by Lawrence W. Lepard
I recently spent a significant sum of money running a full-page advertisement in USA Today supporting the candidacy of Ron Paul for President of the United States. Several people have asked me why I did it, so I have decided to explain my reasoning.
I believe that as American citizens we stand at an important crossroads in history. We are faced with a very important decision that will have repercussions for many, many years. We need to make a decision as to what we want America to represent, and to become. History will record the outcome of our decision. If we blow it, many more innocent people will die, and history will not be kind. As I say to my closest friends, I do not want to have to explain to my grandchildren that I was one of the “good Germans.”
Let me state it clearly. The America that I grew up in believed in the rule of law, not men. The America that I grew up in believed in telling the truth. The America that I grew up in believed in following Judeo/Christian values, and yet made room for those of different faiths and backgrounds. The America I grew up in had a religious flavor, but we were wary of those who wore their religion on their sleeves. The America that I grew up in believed in the golden rule: treat people the way we would like them to treat us. The America that I grew up in believed that you did not lie, cheat or steal. The America that I grew up in believed in the inherent goodness of most men, but recognized that evil exists. Nevertheless, the America that I grew up in did not believe in an eye for an eye. It believed in protecting oneself from evil, but in the process of doing so we were cautioned not to become what we were protecting against. In short, the America that I grew up in was a place where one could be proud of one’s country, and thankful to the men and women who had sacrificed so much in the past to give us this heritage.
I wake up today as a 50-year-old husband and father of three, and I wonder where that America has gone. I see a President who called the U.S. Constitution “just a goddamned piece of paper.” He replaced a President who blatantly lied to the American public. Admittedly the lie was about something that was none of the Public’s business. However, when a country is led by a liar, it lowers that country’s level of discourse and makes lying seem acceptable. It is not. Are these the best leaders this Country can produce? I see that the prior President’s wife running for President with the attitude that because her husband was elected, she too deserves to be President. Says who? Do Americans really believe she will act in our best interest given all the money she has received from the military industrial complex? I see the U.S. involved in an aggressive undeclared war against a country that did not represent a threat to us in any way. Deliberate lies were told to get this war started. To date the outcome of this war is that between 100,000 and 1.0 million innocent people have died. These figures are between 30 and 300 times the number of people killed in 911. Do two wrongs make a right? Furthermore, the majority of the 911 hijackers were Saudis. Not Iraqis. We are allies with Saudi Arabia and yet Saudi Arabia is far from being a democracy. Yet we went to war to create a democracy in Iraq and set an example for the Middle East. The hypocrisy is staggering. The mistakes that were made are criminal. Why anyone believes one thing that is said by the people who lied us into this war is a mystery to me. We would be greeted as liberators. No. Oil revenues will pay the cost. No. A secular democracy will emerge and be an inspiration for other countries. No. The list of misjudgments goes on an on. If they were a baseball team one would be forced to wonder “can anyone here play this game?”
The civilian Iraqis killed by our preemptive war: were they collateral damage or is that just a euphemism for murder? Has anyone taken the time to look at their pictures on the web? I wonder how their relatives and friends feel about the United States? I wonder if they are more or less likely to become terrorists as a result of the actions of the United States. I see a Country that has violated the Geneva Conventions. I see a Country that has violated the Christian doctrine of “just war”. I see a Country that has started a war that is illegal under international law. As President Eisenhower said, “Preventive war was an invention of Hitler. Frankly, I would not listen to anyone who seriously talked about such a thing.” I see a flock of Presidential candidates, most of whom voted for this war and many of whom believe “all options should be on the table” in dealing with Iran. For those who are not current on this subject, that language is code for: we should be prepared to attack Iran with conventional or nuclear weapons.
