Who the heck is Ron Paul?

Feb 162011
Authors: Courtney Stuard

Republicans and Democrats are different in theory but identical in practice. Elections have become nothing more than a sporting event, filled with emotional arguments, broken promises and outrageously expensive media campaigns. In 2012, we need real “Change” and not the false Obama kind.

This year at the Conservative Political Action Conference, Congressman Ron Paul won the straw poll elections for the second year in a row. The CPAC straw poll takes place annually and provides an estimate of the support base for a potential presidential candidate.

This year, the majority of participants were young voters, signaling a desire for someone, something drastically different, who could stop the decades of despotism. Although I obviously cannot speak for all young voters, I believe that there is a trend of distrust and overall disgust toward the government among young people today.

President Bush bombed his way out of office (literally), but President Obama, with his promise of “change” and “hope,” has not proved to be any different than his war-mongering predecessor. It’s time to scrap tradition and move away from the dominant political dichotomy of right and left and instead look for answers outside of the typical media-glitzed candidates. It’s not about right versus left; it’s about the state versus you.

Congressman Ron Paul is the candidate with the potential to end decades of bad government decision-making. So who is Ron Paul?

He voted against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; he voted against the PATRIOT Act; he is against the War on Drug; he is against the institutional discrimination of homosexuals, and he is against the legislation of morality.

Congressman Paul has a record of relentlessly preaching the devolution of powers from the central government and a return to the original purpose of the Constitution — to limit the powers of federal government.

Paul first became involved in government in the early 1970s because of his discontent with military spending and lack of government accountability during the Vietnam War. Since then, he has continued to stand in opposition of interventionist foreign policy. He advocates for drastically decreasing military spending in a time when annual U.S. military spending ranges from approximately $600-$800 billion.

Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly labeled Paul a fringe candidate; others call him radical. Donald Trump, who has been rumored to have plans for presidential candidacy, said at CPAC that Paul could never possibly win a presidential election.

But is it really so radical to advocate for the Constitution, small government, reigning in excess spending, ending the wars and keeping government accountable?

As a Congressman he advocates for true economic freedom by minimizing or eliminating government control in the economy. He has spoken against corporate tax cuts, advocated for the abolition of the federal income tax and attacked the Federal Reserve as the source of many of the current economic woes.

In 627 days U.S. citizens will vote to decide who will be the 45th president of the “free world.” When Americans voted for President Obama in 2008, there was an obvious emotional attachment to the promises of a new regime, a new course of action and an end to the wars.

However, after almost three years, we have yet to see the change we hoped for. Ron Paul can bring genuine change with his ideas of liberty and freedom, which people are finally starting to take seriously. Perhaps a true constitutional government is the change we have been looking for.

Courtney Stuard is a senior journalism major. Her column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letter@collegian.com.

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