December 26, 2007
Gandhi said, “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.” This old truism seems to be playing out in the case of the candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul for president. At first he was ignored. He was ignored in the early republican debates, getting one question for every 2.5 his opponents received. He was ignored by the corporate media in the early running too, as they assumed everyone would naturally gravitate toward their pre-selected candidates. Something funny happened on the way to our corporate election though; the people weren’t buying it anymore. Paul started to receive huge grassroots support across party and ideological lines. Once they could not ignore him, they tried to laugh him out of the race by marginalizing him at every turn. The proceeding debates saw the opponents microphones elevated so you could hear the snickering at Dr. Paul when he was answering questions designed to make him look foolish. I remember Moderator Chris Wallace actually asking Paul if he took his marching orders from al Qaeda and Paul slapping the fake reporter back into his place by answering that he took his orders from the Constitution. I recall post debate “analysts” dismissing the post-debate poll results showing Paul had clearly won the debates. One actually cried, “Oh no not again! Ron Paul did not win this debate!” Paul’s answers were mocked and his positions derided. But something funny happened on the way to dismissing Dr. Ron Paul. The people weren’t buying it. In fact, his contributions exploded to the point where he now is better positioned financially then all of his opponents and it was all done through local folks, not mega-corporations. Unable to ignore him and laugh him off the national stage, we now see the third tactic in the Gandhi truism taking place; they are now attacking him.
The real problem is not the attack but the disinformation associated with it. Politicians with records as long as Dr. Paul should have plenty of ammunition lying around for opponents, but people are resorting to distorting that record and either boldly lying about what would occur under a Paul administration or simply being so ignorant, as to not understand how our system of government works. This is an attempt to clear the smear. I write this with full disclosure that I do not know if I would vote for Dr. Paul, as I would like to hear more specifics on certain policy issues. I am neither a registered democrat nor republican. I am a registered American. I believe that we are bound to a responsibility to listen and discern what would be in the best interest of our country and the people residing in it. If that person comes from the left, so be it and if not, so be it. I have written over 200 articles in the past five years about the abuses we have suffered under the Bush administration, so do not assume that I am some right-wing guy. I believe in the truth.
The truth is that I have heard a lot of reasons over the past several days why people think they could not possibly vote for Dr. Paul and a lot of them are just inaccurate on their merits. The first reason I have heard is that he is a republican. While that is true, the notion that you cannot vote for a republican, highlights what has been wrong with this country for too long now. The two-party system is designed to make the two parties rich, that’s it folks. While there are some fundamental differences, they exist for the continual existence of each other. They pit one against the other so you have someone to blame for your lot in life or the perceived shape of the country. They introduce “wedge issues” to make us argue about minutia, while the larger problems are barely discussed. I could go on about the problems with blind party loyalty but since I just did an article yesterday about it, I will simply link it here:
The next rationale I have heard is that you cannot vote for Dr. Paul because he is a corporatist, meaning he will allow corporations to do as they wish at the expense of individuals. This is patently false on its face. In fact, Dr. Paul is the only candidate who is actively speaking out against fascism in this country. He has consistently voted against corporate control and does not take a dime from lobbyists. Do you know who takes the most corporate donations in either party? Hillary Clinton. Paul is the only electable candidate who is not a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. It just really worries me when I see well intended people who consider themselves “progressive” who will not vote for Paul because they think he likes corporations over people but they will have no problem pulling the lever for someone like Hillary, who is bought and owned, pure and simple. So are Obama, Edwards and the entire GOP field except Paul. Judicial Watch just put out their 10 most corrupt politicians list and among the ten were Hillary, Obama, Rudy and Huckabee. This is the same Judicial Watch that has been suing the Bush Administration for years now. We have had seven years now of a corporate president and I do not want another. If the machine gets what it wants however, we will have two choices both owned by the corporate powers that be. The only voice for the people in the field is Dr. Ron Paul. So if you are deciding the not vote for him, fine; but don’t do it because someone tells you an untruth. Listen to what the man has to say and examine his voting record. There are people who either wish to purposefully mislead you or are simply misinformed.
Another rationale I have heard is that Ron Paul will eliminate everything the government does! Ehh, not exactly if you understand how government works. The first mischaracterization is that Paul would allow services to disappear. Not true. He would return the power to the state level as was designed by our founding fathers. I have heard, “but what about the Department of Education?” What about it? Has the federally mandated “No Child Left Behind” worked? Was it even funded correctly? Go ask your local teacher if they like having the federal government interfering in their curriculum. Go ask them if they like having to stop teaching their kids to prepare them for tests so their schools can pull down federal dollars. I worked in education for eight years and I do not know if eliminating the Department of Education and returning power to the state and local levels can work, but I know what is not working. The second mischaracterization is that Paul can somehow do all of this on his own. The Executive Branch cannot. There are precious few people in Congress who lean libertarian folks. Dr. Paul would be forced to come to the center and soften his positions if he were to get anything done. But at least he would start his move to the center without a dime from corporate lobbyists. At least his core principles include ending war, restoring civil liberties and a sound understanding of the problem we face with our devalued currency. The notion that any president can walk in and impose his will on Congress is ludicrous. The only way that can happen is if the congress sets aside their responsibility like the last six years out of blind party loyalty. That could happen under Clinton or Obama, but not under the libertarian Paul. He would be forced to work with Congress and he would. The reason for the corruption the past six years is not that the people were republican; it was because they had absolute power. They had no checks and balances. The same would have happened if it was all democrats. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.
