I’ve been thinking about all the rancor of the back and forth between sides in what should be a civil debate. It’s tiring to hear from both camps the insanity that passes for truth. It is unfortunate that we have to label right or left extreme or centrist to describe people. On the TV, if there is a discussion about an issue it is common practice to have a democrat and a republican debating the issue, at least on MSNBC and CNN. Fox of course, has already settled arguments by fiat and God help you if you disagree. (Beck vs Massa) We report, we decide.
I was plugged into the Southern Republican Leadership Conference down in New Orleans recently and was mesmerized by Ron Paul’s address to the delegates. Whatever you think of Ron Paul he’s a guy who sticks to his guns without disparaging rhetoric. He tried to tell the folks there that Obama was not a socialist (more Fox propaganda). He got a smattering of “boos.” He went on to say that although he is not a socialist, he is a corporatist. He pointed a finger at the crowd and said that there are some Republicans who are also corporatists. Therein lies the problem with politics. Who represents you and me? When a lot of money flows into the system the system becomes corrupt. When the system becomes corrupt, we no longer have truly representative government. Your voice and my voice is drowned out by the multinationals who have the bottom line as their agenda, not the good of the people. Real election/campaign finance reform with teeth is needed. With the right-leaning Supreme Court majority ruling that Corporations are indeed people, the money spigot is opened wide. Talk about your activist judges. (Read a portion Justice Steven’s minority opinion here)
Lobbyists for these special interests pollute the discourse. Even some of the Tea Party protests last summer where bankrolled by fronts for the Health Care Industry. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. Good, decent Americans who have a legitimate beef were manipulated and bussed and had no idea that they were shills for the Health Industry. The industry deftly turned the argument from a discussion into rage. This is what too much money in the system can do. It strangles discourse and conversation. And there’s more to come.
In his own way, I think Paul maybe closer to the Lincoln Republican than what passes for the conservative movement today. He is dedicated to principles not party ideology which causes some leaders in the party to get very uncomfortable when he talks. Why? Because he makes sense and doesn’t always tow the party line.
He said in his address:
“Conservatives spend money on different things. They like embassies, and they like occupation. They like the empire. They like to be in 135 countries and 700 bases.” (boos)
“Don’t you think it’s rather conservative to say, ‘oh it’s good to follow the Constitution, oh, except for war. Let the President go to war anytime they want.’ […] We can do better with peace than with war!” (mixture of boos and applause)
In a straw poll for who would be the best candidate for president in 2012, Paul lost by one vote to the absent Mitt Romney. Newt was way down the list. Memories are short however and the hysterical rhetoric reaches fever pitches from time to time. Broad sweeping and incomprehensible statements are made at these gatherings. Gingrich calling Obama the “most radical President in U.S. History” is rather a strange statement coming from an historian. A head scratcher for sure.
In many ways, pointing out the parts of constitution to conservatives when it doesn’t suit them often leads them to react negatively. Obama was right when he commented that some of these people are bitter and clinging to “God and guns” for comfort and I would add, know little about the constitution except the amendments that they think, only apply to them.
Beginning this year it will be interesting to see just how much impact corporate money flowing through second and third parties will have on political races. I wonder if the result will have an effect on what is best for the country or the bottom line. The company flag is just as big, if not bigger, than the American Flag at the head offices. It’s hard to say that Ron Paul will be victorious. He educates us to stop and think and most of the time, not all the time, he is right.
And so it goes…