I give you Ron Paul:
(I'm afraid this is a 65 minute interview, but well worth watching, with a Google executive as one of a regular series of interviews the company conducts with public figures of all kinds)
- his campaign website is here.
Readers of my blog will know that I supported the war in Iraq for a simple reason - the need I saw to get rid of Saddam Hussein. Even though I wrote recently that whilst I recognised (who could not?!) the catastrophically poorly-executed follow-up to the invasion and his overthrow, orchestrated by the current US administration and strongly supported (in a modest way consistent with our own resources) by our own government - supported by people like me [no supporter of our government in other matters], but otherwise by relatively few people outside a close coterie of this Labour government's own inner grouping.
However listening to Ron Paul speak has, I must admit, taken me a lot further along the road of evaluating my own attitudes more openly than I had been prepared to do, quite honestly, until the refreshing 'cold shower' of this man reminding me of what I have always thought I believed in: personal freedoms; small government; low taxes. This has made me face-up more openly (although I have been on this journey for some months and even more so in my private thoughts) to the fact that my support for many things, including the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, may have been completely flawed as it went against my basic belief in small government and low taxes and of course personal freedom. Was Iraq under Saddam Hussein a threat to this country? No. Did that country, prior to the 2003 invasion, have links to terrorist groups such as al-qa'ida, likely to cause us harm? No. You get my drift?
Although I have been hearing about Ron Paul for a number of months, vaguely, I had not taken the trouble to try and find out much more about him until I read this post in (you guessed it) Andrew Sullivan's blog in which he links to a YouTube post by a person who admits to having no interest whatsoever in politics and who has never voted, but who has nevertheless become captivated by hearing Ron Paul speak - even to the extent of sacrificing ten hours of video-game time to politics[!] to try and find out more about him. And the young man in the video does not sound like any kind of ignorant fool to me either, indeed he sounds like a pretty thoughtful and intelligent young man who has, it is probably safe to say, a moderately comfortable middle-class existence and who has never felt the need to struggle for much in his life, just like most people in prosperous western capitalist countries, me included. If Ron Paul were some kind of demagogue then this ability seemingly to galvanise the support of otherwise apolitical people might be seen as sinister, but I don't discern any sign of demagoguery in him - he seems like a patently sane individual. There are lots of videos on YouTube of him being interviewed or giving speeches; just key 'Ron Paul' into the search box there. Even if he probably stands little real chance of being successful in next year's US Presidential elections, it is just possible (with luck) that some of his simple ideas, plainly stated, might have some small influence on whoever becomes the next President. Could we be that lucky? See what you think.