Tuesday, 8 January 2008

New Hampshire: Please Vote Ron Paul

by Charles Pooter

In which a stiff-upper-lipped Englishman makes an uncharacteristically impassioned plea to the voters of New Hampshire.

In 2004 The Guardian launched a patronising and misguided attempt to brow-beat a small group of American voters into voting for John Kerry. Operation Clark County led to a flood of letters being sent to the small Ohio county attempting to persuade the voters to take the international dimension into account when selecting their candidate. This effort highlighted everything that the world hates about Britons:

  • our patronising arrogance
  • our seeming disdain for the provincial, the domestic and the homely
  • our misguided belief that our imperial past imbues every bore in every British pub with the patrician qualities needed to lecture the rest of the world about international affairs

These attitudes are borne of our imperial past and our degraded present. We would rather comment on the mote in your eye, whilst ignoring the hefty great mock-Tudor beam in our own. Operation Clark County rightly and delightfully backfired (see: Dear Limey assholes).

With this in mind, I write the following with caution. Please accept that this comes from the heart and that I write it knowing that I will subsequently feel foolish for doing so. Nevertheless, I also know that in this instance I must write what I feel. Publish and be damned as they say.

In summary: voters of New Hampshire, please vote for Ron Paul in today's Presidential primary elections.

I have always loved America. More specifically, it is the myth of America that I am in love with. Of course I have consumed a lot of American culture (who in the West hasn't) and I've actually visited once (more than many of the USA's most vocal European critics though). But I've eaten a lot of French food and yet don't love France in the same way. The reason I love America is that I love liberty and the ideals of America are the ideals of liberty.

I find it a truly amazing thing that men living nearly 250 years ago could conceive so clearly of how a free people could live. It astounds me that concepts such as free speech, due process and limited government were enshrined so clearly in the founding documents of a new country created all those years ago. Of course, many of those ideas came from my own country, where hints of their origins can be found in Magna Carta and more explicitly in the works of Englishmen like John Locke and Thomas Paine. But it was in America that they truly came to fruition and in America where a new country was created according to those principles.

However we are all grown-ups here, we know that the constitution is not a document handed down from God, that the American founders were not infallible beings and that concepts such as "manifest destiny" led to the practical extinction of the peoples who already lived on the American continent. We know that from the start the vision of liberty has been corrupted. America has been the home of slavery and of injustice. It experimented with imperialism in the Philippines at the beginning of the 2oth Century, just as it now does in Iraq at the start of the 21st. But, as much as the narrative of the American revolution and the subsequent history of the country has been mythologised, there is a kernel of something grand and beautiful within the shell of American political culture.

There are the grand words:

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal...”

There is the recognition that dignity and happiness can only come through individual liberty:

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

And there is the tradition of non-conformists like Benjamin Tucker to Henry David Thoreau:

"There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root" - Henry David Thoreau

Ron Paul

Of all the candidates standing for election to become President of the United States, I believe that Ron Paul is the only candidate who truly believes in the ideals of liberty. In other words he is the only candidate who truly believes in the ideals of America. His voting record shows that he is committed to the constitution. He believes in a small federal government, deferring most decisions to the state level. This is what the founders believed. He wishes America to become disentangled from foreign conflicts that are not in her long-term interests. This is what the founders believed. Dr Paul is not stupid of course, he too knows that the constitution is just a piece of paper, but he also understands that the more that America has strayed from the principles and ideals that underlie that document, the more that its political culture has become poisoned.

In terms of America the ideal, Ron Paul is the only true American standing in this election. Vote Ron Paul to strike at the root.

To New Hampshire conservatives

True conservatism is about liberty. It is about the freedom to solve problems by yourself as individuals, families and local communities. Conservatives should be sceptical of those who claim that big Government can solve all of life's problems. Ron Paul shares your scepticism and his voting record proves that he is committed to smaller Government and for limiting the federal state to those functions specifically allowed by the constitution. Other GOP candidates claim to share this scepticism but their conduct in public office proves otherwise. To a man, they have engaged in pork-barrel politics and corporate whoring. They have controlled both houses of Congress and the executive branch and have enlarged the federal Government. Often Ron Paul has been the sole voice in Congress against such enlargements.

Conservatives should also be sceptical of sending America's armed forces to fight wars that do not serve the interests of your country. If you love your country and you respect your fighting men and women, you should vote for Dr Paul, the only candidate guaranteed to bring the troops home to defend America's borders and interests.

To New Hampshire liberals

The New Hampshire primaries are "open". If you are not a registered Democrat you can vote for a GOP candidate. I urge all unregistered liberals to vote for Ron Paul. If you see Dr Paul as a threat to your favoured policy or program, I ask you this: at what level of Government is intervention more likely to work? Localism is one of the great liberal values. If social programs are run closer to home - perhaps at the state level - they will be less monolithic, more accountable and will allow for a diversity of solutions in different states. If you implement one solution at the federal level, can you be sure it will be the right one? Will it be easy to change it once it is in place? You are sceptical of massive corporations imposing "one size fits all" solutions on the public. Shouldn't you be sceptical of candidates who want the federal government to do the same?

Dr Paul will attempt to return power to the states. He will not prevent New Hampshire running a state-funded health care scheme, just as he will not prevent the state from explicitly legalising abortion. A vote for Ron Paul is a vote for diversity. As left-wing British blogger David Lindsay says:

"Only states' rights, as advocated by Ron Paul, can bring social democracy to America, just as only national sovereignty can restore social democracy to Europe."

