happy warrior, Stephen did that for decades while the butterfly effect of his work stretched into your life.
After serving our nation in the military, Gordo turned to politics.
I remember Stephen telling me of the first time he was “bloodied” by a protester while working Ollie North’s Senate Campaign in 1994.
As we sat in a shabby bar in Orlando, he retold the story with his usual excitable laughter just hours after a man with political disagreements very seriously threatened him with violence.
And as he ended many conversations, Stephen would smile and say, “that’s politics.”
Stephen’s intellect and way of happily dealing with confrontation without the need for personal attacks or the derisive goading that we see all too often today, drove political opposition to a breaking point.
This was an easy task for Gordo as the tenets of Liberty served as his sword and for those of you share that foundation know that when your eyes are open to Liberty, your beliefs are as solid as a mountain of granite.
With Stephen, his belief was pragmatic yet singular.
Our countless conversations and arguments molded my own viewpoints over many years and it was with happy resignation that my own views were simplified with this short phrase coined by another activist, Ernie Hancock.
For those who “get it,” that statement lives in the back of your mind as an easy-to-recall-reminder that regardless of the severity of the situation or issue, choosing a path toward Liberty, while it may not be easy, is the undeniable direction to take.
Stephen had many gifts in life. Boundless energy, an unrivaled work ethic, and admirably, after getting knocked down, he would get up, dust off, and with a smile on his face and laugh behind every phrase, go back in for another round.
Over many years, Gordo was the first man I would call up when I needed a fighter in the trenches.
One example of his unbreakable spirit happened in 2011.
Stephen had been hospitalized for months after barely surviving a car accident.
Not knowing the severity of his injuries and selfishly knowing Gordo wouldn’t say no, I asked him to step up and head to Capitol Hill to force lawmakers to watch confidential video footage from Project Veritas and their citizen journalists.
Gordo drove up from a tornado-ravaged Alabama within two days, fresh from the hospital, still on crutches (that he refused to use), and literally hobbled around Congressional office buildings for days.
Stephen completed the mission that established the transparency and availability of Project Veritas’ work with lawmakers . . . he did it with professionalism, enthusiasm and with the stoic understanding passed on to political leaders that it was an undercover reporter’s job to expose the truth, and Washington’s job to sort it out.
When Gordo returned to our Virginia base of operations, we would work through the night after pulling open a bottle of Bookers to dial down our enthusiasm for the work, while matching Stephen’s happy gusto that could consume a room.
A few years after that mission and many others, Stephen relocated from his beloved Alabama to New York to further the mission of Project Veritas.
Stephen’s final professional position came after decades of work for pro-liberty candidates and advocating and driving public opinion on nearly any issue of Liberty that you could imagine.
If a thoughtless politician was attempting to stamp out a freedom – large or small – you could usually hear Stephen Gordon’s enthusiastic voice in the distance, creating the strategy, organizing the troops and leading them onto the battle field.
For those who knew Stephen, he was never without humor.
Gordo and I led the Libertarian Party during our mutual “Don Quixote” days and humor was a requirement for survival.
Shortly before the GOP’s presidential nomination of centrist John McCain, as the Libertarian Party’s press secretary, Stephen chuckled into Republican Headquarters, carrying a massive funeral wreath.
The accompany note addressed to then Chairman Mike Duncan read, “Given that it has become readily apparent that Senator McCain will soon be the presidential nominee of the Republican Party, we, the staff of the Libertarian National Committee, send our condolences to you upon the death of small-government principles within the GOP.”
Gordo even managed to charm Republican staffers into taking a picture with him and the wreath . . . and everyone was smiling.
Stephen Gordon’s practical work to further Liberty was only matched by the way in which he worked. More than anyone out there, Stephen understood that politics is about persuasion and education.
Without vitriol or hate, Stephen Gordon served as a Champion for Liberty armed within unshakable beliefs, superior knowledge and an infectious southern charm that convinced me and countless others to stand vigilantly under the robes of Liberty and guard against any and all threats coming her way.
Gordo will be remembered and missed and as he walks away from this world, if you listen carefully, you can hear him shout in the distance, “Roll Tide!”
Rest in peace, Stephen.