View Full Version : Students For Paul Blog: Meeting Up

08-04-2007, 11:49 PM
Please send this to people who have second thoughts about participating in their local MeetUp groups.


As someone who first heard of Ron Paul right after he first announced that he would be forming an exploratory committee I, like many other supporters, have had the luxury of watching his popularity grow. Before the Facebook group had more than a couple thousand members (now at 17k), before his supporters had started commandeering Digg.com, and before StudentsForPaul was created Ron Paul was a relatively unknown politicians both in the material world and in the digital world.

We now have one down but one larger realm within which to spread his name and vision. Ron Paul supporters are all over the internet but what good is this when your average voter doesn't frequent the internet and certainly does not recognize even Ron Paul's name? Four years ago we would not have stood a chance regardless of internet support. But this is not four years ago... this is now and we have one crucial tool that can help us turn Ron Paul's support online into support in the real world. This tool is none other than MeetUp.com.

Getting over the initial nervousness and fear or meeting other Ron Paul supporters in the non-digital world is perhaps the one obstacle keeping the grassroots campaign from realizing its potential. But have no fear! I am here to ease your nervousness and, hopefully, get you off your butt and into the streets.

Some of the media has enjoyed stereotyping Congresman Paul's supporters as "unorthodox" and "quirky", and perhaps many of us supporters make the mistake of somewhat believing in such claims.

Before the MeetUp.com website had really been publicized it was up to individual supporters to take it upon themselves to meet other supporters in their area in order to be able to coordinate campaigning and general events. I still remember the first time I got a personal invitation to watch Ron Paul on the Colbert Report from another Paul supporter named Nick who lived just a few minutes away and after some thought just simply decided "why not?".

The fears of finding out that the equivalent version of me who happened to live down the street was a nut were quickly put to rest as I pulled up to meet an intelligent and laid back young man who, as I found out, also works at the local cafe and bar that my other friends and I frequent during the school year. I guess it *was* possible that we were not all kooks...

We both sat and watched as the onscreen crowd ate up Paul's performance on the Colbert Report and Nick told me about the local MeetUp group and how it was having one of its first meetings the following week. Perhaps that was the only encouragement I needed and so a week later there I was again, with Nick and one of his friends, repeating the process once more.

Our group of three young men walked up into the officeroom on June 27th to find out who are other equivalents were from other parts of Los Angeles.

Again my fear was put to rest as I looked around the room to see people from all walks of life attending the meeting. Among the ~20 people who attended the meeting there were representatives of almost every part of every spectrum. Asians, Whites, Blacks, 20-year-olds, 50-year-olds, and 70-year-olds. You could not have picked a more diverse crowd of men and women.

The first major campaigning event I participated in was much like I would have expected. We organized at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on July 4th to help spread the message of liberty to the thousands of people who had fliocked there to see the fireworks display. The general people naturally ranged anywhere from insulted to enthusiastic. Nothing of a surprise there. It was an exciting experience and between this event and the previous meeting I had realized a certain perk that was valuable to me and would certainly be valuable to any young male Ron Paul supporter-- there were young female Ron Paul supporters and many of them were attractive. Is there any better gift to man than young libertarian-esque vixens to keep you company at rallies? I dare to say that there is not.

July 4th Rose Bowl MeetUp

Today we had the "Freeway to Freedom" event on the West Coast and, though I was late due to my inability to quickly make stencils and banners from those stencils, without a doubt every minute spent on freeway overpasses with a Ron Paul banner is bound to get the name out to dozens of those who have not been exposed to our man. About an hour into it though I looked at my fellow campaigners then down to the people below stuck in traffic and had an important realizations. Those helping me spread the word on that overpass were informed, caring, gentle, and enthusiastic people. Some 50 feet below us in almost every car were fat, disheveled, and generally uninformed people. While we very frequently got honks with the peace sign we also occasionally got the typical guy who was "badass" enough to flip us off. It was then that I realized how much more normal the supporters were than the average person driving below us. We were not a "weird" bunch... we were AWESOME.

We have another meeting in the officeroom downtown next week and I actually am very excited about it. I love meeting new supporters who are as enthusiastic as I am about Ron Paul's presidential campaign. Our group has grown in size and I am sure that it will keep on growing. With every extra member to our MeetUp group we get one more person who has been what I have been through and undoubtedly is bound to enjoy the pleasures of meeting other Ron Paul supporters in their area.

So do not fear joining your local MeetUp group for your help IS needed. There are others wondering if they should join the group and without a doubt you would want them joining so do not be the hypocrit. But also do not fall into the trap of joining the group without going to the rallies. With every new supporter comes another opportunity to learn and enjoy the feeling of spreading the message of liberty. Never before in the past has a candidate and his/her supporters had the opportunity to transform digital supporter into material support. I will openly make the confident prediction that Ron Paul's campaign for the Presidency will hang primarily on one variable: the ability for his supporters to shed the anonymity of the internet to take that leap of faith and get their butts out into the street.

I am calling you out. Ron Paul, his real-world supporters, and the rest of the nation will be awaiting your decision.