Tuesday, January 31, 2012

What Ron Paul Taught Me About Myself

I went to a Ron Paul speech recently.  The speech was fine--dispassionate, brief, full of facts.  It was utterly devoid of the kind of character assassination that the public say it can't stand but secretly loves.  (Incidentally, it was also full of support for the individual liberty the public says it loves but never seems to vote for.  Also, it was full of painfully straight talk and devoid of feel-good rhetoric, but again the public doesn't really respond the way they said they would.  I think I see a pattern.)

Another I noticed about the speech: very little security.  Two or three police officers, unknown number of Secret Service people.  I suppose that's the deal in parts so far north--a big crowd of scary people (we used to be called "Caucasoids") all tromping around with our boots in the ice-melter, cheering for an elderly obstetrician when he decried the National Defense Authorization Act.  It was the least edgy political event I can even imagine.

I'm not just a Ron Paul supporter, I'm enough of a Ron Paul supporter that if Romney or Gingrich gets the nomination I'll drop my Republican registration (something I promised to do a while back anyway).  I'm not really a Republican anyway, but if Ron Paul didn't exist I'd quip that I'd join any party in which someone like him was a prominent member and potential leader.  So I suppose I'm being true to my alternate-reality self.

Seriously though, supporting Rep. Paul, with his bad immigration rating as a candidate (and a good one as a member of Congress), has shown that I was not quite honest with myself once in the past.  It was probably in 2008.  My wife asked me what issue was most important to me, repealing the PATRIOT Act or stopping immigration?  (Somehow she knew killing affirmative action wasn't in my top two.  It's in my top ten though.)

I told her stopping immigration was my highest priority, and if someone agreed with me on that issue and on no others, I would vote for that person in preference to a person who disagreed with me on immigration and agreed with me on all the others.  Yet I prefer Paul over Rick Santorum.

It's not that I agree with Paul on everything else, or disagree with Santorum on everything else.  But it's close enough that it gets the point across.  At the end of the day, character and the correct stand on a dozen political issues trumps a rating from a single pressure group.