Yesterday was a fantastic day. In fact, it was one of the most memorable days in my life – quite possibly a defining moment. I must admit that I was personally having a hard time staying focused for the entire program which ran for hours and hours but that wasn’t because it wasn’t interesting and engaging, it was because I was trying to hold back an awful headache from getting much worse in the loud arena full of passionate supporters. The thousands of iPhone camera flashes and intense stage lights also didn’t help my ravaged noggin’s discomfort but I downed several large Diet Cokes, popped some Advil Migraine pills and was feeling okay.
I have theorized that the catalyst for my head feeling like it was thwacked by by a thousand bamboo lashes from a reckless panda was the fact that I downed way too many shots the night before with some of the party animal kids of the GOP elite. I thought it was funny that these half dozen twenty-to-thirty-five year-old kids just so happened to be staying in my hotel, off the grid from South Tampa – where their parents had to have their best game faces on for the Republican National Convention. Whose kids they were isn’t important. What is worth mentioning is that most of them were fond of Ron Paul and as the alcohol flowed, they admitted their support for his policy stances over the stances of their own parents: good for them! Moving on.
I woke up the morning of the event fairly early. I thought that waking up at 7:15 would give me the jump if the seating was arranged on a first-come first-serve basis. I was also in Tampa with nothing else to do and I sleep horribly when not in my own bed anyway. I quickly showered, dressed, ate breakfast in the lobby and jumped in my car and drove up I-275 to the University of South Florida campus on the north side of town. There was no traffic, I was four hours early for the event’s official start time and when I parked, there was only one other car there. Unfortunately for me, I parked about a quarter of a mile away but I was following the signs that said “EVENT PARKING” in bold text with arrows pointing to the exact lot I pulled in. With my ten dollar parking pass for that faraway lot bought and paid for, I was screwed. Anyway, after walking across the treacherous terrain of the campus, as USF’s bike paths are a maze of insanity without proper signs, I arrived at the Sun Dome and was blown back by the fact that there was a parking lot nearly full of cars and a massive line waiting to get into the arena.
So I waited in line for awhile but then they told us to form multiple lines and while the masses were trying to figure out how to interpret those directions, I was quick enough to get to the front of my newly formed line. Sorry folks, but I am an opportunist and the front of the line was under shade which was incredibly beneficial for me, as I was the only idiot I could see that was wearing a suit to this grassroots rally. Hey, leave it to the guy that is practically an anarchist to go to a grassroots rally dressed like an establishment guy. I am who I am.
Anyway, I talked to the people around me. There were some great minds and great ideas but there were also people from the Zeitgeist Movement that kept trying to bombard my conversations with their idiocy. You can’t have that many people in one place without having to deal with some weirdos and joiners who don’t fully understand why they are there. To be honest, I saw the ‘Zeitgeist’ films, they made a few good points but most of it was rubbish. I didn’t mind watching the verbal sparring between the Zeitgeeks and the Infowars followers though, which broke out after one of the Zeitgeeks said some derogatory shit about Alex Jones saying derogatory shit about the ‘Zeitgeist’ films.
So the doors finally open, we get inside and like the quick fox I am, I get the best seat available. Unfortunately, the lower section and the floor were reserved for delegates, volunteers and those with reserved seating, which I don’t recall being available when I got my tickets but whatever – I would’ve gladly paid for reserved seating if that was all it took to get close to the front. Regardless of that, I was lucky to have some cool people sitting all around me, which made the event incredibly enjoyable. At a point, I was afraid I’d be in a sea of squabbling Zeitgeeks and Infowarriors. Thank god, I wasn’t.
About 90 minutes after getting my seat, the lights went dim and the event kicked off with a bad ass video chronicling Ron Paul’s journey and the failure of those who have tried to stop him. At the conclusion of the short film, Doug Wead stormed the stage to emcee the festivities. He gave a little speech and then introduced a preacher who said a really long prayer and being borderline atheist and not religious, I found this more annoying than anything and it just brought forth my issues with most of the Republican and Tea Party events I’ve been to over the years.
You see, I get that the majority of the people there are of the Christian faith but it’s as if the majority assumes that we all are and when everyone’s head is bowed in prayer – and yours isn’t, they can’t help but give you looks that make you feel like an asshole. Sorry, I just don’t think a Ron Paul rally or really anything political should be a religious event, unless it is being put on by a church. I can’t recall a Jewish politician having an event where the crowd was more or less forced to participate in Judaism. Frankly, I know many young people who avoid the Tea Party and the Republican Party simply because they don’t want to be pushed into the religious aspect of many of their beliefs. Maybe this makes me a heathen, which doesn’t even bother me in the slightest, but it is this aura of forced participation that pushes a lot of the liberty-loving new blood away from the larger pack – I’ve witnessed it first hand.
Closing out the first portion of the show, Will Hearns’ rendition of the National Anthem and “God Bless America” were incredible to hear in the arena and I almost had a tear in my eye. That’s not sarcasm, that’s truth.
