"COULD I BE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE?
Sometimes I think this whole world
Is one big prison yard
Some of us are prisoners
Some of us are guards
Having lost my preferred choice for a presidential candidate on Tuesday, I determined that after a suitable period of mourning and reflection the only viable option was to shake it off and begin the search anew, the presumptive, media-anointed frontrunner not being desirable or acceptable.
Last night, as part of this Quixote-like quest, I ventured into the heretofore unexplored dimension of a Ron Paul rally and was witness to something that can only be described as all parts exhilarating, befuddling, encouraging, depressing, moving, maddening and, ultimately, inspiring. More on all that later.
Over the years I have been to more political rallies, events, forums, roundtables, discussion groups, debates and whatever than I care to remember. While a whole range of adjectives from boring to thrilling could be used to describe these events, I have never before been moved to use contradictory metaphors for the same event. Attending a Ron Paul campaign rally is a singularly unique experience. I have never seen anything like it before. Perhaps phenomenal is the word that comes closest in accuracy, not in the ordinary “awesome” sense, but in the other-worldly, spatiotemporal sense.
A little truth in advertising first: I come from an old school of conservatism, a hodgepodge of Strauss, Kirk, Buckley, Reagan and a smattering of other modern day conservative thinkers who shaped my thinking while coming of age in the midst of a persistent nuclear threat during the so-called Cold War, replete with duck and cover, fallout shelters and a young girl sitting in a meadow picking the petals off a daisy. One is shaped by the world one is raised in and then, if playing the game right, uses those experiences to shape the world for those who will inherit it.
The purpose of this piece is not to analyze Mr. Paul’s specific policies, although my worldview does not coalesce with his on many fronts. I do not write this piece from the point of view of a longtime Paul devotee, many of whom (and you know who you are) I have exasperatingly debated over the fallacies I see in some (not all) of his positions. Over the years, though, I have learned (much to my surprise and dismay) that not everyone will agree with my positions on all things and I often frustratingly find myself having internal disagreements with my own stated beliefs. Such is the nature of evolving thought.
I have spoken before a lot of groups in the last several years as we have all grappled with the seeming dissolution of our country. I have half-jokingly said on many of these occasions that the other side doesn’t really have to defeat us politically, they just have to wait for us all to die off so they can implement their plans. My point has been that the greatest issue facing the conservative cause is a demographical one, a lack of diversity that will shortly render the conservative message irrelevant. Where are the youth? I and others have asked. Where are the people of color? Why doesn’t the conservative message resonate?
The answer to where they are could be found last night at the Will Rogers Auditorium. Often at political events there is a sense of excitement, anticipation, a certain buzz in the audience while waiting for the main event. Excitement, anticipation and buzz are weak and inadequate words to describe the pre-rally crowd last night. Energy is even inadequate. What undulated through the thousands who thronged outside before the doors opened last night was a kinetic power, the power of hope, the power of liberation, the power of anger at a system turned upside down, the power of liberation and, yes, the ultimate and emancipating power of freedom. You had to be there to understand it.
Once inside, for the only time in my politically active life, I was transported to a world I had not seen before. There was enough energy in that room to power a skyscraper. Teenagers, college students, whites, Hispanics, African Americans, Asians, middle-aged, elderly, every racial, ethnic, socio-economic, cross cultural ingredient of the American melting pot was there. The auditorium was a cauldron of American citizens who understand and have grasped the true nature of the tyranny which has befallen this nation, a conflagration, if you will, of passion and anger and joy and determination. This is where the fire starts this time. The eruption when Mr. Paul took the stage was deafening.
