Saturday, February 02, 2008

When It Matters: Ron Paul

When my wife said she liked hearing me talk about politics, I knew whatever apathy I had toward politics had finally stopped.

Lynné said she noticed a definite change since we married. I pushed this year to register us to vote - rather than shrugging it off. I pose government questions at the dinner table. My ability to pull up anecdotes and history from college years gets exercised whenever Lynné asks a question. My enthusiasm is coming from the prospect of change. We just mailed out our presidential primary votes for Texan Congressman Ron Paul.

While chipping two-inch-thick ice from our walkway and driveway, I started to think about those supporting Ron Paul who run under the banner of "Ron Paul Cured My Apathy." I fall under that category. But why? Because it feels like this election matters. Hearing Ron Paul talk about ceasing the growth of the federal government - and diminishing its role in we citizens' lives - makes me feel encouraged about the presidential menu, even more than the Bush vs. Gore election, (which, in some circles translated into Christan president vs. Secular president.)

There are videos on his Web site that go through his stance on several issues. You cannot deny he is well-informed, if not one of the most substantial statesmen in the race, after reading his work. That's one thing I'm always watching when people talk: nonsense vs. actual communication.

Real nonsense: I, Youssef, will focus my attention on the financial well-being of my family.
Real communication: I gave my wife the responsibility of paying our bills and budgeting while it's my responsiblity to file the statements.

I hope you, readers, see the difference. Ron Paul commits at least every other statement to actual communication. The other candidates navigate their answers through questions. Listen to a few of his Youtube videos to see the difference I'm talking about. Ron Paul gets compared to MLK and JFK in this film clip, while he gets compared to Ronald Reagan in others.

Recently, he stopped at the hotel not more than 20 blocks from my house. Seriously. How often does a presidential candidate visit Spokane?

Now why do people talk about Ron Paul as if he won't win?
I want some people to really think about this. The media (TV largely) refers to the mass crowds of people (think: groupies) who flood areas. The San Francisco straw poll - one of the few straw polls that mean something - was canceled when Paul supporters overwhelmed their room. Does that mean a cross-section of American voters wasn't found? Think about this: what does it mean that a presidential candidate has groupies, particularly in a country that typically has the lowest voter turn-out? I guarantee that each person who has donated at least $25 to Ron Paul will register to vote.

Now, it's not like I'm going to throw a snowball at Sean Hannity or anything like that. But when it comes down to it, I find myself sitting squarely in Paul's camp than any other candidate because of his central position of being a constitutionalist. My education in history/politics is definitely off the beaten path, when it comes to your average public schooler, deviating even further when I went to college. The headmaster of my last school spent most of a semester talking about the evils of Abraham Lincoln in the civil war.

One of the most important shifts in my early government thinking came from a professor named Iachetta (EYE-uh-KEH-tuh) who was teaching early American history, showing how it related to present events. We studied the constitution hard, even better the Federalist Papers. The idea of states' rights fell hard. However, no presidential candidate has stood for states' rights, much less the idea of returning to the gold standard. The mainstream media, determined as it seems to black-out Paul, has dubbed him the "libertarian minded long-shot," but if we do get him as a president, it's going to matter.

Why am I voting for him?
  • I am sick and tired of fighting an uphill battle with my money to provide for my family. Getting a better job every three years because my dollars are devaluing is idiotic and - in essence - devaluing my work.

  • I'm just tired of the business of tax preparation. Do you realize that TurboTax and TaxAct and H&R Block's Tax prep would fold overnight if the IRS was dissolved - not to mention the job supplements of several accountants? There is a site where you, yes YOU, can earn extra dollars by learning to prepare people's taxes - without a degree? That just goes to show how, in many ways, it's just a form.

  • What if the government entanglements in education disappeared? The video isn't that descriptive, but this text is invaluable in generating the hope that one day 55.33% of my property taxes won't go to an educational system I'm not going to use (home-schooling is for me and mine.) Here's the county's own graph of my property taxes for 2007-08. Add up "State School" and School District 81 (SD81)... Use the link, if you're in Spokane county, to look up your own.

