The beginning of the Constitution: "We, the People." It sounds so good. I get excited when I read it or just hear those three words. But what does it mean today in the "land of the free?" Are we actually free?
I was taken back to the Constitution this past week as I heard one person refer to it over and over again. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX). It's in the news, on the debate, in person in Iowa; this Paul guy won't let us forget the Constitution. Good.
For many years, Americans have seen their rights erode away by power hungry politicians that are taking away our rights in order "to protect" us. Thanks, Washington.
This past seven years we have seen an erosion that has been shocking, in many ways. For most of us, the first lesson we learned in Politics 101 was that Republicans are for small government. Or at least that is what I heard when I was in school. Democrats think that the government knows best and Republicans are the champions of protecting our rights. Then came right stripping legislation like the Patriot Act. Once again, the American people were sold a bill of goods with a misleading, no, deceptive title. How could you not want to be a patriot, especially in a time of attacks from the "axis of evil"? But our rights were taken away. Most people didn't even realize it. Heck, most elected officials in Congress didn't even know what they were voting for and now admit they never read the bill before voting on it.
That's when Ron Paul and a few others spoke out and refused to vote to take away our rights. Recently, we saw the president wanting the permission to continue wiretapping phone calls, exclude phone companies from any liability and insisting on it now. Hurry up and give me their rights, was what I heard the president say. And if there is any liability for tapping the wrong person or interrupting your life, it's not the big government or the big companies that were in cahoots.
Benjamin Franklin was quoted in the Historical Review of Pennsylvania in 1759: "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
The response to legislation such as the Patriot Act and also Franklin's concern is right here: "All initiation of force is a violation of someone else's rights, whether initiated by an individual or the state, for the benefit of an individual or group of individuals, even if it's supposed to be for the benefit of another individual or group of individuals." Thank you, Representative Paul.
Some leaders and many candidates for higher office have said in essence we have not been attacked again so therefore the Patriot Act must be working. There has to be a different reason. I am sickened by the attitude that a group of suits in Washington think that they have the right to take away more of my rights. I am even more sickened that the party that is supposedly for smaller government has forgot those words of Mr. Franklin.
But not Ron Paul. It was shortly after that event that I had the opportunity to sit across the table from this man and try to understand what made him tick. He gave me 30 minutes when most legislators in Washington would give you five if you could get by the aides. I began to see that he was the real deal.
Listen to what else he says about where we have come in recent years:
"Throughout the 20th century, the Republican Party benefited from a non-interventionist foreign policy. Think of how Eisenhower came in to stop the Korean War. Think of how Nixon was elected to stop the mess in Vietnam."
"How did we win the election in the year 2000? We talked about a humble foreign policy: No nation-building; don't police the world. That's conservative, it's Republican, it's pro-American - it follows the founding fathers. And, besides, it follows the Constitution."
"The obligations of our representatives in Washington are to protect our liberty, not coddle the world, precipitating no-win wars, while bringing bankruptcy and economic turmoil to our people…The moral and constitutional obligations of our representatives in Washington are to protect our liberty, not coddle the world, precipitating no-win wars, while bringing bankruptcy and economic turmoil to our people."
I can hear the sighs and see the eyes rolling. I hear and see it hear in the pasture and I know that it happens out there in Partial Observer land. But I for one am glad that someone is speaking out to remind us what is guaranteed to be ours.
Now I also realize that most people think that Ron Paul has about as much chance to win the Republican nomination as a snowball has in surviving the Arizona sun in July. But I continue to see him under spend all of his GOP rivals and out raise many of them in money. I've seen him speak on the stump. He's good. But more than that, he's passionate about you and me keeping what the Constitution said we should have. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
Will he win the nomination? I'm not even sure he will get a chance to speak at the national convention. But there is one thing that he will do. He surely will continue to speak out and be the conscience of a group of men and women who have lost their way.