Occasionally I come across different communities of people who rally behind Obama or Ron Paul. What I too often find is that both will decry the other as foul. The accusations they toss at one another are the usual (and sometimes inflammatory) arguments you hear: Obama is a pawn for "the zionists"; Ron Paul is a racist; Obama will do nothing to stand up against corporate interests; Ron Paul's ideas are absurd and will never work; etc.
I'll admit immediately that there's some truth here.
- Ron Paul was against the 1964 Civil Rights Act
- Paul supporters often cite Obama's connection to the CFR as an example of his corruption
Of course if you look further into each issue it's a bit murkier than that.
Paul makes a very black and white (figuratively speaking), libertarian, argument that having the government enforce civil rights issues will have consequences in the long run. Consequences regarding our larger rights over property and private institutions.
The argument against Obama on the other hand is a stretch. His wife Michelle is a part of the the Chicago chapter of the CFR. The only valid argument I see is maybe that the Chicago chapter of the Council on Foreign Relations may lack the diversity of thought that Ron Paul would prefer. Which is maybe reason more libertarians should join the council? They also disagree with some of Obama's positions regarding his support for certain Israeli policy. (I hold out that Obama ultimately believes in more progressive Israeli policy).
I may come off as an apologist for both. Either that or just confused but I'm not. So for full disclosure I'll admit that I have donated to both their campaigns; volunteered for one of them; and helped start a student organization on a university campus for the other. I see a strong, underlying, principle in both their campaigns. They're both defending the principled idea of American citizens, throwing aside their apathy, and getting involved in politics again or for the first time.
Personally, I don't consider this a small or minor task.
We are spending much of our efforts nowadays distancing ourselves from Bush. Even those who supported him are now tepidly acknowledging their change of heart. Each of us may have a different perspective on the "decider" but we shouldn't absolve ourselves of all responsibility. This nation elected him twice. We describe the emotional pain of 911 as a reason for trusting this administration's decision to go into Iraq. We allowed him to expand executive power. We didn't rally against this administration soon enough or enough. We didn't ask difficult questions when it was more urgent. Well, I may be taking too far. Many of us did do these things but as a nation, George W. Bush still represents us, our mistakes, apathy, and fear.
Ron Paul and Barack Obama are both "hopemongers" in their own ways. You can't ignore the depth of idealism in Ron Paul's proposals. Republicans will often label the other as too concerned with obtaining a level of equality that is impossible but we don't often scrutinize the Republican party enough when they suggest that the private sector will ultimately do what's right for our nation. This is a dangerous sentiment. Just as dangerous as believing the government can solve all of our problems.
It comes down to putting our money where our mouth is and getting out the vote.
Both of which our nation has some trouble with. The fact is a large portion of the nation is not concerned with large corporate control of the media; and most of us, admit it, don't even vote in local elections.
Depending on the private sector or government intervention alone will not be a solution to end all solutions. This is where a failure in objectivity, and in recognizing commonalities, exists because there's an equal glimmer of hope in both Obama and Paul proposals. There always has been.
So let's look at the common ground. Ignoring the platitudes and talking points, both candidates have been effective at simply getting people to believe in their own ability to take control of their government again. This is where it matters and where it counts.
Obama's constant use of the word "we" is no accident and should not be overlooked. It contrasted sharply with Hillary's suggestion and she alone could move the nation forward. Ron Paul's heavily ideological stance was a needed a reminder of the rights we as a nation have slowly abandoned over the generations. Both candidates have a grassroots engagement and both have benefited heavily from this.
Their policies may differ and Obama's policies may not differ enough from the current administration. In defense of Obama, I would argue his strength is simply getting the masses to engage and his proposals for transparency in government will have long term benefits. Obama supporters need to hold his feet to the fire as they would anyone else. I believe both Obama and Paul will gladly be held responsible for their actions and hold a level of honor by representing the people's needs once again.
Both candidates are working from the bottom up. This is where it counts. This is the unity both ideological camps need to recognize..
Some months ago I sat down with an Iranian born friend of mine. We espoused the virtues of our candidates of preference and then agreed, that the other would be a fine enough step in the right direction.
Let's put it this way: no other candidates (or former candidates) are as aggressively promoting "love" and "hope" like Obama and Paul.