Forget DNC, RNC; Paul rallied the Republic
By Beth Cody, Writers’ Group member
Iowa City Press-Citizen
Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Last week, my husband and I drove to Minneapolis – no, not to attend the GOP Convention, but to have a great time at Ron Paul’s “Rally for the Republic”. We joined 12,000 other freedom-lovers in Minneapolis’ Target Center for a whole day of speeches, music, patriotism and fun.

The event kicked off Ron Paul’s new “Campaign for Liberty”, a grassroots educational and lobbying group. The mission of “C4L” is “to promote and defend the great American principles of individual liberty, constitutional government, sound money, free markets, and a non-interventionist foreign policy”. The organization has nearly 100,000 members who have signed up at the C4L web site: www.campaignforliberty.com. (Sign up to keep informed about local groups and planned programs and projects.)

The Rally was introduced by MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson, and presented a roster of the best speakers I have ever heard (I recommend listening to at least the following speeches at YouTube).

Bill Kauffman, author of Ain’t My America: The Long, Noble History of Antiwar Conservatism, pointed out that American citizens bear the cost, both in lives and money, of the wars that Washington elites get us involved in. Neither major presidential candidate will change this: John McCain is “thumbing through the world atlas looking for new countries to bomb” and Barack Obama, who scorns small-town American “losers”, is one of the big-city winners who send us off to wars.

Tom Woods, author of Who Killed the Constitution?: The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush, described how the Federal Reserve steals from the poor, causes boom-bust economic cycles, and is the “money machine” behind the “war machine”. He assumed we understood something about economics, and was rewarded by the unlikely occurrence of about five thousand people cheering the phrase “Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle”.

Bruce Fein, a legal expert, scholar and author, gave perhaps the most learned speech I have ever heard firsthand, quoting Shakespeare, Robespierre, Edmund Burke, Julius Caesar and George Washington, as well as referring to various historical events and sprinkling in a few Latin phrases for good measure. He identified the current resurgence of interest in classical liberal ideas as “the American Renaissance”, which “disputes the prevailing military and utopian orthodoxies that are making us less free and less safe” and champions self-government by free, American citizens.

Fein was followed (and contrasted starkly) by Jesse Ventura, who spoke about his third-party win as Minnesota’s Governor, and hinted (pro-wrestling-style) that he might throw in his hat for President next time around – if he thought we were ready.

Then there was Adam Kokesh, a solemn, young, anti-war ex-Marine, who exhorted us to stand with him to pledge our lives and fortunes to fight this good fight. He roused the crowd when, with Marine intensity, he quoted Adams: "there may come a time when we tell the powers that be, be it with your blood or ours, we have come to water the tree of Liberty!” But Ron Paul stands for a peaceful revolution, accomplished by educating people about the precious Constitutional rights our forefathers fought and died for.

But, of course, the most enthusiastic response was saved for Ron Paul himself. His was the last speech of the evening, and he once again demonstrated his ability to unite disparate libertarians and bring focus on traditionally neglected issues such as sound money and the Constitution.

This little man with big principles seemed almost overwhelmed by the thunderous applause that shook the venue. Several times during his speech, 12,000 people spontaneously started chanting en masse, “End the Fed! End the Fed!”, and I could almost read his mind: Who knew he would ever live to see the day when huge crowds would cheer about the abstract but vital subjects he has been writing about for decades?

So what will happen next? Will he be able to translate the enthusiasm for his presidential run into a long-term grassroots movement? Will the organization be able to help educate Americans about important issues of freedom that affect us all?

I, for one, believe that this is the start of something momentous, and I left the Rally pondering how I can better contribute to the struggle to save our Republic.