The second section of the event was made up of three speakers from the Ludwig von Mises Institute. The first was the Institute’s founder and Austrian economic rockstar Lew Rockwell. Rockwell did a good job of getting people pumped up, as he ran down the reasons why he feels Ron Paul was able to shock the world and start an actual non-violent revolution in not just America but the world. Unfortunately, Rockwell was followed up by Walter Block who went on a strange abortion rant that confused the crowd. Some people were actually screaming out in anger at Block, which I found to be incredibly disrespectful, as did most of the audience. The screams didn’t help Block’s case however and he failed at making his points successfully and the whole abortion segment he presented really took the wind out of a lot of people’s sails. I get that it is a subject he is passionate about but the “We Are the Future” rally just wasn’t the right venue in my opinion. The second section was then closed out by the Mises Institute’s Butler Shaffer who gave a good ten-to-fifteen minute talk that unfortunately suffered from the weird ambience of Block’s speech that continued to leave the air feeling odd.
The next block of people started with a musician named Jordan Page who brought out his guitar and sang some tunes. He was pretty good even though his music isn’t my cup of tea. He was followed by super conservative Barry Goldwater, Jr. Goldwater gave a great and humorous speech about Ron Paul and Rand Paul and the parallels between them and Barry Goldwater, Sr. and Jr. He did a great job of re-igniting the crowd and getting everything back in focus after the horrible Walter Block segment. Goldwater had some of the best lines and jokes of the day and seeing him passionately own the stage while capturing the undivided attention of more than ten thousand people was stunning. This left the floor open to the Southern Avenger Jack Hunter, who just killed it like no one else before him on that stage. He talked about how true conservatives are libertarians and vice versa. He spent a good amount of time bashing Santorum Republicans and explaining how the GOP needs to embrace Ron Paul’s views, as he is the only candidate they have that truly represents conservatism. I don’t know how it came across to those watching it on television but Jack Hunter had the crowd solidly behind him.
The next portion of the show featured state and local “Liberty Torch Bearers”. Ashley Ryan, the Republican National Committeewoman from Maine gave a great speech and educated the crowd on the delegate process and the dirty tricks the Republican establishment is going to try and do to prevent someone else from using the strategy Dr. Paul used this election. Essentially, the GOP elite are trying to create an environment where delegates have to stick to the politician they represent and in most states, the delegates would be distributed in a winner-takes-all fashion. I should have taken notes and I need to look into this more but regardless of that, the information she presented was scary. The other speakers in this block said a lot of great things but it felt like filler and the fact that there were five speakers to sit through in this portion, made it the halftime bathroom and food break for most of the people in the arena.
The next section of the show featured South Carolina State Senator Tom Davis and Congressman Justin Amash. Davis tore the house down as he went on to praise Ron Paul for making the Federal Reserve as big of an issue as it has become. He continued to rip the Fed and its chairman Ben Bernanke. Davis gave one of the most passionate and fired up speeches of the day. Justin Amash then came out, much calmer than Davis, and told the story of how Dr. Paul pathed the way for like-minded people to enter politics and have success. Amash gave a short but great speech and had the arena at full attention.
The musical portion of the show was next and the crowd was treated to John Popper, the frontman for the legendary band Blues Traveler and Ron Noyes, a Ron Paul delegate, as well as a great singer and guitar player. The two men played some Blues Traveler classics and even fit in one of Noyes original songs. As soon as they finished, four-time Grammy winner Jimmy Vaughan, brother of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan, jumped on stage and rocked out with his band. The music was a mixture of old school rockabilly and jazz and it just came off amazingly. Their live performance was my favorite of the event, despite my love and respect for John Popper. Unfortunately, Vaughan was followed up by pop-star Aimee Allen, who performed the official Ron Paul campaign song that I have never been a fan of. The performance was poor, she had some sort of technical difficulty, forgot her lines and literally had to start over. She is very easy on the eyes though.
Next up was the ‘First Lady of Liberty’ Carol Paul, wife to Ron and mother of Rand. She was awarded for her awesomeness in front of the crowd and it was much deserved considering her part behind the scenes in the Ron Paul Revolution. She gave a great heartfelt speech to the crowd and thanked the supporters. She then proceeded to introduce every member of the Paul family that was able to make it to the rally. This led into her introducing her son, Senator Rand Paul. The younger Dr. Paul then took over and gave the second best speech of the night, the best (spoiler alert) belonged to his father, who went on after him.
Sen. Rand Paul gave us a sneak peek at what he was going to discuss at the Republican National Convention later in the week. He said that his father has always been so gung ho about auditing the Federal Reserve that the slogan “Audit the Fed” is now chanted and seen everywhere. Rand said that he had a new slogan for us and the Republican establishment and it’s “Audit the Pentagon”. Rand went on to talk about his father’s foreign policy stance versus the foreign policy stance of the GOP elite. He warned of the massive spending and waste of our Defense Department and said that it was time to peel pack the layers and see what’s really going on. If Rand Paul pissed off everyone in that arena by endorsing Mitt Romney a few months back, you couldn’t tell because they were behind this man one-hundred percent. In fact, Rand was interrupted by “Paul 2016″ chants.