While I didn’t find much to cheer about on the foreign policy portion of his speech, it is on domestic policy that I find much agreement with Ron Paul. In fact, he could have lifted whole tracks of his speech from my book, Common Ground America. Foreign policy, while a crucial element of any president’s agenda, has slowly shifted from my center of attention to domestic policy, I having long come to the conclusion that the greatest threat to American freedom comes not from foreign governments, but from our own. Sadly, America has become one of the least free nations on earth. Increasingly, everything in our lives is being regulated by a faceless bureaucracy, to a degree that neither Orwell nor Huxley could have imagined. Want to add a room onto your house? Get permission. Want to get married? Get permission. Want to open a business? Get permission. Want to fly a flag in your front yard? Get permission. Want to own a gun? Get permission. Want to open a lemonade stand? Get permission. Want to play Frisbee on the beach? Get fined. Want to preach politics from the pulpit? Get fined. Want to protest your government without permission? Get arrested.
We have become a nation of regulations and licenses and permits, fines and punishment and intimidation by a remorseless, uncaring government. We have become, as Dylan sang in 1971, “One big prison yard”, in which our guards are always watching, always monitoring, always snooping, always threatening, always ready to swoop in with a fine or a cuff or a taser or a bullet should we wander outside the boundaries of what is allowed. The IRS can now revoke your passport should you owe too much on your taxes, making you not just a literal prisoner but a figurative one as well. It has been so long since we were truly free that we don’t even recognize it anymore. Freedom is slowly being snuffed out in American.
Obamacare is only the latest affront to freedom. While lawyers and pundits debate the constitutionality of this provision or that, what goes unstated is the insidious evil of the bill itself. Your very body, your existence, you own life will now belong to the state should Obamacare stand. If your physical body belongs to the state, how then is American freedom defined?
What exactly is our national security securing? Certainly not our liberty. We have been sacrificing ever larger chucks of our liberty to the gods of security for decades now and in the interests of securing our liberty have given it all away. Go to an airport if you want to witness the loss of liberty in all its glorious humiliation. One wonders if we actually were taken over by another power and our Constitution dismantled what exactly could they do to restrict our movements, monitor our activities and control our actions that would be any worse or oppressive than what our own government is doing right now?
This part of Mr. Paul’s message, if I have interpreted it correctly, is what resonates with me. All the other things pale in contrast to our becoming a nation of slaves.
Can Mr. Paul become the next president of the United States? At the risk of inflaming his supporters, I must say I doubt it. The media’s message is that he no longer exists, the question is settled and Mr. Romney is the Republican nominee. It is true Mr. Paul’s most ardent supporters are strenuously working at the precinct level to tilt the delegate count at the Republican convention in his favor. Do they have the numbers to pull that off? I don’t know. But knowing the ones involved locally I would guess their chances are better than 50/50. Will that type of organized effort be successful in enough states nationwide to put Mr. Paul over the top? Your guess is as good as mine. I’m not even going there.
So what did I come away with last night? It can be captured in one picture. Before Mr. Paul was introduced, part of his family took the stage: his wife, one of his sons, a smattering of cousins, nieces and nephews. That picture tells us all we need to know. They are us. They weren’t pulled from central casting, exquisitely coifed and finely tailored, prepped and ready for the cameras. No. They are a family. They are us.
Where personally do I go now? As I said, I have more internal debates than an outwardly sane person should admit. For over three years now I have been looking for an army - an army to take on the anti-Americans, the Communists, the statists, the outright criminals running our government. An army of citizens fiercely devoted to liberty and the founding principles of America. One rose up three years ago but slowly faded away. As I looked around the room last night, I saw a lot of faces I recognized from the past, from the ghost army that either became dispirited or no longer believed in the message. So this is where you all went….
The flame of liberty’s torch is no longer just slowly being extinguished. Each day brings new Executive Orders, new laws, new regulations, each more ominous than the last. Corruption in our government and our financial markets is rampant. The disease of dependency is infecting every layer of society. America is dying. We need an army of citizens, motivated and committed, to restore liberty in America, to breathe new life, new vibrancy into a nation on life support. We will not return our nation’s vitality with lawyers. We will not be prescribed the cures for our ailments by opportunistic politicians pedaling the latest edition of What Will It Take to Buy Your Vote. We simply will not. America is on the brink of flatlining.
Which logically only leads to one question:
Is there a doctor in the house?
Which logically only leads to one answer:
Ron Paul 2012"
-Adrian Murray, Fort Worth, TX.