Follow Up on the Ron Paul/Gary Johnson Write-up
My write-up from Friday concerning Ron Paul and Gary Johnson created quite a stir. I wanted to take an opportunity to write a follow-up to address some of the questions and concerns of several of the readers. For those who haven’t read the original write-up, please do so here.
I thought that I had made it pretty clear that this wasn’t just some guy commenting on a page. This was the actual page owner posting an update that was going out to the page’s readership. There were several pages on Facebook that posted it. Those pages include Ron Paul 2012 (18,500+ fans), Ron Paul Revolution (20,000+), several state pages (with readerships ranging in the hundreds), and at least a couple of others. Once again, these were the actual pages, not just random people commenting. I would bet money there were many other pages on Facebook as well as countless blogs, forums, and other webpages posting this same line. Regarding the ones on Facebook that I saw, there were hundreds of responses and of those, a majority felt like there was a conspiracy or at least an orchestrated effort to get Johnson in the debate as it might hurt Dr. Paul. So we’re definitely not talking one person. We’re talking hundreds with exposure to thousands. In all fairness, there were several responses on these pages discounting that theory.
For years I have defended my fellow Ron Paul supporters. I don’t presume to lump everyone together. Like I said in Friday’s piece, I’m a Paul supporter. I made multiple donations to his run last time and even made a donation to his Congressional campaign in 2008. With that said, reputations get started for a reason. And the simple fact is that a good number of Ron Paul supporters are rude, pushy, vulgar, inconsiderate, conspiracy-prone, and mean-spirited. Do other campaigns have this? Sure, they do. But I think we’ve got a higher number as a percentage of our base. And I honestly think this is becoming a problem.
Michael Badnarik was the 2004 Libertarian Party candidate for President. One of his most well-known lines was this (and paraphrasing a bit here): Lighting the Flames of Freedom and Liberty One Heart and Mind at a Time. Basically, winning hearts and minds based on a strong, positive message of liberty. Not yelling at people. Not accusing them of being NWO/CFR agents. Not immediately discounting another’s opinion. And surely not using profanity. It’s a lot easier to light those flames when you’re not yelling or cursing at someone. Or, as we say down here in Georgia, you can catch more flies with honey than you can vinegar.
Several of you scoffed at my article as a non-starter or non-issue. But I wanted to write about it because, to me, even as an isolated event, it represents a core problem with our fight. One that the campaign has not addressed, and one that none of the grassroots organizations, to my knowledge, have addressed. I think it needs to become part of the dialogue.
To close, I’d like to mention a memory from 2007. I co-promoted a “Ron Paul Rockfest” in Athens, Georgia in November of that year. We had four killer bands and we raised over $1,000 for the cause. Up until that very night, there was an outside chance that Dr. Paul himself was going to appear! He was at Clemson that day (not even an hour and a half away), and it was looking like it might be in the cards. That didn’t happen, but we still had a great time and, in our own small way, helped the movement. I’ll never forget that night. I’ll never forget, or should I say, I will always remember, remember the Nov. 5th money bomb a few days later…just that excitement and passion throughout the end of 2007 and on into 2008. It was an absolutely esoteric feeling that anything was possible. I’m a huge Hunter S. Thompson buff, and I think his beautiful quote from “Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas” summed up that feeling:
There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning…And that, I think, was the handle — that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply PREVAIL. There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave…
What I don’t want to have happen is this—I don’t want to have to add the final part of that quote when this thing is all said and done:
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.