Rand Paul then introduced his father, the man we were all there to see, Congressman Dr. Ron Paul. The elder Paul hit the stage and the place erupted. It didn’t just erupt though, the ground shook, the arena boomed and the screams, cheers and whistling for the Liberty Movement’s biggest influence went on for minutes before Dr. Paul could even speak. It was honestly one of the most intense and beautiful moments of my life. I know that may sound absurd to some but unless you were there, in person, there is no way you could even begin to understand the emotion and the spirit in the arena in those few minutes.
So Dr. Paul’s speech ran over an hour and it was well worth the wait. He talked about how the Revolution wasn’t over and that it would only continue to grow. He talked about how the Republican Party needs to evolve and even though they are fighting it, the GOP is evolving. For instance, look at the fact that the Republican majority House of Representatives just passed the Audit the Fed Bill. He also attacked Washington DC for bending and re-writing the rules. He pointed out that politicians have been overstepping their bounds and mentioned that many within the GOP and people in the grassroots movements are now waking up and are really starting to hold their elected officials accountable. He mentioned Washington’s failed policies and how the fact that they aren’t working is proof that we must do something different.
Dr. Paul talked about the strength of the youth and how they are the future and how and why he appeals to them. He gave a rundown of all of his visits to college campuses across the country and the great support he has gotten from the young people at every stop. He explained that young people talk to their parents and their friends with an energy that brings other people to the truth.
He moved on to discuss how the establishment has always been against his foreign policy stance and that they have been adamant for years that he needs to change it. Dr. Paul describes how the establishment just doesn’t get it on foreign policy and then reminds us all that he gets more campaign contributions from the military than any other candidate. This leads into him bashing establishment politicians and their economic stance. He points out the problems with Dodd-Frank and the creation of bubbles due to government intervention and regulations.
Paul tells the crowd to never be silent, to keep fighting and to keep using their voices. Dr. Paul says that the Soviets didn’t cease to exist because they had an enlightenment; they ceased to exist because they were broke and that if we don’t pound this over our elected officials heads, we could be in a similar situation. He warns of our military presence around the world and paints a picture of how it is economic genocide. He tells us all to stay principled, stay vigilant and to always speak out because not speaking out against tyranny makes one just as guilty as the tyrants.
The speech went on and on and Dr. Paul hit all of his famous talking points but most importantly, he left us all with the message that it was us who needed to carry the ball into the future. It is our job to use our voices and to educate not just Washington, local and state government but to educate the people at every level. If everyone in that arena takes to heart what Dr. Paul said, as I have, the establishment is going to have a very difficult time trying to continue to pull the wool over the eyes of the American people.
While this event is the last rally Ron Paul will ever have, assuming he won’t run for president in 2016, which I am sure he won’t, it wasn’t the end of the Liberty Movement or the Ron Paul Revolution. The path is now there, we all just have to walk down it and that is the real purpose of the “We Are the Future” rally. With the amazing turnout and the energy in that arena, the political world is in trouble. While some probably went home, felt good and then brushed the effects of the rally off, I guarantee there are more who were inspired and who are now willing to put themselves out there in an effort to carry the message of liberty into the future.
The 2012 election hasn’t been about Ron Paul winning the presidential election. Now I know that a lot of people wanted that to happen but I was always pretty sure that we wouldn’t get there yet and really, I’m fine with that despite all my passionate bitching and ranting in articles past. Sure we need to fix our mess now but it can’t happen overnight or even over the course of a campaign or two. You see, Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential run, just like his run in 2008, was about spreading the message of liberty on the grandest stage possible. Regardless of how anyone reading this feels about this election’s yet-to-be determined outcome, Ron Paul won big in 2012! Ron Paul succeeded in ways that other like-minded people haven’t been able to. If you are a Ron Paul supporter, think of how you were before learning about the man and then think about how you’ve changed and those you have touched along the way. There’s a lot of us out there who have brought people with us on this train and in turn, a lot of those we have brought have brought even more. It’s like a pyramid scheme that actually works, where everyone actually benefits and is inspired and motivated enough to pass on the wealth.
Ron Paul has ignited the minds of millions and his message isn’t just spreading in America, it is becoming a worldwide phenomena. Hell, just look at Nigel Farage in the European Union who just takes it to the EU elite and lambasts them time and time again over their economic idiocy. There are even Ron Paul MeetUp groups in other countries that get together and discuss Paul’s ideas and philosophy. The truth is, none of this ends with Paul. In America, we now have Gary Johnson, who isn’t a Republican – at least not anymore, but he walks the walk and is going head-to-head with Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in this year’s presidential election. Who’s to say that Rand Paul or Justin Amash or someone else of the same school of thought won’t run for president in 2016? The door is wide open and it’s all of ours to step through.
Dr. Paul has given us all the keys to the kingdom. It’s our job to keep it secure and to kick the tyrants out on their asses. Ron Paul will most assuredly be missed but there is absolutely no reason to be upset by his departure from politics. Especially, if we all continue to march forward with the message he gave to so many of us. This world is ours to shape, so let’s continue to shape it, as leaders and doers.
To those in the establishment, not just in America but the world, the revolution has officially reached stage two.