I began writing this simply as a “note” for my Facebook friends to explain to them why it is that every week I inevitably have a dozen political status updates of which most concern Ron Paul. I have had family, friends, and co-workers say, “It is clear you really believe in this guy, but what is the big deal? Why does Ron Paul matter?” For myself, the answer is part of who I have become, yet to truly explain why Ron Paul matters would require me to sit down and write it out. To be sure, anyone who asks about Ron Paul in a 10 foot radius of me is likely to get his or her ear talked off, but I truly wanted to do the good Dr. Paul justice by explaining why he matters to me. For this explanation to make sense it really has to start with my own political journey. I grew up in a very conservative and religious household. Needless to say, in 2000 and 2004 there were Bush/Cheney signs in my neighbor’s yards. Fox News was sure to be on the TV in favor of another “news” station. When 2007 rolled around it was my first chance to support a candidate when I would be of the voting age for a general election. At this point I firmly believed that being in Iraq and Afghanistan was the right thing, the bailouts had been necessary, the PATRIOT act was possibly necessary, our markets were at least somewhat free, and that by-golly if we could just get some more Republicans in office then our country would be much better off. Most of all, and perhaps the most disturbing of all my beliefs, I thought there was a meaningful difference between the Democrats and Republicans. Let me put it another way: I voted for McCain/Palin and believed that there was a significant difference between the Democrat and GOP ticket. Ok. There, I said it. I just had to get that off my chest. Only a few years later, I have thankfully realized that every belief and action in the above paragraph was foolish, naïve, and ignorant. But I am getting ahead of myself. When Barack Obama won the 2008 election, my internal political compass had already begun to shift. I freely admit 99% of me thought it was a catastrophe that he was elected, but the other 1% was glad he won. What was the source of the change? During the Republican nomination debates there was a Texas Congressman, Representative Ron Paul, who spoke of how our foreign military presence actually made us less safe. This conflicted with McCain, saying that we might need to have our military in Iraq for another 100 years was equivalent to a slap in the face. Something was going on here that I knew I needed to get to the heart of, but I was still stuck in my Democrat/GOP political paradigm. So when McCain went on to win the nomination, I put all thoughts of the humble Dr. Paul out of my head and went on to join the masses. However, when Obama won the election, there was that 1% of me that was happy as I had heard him say the first thing he would do would be pull our troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq. President Obama made his promise to get our troops out of the Middle East only immediately to break his promise upon entering office. This really disheartened me. It was at that point that I saw a e-book copy of Ron Paul’s The Revolution: A Manifesto. I read it and thought it was impressive, but at the time it didn’t floor me. Weeks later, the housing bubble burst in what I thought was a very surprising and unpredictable manner. Finally in the summer of 2009 I came across a YouTube video that absolutely rocked my world. http://bit.ly/bkTDOs Here I heard a man, when so many Washington and Federal Reserve spokespeople had said otherwise, in a clear manner predict the collapse of the housing market five years before it began. Ron Paul was the man who had woken me up to the lies of our overseas militarism (although even at this point I did not fully understand the military-industrial complex) so I knew he had some credibility when it came to speaking the truth that no one wanted to hear. At this point I was certain that I needed to investigate who this congressman was. I began to check out his voting record and was astounded to discover that throughout his entire political career he was consistent. He always spoke of how we needed to secure our economic and civil liberties… and then he actually voted that way. He voted against the bailouts, against corporate welfare, against all foreign military action, against the PATRIOT act, etc. He was the consummate congressman who actually upheld his oath to support and defend the Constitution. At all times. You would think at this point I would have been completely sold on Ron Paul, but having an extremely strong understanding of economics and freedom still wasn’t quite enough. I was sold on him as a person, but I thought his ideas hadn’t taken root at large. I had incorrectly assumed that when his 2008 Presidential campaign ended that it was more or less the end of his “revolution.”
