Another American Revolution?

American Revolution?

The Ron Paul legacy

Zach Germaniuk, Columnist

Issue date: 4/9/08 Section: News
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In late 2006 and early 2007, rumors began spreading that Ron Paul, the Libertarian Party candidate for President in 1988 and perhaps the most independent-thinking member of Congress, was considering running again for the country’s highest office, this time as a Republican. The implications were mind-boggling. The looming “what if?” scenarios began to circle internet chat rooms and before you knew it Ron Paul was being hoisted aloft as a modern-day “messiah of liberty” in our troubled times. There is no doubt that despite almost no support from the Republican National Committee and certainly no help from the “fair and balanced” mega-media establishment, Ron Paul’s campaign for President utilized the right amount of new-school tech-savvy and old-school Constitutionalism to rally a surprising cross section of Americans sick and tired of the same sick and tired politics emanating from Washington spin-doctors.

Conservatives and Republicans disenchanted with George W. Bush’s profligate spending and corporate coddling came to the Ron Paul camp because his laissez-faire economic platform was a welcome change from the state interventionism that has come to characterize many aspects of our economy. Liberals and Democrats watching the United States getting caught in another “nation-building” quagmire correctly recognized Paul’s anti-war, pro-freedom stance as common sense. Independents of all stripes, from the fairly mainstream to the radical fringe, all found something to identify with in the Ron Paul campaign. Even a certain dread locked anarcho-capitalist found something inspiring in the man’s campaign, as he watched Paul slam-dunk Rudy Giuliani on national television.

Then reality came and gave us all a swift kick. In the back of our heads we all knew that Paul was destined to be an also-ran, a compelling argument but ultimately a novelty in the world of 21st Century sound-byte politics. There are the true believers, of course, who have already canonized Paul as the patron-saint of everything right and good in America, the same people who, more often than by chance, find themselves on late-night chat rooms expressing their concern that AIDS is a biological weapon manufactured by the government.

Ron Paul’s candidacy, much like that prom after party where you may or may not have lost a certain V card, isn’t coming back. Rather than continuing to heap praise on the Texas Congressman, we should focus instead on the revolutionary foundations that Paul’s campaign introduced to the nation. For an American political discourse that has become so dominated by voices of fear, war, and orange threat-levels, Ron Paul reminded a lot of people that this nation was not founded on these voices, but instead on the revolutionary proposition that individual freedom is worth more than any security the state could provide – the idea that governments are at best a necessary evil in order to better protect the freedom of its citizens.

But just like at the aforementioned prom after party V card paradigm, the burning question is: but what comes next? Ron Paul’s campaign raised an impressive sum of money- twice. He had organizers all across the country putting in countless hours getting the word out. He had a freakin’ blimp. As good a candidate as Ron Paul might have been, as good of a start as his Presidency would have been, we should remember that revolution does not begin in the capitals among the powerful, but in the streets among the powerless. Ron Paul might have been a good and necessary spark, but we have a long way to go before we can hope to see light again. The American Revolution for the 21st Century isn’t going to come from the top-down government policies of “Bush-lite” McCain, Ché Guabama, or Billary Clinton. It will come, as revolutions often do, when ordinary people again look past their four walls and roof and turn off their TVs long enough to see that the only bogeyman waiting for them is the one manufactured by their own leaders.


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