  • Social security is one of the biggest $150 a month wastes out of my paycheck I can imagine, and Ron Paul's plan is the only one that actually sounds like it would work.
  • I'm just sick of the stories of people my age being sent to the war in Iraq. I'm not sure I trust any of the Democratic candidates to make good on their promises to pull-out (not that the party is incapable, just the people who make it to the White House). Ron Paul's consistency over the years of the war makes me trust him to stop my generation's future problems with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I ride the bus every weekday with a man who has PTSD from Vietnam and continually affirms that the present soldiers in Iraq are going through worse.
  • I'm hoping for a real change to this country.

There are people talking about the Ron Paul Revolution as something that will go on after the Presidential Election, but I'm not sure what form that would take. However, if he is elected, he needs to follow through on those promises he's getting so popular for... If he doesn't follow through, the voting public may go numb or march on Washington, D.C.
If Ron Paul doesn't get elected... the very next person to run on Paul's platform will.

Post-logue: The Free Market Answer
Those of you readers who have watched your way through my video tour de force above will notice how often Ron Paul references "the free market." I believe statements like "I think the free market should decide" really deserve a little more treatment. While there are people who fear a corporatized world born of the market, that merely is one image of a thousand possible.

In the last video, a young woman stands up and asks about getting America off of its dependence on foreign oil for energy. Ron Paul gives his free market answer, which makes sense in the context. However, there's more to it when he says he'll let "the market" decide.
First of all, who is the market? Are they oil companies? Are they the stockholders on Wall Street?
The surprising answer is that it's us. The people. Inventors and thinkers -- people who can think their way out of the problem of oil-dependence. A friend of mine, Mr. X, has an idea - costing less than $1,000 to manufacture - that would effectively raise the miles per gallon of any vehicle by 50% at least. What's he doing about it? Working a job because he can't otherwise afford to provide for his family. There are people who have gotten further: water cars, electric cars, biofuel, downsized cars - these people introduce competition to the market. Lower prices win consumers, driving all market prices down.
What will Ron Paul do to pull America off of foreign oil dependence? The one thing he can do: a wise, strategically structured nothing.
By dropping taxes, people can start businesses or pursue businesses more easily.
By pursuing business more easily, innovators (otherwise ignored) enter the market place.
By introducing competing creativity, businesses that survive introduce solutions.
By competing solutions, the average consumer (also able to purchase more with gold-standard money) can purchase American-made cars. After all, when will it be in Iraq's business interest to offer an electric car?


Forrest said...

Very well argued post Youssef.
Seeing all these angles that he (Ron Paul) has thought through really proves the point I was trying to make to someone yesterday that he is the one coming up with his policy and not some group of advisers.
Ron Paul has cured my apathy also!

Lynne' said...

Yesterday, Youssef and I were watching Ron Paul interviews and depates and getting really jazzed about what he was saying and feeling hopeful for our kids future. We were really pumped. Then I said that we should watch a republican debate all the way through so that we could hear the other candidates. It wasn't half over when we both said we could feel our apathy comming back. The debate we saw that was the most recent and to be the last before "super Tuesday" was mostly Romney and McCain talking. Both were talking much but saying little. The only real thing I could desipher from their speeches of "why I'd make a good president - because I care about healthcare/the environment/I'm more moral than the next guy/I'll lower taxes while spending more everywhere else etc." all the stuff that doesn't mean anything except that they d0n't have a working plan to actually make a differeance in this country, the only thing the two of them really made a point about was that they'd leave the troops in Iraq untill we "win". I'm not sure what we would be winning if we did. McCain said he'd leave the troops in for 100 years if necessary. Romney wasn't far behind that but wanted goals or something to be set to get us out eventually. And yet they are going to lower taxes and improve our economy? If they are so adiment on continuing to fight a war that we can never win that is sucking our resources and trashing our economy how can they say they'd be a good comander and chief of us?! Maybe they want to be a commander of the world (since our military is everywhere). The problem is that we are paying for their empire, and in the mean time our home here and our freedoms here are crumbling!