Think about that for a moment. Leaders in this Country are actually talking about using a nuclear weapon against a country that has not attacked us. Are they insane? I hear Neocon pundits calling for the beginning of World War III. I see a Country that has suspended habeas corpus. I see a Country that has stripped its citizens of the Constitutional protections against an overreaching government. I see a Country that has sanctioned “rendition” which is just another term for the kidnapping of anyone, anywhere, throughout the world, and then spiriting them off to a remote location where they can be subject to “enhanced interrogation techniques”. Which we are told are not torture. Another lie. I see a Country that has engaged in torture. Hell, one leading Presidential candidate wants to “double Guantanamo” and thinks his son’s campaigning for him is equivalent to serving in the military. Of course, he got a deferment to avoid serving in Vietnam. I see a Country where the top advocates of war have never fought in one. Worse yet, they sought and obtained deferments when others were fighting. You cannot make this stuff up. The irony is incredible. If there is karma in the world, we are surely screwed.
I see a Country that thinks that it owns and controls the world. I believe this is ethically wrong. Furthermore, we cannot afford it, so even attempting to run the world is pointless. I see a Country that thinks it should have bases in the Middle East for the next fifty years. I see a Country where the dominant political party, the Neocons, believe the world is a dark and evil place. I believe the people who feel this way are projecting their own views onto the rest of the world. They need therapy. I see a Country that has adopted the Old Testament view of an eye for an eye. If we adopt this view we are on the road to becoming a modern day Pottersville. In short, I see a Country that has lost its soul. Out of malfeasance, fear, ignorance, or incompetence we have implemented the wrong policies and taken the wrong course. Since this is true, then effectively the terrorists are winning. God surely has a great sense of humor. Irony abounds.
Is it possible that America has lost its soul? As citizens each and every one of us is somewhat responsible for the acts of our government. All it takes for evil to flourish is for good people to do nothing. So, has America lost it soul: yes or no? I would submit that while the current U.S. Administration and the vast majority of the Senate and Congress have lost their souls, the American people have not. We were lied to. Nearly 70% of the American population is against this war, and yet the war goes on. The vast majority of the American people want peace. People know what is right, yet the government does the wrong thing. How can this be? We are supposed to be a government OF, FOR and BY the People. Are we? What do you think? Is the government the American people? Does it really represent the American people? Do you think the U.S. government should kill innocent Iraqis to make us safer? Would you advocate killing a man who lives down the street because you think he might do you harm in the future, even though he has done nothing to you yet? Do you think the 2 million dead Vietnamese citizens died in a cause that was just for either side? That is what we are about to find out.
I will say it right now, clearly and loud: THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WE HAVE TODAY DOES NOT REPRESENT ME. I FURTHER BELIEVE THAT IT DOES NOT REPRESENT A MAJORITY OF AMERICANS. The huge disconnect between what a majority of this country wants and what our government is doing is the elephant in the room that no one will discuss. I cannot in good conscience condone or support the policies of the Neocons, the military industrial complex, or the oil industry. I do not believe in “Full Spectrum Dominance”. I do not believe “We Are The Indispensable Nation”. I do not believe we are “History’s Actors.” I do not believe we can “Make Our Own Reality”. I do not believe we should be an Empire. I think we have great power and military superiority, and that with these come enormous responsibility. We are a Constitutional Republic. I do not believe we need to have strategic influence all over the world. I believe there is a power higher than my government and that the Founders drew upon this power when they drafted the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal. That reads “all men.” Not “all Americans.” All men have god given rights. Governments are made to protect these rights, not destroy them. Until recently, I believe the American government did a good job of protecting these rights if you were an American. For many years now I believe the American government has used a different standard or play book when dealing with foreign countries and foreign citizens. But that is a story for a different essay.
If it sounds like I am mad, then that is right. I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore. (Source: Howard Beale: Network) I am mad that my money becomes worth less every year because the Federal Reserve can print money out of thin air. I am mad that the U.S. Government inflation statistics are a lie, thanks to Bill Clinton’s changing of the CPI calculation. I am mad that this change and the Federal Reserve have put the economy on a roller coaster leading to a boom and bust cycles that benefit financiers at the expense of the middle class, retirees and the poor. I am mad that Wall Street titans and speculators have been rewarded while savers and honest labor have been punished. I am mad that honesty is considered quaint and naïve by the political classes. I am mad at the arrogance of those who hold power in Washington, DC. I am mad that the actions of some men in my Country have taken away the moral high ground that the U.S. used to occupy. I am mad that my tax dollars are used for weapons rather than for peaceful purposes. I do not want the blood of innocents on my hands. I do not agree with many of Michael Moore’s positions, but his statement “dude, I want my country back” resonates with me. I believe that it resonates with a large portion of the American voter base.
