The last six months have not been kind to Ron Paul. He witnessed his dream of a Libertarian insurgency sputter while a man of far inferior vision, Mitt Romney, surged ahead behind a perfectly-manufactured white, rich and pro-business visage. Romney is as imprintable as blank paper traveling through a printing press. Like a chameleon, he can be whatever GOP voters need him to be. Ron Paul, on the other hand, can be only what comes naturally to him.
As the GOP National Convention approaches, an event wherein Romney will be officially coronated, some are wondering what Paul and his delegates will do as Romney accepts his charge. As Death and Taxes’ Alex Moore reported two months ago, “Paul [has] encouraged his followers to try to become delegates themselves: ‘I hope all supporters of Liberty will remain deeply involved – become delegates, win office, and take leadership positions. I will be right there with you.’”
With the GOP surely wishing to present a unified front to combat Obama and the Democratic party in 2012, Paul and his contingent would seem to be a liability to a united GOP front, especially on a nationally-televised event. The Washington Times’ Eric Golub sees a big problem brewing.
“The GOP Convention is a Republican Convention. It is a Mitt Romney Convention… It is not a Ron Paul or Libertarian Convention,” writes Golub. “Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable at this point to ban Ron Paul supporters from the GOP Convention.”
Golub is correct to a point, but to ban Paul, his supporters and delegates is to violate their First Amendment rights. Yes, national conventions are no longer the arenas in which candidates are nominated—the primaries now fulfill that function. But, perhaps a bit of noise and division is exactly what democracy needs at this point. Indeed, it is important for GOP voters to understand that there is not a plurality of vision within the Republican party—that Paul has something to offer the country in the debate over economics, finance, the role of the Federal Reserve and American hegemony abroad.
If the GOP were to blockade his supporters, it would only reveal the extent to which forces within the party will go to control the message. And so what if Paul’s attempt at creating a muscular Libertarian party has failed to match the GOP or Democratic party in terms of power and influence? He and his supporters are up against a deeply-engrained partisan divide created over hundreds of years by politicians from both sides of the aisle.
The idea that recent tradition should dictate what is acceptable at national conventions is absurd. America has been torn apart by the squabbling and power politics of Republicans and Democrats. These conventions are a method of securing their own power and imposing an either-or system on the American people, which cannot possibly encompass the variety of ideology that exists in America.
The fact that Paul was able to raise more money than during his last presidential run, and garner more votes and delegates in the process, proves that millions of voters in both the Republican and Democratic parties want a different path. Should they be denied a voice simply because the GOP’s elite would like to masquerade their power in the guise of convention decorum? Absolutely not.
This country is far too complex for sound byte speeches emanating from wealthy candidates who believe they should be elected simply because they ran a successful business. America is being pulverized by the near-religious dogma that corporate business is our collective salvation.
Religion, especially the Christian variety, has morphed into capitalist catechism. The dollar and graven image of George Washington and his fellow founding fathers have replaced that of Jesus. Mitt Romney is the apotheosis of this idea in action. He is the symbol of an entire worldview. America may yet become atheist in time as far as organized religion is concerned, but those who lose faith in the one will find it in the other: the dollar.
Let Ron Paul’s supporters express their constitutional right to free speech at the GOP National Convention so that people will know that the party hasn’t completely given itself to corporate pimps.