Last night, the Collegian road crew ventured into the heart of Des Moines to the Hotel Fort Des Moines, hoping to discover what’s behind the eccentric Ron Paul’s, “Revolution.”
We left expecting more of the same of what we had seen from the other candidates, but, instead, we found a flying circus.
By 7 p.m., the ballroom was packed with somewhere between 600 and 700 supporters, which is impressive considering Dr. Paul was polling at about nine percent – the lowest of any Republican candidate – just two days ago. What’s more, unlike the other events we have attended, there was not a single conversation, it seemed, that wasn’t centered around the man of the hour.
The tone of the evening was set long before Paul took the stage. There was a a brief introduction by two veterans discussing the shameful way in which the American government has dealt with POWs in the past, followed by a brief speech by Paul’s national campaign manager.
What was most interesting, however, was interspersed between these speeches was a group prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance and a performance of the “Star Spangled Banner” by a veteran of the Marine Corp.
All this served to prove three things to the crowd – Ron Paul likes veterans, God and America. And it worked.
When he finally took the stage, to the backdrop of an enormous American flag, the energy of the room reached an almost unbearable level, but when the little Representative from Texas took his place behind the podium and opened his mouth, the crowd respectfully quieted. The speech that followed was perhaps one of the most enlightening and terrifying things I have ever heard come from an elected official.
Ron Paul’s campaign is built on one thing, and one thing alone – his love of freedom. But his definition of freedom is a little different than that of most other candidates.
During his speech, he attacked big government and foreign entanglements that, he feels, hinder citizens’ autonomy and make it harder for individuals to be successful. Unlike other Republican candidates talking the same line, you can help, but believe him. I mean, for a man to suggest the abolition of the IRS, he has to be serious, right?
The first step in his plan to get rid of the income tax, he said, is to stop being the world police.
“We destroy governments and have to be taxed to rebuild [them],” Paul said. “We need to spend all that money here in this country.”
This money, however, should not be allocated for government programs, but instead should be put back in the pockets of American citizens. In addition, he said, other programs that require tax funding, like education, should be trimmed from the federal budget and left up to the states.
This strategy of cutting foreign entanglements and social spending, will, he thinks, bring us to the point where we will no longer require the federal income tax to support the federal government and will help control inflation that he said shrinks the middle class, causing the gap between the rich and the poor to increase.
Without the income tax, he believes, there will be more money left for communities to decide how best to serve themselves.
During the speech, I found myself repeatedly rolling my eyes at his ideas, but the crowd ate it up, and despite my misgivings, I can definitely understand why.
Ron Paul wants nothing short of taking our nation back to its earliest beginnings, and, like his campaign slogan says, his ideas are nothing short of revolutionary.
Whether they are actually good for the country, though, is open for debate.