I remember October like it was yesterday. I had just moved to a new area, had a new job, and had just heard that Ron Paul's campaign was off to a solid start after months of no success. Looking at the local Meetup group, it looked really small, but it was starting to get active.
Nine months later, a lot of things have changed. We rocked the world, and we made ourselves a footnote-albeit a legendary one-in history. Dollars, time, effort, and standing in frigid conditions to wave signs were our sacrifices. Was it all worth it? Where do we go from here?
Putting all the fervor and excitement aside for a moment, we find ourselves perplexed. Like a race crew whose car gets demolished five laps from the finish, we are disgruntled and unhappy. I know I am tired of it all, but I'm downright angry at all the nonsense that followed since Ron's “I'm not dropping out or staying in” speech in April.
Sure, we made great strides, but what now? Campaign for Liberty? Break the Matrix? The St. Paul Convention? Support John McCain? Support Obama? The Libertarian Party? The Constitution Party? Barr, Baldwin, “None of the Above,” or Write-in?
We gave everything we had, and now everyone is marketing themselves to us as the “next” Ron Paul. It's gotten so preposterous that, at the LP convention, people had the audacity to offer themselves as the acolytes of Ron, then support things like socialized medicine. I've heard people preach unions, weakening the dollar further, and energy mandates in his name, too. It's getting to be a parody of itself. The ones that aren't running as the next incarnation of Dr. No are trying to scare us into voting for them, giving money to them, or think they're outright entitled to our votes because of our involvement in the r3VOLution.
Honestly, I'm a little burned out by this election year, and we've got four more months until ballots are cast. What do we do? Some people gave money until it bled and then some to Ron and Ron-related causes (see blimp, etc.). Some people have already spent a year on the campaign trail. Some of us jeopardized our consciences registering with the GOP to vote for Ron.
Now, I get dunning letters from the GOP, Mitch McConnell, Laura Bush, the RNC, John McCain, Cindy McCain, and Trevor Lyman telling me to “go join this,” “go do that,” and the ever-present “send money fast by clicking this link.” Enough is enough. We're tired, out of money, and badly in need of regrouping. We've lost people temporarily and permanently due to burnout. We're hurting.
Maybe our solution is to take our own advice: The answer isn't one group, party, or man, just as the answer isn't one government edict or law. The answer could have been Ron, but it wasn't. He may be the Barry Goldwater of our generation, but Goldwater's movement took a long time to realize their goals after he lost. How can we peer though the mists into the future?
The short answer is that we can't. Dr. Paul is a hero, but his fight has taken another direction. What about the rest of us? Well…that depends. We rallied around Ron because he had a message and he was brave enough to face the firestorm pursuing it. We don't need a man right now; rather, we need a cause. It's one thing to support a liberty candidate, while it's quite another to regroup after a loss and keep things going.
Campaign for Liberty has the potential to do this, but it needs to get the show on the road if it intends to harness our power. No offense to Mr. Lyman, but money bombs only work when there is a compelling message fronted by a compelling advocate. C4L is long on promises and short on delivery. It's as if it inhabits a special alternate universe where Ron never lost. Unfortunately for the C4L crowd, the rest of us have to live in the real world.
Trevor, you can keep squeezing us for money, but, without a compelling reason, your messages will go right in the “recycle bin” along with McCain's and Obama's. You still have $4.9 million of our contributions. Do something worthy, and people will answer. Rest on your laurels, and we're going to walk away. It's already happening.
I didn't wait for someone to start begging for time and money. I went and joined the Libertarian Party. A number of r3VOLutionaries did in my state, and we are trying to reach out to other branches of the freedom movement with very good feedback. It isn't about building empires and loyalties. It's about people and causes.
I like the Constitution Party folks and the GOP r3VOLution people I got to know. I liked the tempo and the struggle, but it needs a cause beyond nerdspeak and code words. I can preach to Ron Paul supporters all day long, but it falls on deaf ears. Why? WE know we were right, but everyone else is still stuck in the system. What now?
We need to stop running in different directions. We need a cause, and it needs to be bigger than “what shoulda/coulda been.” It needs to be bigger than moneybombs and blimps and websites. It needs to be worthy of the heritage which we are trying to resurrect. It isn't Barr, Baldwin, or anyone else. It's a cause bigger than promoters and ad campaigns and conventions. What is it?
Frankly, I don't know. I know I'm supporting Bob Barr. I know that I'm in the LP now. I know that I miss being part of something like the r3VOLution, and I'm tired of the myriad cheap opportunists playing fast and loose with Dr. Paul's legacy. We made something beautiful this year, and I want it to have deeper meaning. Maybe it will, maybe not. One thing is certain, though: We need to figure out a direction and go, or our movement will be relegated to the past tense. All the dunning emails and spam in the world won't save our movement. Only the message of freedom can save us, and it seems to be a message that has been lost by the lesser minds trying to exploit us.Tweet
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