If you know me, you know I’m not into politics. Rooting for Ron Paul has been a stretch for me. I’ve been convinced for many years that there are few substantive differences between the Republican party, the Democrats, and the socialist/marxist principles that they knowingly or ignorantly espouse.
Ron Paul may be a Republican, but he is different. I don’t think he’s right on every issue, but I do think he is an able man, one who fears God and hates bribes, and a man of his word. He does his best to honor his oath of office, voting consistently to limit the federal government to its Constitutional bounds. If we don’t like his policies we need to blame the Constitution, not Ron Paul.
Perry, Deanna and I attended our local Republican convention earlier this year, excited about the possibility that Ron Paul might – just might - be able to garner the party’s nomination. We attended the 2012 Texas Republican Convention as delegates for our county, still determined to do whatever we could to aid the one presidential candidate we could support in clear conscience.
Along the way, I learned much more than I expected.
I already knew that the Republican party was largely a contest of seniority and who you know, and I definitely saw this in action. However, I also learned that the Texas Republican party is made up of staunchly dedicated Christians who differ little from us in principle. While they may support candidates I find unacceptable, it’s not necessarily because they agree with the candidates. It is often because they feel compelled to choose the lesser of two evils.
The state party’s platform – what Texas Republicans believe as a group – is surprisingly solid, very much in line with most of Ron Paul’s policies that so impressed us. While Ron Paul and his supporters haven’t always been warmly welcomed within the party, they have had an overall positive effect, moving the entire party to the right. This year’s new platform, heavily influenced by Ron Paul and others like him, was strongly and broadly supported by nearly everyone present. I believe the few remaining areas of disagreement are those areas in which people are willing to support a tyrannical government so long as it abuses its power in ways they agree with. By that I mean that some of the issues may be good goals but are not within the Constitutional scope of the federal government, which is part of the reason so many people have a problem with Ron Paul. They look at his voting record and assume it reflects his personal convictions rather than his oath to support the Constitution.
I learned that politicians can talk the talk without walking the walk. I knew it, but it was shocking to see it in action. Many gave speeches that sounded like sermons, chock full of scripture and rock-solid principles. If we voted for speeches rather than candidates, some would have the support of the founding fathers themselves. Some of these same men and women have supported abominable policies for reasons I can’t begin to fathom, and are supported by the Christian brothers and sisters around me.
I also learned that some Ron Paul supporters have earned their bad reputation. Most were respectful and enthusiastic participants of the process we had chosen to participate in, but a few were different. Some were loud and disruptive at times, booing elected officials and leading chants that halted proceedings, making other RP supporters cringe.
I was surprised at the fairness and unfailing good humor of the chairman, Steve Munisteri. In the wake of reports of cheating in state conventions all over the country, we were blessed to witness an impartial meeting of over 5,000 delegates who disagreed (sometimes vehemently) but were led by a chairman determined to do his job with skill and honor, setting a good tone for the smaller group meetings that were interspersed with the general sessions. He repeatedly admonished delegates to treat each other with respect, loving one another as Christian brethren even when we disagreed with each other. I appreciated his humility as he frequently consulted with his parliamentarian for correct procedure, acknowledging the expertise of those who questioned him. I appreciated his willingness to aid and bear with those who wanted to participate but didn’t understand the proceedings, and it was impossible to ignore his unflagging sense of humor as he dealt with people who would have driven a lesser man to swearing.
I learned Robert’s Rules of Order. I already had a very basic sort of familiarity with the process because our church runs its annual business meeting according to RROO, but we studied more about the rules as the convention approached, and we attended a 30 minute class at the convention itself as well. To see rules at work in gatherings of 200-5,000 over the course of 3 long days was truly amazing. I have much to learn, but I finally feel like I understand the basics and am beginning to understand the language.
I learned that while it’s easy to be frustrated with the state of our nation and the character of our leaders, we can make a difference. We live in a republic, and while our governing officials often fail to follow the rules, they are chosen by us – by those of us who care to participate in the process. Yes, God has set them over us, and they may very well be instruments of judgment. But He has used our own hands to do it, and we are blessed by Him to live in a nation where one way we can show our repentance is by [looking] for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and [placing] such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. Exodus 18:21