Dr. Paul, '07
I then stumbled across another video from 2002 that finally made me realize what a genius this man was. Listen to the words from 2002 and notice how he correctly predicted the Iraq War, Bush and Obama’s unconstitutional wars/policies in the Middle East and Africa, and the Federal Reserve’s actions that would cause inflation and a flight to gold from the dollar. http://bit.ly/bxQqaA He makes other correct predictions as well, but those were the most astonishing to me. It was at this point that I was Ron Paul’s man. Most importantly, as Dr. Paul says, “It’s not like I’m a powerful person. My ideas are.” I was awoken to the message of liberty. I discovered that there was such a thing as a sincere politician. I decided I would settle for nothing less than politicians who vote in accordance with their stated principles. Political parties clearly appeared to me as an illusion to keep the majority of Americans believing they were fighting for something substantial and that their politicians were “The Good Guys.” We were to be satisfied when our people won, not because they would actually ever enact legislation that our party stood for, but because our team won. A few years have gone by since my political awakening, but I feel that the amount I have recently learned has been more important than all the previous years of knowledge I had amassed. I hope the story wasn’t too boring, cliché, or soapboxish but I think it will put my view of Dr. Paul’s strengths into perspective: 1) Untouchable integrity. Dr. Paul is outspoken on issues in the spotlight and issues that deserve to be in the spotlight, but are not. He then votes accordingly without fail. Even when more progressive hosts bring him on their shows they often claim that while they may not agree with all of what Dr. Paul says, he stands by his views with intellectual integrity. 2) Civil liberties. Dr. Paul understands that our liberties are our own. To take them in the name of safety is an illegitimate excuse often used to grow or create unnecessary government agencies like the TSA. That is only the tip of the iceberg. He is one of the few congressmen who, from the PATRIOT act’s creation, opposed it every step of the way and continues to do so. The PATRIOT act is the most unconstitutional piece of garbage I have seen in my lifetime. As just a sampler: FBI agents can write a self-written search warrant (essentially a 4th amendment violation) to search anything you own. Once they give you one of these warrants you are not allowed to tell anyone about it (1st amendment violation). Not children, your spouse, your parents, your friends, or even your lawyer! Not that lawyers are on my list of important people, but if you have the FBI breathing down your neck you certainly would want one. Now many people claim, “But I’m not a terrorist, I don’t have anything to worry about!” To this I can only respond that if your government someday becomes something heinous that you oppose, you too may be labeled a terrorist. Who will watch the watchers? 3) War. Dr. Paul is the only candidate, Republican or Democrat, running for the Presidency who is anti-war. Let that sink in for a few minutes. The rest of the Republicans clearly are pro militarism while Obama lied that he would remove our troops from the Middle East to get elected. In fact, he started an unconstitutional war in Libya that is akin to our military campaign in Afghanistan against the Soviets. This will come back to haunt us, just like Afghanistan did. In addition to being the only anti-war contender, he has garnered more donations from military personnel than any other candidate. This speaks volumes. (source: http://bit.ly/r9LZFF ) You cannot spread freedom through military power. Vietnam, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia… need I continue? The will for freedom (not to be confused with democracy, *gasp*) must come completely from the people. More importantly, the indigenous population must be the ones to effect freedom. Who sincerely believes that Iraqi elections haven’t been rigged either in counting or in who was allowed to be the candidates? Even then, years later should this government fail, who do you think will be blamed for the country’s plight? The U.S. will be blamed, and not unfairly so. Now what of Libya where there are purportedly Al Qaeda in the ranks of the rebels? If the new government collapses or morphs into something completely different, what is to say they will appreciate U.S. help? Osama Bin Laden used to be BFF with the U.S. until it suited him to rant, rave, and bomb us after we had helped him and his people against the Soviets. If you are still not convinced that our militarism can’t spread peace, listen to Dr. Paul talk about what would happen if the U.S. allowed other countries to do to us what we do to them. http://bit.ly/6hScqn It is an excellent video that is worth watching. He says it well, but I like to put it in a more blunt way: If your mother, father, sister, brother, or spouse were killed by a foreign military presence in the U.S., and our military either couldn’t or didn’t do anything to protect you, nor would it in the future, would you sit on your hands and wait it out? I hate the idea of war and fighting but I, like most Americans, would join a homegrown militia if necessary to stop a foreign power that our government did nothing or was unable to stop. I should be careful saying that though. Now I’m probably on some FBI-PATRIOT Act sponsored list as a potential homegrown terrorist. 