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Why The Antiwar Left Should Support Republican Ron Paul in '08

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Message Mike Mejia

I must admit, I only agree with Texas Congressman Ron Paul on about 10 to 20% of his political stances.  Ron Paul is pro-Life, while I am pro-choice.  Paul believes universal health care is socialized medicine.  I believe some form of universal health coverage is essential for the U.S. to become as civilized as just about every other industrialized nation.  I was appalled when the Congress caved in to the Banking industry on a new bankruptcy law.  Paul voted for this atrocious bill.


And yet, with all the differences between my views and those of Mr. Paul, I plan on crossing over and voting for him in the GOP primary.  The reason is simple: Paul is the only candidate, save Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, who recognizes the dangers the continuing expansion of the U.S. Empire poses to our freedoms and quality of life.  In other words, that 20% on which I agree with Candidate Paul is the 20% that will, more than any other factor, determine the quality of life the American people in the coming decades.


Paul is also the only candidate with the guts to ‘tell it like it is’ in regards to the so-called ‘war on terror’: the reason the U.S. is facing so many threats from terrorism is because of our interventionist foreign policy.  This interventionism, unfortunately, cannot be placed solely on the backs of the Republicans: from Korea to Vietnam to Haiti, Democratic politicians have participated in trying to micromanage the affairs of other countries.  In some cases, the U.S. has appeared to ‘succeed’ in choosing the leaders of these other nations.  But as was the case with the U.S. intervention in Iran in the 1950s, these ‘successes’ have engendered the kind of blowback that make it apparent that nonintervention would have been the best policy.


Paul’s program for success in Iraq and Afghanistan is simple: get out now.  This position is far more in line with the antiwar Left than the positions of any of the mainstream Democratic candidates.   From John Edwards to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic positions on the war depend on the latest poll numbers; Mr. Paul, on the other hand, has consistently held his position: occupation is the problem, not the solution, to terrorism.


I know there are some who will strongly disagree with my support for Paul.  They will point out to his seemingly ‘far right’, pro-corporate positions on several issues and on his support for unfettered access to firearms.  Some label them ‘kook’ positions.  But Paul is no kook and he is no right-winger.  He is a Libertarian Republican who has well thought out views and convictions that span decades.  Many of these positions are unlikely ever to become law:  I do not think Social Security, the IRS, the Federal Reserve and the CIA will ever be abolished.  Furthermore, it is unlikely the U.S. will ever go back to the gold standard, a position held by most Libertarians.


But, if Paul could somehow be elected President, I believe for the first time ever the American government would have a leader who would only deploy U.S. troops as an absolute last resort.  I believe we might actually have a chance of downsizing America’s imperial ambitions, or at least slowing them a bit.  And even if Paul does not win, as most experts predict he won’t, every vote for his candidacy is a vote for a return to, as George W. Bush disingenuously put it in 2000, a “more humble foreign policy”.


Personally, I would rather be on record as voting for someone of substance, like Mr. Paul, than a pure politician like Clinton, Edwards or Obama.   There is plenty of time to vote for the Lesser of Evils in the general election.  In my opinion, those who really want to change American foreign policy need to stand up now and cast their vote for someone who, though they may not agree with him on many other issues, is a staunch, unabashed antiwar candidate.


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Mike Mejia is a freelance writer specializing in foreign policy and national security.
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