To the friends I have made and am making among the many supporters of Ron Paul:
I wish to explain why I have such disagreement with most of you on foreign policy issues. Not in an effort to convince you, or in an effort to help you convince me, or to open a lengthy debate during a season in which we have so many other dragons to slay, but solely because I want to help us understand each other better. I recall when I was younger — and to some extent to this day — certain issues about which I held very strong beliefs. It was nearly impossible for me to understand why anyone could believe differently given the evidence seeming so conclusive in my mind. So this post is an effort to help you better understand my point of view, one that is undoubtedly shared by others, as well as the underlying causes of this different point of view.
The major obvious demographic difference I see between Paul supporters and non-Paul supporters within the GOP is age. With this age difference comes a difference in our first hand experience with world events. This difference in our experience of world events is, I believe, one primary reason why my differences with you on foreign policy exist.
Again, I’m not trying to convince anyone. I’m merely trying to explain where I’m coming from so you might better understand me and hopefully we can better accept each others’ differences which will enable us to focus on and fight for the goals we have in common.
Let me put some initial perspectives on these differences:
As a 5th grader in 1975:
- My “Junior Scholastic” magazine in school was warning me about how our man-made pollution was going to cause an ICE AGE.
- There was a “Nuclear Clock” warning how close we were to global nuclear war, and it always hovered around 2-4 minutes before midnight. Its adjustment was a subject of frequent press releases.
- I was completely convinced that a nuclear war was inevitable in my lifetime, that it was only a matter of what cities would be destroyed. I lived in Los Angeles at the time so you can imagine the ominous cloud hanging over my childhood as the air-raid sirens were tested once every month. We didn’t own a bomb shelter, and I didn’t think it mattered anyway.
In the fall of 1984 it was campaign season. I was 18:
- I watched Vice Presidential debates between the “war monger” George H.W. Bush and the “voice of reason” Geraldine Ferraro. She was openly advocating a unilateral nuclear freeze (while the far left was advocating unilateral nuclear disarmament). The left was openly advocating unilateral surrender in the cold war as both a national security and a campaign strategy.
- I was being told that the only reason the USSR had so many nukes is because we were war mongering. If we just got rid of ours they would certainly get rid of theirs.
- I remembered an old video of Kruschev banging his shoe on a podium saying he would crush us, that we would become complacent and they would destroy us.
In the summer of 1985 I was 19 years old:
- I think Ronald Reagan was fighting a covert war in Central America by this time, trying to keep it from being taken over by communism.
- Ronald Reagan was trying to station Minuteman and Pershing II nuclear missiles in Europe. He said they were a bargaining chip for negotiations with the USSR and Gorbechev. His opponents loudly proclaimed that he was going to start WWIII.
- The Berlin Wall was a seemingly eternal fixture in Europe, forever dividing East and West Germany. We had troops there since the 1940s and it seemed like just a matter of fact they would be there forever.
- I traveled to Europe on a rail pass for three weeks listening to others in my age group telling me that Reagan was going to start WWIII through his escalation of the cold war. I hoped that when he said the missiles were bargaining chips, that he was telling me the truth.
As it turns out, President Reagan did bargain away the Minuteman and Pershing II missiles in a process that got serious concessions from the USSR. “Trust but verify” was his mantra.
Reagan called on all US Scientists to develop a “Strategic Defense Initiative” to render USSR missiles useless. The left ridiculed him and called it “Star Wars”. As it turns out, the research program alone scared the pants off the Soviets.
We entered into an era of “our bank is bigger than your bank” and we won. Their regime collapsed. I did not get vaporized into oblivion. And suddenly, as if out of thin air and with no significant prognostication by all the superior intellect in the media, the Berlin Wall came crashing down.
I know that the US has made some grave errors in our history with regard to foreign folly. I understand that we have gone to areas we should not have, that we have remained in areas longer than we should have, and that at times our own foreign policy endeavors have brought results against our best interests. But you see, from my perspective, an aggressive foreign policy saved me and my mom from nuclear annihilation. So any position that says basically NONE of these activities should be happening is instantly seen by me as extreme at best and naive at worst. When a regime like Iran says they are going to wipe another country off the face of the earth — seemingly with nuclear weapons they are on the brink of developing — I have to take it as seriously as any WWII vet would were he old enough to remember Hitler as a young politician. I lived through an era where I was certain of nuclear war, that the people who advocated retreating into ourselves were proven completely wrong. Where flexing American muscle allowed me to grow into adulthood, survive my early years when I knew everything, and become a person who struggles to see things from the points of view of others, even if I vehemently disagree with them.
So, I think I understand your perspective, and I hope this post helps you understand mine. I feel like the Conservative, Tea Partiers and Libertarians sharing space under the GOP tent have so much in common to fight for, that I hope we can successfully squabble among ourselves while we unite together to fight for the major issues of liberty and anti-establishment we all have in common.
I’m tired of people telling me bad things about you, and characterizing you so negatively. It is a divide and conquer strategy unbecoming of the GOP. It is undignified. The establishment fears your resolve, they fear your vigor, your organizational ability, your dedication, and now, even your strength. But that doesn’t mean you are immune to their tactics of propaganda. I’m sure you see it every day and wonder why some in the GOP establishment treat you like the enemy.
I’m here to tell you today: I have your back against this kind of rhetoric. I will call it out when I see it and continue in my efforts to unite us in our commonalities and garner respect of our differences. I’m serious about this. But it will require reciprocation on your part. Just because someone doesn’t think we should buy a Big Mac with gold coins does not mean they are worthless to your greater cause. And just because someone is less concerned about a nuclear Iran than I, does not mean we cannot be brothers in arms in so many other areas. Just because one person thinks we are wasting our time and money in South Korea, and I cannot help but think of the tons of artillery within reach of Seoul, and of the ultimate demise of the Berlin Wall, does not mean we can’t join together in other fights.
With all due respect, I welcome your friendship and our potential to fight the GOP establishment mentality together. It was once said “We must hang together or surely we will hang separately”, and it is still true to this day.
Yours in Liberty and Freedom,