As for foreign policy, Ron Paul is the only candidate you can trust to bring the troops home. You can't trust Obama and you certainly can't trust Hillary. Liberal interventionism and neo-Conservatism are two sides of the same coin: both breed hatred of America and both distract the public and politicians from solving the problems you have at home.

The constitution is a liberal document. It was written by liberals and is the blueprint for a truly liberal society. Don't allow conservatives to steal your radical heritage. Vote Ron Paul to get a truly liberal president.

To all New Hampshire voters

Whatever your political opinions, I ask you to examine the candidates on a personal level. Look at how the other candidates have shilled for special interests their whole lives. Notice how they attempt to manipulate you with saccharine ads and empty promises. Even when the media presents one favoured candidate as more honest or down-to-Earth than another, look at their voting records. See how they only vote on party-lines or according to who pays their bills. See how their opinions change from one year to the next. They all sold their principles and their souls long ago. Compare them to Ron Paul. Look at his voting record, not on the shallow level of whether or not he support your favoured cause, but look at his consistency and his purity of vision.

Never mind that he is a family man and clinician of great personal and professional integrity, watch his interviews on YouTube and see how he gives straight answers to questions often deliberately designed to trip him up. Notice how all his answers are informed by his opinions, not by whatever demographic may be watching at that particular time. Notice also that he is not naive, that he is clearly politically savvy, but that these smarts are displayed without dishonesty or evasion. Besides all this, I ask that you watch his videos and try to deny that there is a fundamental decency about the man that just shines through.

In Conclusion

Today the residents of New Hampshire have the power to alter the course of the planet. You can confound the corporate media and the vested interests. You have the power to kickstart the campaign of an honest man. A campaign which could conceivably steer America back onto the path of liberty. You have the power to show that liberty and freedom works. You have the power to bring the fighting men and women of America's armed forces home to protect your borders, rather than fighting foreign wars whilst embroiled in the "entangling alliances" that Jefferson warned of. You have the power to help Ron Paul to make America the shining beacon of liberty to the world once more.

Please, for the sake of America the country and America the ideal, and to give hope to all those across the world who are Americans in their heart, please vote Ron Paul.

Live free or die!


Anonymous said...

Thank You Charles, You understand America better than most Americans. I hope we can win this new rEVOLution despite the apathy that has been so evident in our recent past. You are right our leaders have been dwelling on the details, bailing the boat with a teaspoon. Ideals not ideas.
God Bless You

Chodon said...

Great Blog and I got in a pretty heated debate with Simon at the Escape Artists forum regarding "Guns in America", and it looks like this is pretty well in line with the way I see things. I'm a big fan of small scale legislation, allowing people to live as they choose. It's a lot easier to make more people happy at the small scale than at the large scale, and I'm glad there is a candidate that sees most government programs for what they are: charity at gunpoint. Thanks for the great article.

Charles Pooter said...

Thanks guys, I'm trying to get the article wider-read, so please feel free to pass it on!

Anonymous said...

Ron Paul will never be president. He has already been thoroughly marginalised in the media, thus rendering his inevitable defeat-by-vote-rigging a non-surprise. People will question his losing in the face of his overwhelming online support, but the pre-packed answer is 'the internet just isn't representitive of the population at large'. Check-mate to Mr Murdock et al.

As an outsider to these elections (I'm Irish), I can see just how un-democratic America really is. It is positively STAGGERING that such a large population can be controlled so readily. Democracy indeed. It's a de-mockery, if even that.

Anonymous said...

I notice the Grauniad on Saturday tried to dismiss Ron Paul as 'an eccentric no-hoper'. However, Ron Paul got 10% in Iowa against Giuliani's 1% and Giuliani is not described as a 'no-hoper'. The article did not explain how Paul is 'eccentric' but waxed lyrical about Mick Huckabie (believing in the American Constitution is eccentric but believing in Adam and Eve is not?)

chodon said...

In response to "democracy" in America, I have to agree. I think the majority of the populace is trying to figure out how to get more out of the government than they put in, and they will vote for whomever offers to do that for them. That's how we end up with a deficit that threatens the US and world economies. Imagine if US bond holders all cashed in their bonds. You think the dollar is weak now? But I digress.

The real need is for campaign reform. Essentially, candidates can "buy" the election by pumping millions into their campaign advertising. It's all about who can get their name out there. I think Ron Paul has a real grass-roots support. I see signs for Ron Paul in more yards than any other candidate (4 of them on my 35 minute drive home from work, none for any other candidate). However, he doesn't have the cash to stay in the spotlight.

Also, the contributors to various campaigns have essentially bought the candidates, and now have friends in very powerful positions. How is that democracy? There is no way to reform it either, because those elected are not going to cut off their own money train. I'm at a loss on how to fix it, but I think that when it comes to politics campaign contributions are the root of a lot of problems.

Anonymous said...

Very well said. Thank you. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an independent run, since it doesn't look like Ron stands much chance for the Rep. nomination...

Anonymous said...

Stumbled upon your blog today. I happen to be a former Democrat who is now a registered Libertarian and my intention is to vote for Ron Paul if possible, but unfortunately the Liberals and Conservatives don't actually believe in anything except the politics of the power grab, which is why they mount self-contradictory platforms all with an aim at broadening government powers, and as such they aren't going to let Ron Paul participate in debates or dialogues, which means the chances of his getting on the ballot as a Republican are slim to none. I hope he runs as an independent so he'll be on the ballot. I'm in California, so by the time the nominations get here, it'll all be over for Ron Paul in the Republican primaries. If he's not on the ballot, I'll have to cast another protest vote for the Libertarian candidate who will not win.