In the lead up weekend to the RNC convention, Tampa, Florida was awash in political electricity. It was so prevalent you could sense it in the corridors of air terminals across the country before you ever made it to that hot humid peninsula in the south. I admit, to be caught up in it is exciting. The ideal of democratic participation, the feeling of rejuvenation and community, joining the ranks of one’s ideological brethren to charge into intellectual combat for the future of our nation. If any of it was real, I would have been truly inspired. Unfortunately, I was well aware that the Republican convention was a farce, and knew full well what the end result would be for the Ron Paul campaign.
I had the privilege of being invited by the organizers of Paulfest, a Liberty Movement Woodstock of sorts, to give a speech on alternative economics and solutions to the general crisis we face as a country in the near future. On the long flight I found myself surrounded by GOP fanboys and even a Secret Service agent, as well as the endless FOX and CNN cavalcade reports on terminal TV’s during layovers. If you were in the middle of it, you would think something “important” was about to happen. If anything, it only clarified my concerns that there is still far too much that needs to be accomplished before the year of 2012 is over.
Arrival at Paulfest revealed immediate conflicts between the Ron Paul campaign and its base support. Certain Ron Paul staff (namely the infamous Jesse Benton) had been going out of their way to stiff and in some cases sabotage the event despite Ron Paul’s words of appreciation to those involved. Benton has had a long track record of venom against Ron Paul’s base supporters, which he referred to as “big fringe elements” in texts to potential speakers including Peter Schiff, to persuade them from partaking in the festival:[youtube height="400" width="550"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9BX5B9vhw4[/youtube]
Benton has on numerous occasions kicked out alternative news journalists from Ron Paul events in a move to sterilize the press box. When the RNC deliberately buried states with large Ron Paul delegate counts in the bleachers at the back of the building where television cameras would not notice them, complaints to the GOP and the campaign abounded, and an audit of the RNC was even called for. Yet, Benton responded snidely, saying:
“I am glad so many of our delegates get to sit close together.”
It has become clear that Benton and others have been “handling” Ron Paul for a considerable portion of his campaign and attempting to divorce him from the elements of the movement which are seen as “extreme” or anti-establishment, even though these are the same elements that catapulted Ron Paul into the minds of average Americans. My impression is that they have been targeted for surgical removal because they are impossible to co-opt for the purposes of diplomacy (submission) with the Neo-Con elites running the GOP carnival.
Rand Paul’s recent endorsement of Mitt Romney is not surprising given the parasitic nature of particular campaign organizers who buzz about him, including Benton. The bottom line is that some people in the movement are not in it to fight for freedom, or to ensure a brighter and more Constitutional Republic. Some are in the movement to further their political careers and ambitions, and are perfectly willing to use the energy of popular candidates to carry them to success.
Sadly, this is the ultimate weakness of the political ideal; regardless of how honest and forthright a candidate is, even a principled luminary like Ron Paul can be undermined by those closest to him if he is not careful. Millions of people relying solely on the tenuous chance of victory of a single man in a single rigged contest is NEVER a recipe for liberty.
The internal conflict was a source of tension and depression for many who only wanted to see unity within the movement, a final hurrah for Ron Paul, and a last drive towards a respectable showing at the RNC. The problem is that for some reason there was an expectation among some Paul revolutionaries that there would be a semblance of “fairness”. I’m not sure why considering that after four years and two presidential campaigns there has never been a single moment of fair-play in the GOP towards Ron Paul or the Liberty Movement in general. We have been the targets of mass media attacks, Republican con-games, and even DHS profiling. How anyone could think that Ron Paul was going to win by playing a game in which the rules are written and re-written (literally, as we saw with the GOP state delegate selection process changes) by the corrupt system is beyond me.
The most I had ever hoped for was a broken and perhaps chaotic RNC (a rightful punishment for the Neo-Cons), and the expansion of truth. For me, the Ron Paul campaign has always been a vehicle for the movement to expose the reality of our society to those half-hypnotized by the doldrum madness of the mainstream. I never saw it as a solution to our vast problems in and of itself.
Those of us who come from a macroeconomic background tend to have a more grounded vision of time. That is to say, we know the potential danger, and have a more profound sense of urgency than those who only approach activism through politics. We have mathematical insight, not just social or intuitive insight, into the approaching storm. This comes not only with certainty, but extended responsibility. During a round table discussion which included myself, Stewart Rhodes of Oath Keepers, Chuck Baldwin, and many other fantastic voices of the movement, I found that the boys from Montana had our work cut out for us in moving the discussion away from the purely political. The talk touched on alternative strategies, including self sufficiency and independent living, but gravitated time and again back to “finding new candidates to take Ron Paul’s place”, and coming up with new protest venues.
