autoDogmatic Reports On SC Ron Paul Rally
Aaron, one of the bloggers over at autoDogmatic and the founder of the Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter, recently attended a Ron Paul rally in South Carolina, particularly looking for freaks and fringe groups.
You see, I went in expecting an audience which was somehow “not normal”, indescribably; maybe quirky or geeky; paranoid; socially-awkward; heavily biased towards “fringe” types. You know, internet people.
Well, if these were “internet people,” we apparently need to rethink our notion of what the internet consists of. Because this audience was America.
That is perhaps the most succinct way I can put it. It was as if 2,000 of my nicest neighbors were brought together in one place.
No trace of “fringe groups”; this was as far from a “circus” as you could get.
Now, I always knew that Ron Paul was supported by “regular people” (though I’m not sure I consider myself one). But after reading mainstream Ron Paul “expose`” articles like this one, I expected to see a few more conspicious “9/11 Truthers”; ranters-on about the Bilderbergers, “gold-bugs,” whatever. Pick your clique. I don’t mean to diminish these groups — in fact I sympathize with all their views somewhat — but they are simply considered “fringe” in the popular conception. You aren’t supposed to associate with them.
And there was no sign of them at the rally.
Ok, I saw one young man with a “Kissinger – war crimes” t-shirt (which I’m actually sympathetic to), and maybe one guy with a 9/11 Truth t-shirt. That was it.
I think I may have seen fewer such “fringe” themes displayed at the Ron Paul rally than I might have seen walking down the street on a typical day.
What’s the signifiance of all this? Well, to me, the above is incredibly encouraging. It means the support for Ron Paul, and more importantly the ideas of his campaign, is broad-based. “Average Americans” — middle-class, hard-working, honest folk — buy into Ron Paul’s freedom message big-time. They just need the chance to hear it.
And that means the sky is the limit for the “Ron Paul Revolution.” It means anywhere you find an honest American, you’ve found a potential Paul supporter. The only limit is how fast the message can travel, and once again, the internet appears to be breaking records on that front.
This is a positive sign. One of the typical criticisms of Ron Paul is that only freaks and weirdos support him. Some of the commenters at this site have certainly shown that some of those people support him, but don’t prove that only those people support him.
The simple fact is that there are a lot of people in this country who are sick and tired of pulling a lever to choose between big, intrusive government, and bigger, more intrusive government. There are a lot of people out there who may not agree on everything, but agree that they’re ready for a new message. They’re not getting that from any of the mainstream candidates on either side.
I’ve said that I don’t think America is truly ready for freedom, at least as Ron Paul and many libertarians understand it. But America is changing. I really see the internet as a liberating force in America, and the internet is inherently libertarian. The internet’s weight behind Ron Paul has been the difference between him being a third-tier nobody candidate and a second-tier candidate rapidly gaining name recognition.
But Aaron’s experience reminds me of something. “Internet support” no longer means a bunch of freaks and weirdos, sitting in their pajamas in their parents’ basement, hoping to someday make a friend. That might have been true of the internet of 1997, but the internet of 2007 is a cross-section of America. Ron Paul’s message is reaching those people.
I can’t say whether Paul will win the nomination, or win the presidency. Like co-blogger Doug, I support Paul but I think the chances are low. I don’t know that America is ready for him. But when I see the effect he’s having at this early stage, I think that maybe, just maybe, America still has a chance. I support Ron Paul because I want to advance freedom, and that’s something that I want to do whether he makes it to the Oval Office or not.