In my various posts over the years, I’ve made no secret of my support of Dr. Ron Paul and, even more importantly, the political principles for which he stands. Therefore, I must say that I was pretty surprised when I got an email asking if I would collect signatures to get Newt Gingrich on the ballot here in the state of Virginia. For those that know me, you are aware that I had a lot of respect for the former Speaker that morphed into fear/hate relationship stretching back to my earliest awareness of politics, 1994. Although I would gladly sign any candidate’s petition to get on the ballot, be they Republican, Democratic, third party, or independent, asking my friends and neighbors to do likewise is another matter entirely.
However, the kicker in this situation was the promise of payment for each signature collected. Heaven knows that it is an extremely tough time financially for so many Americans. Personally, I’ve had to resort to creative ways to make money as I wait for the start of my next full-time position…whenever that will be. So, flush with the idea of making a little extra money, I jumped at the chance. However, while working in my current part-time position, I took a moment to reflect upon Newt Gingrich and my time in politics.
Gingrich is a man who I believe is antithetical to the idea of limited government conservatism, as well as morality. He seems to advocate remaking society, the government, and really the entire world, not based upon the ideals of liberty, federalism, and personal responsibility, but rather on some sort of futuristic utopia (or dystopia) where Gingrich reigns as the intellectual and political overlord of the ignorant and savage masses. He oozes hypocrisy writing a book entitled Rediscovering God in America in 2006, after having cheated on two of his wives. Now maybe you think that he has changed his ways. Well, if you may recall earlier this year he blamed his past infidelity not as a result of any moral weakness, but due to his overly zealous work ethic.
Even though I could temporarily put my political principles aside and more or less work for this man for the sake of badly needed cash, what would be the result? How could I live with myself if my actions indirectly led to his election? Like too many politicians in Washington who have fallen to the temptation, does wealth trump principles? Who could condemn Gingrich if he or she sold out too? Just because I have a very disappointing relationship with Ron Paul’s national campaign, cheating on him (and, more importantly, my principles) with his loose and immoral Republican half sister doesn’t reset the scales of justice. Would every blog post I write from here on out be nothing more than a convenient lie that I tell myself? Could I pass in front a mirror without pointing at my own reflection and scream “whore! You are nothing more than a political prostitute”?
Although I will freely admit that I don’t know much about what motivates a person to enter the world’s oldest profession, I wouldn’t imagine that many people engage in prostitution because it sounds fun or offers promise of a stable career, but rather stems from a desperate hope to do anything to escape their present misery. Maybe I’m being a little overly optimistic here (and/or naïve depending on your perspective), but there is no good reason why, as Ronald Reagan once quipped, the second oldest profession (politics) has to bear a “striking resemblance to the first”.
In the end, I couldn’t bring myself to help Mr. Gingrich. I believe that doing so would have been a tacit endorsement of his campaign. Now to my fellow activists and friends who did collect for him, don’t think for a minute that this article seeks to condemn your efforts. After all, I doubt any of you have the same relationship with Newt that I have had, watching your political hero trample upon what you thought were your shared principles.
As you may have heard, Newt Gingrich will not be on Virginia’s March 3rd Republican primary ballot unless he mounts a successful legal challenge. Although I doubt that whatever signatures I would have collected would have changed this outcome, I believe that I made the right decision. The temptation always looms, especially in these uncertain times, but we all have to keep reminding ourselves that principles should not be sold to the highest bidder and honor is worth more than a ton of gold.