One of the greatest problems plaguing the political scene is cowardice. More particularly it is ideological cowardice. It is an admitted fact that candidates run to the fringe during primaries and then run to the center for the general election. That is considered good politics. Unfortunately, it makes for bad government.
The level of disgust with our elected government is astonishing. If it were just political partisanship, we could expect that approval ratings would be somewhere around 50%. Yet that is not the case. Approval ratings have dropped into the single digits numerous times for Congress and into the 30s for Presidents. Clearly the people are disappointed even in their own party’s elected officials.
The reason is simple. Politicians are cowards. They are for something one second and against it the next. Recently we’ve seen an uptick in the “I’m for it, but not for how it is being done” or “These are special circumstances that require measures I wouldn’t normally support.” They are two different ways of saying, “I don’t want to look like a flip-flopper but I want to be on the side of political expediency.” It is as if almost our entire elected government has become filled with Arlen Specter clones.
It is difficult to find a candidate that you can really believe will do what he or she claims. It is difficult to find a candidate that consistently speaks from an ideological foundation that is firm. The one thing all our “greatest” Presidents had in common was their willingness to stick to their principles and govern as they promised. Granted there were some Presidents who were equally consistent and failed, but at least the people knew what they were getting and they could decide whether or not to support those men. Today we treat ‘political conversion’ or ‘position adjustment’ as some sort of normal behavior.
Let’s look at this from another perspective. Is it normal to convert from Catholicism to Islam and then again to Lutheran? Such a thing would be considered absurd. But how are ‘political conversions’ any different? Sure, decades ago someone might go from Democrat to Republican because the parties themselves were transformed – BUT the reason for the change in party affiliation was based on a desire to be in the party that represented that person’s UNCHANGED positions on issues. Such changes are more like a member of the Episcopal Church becoming a Lutheran because that person did not support changes in the Episcopal Church doctrine (such as ordaining gay clergy). The person’s beliefs never changed, but the group to which he belonged changed in a way that was incompatible with those beliefs. That is not what is happening in politics today.
What we have today are people who are claiming to have changed their beliefs or to have found exceptions to their beliefs. That’s like a man saying he’s straight, but another guy at the gym was unusually attractive and in that extraordinary circumstance it made sense to have gay sex. Be it abortion or government bailouts or foreign affairs, it seems that ‘anything goes’ is the new normal. Whatever the political winds of that day happen to be, so too are that candidate’s “convictions”. It is disgraceful.
What will a candidate do if elected? Who knows? Maybe their record will shed some light on that and maybe it won’t. Maybe their previous positions will shed some light on that and maybe they won’t. It all depends on which parts of those they agree with today and which ones they see as ‘mistakes I’ve learned from’. Of course, today’s convictions may be tomorrow’s ‘mistakes I learned from’.
These ideological void candidates are not the only problem. We, the people, are equally to blame. We are cowards ourselves when we fear our beliefs might bring us criticism. We allow critics of our beliefs to bully us into silence about them rather than be labeled ‘extremists’. We end up supporting a candidate based not on what they truly believe and whether that matches our beliefs, but rather on who we dislike least of those ‘who can win’. We sell ourselves out first and then are upset when the person we supported does the same thing. We feel betrayed that the candidate that didn’t really share our views governs in a way that is contrary to our views instead of in the way promised during a campaign.
I have been one of those cowards this year. I have strong ideological beliefs. Yet, I refused to support the candidate that most reflects those views because I didn’t think he could win. I bought into the lie that we should support the one who can win over the one who is right. I took the side of those who refused to support Goldwater in ’64 and Reagan in ’76. I tried, in vain, to find another candidate who could serve as a ‘good enough’ choice and that ‘could win’ according to the pundits. I was an ideological coward.
Today that changes. Today I set aside my indecision between candidates I don’t really agree with who pundits say can win and throw my support behind the candidate with whom I am in the most ideological agreement. Maybe he can’t win the nomination. If he doesn’t, then I’ll support who does as any of them are better than Obama. But, this is my vote. This is my party. This is my ideology.
My endorsement for the 2012 Republican Nomination goes to Congressman Ron Paul.
I fully recognize Ron Paul’s limitations. He has never been a chief executive. He’s not supported by the leadership of his party. He’s not a great speaker. His foreign policy scares the establishment. All those things were said about Barry Goldwater in 1964 but history proved that he would have been far better than what we got. His campaign sparked a movement that eventually brought us Ronald Reagan and the Republican Revolution of 1994.
We live in a different world than in the days of Reagan. An evil empire is not our chief concern and primary security risk. Today we face isolated terrorist cells around the world and the threat of economic destruction through control of energy, currency manipulation and cyber attack. Our national debt is greater than our GDP and our economy is built upon pushing money around more than actually creating anything of real value. Our entitlement system has grown so precariously huge that it threatens to bankrupt us within the foreseeable future.
There is only one candidate who sees that these issues are the greatest threats facing us. There is only one candidate who will use the power of the Presidency to force real cuts in spending and not just in the rate of spending growth. There is only one candidate who will rethink the old Cold War era military thinking and re-position us for responding to the threats of the 21st century. There is only one candidate who has been ideologically consistent for decades and who has correctly predicted the problems we are faced with today. There is only one candidate who won’t be corrupted by polls or pundits or lobbyists. There is only one candidate who believes more in governing within the confines of the Constitution than in finding excuses to circumvent it. There is only one candidate who put his life on the line for his country. There is only one candidate for me.
That candidate is Ron Paul and he has my endorsement and support.
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