How can a 76-year-old country doctor send a crowd of usually politically apathetic individuals into frenzy simply by walking on stage? He doesn’t fit the traditional mold of today’s political crusaders. Politicians today are two sides of the same coin. For a large majority, the bidding of special interest groups trumps the oath they took when they swore to protect the US Constitution. Most of these animals could care less about the prosperity of their own constituents. One man has remained incorruptible while serving in the capital of moral depravity. Lobbyists do not even visit him in Washington. There has not been one time that he has voted in opposition to the Constitution. It has been a dream of mine to see this man in person. Not to witness the power that he wields, but in contrast the power that he fights to cede back to the great people of the United States of America.
Over the past five years I’ve watched more Ron Paul speeches on YouTube than I can remember. In the same time frame I have read many of Dr. Paul’s books, A Foreign Policy of Freedom, The Revolution: A Manifesto, End the Fed, and Liberty Defined. Similar to sports or concerts, some events are better experienced live. It has been a goal of mine to attend a Ron Paul Rally and experience first hand the hype that surrounds his campaign. Last Friday, April 20th I was lucky enough to attend the Ron Paul Rally at Soldiers and Sailors Hall at the University of Pittsburgh.
As Ron alluded to at the beginning of his speech, he was up against some stiff competition for the 7:00 PM time slot in the city of Pittsburgh. The Penguins were playing a playoff game against the rival Flyers and the Pirates were back in town taking on the defending World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals. This did not stop the more than 2,500 people who came out to cheer the greatest champion of liberty in our lifetime. Many people do not know that Ron Paul was a standout athlete in his youth and still holds the record as the only congressman to hit an over the fence home run during the annual congressional baseball game. He did this in 1976, during his first stint in congress. At the beginning of his speech he correctly asserted that ball games will be forgotten, but the liberty movement will have a lasting impact.
Dr. Paul also overcame another obstacle in his quest to assemble a large crowd on the campus at the University of Pittsburgh. Most people outside of western Pennsylvania probably are not familiar with the recent epidemic of bomb threats that have vaulted the campus into chaos. Buildings and dorms were forced to be evacuated numerous times, as a result of the bomb threats that began 2 months ago. This week, a group has finally taken responsibility for the threats and has claimed that they are now finished sending bomb threats. Last Friday, at the time of Dr. Paul’s rally speech, there remained a serious fear for public safety on campus. This did not deter freedom lovers from coming out to support Dr. Paul on his historic campaign tour that will go down as one of the greatest contributions to the advancement of liberty in our lifetime.
As I sat with my friend, waiting for the rally to begin, he remarked how ironic it was that we were going to witness Dr. Paul’s speak in front of a back drop that paid homage to Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, which was scribed on the wall behind the podium in enormous letters. A staunch defender of individual rights, peace, free markets, and the Constitution giving a speech in front of a memorial to the most tyrannical, bloodthirsty, statist President in our young nation’s history. This was quite a contrast indeed. In hindsight, it was a perfect backdrop considering the majority of the crowd consisted of college students who quite recently had been indoctrinated with the fabricated revisionist history taught in our public schools. It was a great venue for Ron Paul to outline a path towards liberty in our future, while standing in front of a symbol that reminds us of the idiocy that guided our destructive past.
We arrived to the rally about an hour early and watched as families with young children in tow, senior citizens with faces of youthful exuberance, and groups of excited college students filed into the auditorium to witness history in the making. The crowd was diverse in both race and age. Offering a path to a free society and presenting an agenda to restore the republic energizes people of all demographics. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 81; the opportunity to break free from the shackles of the state resonates with people of all ages, colors, and faiths.
When Dr. Paul walked out on stage the crowd went absolutely wild. Many in attendance were waving homemade signs affirming their agreement with Paul on a host of issues including, ending the Fed, privatizing airport security, repealing the Patriot Act, and of course bringing our troops home and ending our global empire. These were REAL homemade signs, not the kind that the Romney campaign passes out and then promptly collects at the end of campaign events.
Dr. Paul was cool, calm, and collected throughout his talk. As always, he did an incredible job of simplifying complex ideas and relating them to the crowd in understandable terms. This is one man’s opinion, but Ron comes across better in person, than on a television or computer screen. That’s not a knock against his television presence, but a compliment to his ability to engage a room. Every set eyes in the room was locked in on Ron, listening intently and digesting every word. Even the young children with a family seated in my row were well-behaved and were interested in the message. I cannot imagine being as attentive as these kids if my parents had taken me to a political rally when I was young. These kids understood they were a part of something special.
Although this was my first experience attending a political rally, it would be safe to assume that other candidates’ political rallies differ greatly in numbers and do not create anywhere close to the same amount of energy. Dr. Paul received thunderous applause in response to his call for the troops to come home. Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, or Mitt Romney probably have not and will not see spontaneous, dynamic applause like that in their lifetimes.
It is true that Dr. Paul’s enthusiastic, passionate following has not translated into wins in states that utilize the primary system, he is not being shut out of delegates in primaries. The Paul campaign picked up at least 5 delegates in the PA primary, which was more than both Santorum and Gingrich. In 2008 Paul received zero delegates from the state of Pennsylvania. It has not been a secret that the Paul campaign has focused almost all of its energy on the caucus states. The success of this plan has gone largely unreported in the media, but in recent weeks the Paul campaign has secured a plurality of delegates in Minnesota, Iowa, and Washington State. There are several other states that will most likely result in Dr. Paul gaining the majority of the delegates, thus securing him at least 5 states with a plurality and will place him on the first ballot at the convention in Tampa. A lot can happen between now and the convention, so stay tuned. Contrary to the corporate/government media’s reporting, Mitt Romney does not have the nomination secured.
The Revolution came to Pittsburgh and will be coming to a city near you. The Ron Paul campaign and the liberty movement as a whole are just getting started. Freedom loving patriots across the country are getting off the couch and getting involved in local, state, and federal politics. More importantly, the liberty movement is winning the battle for the hearts and minds of America’s youth. It is the youth who understand that we will reap what has been sown by our government over the last 100 years. Radical change is necessary in order to offset the debilitating mistakes of previous generations.