4) Dr. Paul is an economic powerhouse. Ending the Federal Reserve. If you read the intro story to my list of Dr. Paul’s strengths, you will already understand why. He predicted the housing bubble and financial crisis over 5 years before it even began. As the Federal Reserve continues to print money and destroys the value of the dollars you have in your wallet or bank account while your food and gas prices soar, just remember it was Dr. Paul who first cast a spotlight on the Federal Reserve. It is the Keynesians and central economic planners who are responsible for the greatest shift of wealth out of the hands of the middle class and the poor and into the hands of the rich. If you care about a shrinking middle class, the most principle culprit is the Federal Reserve. Furthermore, because Dr. Paul is the only candidate who has a real grasp on economics and the workings of the Federal Reserve, while all others wouldn’t touch the system, he is the man who needs to be elected. To tie this into the previous comment, Dr. Paul has mentioned how it is no surprise that a century of war coincided with a century of central economic planning. Without the Federal Reserve, the government would have to fund its war efforts on its own. While just raising taxes is perhaps a simplified way of showing how they would raise revenue to fund wars I must ask how likely do you think it would have been that the U.S. would have started the Iraq and Afghanistan wars if G.W. Bush had started his speech with, “Good evening my fellow Americans. Tonight, I propose an increase of 5% to the income tax across all brackets to fund my whimsical wars through out the Middle East.” Exactly. 5) The War on Drugs. Dr. Paul understands how the war on drugs has been a failure. While this should be tied in under civil liberties, I am pulling it out separately because many people view drugs as substances that need to be illegal and that congress somehow has the authority to do so. There is an interesting article on Wikipedia that questions the legality of the War on Drugs http://bit.ly/q9PjK7 However, beyond this article remember that congress knew it didn’t have the authority to prohibit people from drinking alcohol so it had to make an amendment to the constitution. Why are other substances treated differently under the law, particularly a substance like marijuana? There isn’t a substantial difference, but congress has treated the constitution like a doormat for over a century. Don’t even get me started on the industrial uses of hemp over corn for ethanol or other products. Additionally there legitimate medical uses of marijuana that allow people to avoid Big Pharma. Regardless of the question concerning the legality of drug use, by all estimates the war on drugs has been a failure. Countries like Portugal that legalized substances saw a decrease in abuse and disease contraction from drug use that involves needles such as HIV/AIDS. (source: http://onforb.es/jRE0f6 ) Lastly, the amount of organized crime that is both fueled and funded by supplying illegal drugs is astounding. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime not only is illegal drug trade a major source of revenue for global organized crime, but one form of illegal revenue tends to beget another. In other words, in a region that is ripe for profits to be made from illegal drug trade, you can be sure that loan sharking and human trafficking will be close by. (source: http://bit.ly/qKS41p ) Will legalizing drug trade prevent the others from happening? No. However it will limit ability of these groups to fund their other illegal activities. If this hasn’t convinced you, let me point out that there is an increasing number of police officers who want to see drugs, marijuana at the very least, legalized (source: http://www.leap.cc/ ) Finally, from a progressive perspective, can you imagine the number of families living with a drug abuser that would benefit from having their family members treated like someone with an abuse problem rather than a criminal? The boon this would have to the stabilization of families, particularly families that have a sociological higher risk of abuse, would be extremely significant. Too often people who have had substance abuse problems, but have been clean for years, are treated as second-rate citizens when it comes to finding employment. 6) Government Corruption.
When President Obama threw Private Bradley Manning into Quantico military prison it was my last straw. I previously had found Obama’s policies dislikable, but what the President has done here is unforgivable. To simplify the story I’ll recount here what transpired in a greatly abridged version. We have an active military member who sees corruption within our military and foreign policy that increases the cost of our militarism by lives and dollars while undermining the national sovereignty of many foreign nations. Allegedly, Private Manning released the information to Wikileaks. This information was not secret base locations or launch codes to nuclear missiles, but rather the under-the-table and backroom dealings that our government partakes in to keep a vice grip on our global militarism. The American people deserve to know how our government is engaging in foreign affairs when it will cost us money, lives, and our liberty. While I am shortening this travesty to a few paragraphs let me finish with a few more points. Firstly, the decision was made to try Private Manning by military tribunal. Not shortly after, the Commander in chief of the U.S. military says on television that Private Manning broke the law. ( http://bit.ly/ieXtYp ) So much for a fair trial. I will not argue whether or not Private Manning broke the law, but rather whether or not he deserves to be praised. Without a doubt Private Manning deserves our support. Administration corruption may come and go, but there is nothing so disturbing as an administration that prosecutes whistleblowing. We ought to applaud those that bring government corruption to light. That is not the case, however in President Obama’s administration. As Dr. Paul says, “Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” 7) Ron Paul’s Plan as President: In a recent email from Dr. Paul’s campaign, he stated some of his goals. All of them should be pleasing to people who value the idea of small government and freedom. However, some may not be as appealing to progressives. Let me take a moment to explain some of these in further detail. *** Stop the spread of socialist, Big Government health care and instead work to repeal the “ObamaCare” monstrosity; ObamaCare is little more than another corporate welfare subsidy.