There are too many holes in everyones plan except Ron Pauls. When he explains his plan about foreign policy it matches his plan to get rid of the IRS that fits with his plan about social security that goes right along with his plan to stabalize our money and stop inflaition etc. It's so encouraging to hear consistancy and logic from a presidential candidate. If he does become the Republican choice and therefore the media and debates won't be able to cut him out of conversations and interupt his answers to the only two or three questions they grudgingly have to ask him, I predict that he will win the presidential election by a landslide. I can't imagin how any logically minded person who gets a chance to listen to him speak about his plans (that he's consistantly been preaching for years... we googled some old videos of him) could not recognize that he's the best choice for our presidant. Even if you don't agree with everything he says he's the only one who will make a real change here and give our freedom back to us.

There are a lot of videos linked on Youssef's post but if you don't know much about Ron Paul you really should watch some! The internet as of yet isn't controled by the government so here is really the only place you can learn about him, and if he's not voted into office I wouldn't be surprised to see governmental regulations inhibiting our freedom on the internet either! Eventually a day might come when we could be arrested or fined for saying the wrong thing on our own blog.

Our country is in a serious place, our freedoms are crumbling, our security is failing (because of our medling foreign policing policy), our dollar will soon be worth nothing in the world (as the government keeps printing more to pay for it's spending), and we the middle class tax payers will no longer be middle class, soon we the poor will be forced to take government aid untill they can't take care of us anymore because they can't tax us enough to pay fo it.

Ranting about this would be much more fun if it all wasn't so terrifyingly possible for our country to end up the way I described, and it will if nothing significant changes.

Lynne' said...

Since posting the above I found out just a few minutes ago that a friend of mine died in Iraq. His name was Jim Craig and I haven't seen him since he graduated from high school. We were in band and small instrumental and singing groups together. He had a beautiful voice and played the french horn louder (impressively so) and more proudly than anyone else.

Youssef Sleiman said...

Subsequently, I would point out Ron Paul's insistence to withdraw the troops. His emphatic responses make me think he's going to bring them back in a few flights - rather than a phased out withdrawal, as you might expect from a Democratic platform that fears a terrorist attack.

Lynne' said...

The Mayor of Newport told Youssef on the bus today that he didn't think americans are ready for how honest Ron Paul is. (He did say also that he's a Ron Paul supporter too.)

I think though that americans ARE ready to hear some honesty and logic that Ron Paul is firm on. I don't think the media or other politicians are ready for it though, and perhaps the voters who've just been doing their duty to vote even though they are just choosing the lesser of two evils might be thinking that no real change is possible as they're too numb.
But I think the majority of us ARE ready for honesty. I think most of us are sick and tired of presedential candidates that are just trying to be what they think we want! I've heard of a bunch of non-voting people like Youssef and myself who are getting excited about Ron Paul, registering to vote, and telling everyone they can to do the same.

Youssef Sleiman said...

Unexpected update!

Romney's out.

In the presidential candidacy race, Mitt Romney - the one poised for best competition with John McCain - is out of the race!
(Sorry if you've already put your vote towards him.)

Things to know:
Now McCain's prowess in the media's eyes will seem enormous.
Now Huckabee supporters will say they have a stronger chance - though Huckabee's campaign is still in a financial hole.
Now the GOP race will polarize between McCain and Ron Paul.

Stodgy military type ("Leave troops in Iraq for 100 years or more" - just how long a term is he running for?)
Aged constitutionalist ("End the big government spending and stop inflation by returning to the gold standard."

I'm going to put as much of my tax rebate to Paul's campaign as I can. Seems like an even better investment than my own retirement portfolio - after all, what kind of retirement will I have when the Chinese realize our dollar isn't connected to anything?

Rachel said...

I feel like Ron Paul cured my political apathy, too. He's like a glimmer of hope among bleak & depressing candidates.

Lynne' said...

And there IS more of a chance for him than the news and other candidates say!!! We just saw a clip online of republican supporters and the Ron Paul supporters were overwhelming compared to the supporters of Romney (who's out anyway) but the news (ABC) had just two pictures of them. One of a group of Romney supporter and the other of a single guy holding a Ron Paul sign and an umbrella.

Is the news trying to dampen our spirits by skewing the facts?

Ryan said...

Doesn't it always!