I was not able to take an accurate tally, but my ballpark guess is that though there are millions of Ron Paul supporters out there, at least half are completely unprepared for any kind of crisis event, and really do believe they have four more years to wait in quasi-hibernation while America hangs by a thin fiscal thread. It is not my intention to drive a wedge between “preparedness Ron Paulers” and “political Ron Paulers”. Far from it. But really, these folks should know better.
Stewart Rhodes’ speech at Paulfest was the most shocking for many of the political Paulers, as well as the most necessary. He removed the kid gloves completely as well as any feel-good rhetoric, stating that the GOP as a party was dead, and deserved to be, letting the Paul folks know that any further strategy of attempting to “infiltrate” the Republican establishment and turn it over to the side of good was a waste of time. He also stated that it is no longer enough for the movement to play around as “intellectual warriors”, they might soon have to become real warriors. I agree.
In my speech, I gave clear cut and tangible solutions to Paulfest attendees, including alternative markets and barter networks, commodity based currencies, micro industries and localized business models, useful trade skills, off-grid living, preparedness, and if all else fails, real revolution. Not idealized intellectual activism under the catchy label of revolution, but fists in the air and rifles in hand revolution. The kind that scares the crap out of most, not because of its danger, but because of its finality of purpose. The will to fight, really fight, is frightening, especially to those who cling to the belief that one can reason with his opponents. The cold hard fact is; some men are not men. Some men are monsters, and reason is the last thing that will ever sway them…
I also closed with an admission; that I fear little for the future. Despite the flaws of the Ron Paul campaign, the elections, and the movement in general, there is something to be said for the miracle that has occurred since 2008, and I do mean “miracle”. Four years ago, an activist speaking against the Federal Reserve, for instance, would be immediately met with attacks from all sides and outnumbered 50 to 1. Today, the roles are reversed. The internet is teaming with life and defenders of liberty while the majority of Americans and even Congress are calling for an audit or end of the Fed. The preparedness culture has exploded with dedicated families willing to make the terrifying leap into a once alien lifestyle. The mainstream media has been crushed by alternative outlets; as their numbers dwindle into oblivion, ours skyrocket in turn. All in all, it is not a bad time to be a champion of the Constitutional philosophy, and the existence of such a movement gives me enduring optimism. I do not “think” we will prevail; I KNOW we will prevail.
As I sat in the Sun Dome in Tampa witnessing the last speech of Ron Paul’s campaign career, I felt the loss that lingered within the crowd, but this was not the end. Not to sound callous, but frankly, the best thing that could have happened to the movement today was a farewell from Ron Paul and an end to the political theater that most have been caught up in for the better part of this year. The game is over. The real battle begins.
Ron Paul did more for the movement than many of us had ever dreamed. He forced the Constitution back into the mainstream when we needed it most. He breathed life into America once again. But now, his job is done. Rand Paul will not carry the movement forward, nor will any other candidate, at least not in the short time this nation has left before it becomes entirely unrecognizable.
Now, Ron Paul activists will be forced to walk away from the chessboard and to examine the legitimacy of bottom up solutions at the local level, rather than being obsessed with the top down drudgery at the federal level. They will have to insulate themselves using decentralized economic systems and self sustaining living methods. They will have to learn to produce necessities for themselves, and to interact within their communities face to face. They will be compelled to educate local police and military to wake them up to the civil catastrophes ahead. If they do seek out political strategies, it will have to be at the county and state levels, where there is at least a chance of making viable progress. And, most of all, they will have to adopt a self-defense mindset in addition to intelligent discourse. They will have to become what I would call ‘Warrior Poets’ in the shadow of this dark age. They will have to think, and feel, but also be willing to fight, and perhaps even die for their principles. They will have to become whole men and women, rather than incomplete people, projecting all their hopes and dreams into a governmental white knight that will never come.
Ultimately, politics has been warped into a mechanism by which the masses can hand over their responsibility to affect change within the system they live, and pass the buck on to others. It is time to move away from this failed dynamic. It is time for the Ron Paul revolution to mature, and to embrace the pain of doing what must be done. It is time to take matters into our own hands.