"Come the fuck on." - Ron Paul
I participated in Occupy, and continue to champion it's cause, because in it I saw a frustration and a hope that I shared. Hope. It's a phrase that's been cheapened by our warmongering president; But I know real hope when I see it. Occupy itself, like all street protests, was a bit of theater. It exposed our growing paramilitary police state and what kind of free speech the U.S. feels threatened by. It was quite telling. But it also served(and continues to serve) as a confluence of groups with similar interests- A kind of unofficial New New deal coalition. Organized labor from various sectors, Vietnam veterans, retired police, pilots, Iraq veterans, Socialists, Communists, Anarchists, Direct Actioners, Peace activists, Anti-finance activists, Anti-corruptionists, the Wobblies, and Ron Paul supporters.
I was initially annoyed to see Ron Paul supporters. At the protest I went to they had plenty of big, official campaign shit, including a huge blue Ron Paul 2012 banner. On one hand, I knew that Ron Paul supporters are rabid, so I wasn't surprised. On the other hand, I didn't see how supporting a candidate in 2012 should be any part of Occupy. We were taking to the streets because that was the only way to get heard- not because we already knew who we were going to vote for in 2012. Ironically, it didn't occur to me until now, as I'm considering registering Republican and voting for Ron Paul in the primaries, that this is exactly how Grassroots activism works. Networking.
It's not an easy decision I've come to. I was(and still am, to a certain extent) suspicious of Ron Paul. He's a adopted Texas as his home state and made state's rights a big part of his platform- which to me reads as Confederate.(If anyone told you the civil war ended, they're lying) He's a self-identified Libertarian and believes in the free market and deregulation, which to me reads as Idiot. And he has come out against all Abortion. Understandably, these facts mean "check mate" to many liberals, in the Case against Ron Paul.
And this is the space my mind 'occupied' up until about a week ago. O-bomb-a's ramping up of everything bad about the Bush years is a disaster for this country, but there's no progressive challenge within the party, and Ron Paul's a confederate dinosaur who doesn't respect Women's rights. So what is to be done? Absolutely Nothing. Something kept repeating in my head then- "At least he's against war."
At least he's against war; and that's no small thing. Ron Paul(along with only Kucinich, who's not challenging Obama) is so consistently against war, watching him talk about it is like watching some draft-card burner in the World War One era. Honestly, it's quite a sight- and Foreign Policy is an area where this country needs someone with old-fashioned ideas like respect for National Sovereignty, Non-Interventionism, and Nationalism. Unless Globalism has been working out just great for you, and I don't think I'm alone here; I'm only interested in the conditions of this country.
And it's not just these low-calorie invasions and occupations and bombings of poor Arab countries that the U.S. has been doing. The DEA, the CIA and the FBI have also been participating in(on both sides, at times) a war that it's even more laughable and unwinnable than the "war on terrorism; " the War on Drugs. Again, watching Ron Paul speak against these things is like watching a man from the pre-prohibition era of Morphine tinctures in soda and Coca toothache treatments. It's yet another area where 19th century ideas and ideals are vastly superior to whatever the fuck we're doing now- when drugs used to be a matter between citizens, doctors and pharmacists. Again, this is a big deal- even though our culture has become more pro-cannabis, almost no elected official speaks out for ending the drug war in it's entirety.
Ron Paul being against abortion is barely excusable in my eyes. But one thing to keep in mind is simple pragmatism. Roe v. Wade won't be overturned until a series of conservative presidents appoint pro-life supreme court justices(and they're trying) over a series of decades. Paul, if elected, might be able to appoint one. But a nationwide ban on abortion is a long way off. Which scratches the surface of a larger point to be made- When electing a president, it's not important that you like them, or that they be right about each and every thing. You have to look at what they actually intend to do, and their priorities, which very few did in 2008.
Paul's views on environmental regulation are terrible, or I should say his view; get rid of them. More financial deregulation would bring about even more shanty-towns and tent-cities in this country. Paul has said Charity should be left up to the private sector(read, not done.) However, having worked as a physician, he has vowed not to touch Medicare or Social Security except as a last order of business; because he has seen how much people rely on those programs. A Paul presidency wouldn't do any favors for the poor, but at least he's hands-off. Even Obama has "entitlement reform" as a pressing issue.
Instead of nominating and electing the prettiest, least offensive candidate like hopesters did in 2008, and like GOPsters are threatening to do in the 2012 primaries(with Romney,) consider what the president is actually capable of, what he intends to do, and what are his first priorities. You're not electing a king; Ron Paul even mentions a time when when the president didn't have unchecked power- but maybe he's bullshitting.
In the end, for whatever else would come about, a 4-year Ron Paul presidency would mean, right away:
U.S. troops out of everywhere.
The end of the War on Drugs.
The end of the USA PATRIOT act.
Though I'm no globalist- imagine how amazing of a gesture that would be to the rest of the world. And that's why I'm doing the unthinkable, and registering Republican to vote for Ron Paul in the primaries and the election. It's not hope; but it is change.