Listen to CongressmanDennis Kucinich (a true liberal) speak on this. http://bit.ly/pmdLUJ I disagree with his conclusion on how to fix our system, but we sincerely agree that this will only give more money to insurance companies. The solution, as always, will be to make the companies compete. For starters allow insurance to be sold across state lines. If Dr. Paul, M.D. wins the Presidential election, it will be nice to finally have someone who understands medicine in the oval office. *** Stop the growth of government spending, restrictive regulations, and interference in our lives; *** Cut taxes and eliminate the IRS, because I believe the money you earn is yours and does NOT belong to government; Progressives can often be squeamish on this topic. I do find it quite providential, however, that the amount of money it costs to maintain our global militarism each year is roughly equal to the amount of revenue brought into the government via the income tax. Why not call it even and slash both? Dr. Paul points out that the income tax is the most totalitarian of taxes. It states that the government owns our lives, labor, and ingenuity. Remember that the government got by without the income tax for a long time. It was originally devised during the Civil War, only to be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court after it was reinstated. Later an amendment to the Constitution was required, although in truth the Supreme Court held that the amendment did not give congress any new powers of taxation. You may understandably be wondering, “Then why do I pay an income tax?” Indeed, why do you? *** Audit the Federal Reserve, which I believe will serve as an important first step toward finally ending the Fed once and for all; The Federal Reserve has already been talked about but I would like to point out again that it is the prime cause for the degradation of the middle class. As it continues to print money and destroy the dollar, families have their personal wealth in savings destroyed. Furthermore, without a sound currency, families feel strong-armed into putting their savings into stocks so Wall Street can play with their money. The answer is not more regulation of Wall Street to fix our financial system, but instead to provide our citizens with a currency that does its job by holding its value. The Federal Reserve extended over 16 Trillion dollars of credit during the financial crisis. I have to ask, if your half-full glass of milk is topped off with water, are you still drinking milk? As our savings continue to be diluted we have the Federal Reserve to blame, but we also have every previous and current administration culpable for not attempting to revoke the powers of the Federal Reserve. *** Ensure the federal government returns to its constitutional limits by eliminating departments and agencies that are not authorized by the Constitution; *** Repeal Big Government schemes like the so-called “PATRIOT Act”; *** Return to the Founders’ more humble foreign policy. American troops and taxpayers deserve better than to be used for “nation-building” or policing the world. We cannot afford trillion dollar international boondoggles that cost us our lives, our fortunes, and our freedom. I can certainly understand how some of those bullet points would make progressives squeamish. However, if you are someone who finds yourself in this situation, take two or three of those above topics that you find positive into consideration. Do you think Obama, or any other Presidential candidate would support the enactment of any of those ideas? If not, what does that say about these other candidates? Should we support them based upon party allegiances, or is it time to stop looking at Republican vs Democrat and to start judging candidates based upon their voting records and integrity? How can I know that Ron Paul will keep his promises and vote the way he said he would? How do I know that I won’t be betrayed by President Paul like I was by President Obama concerning bailing out Wall Street and our foreign wars? Nothing is certain in life, but the 12 terms of Congressman Paul voting identically to the way he preaches is pretty satisfying. More than that, he has been the lone single “no” vote in congress more often than all other congressmen and women combined. He mentions this in his book The Revolution: A Manifesto: “During my public life I have earned the nickname Dr. No, a reference to my previous occupation as a physician combined with my willingness to stand against the entire Congress if necessary to vote no on some proposed measure. (I am told I have been the sole “no” vote in Congress more often than all other members of Congress put together.) As a matter of fact, I don’t especially care for this nickname, since it may give people the impression that I am a contrarian for its own sake, and that for some reason I simply relish saying no. In those no votes, as in all my congressional votes, I have thought of myself as saying yes to the Constitution and to freedom” (49-50). At this point many people may ask, “If he is going to vote no on everything, he could never reach across the aisle!” To which I would respond that he continuously reaches across the aisle. For example, he has worked closely with Rep. Kucinich and other Democrats to audit The Fed or end the Afghanistan War. To legalize marijuana (on the federal level) Dr. Paul has worked with Rep. Frank. The list goes on, but it suffices to say that to Dr. Paul party affiliation is irrelevant. He does not vote or posture for political gain or party favor. He is consistent, principled, and his vote cannot be bought.
Ron Paul and his most loyal supporter, Me