When faced with the inability to smear Paul on the above mentioned issues, we see them turn to the wedge issues. These are designed to distract us from what is truly important and to have us argue over issues that truly do not matter to the powers that be. I have heard, “I can’t vote for Paul because he is pro-life.” That myopic view of voting is dangerous on both sides. I would not encourage any of my Christian friends to solely vote pro-life without considering the entire candidate and I would not recommend any liberal to solely vote for pro-choice. It is simply an ignorant way of voting. But moving past that, even if you are pro-choice, Dr. Paul can still be a viable candidate. As a libertarian, his stance on abortion is that it should not be the role of the federal government to decide the abortion issue. It should be left up to the states. Is he personally pro-life? Absolutely. He is a doctor who has delivered over 4,000 babies. Is that personal belief so surprising? The larger point is that he would not interject his personal beliefs into his governmental beliefs. To say that because he is pro-life personally so you cannot vote for him is to completely not understand how he views the constitution. He does not want the federal government in the people’s bedrooms or doctor’s offices. This of course leads to the next boogy-man, who will a President Paul nominate to the Supreme Court? His beliefs are that the federal government should not police the world or the citizenry. He is actually quite progressive on that, more so then the democratic front-runners. He would not nominate pro-corporate judges like Bush did or strict anti-abortion judges. He would nominate judges who believe as he does that the government should be protecting our civil liberties, not taking them away. Another wedge issue I have heard bantered around is what he believes regarding evolution. When I hear this I know the end of the attacks are coming because his opponents are running out of things to say. First of all, Dr. Paul did not raise his hand in the debate when the moderator asked for a show of hands those who did not believe in evolution. It is my understanding that he does in fact believe in evolution but once again, the larger point is not what he personally believes but what he believes the role of the federal government is. He does not believe that the federal government should be involved in determining education. That should be left up to the state and local officials.
Look, I may not believe in everything Ron Paul believes in but the illusion is that any one candidate represents everything you would want. They sold you this two headed monster and you bought it. You believe that party is somehow more important than country. It is not. You fear the lie that Dr. Paul would side with corporations over people but are willing to vote for people like Hillary who is bought and owned by corporations. You fear Dr. Paul because you hear the lie that he wants to eliminate public education when all he wants to do is restore power to the states and localities but you will vote for people who got behind the ridiculous No Child Left Behind debacle. You fear the fact that he is pro-life and the lie that he doesn’t believe in evolution when neither would be an issue in a Paul presidency. You hear niceties such as universal healthcare and pre-k but do not realize that the candidates that are selling you these notions do not have the money to pay for them. I know we hear the amount of the national debt and shrug our shoulders but only Dr. Paul is talking about it for what it truly is, the greatest threat to our nation today. If our currency collapses we would see an economic 9-11 that would devastate this country. You are willing to vote for a candidate that supported this Iraq War and will not even commit to bringing all the troops home but Paul is somehow dismissed?
I do not know if I will vote for Dr. Paul, should he survive the primaries or run as an independent. But I do know that the main three planks of his platform are pretty appealing and progressive. He wants to bring all the troops home, stop using war as a policy and restore the constitution. Secondly, he believes in restoring civil liberties and is against a national ID card. Third, he understands the disaster looming in regards to our currency and will commit to paying down the ridiculous debt. The current debt is over 9 trillion dollars folks! Do you think it is “progressive” to add to it? Those are three pretty good places to start as a candidate. Remember, Paul could not do everything he wants. He would have to come to the center. Bush did not have to because he had a GOP Congress that abdicated their oversight responsibilities. Paul will not have a libertarian congress to work with, ever. He will always have to compromise. But at least he will do so from a fundamental position listed above; ending the wars, restoring civil liberties and paying off the debt to stabilize our currency. He is the only sane voice amongst the GOP. He is the only one not taking lobbyist money so he is not beholden to special interests. He is the only one speaking about fascism, curtailing the expanded powers of the executive, CIA and FBI. He is the only one outside of the machine that has a legitimate shot of winning. That makes him dangerous to the powers that be.
So dangerous that we have seen smear after smear on him. They tried to ignore him but the people liked what they heard. They tried to laugh him off the stage but people started sending him money. Now they are attacking him, spreading lies and disinformation; hoping to scare people away from him. The only thing left is for him to survive that and win. I am not endorsing him because there are still 11 months before the election. Of course I would endorse him for the GOP field because he is the only one doesn’t want to blow up half the world. I am not suggesting you make your final decision either. Just remember what Gandhi said. They are attacking him for a reason. They are throwing fear dust in your eyes, hoping you will be blinded from the truth. Listen to what the man says. See what he has voted for. Inform yourself so you cannot be misinformed by others. The only thing that matters is the truth and Dr. Paul is the only electable candidate who is not reading off a script. It is actually quite refreshing.