Reprinted from Antiwar
As the smoke wafted up into the already smoggy Los Angeles air, a group of young libertarians watched as Jayel Aheram burned his "Stand With Rand" t-shirts. He had two of them, a token of his former esteem for the "libertarian-ish" presidential candidate and Senator from Kentucky, whose father had inspired young Jayel to identify as a libertarian and become active in the movement. A former Marine and Iraq war veteran, the now 31-year-old Aheram had phone-banked for Rand, and enthusiastically retweeted the Senator's pronouncements on Twitter. He had even forked out $35 for those T-shirts -- and now they were going up in flames as he and a group of young libertarians sat on the roof of Jayel's Los Angeles apartment, drinking beer and glumly contemplating what had brought them -- all former supporters of Rand Paul's presidential campaign -- to this point. As Charles Davis writes over at MondoWeiss:
"So what prompted such a fiery stunt on a Saturday night? Simple: The son of Ron opposes the deal with Iran over its nuclear program, faulting the agreement for lifting sanctions on the Islamic Republic before 'evidence of compliance.' Paul still insists he prefers peace to war -- who doesn't? -- and that he favors a negotiated settlement to the West's standoff with the Islamic Republic, he just doesn't support the only one that will ever happen, functionally making him pro-war. Worst of all: He's lying to do it."
Aheram and his friends had stood by the Kentucky Senator for many months, even as Rand occasionally waffled and made some statements that didn't sit well with them by any means: the military budget proposal that actually called for an increase in what is laughingly referred to as "defense" spending, and his signing of an "open letter" to the Iranian government authored by neoconservative warmonger Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Strauss), who made no bones about his determination to scotch the looming deal with Iran. These things had disturbed them, but not enough to extinguish all hope that Sen. Paul -- who had, after all, been brought up by a father whose dedication to liberty and peace is unquestioned -- could and would serve as an admirable spokesman for their cause.