War, Republicans, and How Ron Paul Cured My Apathy
By Elisha Dorfsmith
All too often, when I tell Republicans, Tea Party Members, and other conservatives that I am opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the ever expanding American empire they look at me like I come from another planet. To them, being conservative means beating the drums of war as much as possible and borrowing and printing money to pay for it. If you don’t join the program you are called a liberal or weak on defense or un-American, never mind the fact that the war on terror has cost over 1 trillion dollars and true conservatives should be in the streets protesting the huge expense of the military industrial complex.
Neo-conservatives (feel free to look up the definition) would have us believe that the War on Terror is keeping America safe. I suppose our leaders were also keeping us safe when they supported and helped strengthen Saddam Hussein and Iraq during the Iraq-Iran War. Or when they helped Osama bin Laden and the “Freedom Fighters” fight against Soviet occupation. The list of our involvement in foreign conflicts behind the scenes (and sometimes in the open) goes on and on. My point is not to argue who was right or wrong in these conflicts. My point is simply that the United States has been meddling in foreign affairs for years and our meddling has helped breed a lot of hate. “Blowback” is more than just a cute word.
Seems we have forgotten the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson:
“Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations–entangling alliances with none…” –Thomas Jefferson
It is important to remember that America has been seeking to expand it’s empire for many years. One of my favorite quotes by Mark Twain talks about the war you won’t find in the history books: The Philippine American war.
“I have read carefully the treaty of Paris, and I have seen that we do not intend to free, but to subjugate the people of the Philippines. We have gone there to conquer, not to redeem. It should, it seems to me, be our pleasure and duty to make those people free, and let them deal with their own domestic questions in their own way. And so I am an anti-imperialist. I am opposed to having the eagle put its talons on any other land.” –Mark Twain
Unfortunately, Americans are not taught much history in school and the little they are taught is often warped, twisted, and revised to promote an agenda. To truly understand how things got to where they are we must dig deep and study facts and truth.
I voted for George Bush in 2000. I was raised in a very Republican conservative Christian home and it was the natural thing to do. By 2004 my eyes were opened to how we were falsely sold the war in Iraq, how the Patriot Act trampled the constitution, and how Republicans seemed to only care about war and their version of morality that they wanted to push on people. Limited government and the Constitution seemed to be the last thing on their minds. I started researching the Libertarian party and while I did not (and still don’t) agree with every stand on every issue, they most closely represented my views. I voted for Michael Badnarik in 2004.
Studying libertarian ideas introduced me to many writers and leaders in the liberty movement including Ron Paul. When Ron Paul decided to run for president in 2008, Cindy and I were thrilled that a candidate who represented our views was actually running. Many Libertarians were upset (and justifiably so) when thousands of us left the Party and registered Republican in order to vote for Ron Paul in the primary. The Republican establishment was clearly not happy about Paul’s opposition to the wars. They along with Fox News (and other networks) went out of their way to smear Ron Paul and his supporters. He was even banned from the Fox debate right before the New Hampshire primary.
In the meantime, through Meetup and other networking sites, Flagstaff freedom lovers started meeting weekly at the public library conference room, holding sign rallies, and going door to door campaigning for Ron Paul. Years of frustration and anxiety suddenly gave way to the excitement and passion of supporting the Constitution and limited government. Yes, it is cliche but Ron Paul and the movement he energized cured my apathy.
During our sign rallies in front of City Hall guess who most often gave us the finger? Yes, you guessed it: People with Romney, Giuliani, Huckabee and other Republican bumper stickers on their cars.
That is not to say that attacks didn’t come from the left. An article in Flagstaff Live titled “The Dangerous Desperation of the Moonbats” by Avtar Khalsa (currently running for Justice Of The Peace) tore us apart.
“You can see them on Sunday afternoons standing out by City Hall with their signs and the devotion of true believers. They have a message. It can be summed up in 14 words: “We all believe he is the only hope we have to save our nation.” Strangely, they’re not referring to any deity or higher power. And they’re not out there spreading the good word about Jesus or Reverend Moon or Lord Krishna. No, for them, the salvation of our great nation depends on the election of a 72-year old Republican congressman from Texas who is running for president. His name is Ron Paul…”
He went on to claim that we were misguided and pretty much a bunch of racists. (sound familiar?)
We all know Ron Paul did not win the primary. Yes, we were discouraged and frustrated but as Ron always says, “freedom is popular” and us Ron Paul supporters had plenty of evidence to show that his ideas and support of the Constitution were catching on. (I choose not to insert the New Hampshire commercial here. 😛 )
When it came time for the Republican National Convention, Ron Paul was clearly not wanted there so he held his own rally.
Ron Paul did manage to pick up some delegates who went to the RNC to represent him. As I watched it live I could not believe how the Republican establishment treated those delegates. They refused to let them vote, they cut the mics, they did everything they could to silence our people. That same evening I went online and re-registered as a Libertarian. We were clearly not wanted in the Republican party.
The story goes on and on. Some of us did stay in the Republican party and some of us were successful there. Others joined the tea party or other liberty groups. One thing is certain, no matter how much the establishment wishes we would go away we won’t be going anywhere anytime soon!
I would encourage everyone to watch the For Liberty documentary which does a great job of showing what the Ron Paul revolution was all about. You can watch the full documentary here:
Keep fighting the fight. Don’t let the history books and media tell you what to believe. Dig deep. Find the facts. Be informed. Most importantly, lose the apathy and get involved.