My voting history is pretty much an open book. Not due to any principle, but because I can't keep my mouth shut. As a result, everyone pretty much knows who I voted for, but they don't always know why (and I admit, in retrospect, I sometimes wonder why myself). I could lie, I suppose, but those who know me will call me on my bullshit. All I can do is shrug and say, "Mistakes were made."
Keep in mind, I am neither a Republican nor a Democrat (and given their bullshit, I am starting to hesitate to call myself a Libertarian as well), and I haven't liked a single US President the entire time I've been alive. There are those I voted for because I felt the alternative was horrifically worse (Obama in 2012). There are those I voted for because I thought they were the best choice and later realized how wrong that was (Bush in 2004). And then there are those votes I made that are like the woman you wake up with after a drunken night -- horror creeps down your spine as you go, "What the hell was I thinking?!?" (Bo Gritz in 1992).
And that's just the actual elections. The primaries are even worse. And among the primary contenders I was supporting in 2012 was Ron Paul. He said a lot of things I liked and thought made sense, and cheered when he elbowed his way into the televised debates. But then, I started getting a bad vibe. His radical opposition to abortion rights, for example. I understand why he thinks that way, as a doctor, that's not some shit you just forget. But it's still up to each of us to decide for ourselves. He also leveraged his delegates into speaking at the R convention. To do so, he had to remain an R candidate for the nomination. He could have taken his Q score and media attention, gone to the Libertarians he claimed to be a part of, and started stumping there. But no. He sold out just to speak at a convention of people waiting for him to shut up so they could get back to their message.
But where I really jumped off the Paul bandwagon came when he started criticizing the Civil Rights Act. Paul felt that the free market would have established equality without the need for legislation. This is bullshit. America exercised Libertarian policies regarding businesses in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It's how we got land barons, railroad barons, and (in the form of AT&T and the New York film union and the networks) communication barons. And not only did Adam Smith and his sidekick God not end any discrimination the entire time, people were trying to entrench it with Jim Crowe laws. The free market wouldn't have fixed it, we have a century of history that proves it. And yet, he still clung to his Wealth Of Nations nonsense (which is already been disproven).
Then came word that Paul's name was attached to a voter newsletter with racist overtones, the Ron Paul Survivalist Report, which many saw as the bellwether of the survivalist movement and white supremacist assholes itching for a racial holy war to begin. Paul said he didn't know, he just signed the deal. Which makes him look really politically naive. In my mind, Paul was no better than any other politician. He was just as much an Objectivist, just with different trappings.
So now, I look at those days when I was actually talking up Paul's candidacy and just wish I could erase those days. All I can think about was how stupid I was. I had hoped that, with Paul's retirement, I'd be able to get some peace because I wouldn't have continual reminders about what an asshole he is.
Nope. No rest for the weary, Peter.
Paul is in the news again because of Russia. I don't know if you've heard (coverage is so hard to find), but there's a bit of a tiff going on between Russia and the Ukraine. Part of this was the Russian military basically seizing control of Crimea and setting up an election where 20,000 armed soldiers (Russia is calling them "local self-defense forces," not soldiers. They also are not wearing uniforms, which violates the Geneva Accords) watched as voters voted 93% to become a Russian territory. Putin just recognized Crimea's independence, which is the next step to annexing the country. This is a violation of international law. In 1994, the Budapest Memorandum was signed by Russia, the US, and the UK. Kiev gave its nuclear weapons stockpile to Russian, and in exchange, all parties agreed "to refrain from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of Ukraine." Which is the complete opposite of what Putin is presently doing.
This has caused an uproar all over the world. China, the UK, the US, everybody is screaming bloody murder about this.
Well, not everybody. Paul feels that Russia has every right to invade Crimea.
Since 2004, Paul has insisted the US government has been trying to institute a "regime change" in the Ukraine. The other day on the Faux Business Channel, Paul said, "He's no angel, but actually he has some law on his side. They have contracts and agreements and treaties for a naval base there and the permission to go about that area." Let me point something out to Mr. Paul -- the terms of the agreement, which don't expire until 2042, explicitly state that Russian forces can't leave their barracks. These forces have overrun the border posts and Parliament and installed a figurehead friendly to them, from a party that never got more than 4% in any election. Does this honestly sound like they are upholding the terms of the contract?
Paul told Faux, "There should be a right of secession." The reason for this is the current Tea Party obsession with government interference. Their belief is that the centralization of government power started when Abraham Lincoln used executive power against slaveholding states. As such, America's overseas involvement is viewed by him and his ilk as suspect. Paul told The Guardian, "The evidence is pretty clear that the NGO's (non-govermental organizations -- G) financed by our government have been agitating with billions of dollars, trying to get that government changed. Our hands are not clean." Among the tools for this is the National Endowment for Deocracy. The NED is a grant-making institution, independently run but funded by the US government (and, I should point out, gets bipartisan support. So the two sides actually can work together on important stuff). It supports civil rights in authoritarian states. Paul has long said it was just a puppet of the US government, and it's "weekly youth journal" and election monitoring outfits were just tools to institute regime change in the Ukraine.
For a person who claims to be a Libertarian to actually defend what Russia is doing, violating the very liberty he claims to love so much, means he is either a heartless bastard seeking to validate his isolationism, or he is completely out of touch with Reality. It makes me sorry I ever stood up for him.
And let this be a lesson to all of you. I thought I'd done my homework on Paul, and it turns out, just like Bo Gritz, I hadn't even scratched the surface, or I never would have done it. Dig deeper. Get involved. Learn from my fail.