In the meantime, the line next to me had cleared and the young woman working that isle peeked around her register and smiled.
"I can help you over here."I recounted the event to my wife and a friend of ours, who happened to be visiting, and it was received well. Some portion of the laughter was directed at my obsessive habit of talking about Ron Paul. Our friend is a self-described liberal (but acting libertarian - a single mom who is the epitome of responsible ) and was, coincidentally, excited to tell me that she had finally visited YouTube to find the source of my recent obsession. She couldn't have been more positive. And what's more, she was excited about the prospect of volunteering for the campaign.
"Thanks. You know, they should issue you folks some Ron Paul t-shirts."
Laughter...Then she asked a bit sheepishly, and to my great amusement, "Are you Ron Paul?"
"Oh no, I'm not Ron Paul."
"Ahh...well it's just, I've been seeing these signs for him all over town. It seems like everywhere I go there are signs about him."
"He's a Republican Congressman from here in Texas, he's running for President."
"When you go home tonight, hit him up on google. He's probably very different than what you might expect from a Republican."
"I will! Paper or Plastic?"
Since then, I saw the Tulsa and Houston television coverage and was reminded of something that has been nibbling at the edges of my consciousness for quite some time. Let me digress for a moment.
For the past 20 or so years, I have been arguing on the internet, posting my opinions and living my life. When I'm not making a living or playing with my kids, I am "fighting communism" as my wife jokes when she sees me posting to some website or my blog. For many of those years, the responses I received both on the internet and in off-line conversations, combined with a blind spot when it comes to my own abilities, formed a pretty bleak view of the world. If somebody didn't agree that liberty, free markets and the constitution were good ideas, then they fell into the group of "stupid people" who just didn't get it. It certainly wasn't my fault no matter how rude or combative my style. Ahem...
My cynicism had grown to fester so much that when Ron Paul announced, I barely noticed. I checked the campaign site around the time they had posted their second video. Prior to the first debate, it dawned on me that the Ron Paul candidacy would bring to libertarians what we had dreamed about for many years - the Holy Grail - exposure of libertarian ideas in a national forum, side-by-side with the alternatives.
And then, all hell broke loose as you know.
Back to this nagging thought that is only now coming into view. Laura from RedStateEclectic and Nick Bradley at Lew Rockwell live blogged the Iowa rally and mentioned something Ron said at the beginning of his speech.
"I'm glad I could join you".
They interpreted this as an inside joke referring to Ed Failor's ill-advised actions which inspired the rally. (Do the repeated gaffes of the PTB and MSM appear to be divinely inspired or what?)
He's recorded saying it in the parking lot also when he arrives and speaks to some of the rally participants. He was very gracious, giving all of the credit to the energetic young people who have been flocking to his message.
He also credits the volunteers (YOU) in his interview with KHOU. My thoughts became clear when Sid Burgess of Haskel, Oklahoma was interviewed by KOTA in Tulsa.
"I hope he wins," said Burgess. "I have a lot of faith in his campaign, but more important than the candidate is his message to me."
Eureka! Ron Paul is not making this candidacy about him. If you notice, every other candidate, to a man (or woman), is sending a similar message:
Look at me.
Listen to how important I sound. Look at my impeccably coiffed hair. Look at my Husband! (He used to be the President you know.) I exude the expertise and power to rule you in such a way that you will thank me later. Look at my wife, she's hot! Believe me, you want some of this candidate.
Ron Paul has lived his life and carried himself in such a way that this candidacy isn't really about him, even though his integrity is what makes him such an attractive candidate. He is delivering a message that needs nothing other than you to carry it. It doesn't need the national media, it doesn't need a pretty package, it only requires that you carry it in your hearts and minds and spread it to every corner of the US. You are Ron Paul. I am Ron Paul (...and I am a champion of the Constitution).