Let me start with some background. After finishing my work for a pro-life organization in the state of Tennessee, I faced a tough dilemma. What would I do next? What about working for a presidential campaign? After all, I had been rigorously volunteering for political campaigns for about a decade at that point, and in the last election I had the opportunity to work for the Republican Party of Virginia. But which one was best? For starters, the candidate had to be completely conservative both socially and fiscally. One thing was certain; I wasn’t about to offer my services to any sort of pro-choice politician, no sir. In addition, I had become increasingly frustrated with a growing number of Republicans over their apparent abandonment of the principles of a constitutional, limited government (George W. Bush anyone?). And so I researched. One candidate far and away drew my attention…Congressman Ron Paul of Texas. Sure, I had heard of him, but I didn’t really know too much about him. After all, with 435 members in the House of Representatives, who can keep track of them all? Many fellow Republicans regarded him with derision calling him Dr. No due to his track record of voting against so many bills. But the more I read, the more I liked. Unlike so many other members of Congress, he consistently voted in accordance with the Constitution, even though doing so meant he wouldn’t bring home pork to his constituents. He opposed tax increases; he favored state rights, slashing spending, and the elimination of many federal programs, departments, and agencies. Although heavily controversial, he also opposed the conflict in Iraq, a big selling point for me. Even though I was, and still am, leery of the legalization of many types of drugs, he was right, it was a state issue, not a federal one. He represented, in my mind, the true ideals of the Republican Party and conservatism. My goal was clear. I had to promote Ron Paul aggressively. I had to work for his campaign.
Trying to get employment with the Ron Paul campaign was a difficult task, a job in and of itself. I called weekly and spammed the campaign with email. Finally, when I heard a Ron Paul campaign staffer would be in Winchester, I hopped in my car and headed north. It took months, but my determination finally paid off and I was soon headed to South Carolina. This effort was not simply another campaign, but a revolution. Although I can’t find a backwards l or a proper backwards e on my keyboard, you could often find signs that read, “Ron Paul Revolution” with a backwards e and l so you could simultaneously see the words revolution and love written backwards. In many ways, we were just that, a nonviolent revolution. Although we certainly wanted to win the primaries, we had an objective much more far reaching than a single election. Our goal was the hearts and minds of the average citizens of America. Some people treated us with skepticism; others, like Rudy Giuliani, rudely and openly mocked our principles. But, we labored on, never second-guessing the importance of our cause, winning converts slowly but surely. Unfortunately we didn’t win South Carolina. Then again, the campaign didn’t win a single state. Some people might view such a result as a failure, but we knew better. After the South Carolina primary, I had hoped to continue on with the campaign to my home state of Virginia, but fortune had other plans. Even though I was sidelined, a spectator, that didn’t stop me from cheering as loudly as I could.
During the primaries, Rush Limbaugh mentioned that the nomination of John McCain would destroy the Republican Party. Now, if John McCain had actually won the election, I think Rush would have been right. Given his plethora of non-conservative tendencies, we would be a party without a clear ideological direction, leaderless. Although not necessarily as a result of, but definitely concurrent with, the election of Barack Obama, conservative activists began to rise in great numbers in opposition. Even though I do not have the specific data in hand at the moment, a majority of Virginia Republicans viewed Ron Paul unfavorably in 2008. By 2009, opinion had shifted greatly. Had Ron Paul or his positions changed? Not as far I as could tell. One by one, activists and ordinary American have come to understand that maybe Ron Paul wasn’t a crazy tinfoil, hat-wearing lunatic. Maybe the government had grossly overstepped its constitutional bounds. Maybe we had to react now, before our liberties diminished further, before we totally become vassals of the state. As proof of this trend, one only needs to look to rise of the tea party movement. Although I can’t pinpoint the exact origins of this protest, I can easily see some roots from both the message and tactics of the Ron Paul campaign. Conservatives of just about all stripes are fed up with the status quo, the steady lurches toward a socialistic nanny state, and demand a halt! Many are discovering the merits of the 10th Amendment for the first time.
Although the Ron Paul campaign wrapped up back in 2008, I’m pleased to say that the movement has taken new forms, morphed to become useful post election. The two largest and organized children are the Campaign for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty. Many of my former coworkers are heavily involved in these organizations. I encourage you to visit their websites and learn more about them. Take it from me; they are both worthy of your time, your money, and your support. As history is still being written, it is impossible to gauge the full impact of the revolution, but in many ways Ron Paul could end up being the Barry Goldwater of this generation. If you will recall, although he didn’t win the presidency himself, the movement that he started led to the rise and election of Ronald Reagan. I will always respect Ron Paul and his followers for their devoted, principled stance and am pleased to count them as my allies. Even if tomorrow is uncertain, two years later the R3volution lives on!