Jun 12, 2012

Summer Soldiers and Sunshine Patriots: Will the Ron Paul movement eat itself?

“These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated." - Thomas Paine from "The Crisis", December 23, 1776

Rand Paul’s endorsement of Mitt Romney has caused a firestorm amongst those who have claimed to be Ron Paul’s supporters.

The vitriol that has been unleashed the past week against Ron and Rand Paul and those who refuse to make them their enemies has been pretty ugly. Embarrassingly so. There are quite a few people, some prominent individuals, who have decided to take their balls and go home (if ever they had any) and are blaming Rand Paul for destroying the movement.

This is a bit ironic because the only thing that can destroy the movement are its members attacking each other and disbanding, not one uber-leader playing a political gambit.

Those who are spreading dissent and flinging insults are generally those who don’t understand politics very well, apparently, and in my opinion have no idea what is at stake or what is being waged.

Sixteen states, so far, have seen their Republican party ranks swell with people committed to restoring liberty in the United States. That alone is a victory. The larger war is to win back our freedom through political action and Ron Paul has been the rallying cry driving the movement’s members to action and victory. But he isn’t a God nor is he flawless and putting one’s faith in a single person is a terrible idea, especially in politics.

Yet now some are willing to go far beyond mere disappointment. They are willing to attack, deride and ridicule those who continue on to fight for Ron Paul’s nomination and the eventual take-over of the GOP. The latter is virtually guaranteed while the former is still in question or even discounted as a possibility entirely by these same malcontents.

I personally don’t think that the negativity will hurt us in the long run, but it will damage friendships and weaken the resolve of those with lesser constitutions.

Some have even called for Ron Paul to publicly flog his son in the national media to appease their own anger. Apparently those who do so fail to understand that a house divided against itself cannot stand. Throwing away treasured family members over a political disagreement is not a commendable practice though, being raised in a fairly religious family, I recognize that it is human nature to take extreme measures to control behavior.

This endorsement in the scheme of things is a grossly petty object over which to agonize. Politics is not a picnic. It makes for strange bedfellows. In context, it is a non-event. It does maintain credibility for Rand in current establishment GOP circles and is an inoculation against a backlash from big-moneyed donors and lobbyists who will be feeling a bit put out after the 2012 cycle. It also might take pressure off of the remaining delegate conventions and give Ron Paul supporters a chance to prevail under more calm conditions.

It doesn’t diminish the actions Rand has taken during his tenure, all of which mesh almost perfectly with his father’s positions and actions in Congress.

Unfortunately, many do not see it this way and have adopted the “those who are not in complete lock-step with us are against us” mentality (A bitter irony that they adopt Bushisms). The problem is that this is a very poor political strategy and has resulted, in some counties and precincts, with Ron Paul supporters getting locked out of the battle completely.

The rift may be a blessing because calmer heads may end up prevailing. On the other hand, it also shows how immature this movement is even as it has grown exponentially over the past four years.

Once the dust settles on this controversy, I hope that we can repair friendships and push on. We are going to need each other.

Those who haven’t lost their heads understand that this fight is not about things as meaningless as platform planks. I mean really.... Since when has anyone besides Ron or Rand cared about the GOP party platform? The battle is for the soul of the Republican party and the country.

The Presidency is a pimple on the ass of an elephant in significance compared to the good that can come from completing a GOP take-over. What kind of country would we have if a majority of gubernatorial, state representative and senatorial office-holders consisted of candidates emulating Ron Paul?  Would the federal government even matter?

And what of the federal candidates? If they too shared the same set of principles and dedication to constitutional principles, what would the President matter? He’d have no bills to sign that weren’t within the boundaries of law. His war powers would be stripped and our children could perhaps grow up without facing a mountain of debt.

For the sunshine patriots and summer soldiers, even that does not stir the emotions quite as much as the desire to tear down the work of a great many real patriots worked while they chewed fingernails and complained bitterly at the first sign of hardship.