by Sean Haugh
A couple weeks ago I wrote an article about Ron Paul. I’ll admit, it was written in a deliberately provocative style, not necessarily my strong suit. So I’d like to try to say the exact same things this time from my usual sunny disposition and see if maybe people like that version a little better.
Ron Paul is doing a great thing by running for President. When he announced, the way I saw it was the guy is reaching the end of his career in Washington as an often lonely advocate for truly Constitutional government. Ron Paul has done an excellent job of using his office to spread the libertarian message, especially in this era of the Internet and C-SPAN. What better way to go out than to find the biggest podium possible, the Presidential campaign, to promote his ideas?
At the time I was unreserved in my joy over this development. It’s a win for everybody in the freedom movement, including my beloved Libertarian Party. More people hearing the ideas of Liberty is always a good thing.
The Ron Paul campaign has already exceeded any expectations I had for it. It is a joy to hear the word “libertarian” used frequently and for the most part properly on all the major mainstream media outlets. But the true excitement is bubbling up from the grassroots.
Even in the most unlikely of places, like some fantasy football message boards I frequent, people who have never been that interested in politics are rising up in support of Ron Paul. For the first time in their lives, they’ve heard a Republican candidate actually utter something they always thought was common sense.
And the news keeps getting better for Ron Paul. In the last week alone, his superior fundraising and campaign spending numbers are helping to shame John McCain out of the race, he has cruised to easy victories in significant straw polls in New Hampshire and South Carolina, and the TV talking heads are starting to talk more and more about him without Ron Paul even being there.
This is a great gift that Ron Paul is giving us. My previous article was deliberately selfish, but one thing I’ve noticed in following his campaign is how truly selfless he is. One reason why people respond to him so well is they see that in his demeanor. Unlike every other candidate, he’s not doing this for himself. He is doing this for the Constitution, for America.
So what can I do in response to this awesome gift? I understand that he is in it to win it, but to me the essence of the Ron Paul campaign is to draw out everybody who agrees with him and get them to meet each other.
Let’s set aside for a moment whether he wins or loses. The truth is, even if he wins election and reelection, this act runs its course in a set amount of time. At some point in the near future, it will be done.
I prefer to take a long view of history. I never buy into the hype that the next election is “the most important election ever.” Elections and administrations come and go in the blink of an eye. The struggle for Liberty endures and progresses over all time.
So I find myself maybe looking further ahead than is good for me and asking, what happens next? If the purpose of the campaign is simply to win, then we are putting high stakes on long odds. But if we accept that another purpose of at least equal importance is to draw together and crystallize the freedom movement in America, then we have a lot of work to do.
Ron Paul winning the Presidency would not by any means be the end of the battle. Indeed, at that point the battle would just have been engaged. Win or lose, everyone who believes in Liberty will have to continue to carry his ideas forward.
The very first thing we can do, all of us who respond so well to Ron Paul’s message, is recognize that we are brothers and sisters. We already know just by this association that we agree with each other on all the important issues facing this country. We need each other, desperately. If I regret anything about my last attempt to express these thoughts, it’s that I helped feed any divisiveness between people who really should just be joyfully running to hug each other.
I understand a lot of the anger and frustration that comes with this grassroots rebellion. A whole lot of Ron Paul supporters are people who have held these ideas for a long time and are beyond damn tired with being marginalized and called crazy by the mainstream media. It’s great to see that energy when it’s directed at the powers that be, but we need to keep it in check when we’re trying to appeal to new supporters.
Take a look at Ron Paul Revolution for a great example of positive, libertarian support. These guys certainly get one thing - Liberty is joy! A smile and a joke will appeal to a lot more people than an angry tirade about how other people just don’t get it.
This is a cause for celebration! Those who love Liberty are given new hope, encouraged to stand up and be counted. No matter the party, no matter what in particular Liberty means to us, it absolutely is in our best interest to come together and realize we can work together to realize our common hopes and dreams.
My way of trying to honor Ron Paul’s gift by doing something with it is to help build the Libertarian Party. When the campaign itself has run its course, whether that’s next spring or eight years from now, those who have invested themselves in his cause will need a new home. A place where they feel welcomed, an organization that actually does something for them, a better way to practice what they preach.
My last article was intended primarily for a Libertarian Party audience, and here I will address my fellow Libertarians again. The scenario I just drew for you may seem perfectly natural, but it will not happen by itself. We have to make it happen. Now is the time to find all these new Liberty Lovers flocking to Ron Paul’s side and introduce yourselves.
Most everyone who has heard about the Libertarian Party has an opinion about it. In my travels I have found that invariably their view is determined by how they feel about the first person they met who they knew was a Libertarian. If that person was friendly, then they generally like us and respect us. But if that person was a jerk to them, then their reaction is almost uniformly negative.
My fellow Libertarians, you are called upon to be that first contact now. Make sure that the first Libertarian these new freedom activists meet is one that makes them feel welcomed to the fight.
As for myself, I long ago gave up on the notion that the Republican Party could possibly be a vehicle to regain our Liberty. I’m sorry, but that’s one point I just can’t let go and I can’t be sunny about. Yes, an individual of any party can be well worth our cooperation and support. The first candidate I ever supported was Barry Goldwater, and I have never doubted my pride in that first step into my life in politics. Yet from Goldwater, to Ronald Reagan, to the Contract with America, to Ron Paul, while several good elected officials and activists committed to limited Constitutional government do their best to fight the good fight, all we ever get from that party is more spending, more debt, more government and less freedom.
So while I can be tickled pink about an individual candidate, there is no hope in the Republican or Democratic parties themselves. We need a new solution, a new way to continue the fight of these noble patriots. We need to make sure our hope ushers in real change.
I always agreed with Ron Paul. That’s why I have devoted my life to the Libertarian Party.
Sean Haugh is assistant editor for Liberty For All. Sean is married to longtime Libertarian Pam Adams, and they have a family of three dogs and five cats. Besides them, Sean loves God, Liberty, and Oklahoma Sooners football. Write to Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org.