Tuesday, January 03, 2012

The Start of Something (Why I Love Ron Paul)

Here's what happens: I often spend a lot of time thinking and reading and watching news reports on certain subjects. I formulate opinions, look for arguments against my newly-formulated opinions, reform my opinions systematically until I can get as close as I am able to the truth. Because, here's the deal blog readers, truth is real. It has to be. But, this process of building up an opinion takes a long time. And, by the time I come to a conclusion, I'm so fed up with the subject that I've been working through, that I assume that no one wants to hear me discuss it. It's a subconscious reaction, I think. Either way, it leads me to not talk about things that I'm thinking through with others. The quintessential example of this is politics. But, in light of what day it is (CAUCUS DAY!),
I'm going to share something with the world. This is going to take a while.

So, let's talk about Ron Paul. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a Ron Paul supporter. It's no secret. I post about him on the internet, quote him on Twitter, donate to his campaign, etc. He's my guy. I've spent a lot of time formulating this opinion. It may have started out as blind and reactionary, being taken up in the romance of a political candidate that puts the well-being of others over their own financial gain, or that is committed to real progress, or who takes their power seriously and wants to use it for good. He exhibits all of these traits. But, after the initial love affair four years ago, as the romance has worn off, I am a bigger supporter than I ever was.
For the longest time, I've tried to be objective; to track down arguments against Ron Paul's political stances and policies. For the longest time, all I could find were people mocking him, calling him crazy, ostracizing him and making him out to be a villain, but never actually refuting his proposed policies (save the one video that said that his proposed return to the gold standard would make electronics more expensive.) His desire for financial accountability, for more even power distribution, for personal responsibility and charity as important values, and for a more realistic approach to national defense are all very solid policies with very few holes.
He thinks in a different context. It's clear when watching any of the GOP debates that his approach to running for office is a step beyond that of other candidates. The best way I can describe this is from the disease/symptom stand point. There is the standard approach of most candidates of treating symptoms of bad policies or poor legislation, and then there is the actually progressive approach of curing the disease of those policies. Ron Paul is out to cure disease, not treat symptoms.
Most political "issues" are touted as being black and white: either you're for legal abortion or against it, for gay marriage or against it, for heightened security at our southern border or against it. It's presented as such: "Who checks the same box as I do and who doesn't?" Rick Perry says you should vote for him because he checks these boxes. Michelle Bachman says you should vote for her because she checks these boxes. But here's the problem; it isn't up to the president to do any of those things. Capitol Hill doesn't work like that. George Bush didn't repeal Roe vs. Wade despite running as "pro-life", Barack Obama didn't shut down Guantanamo Bay despite promising it again and again, Clinton didn't legalize gay marriage despite running as the civil rights candidate. To run on these premises is dishonest, and incredibly misleading when put in front of an American voting population that lately doesn't understand how government works.
And here's why I like Ron Paul. Ron Paul's campaign is not full of him promising to do things that presidents are incapable of. He seeks to educate the American people on what is true about the function and operation of government. He sees the corruption, the way that government subsidized reality is destructive, the way that money controls everything and every politician that takes most of his or her support from private corporations, etc. He sees the same things that we see as American citizens. And, the kicker, he addresses them. The way he talks on stage and in his interviews is evidence of his priorities; not to go around in circles about who the most "pro-life" candidate is, but to address the real issue: a corruption of federal power that creates a nation where the federal government makes decisions for the states that are not their decisions to make. We should be making most of these decisions (abortion, gay marriage, etc.) at state levels, as it was originally intended to be done. Having lived in two culturally opposite states (California and Georgia), I've seen how remarkably ridiculous it is to think that blanket legislation on things like medicinal drug legalization or amnesty for immigration should ever be thought to work for everybody. The government is too big and has too much control that it has no right to. It's a disease that exhibits a laundry list of symptoms. There are people profiting from this system of government, and they are the ones that are encouraging us to choose our next president based on the box-checking-issue way of thinking. Ron Paul doesn't play this game. His is a revolutionary way of thinking.

But, perhaps we aren't ready for a sincere man that sees a real problem that's deeper than the silly squabbles that we get so passionate about. Perhaps we need four more years of Government intervention and regulation that leans toward socialism, or four years of outrageous spending and imperialism that drives us deeper into our bankruptcy before we can see that there is something bigger going on.
I don't think for a minute think that Ron Paul will save us, that he can bring us into a freedom and access to life that we don't have now. No politician is capable of that. As Derek Webb says, "We'll never have a savior on Capitol Hill." But, I can't see there being any fruit in continuing in this cycle of selfishly grabbing at the most that we can get for ourselves. Ron Paul exists outside of that system. He speaks what we feel, when we let ourselves escape the life-sucking political norm. He offers real hope, not just a slogan. Ron Paul should be the next president of the United States, and if not, we should flock to politicians that value what he values.

further reading (and watching)

Ron Paul on personal responsibility

Why Do GOP Bosses Fear Ron Paul (NPR)

Ron Paul on the Financial Crisis (WSJ)

Regan Library GOP Debate Highlights


ronpaul2012.com (official site)

So let me hear it, readers. But, anyone who comes with a "I can't support Ron Paul because he is pro-abortion" argument will get a roll of the eyes and a sarcastic comment meant to make you feel bad about yourself. You've been warned.


Anonymous said...

Dear Mahndo,
I can't support Ron Paul because he is pro-life. I just don't agree with it.

Just kidding.

On a more serious note, I think that your line of thinking is quite reasonable and, unfortunately, very hopeful. Ron Paul is a great candidate. Humanity and disease/cure thinking, however, don't make a great leader. The President, these days, as you were saying, does not have much power at all. He is, to me at least, a figure head. He influences the way people think, and, honestly, tends to piss off more people than he pleases. Ron Paul seems to have a great head on his shoulders and I think he is by far my favorite personality and mind set as far as "thinking" goes. My question to you is this: Is he a good LEADER? Is he good at persuasive speaking? As much as I hate Adolf Hitler, he was one of the world's most influential speakers and leaders. He convinced millions of people to kill millions of other people. Can Ron Paul convince millions of American's of the importance of education? the importance of thinking less about box checking and more about analytical thinking? the importance of thinking less about the now and more about the "how will this affect the country in days to come?" Now, I am not saying that he is not fit to do these things, but I would like to know your stance.


Mahndo said...

Um, no. Ron Paul is not Adolf Hitler. That's one of the reasons that I like him - because he's not Adolf Hitler...

And, I place no value on playing the game of a culture that errantly puts value on image over substance. Barack Obama is an eloquent speaker. But, who the hell cares in the long run if we never see progress in our legislation and policy making. I want a president that can make me feel things, sure. But substance is what I am going to make my decision on. Not how good he is at talking, but the substance of what he's saying.

Eric said...

Dear Mahndo,

I am a passionate Ron Paul supporter.
After watching the NH debate tonight, I thought he did reasonably well, especially in rebuking Gingrich. At the end, the ABC commentators said that Romney had "won the debate" because nobody had attacked him.
Why didn't Ron Paul call Romney out for his infamous flip-flopping on innumerable issues?