Individual Americans are great people. If 70% of this country is opposed to the war then there is still hope. Of course the mainstream media, the press and the vested industrial and political interests would have us all believe that we cannot make a difference. They say we need to listen to them as they tell us who the next President will be. We have to choose between the two candidates they will serve up to us. We are told who the two front runners are, and we are discouraged from looking elsewhere. Why bother, they say? No one else even stands a chance. Maybe so, maybe not. This time I think they have gone too far. I would submit that the outcome of this election it is not so clear. The establishment dam has sprung a leak. The leak may be small now, but it is growing. It is growing exponentially. The word is spreading. The candidates who represent change are moving up. The candidates who represent the status quo are moving down (Rudy Guiliani and Hillary Clinton). Even Rudy is being forced to talk about what a great religion Islam is in order to soften his “ kill’em all, and let god sort them out message.“
The lines could not be more clearly drawn.
Ron Paul’s message is clear and beautiful and true. It resonates with people. You hear it and you say, “that’s right, that’s what I believe”. This is why his poll numbers are rising faster than any other candidate. Yet, the media still ignores him or treats him poorly. It is beautiful irony that every attack on him only brings him more attention as intelligent Americans wonder, “who is this guy that everyone keeps attacking……I wonder if there is a reason”. They say he cannot win. They say he is a fringe candidate. They say he will lose big. I disagree. First, I think there is a very good chance he will be our next President. Second, I think he has won, even if he does not win. Why? Because he has put the Freedom message out there. It is like a virus. It is spreading. It cannot be stopped. I believe history will record the Ron Paul Freedom Movement as a seminal political event in the history of U.S. politics. It is an honor to support this man. We should be so lucky as to have him for our President.
Having said that, we could all help history along a little bit by supporting the Ron Paul campaign. My favorite movie is “It’s A Wonderful Life.” To me, the message of that movie is that we all make a difference. Individually, none of us have the power of the Neocons and the political classes, but collectively they are supposed to work for us. If we self -organize and unite, we have them badly out numbered. They are terrified, believe me on this. And it is happening. The growth in this movement is exponential. We can and will win this struggle. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a defeatist or is working for the other side. I ran the USA Today Advertisement because I wanted to plant a seed and make a difference. WE ALL MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Every conversation, every person converted, every e-mail , every effort, it all counts. The internet is what has made it possible. What a beautiful thing. The trend is really changing and it is fun to watch the old guard struggle as their fortress crumbles.
So what can you do?
Coming up this December 16th we are holding a one day Fund Raiser for Ron Paul. The last time we did this over 37,000 people donated $4.3 million dollars, or an average of $116 per person. That made this event the largest one day political fund raiser in history. On December 16th we will raise even more money. Every contribution counts. Ten dollars is not too little. Each contribution represents another American who has said, enough is enough. I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore. Think about it, what is freedom worth? I would submit that it is priceless. If you care about the future of this Country, I know that Ron Paul will not let you down. If you care about our troops, then you must vote for Ron Paul. They will come home and defend America, not someone else’s country. Ron Paul has more donations from active military personnel than all the other candidates combined. Why do you think that is? Have you heard about it from the Mainstream Media? I think not.
This is it folks. Once in a lifetime. You will never see another politician with more integrity, and a better message or track record. Rarely has our Country been so far off track. Our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honors in order to establish this Nation. Perhaps we have taken for granted the risk they took and the sacrifices they made. But we are being called. We are being tested. How will we answer? Will we meet the test or will we fail? Each of us makes a difference.
So what are you going to do? Are you going to be a Loyalist or a Patriot? Are you going to storm the ramparts or huddle with the bourgeoisie? Are you going to stick your neck out or be a turtle. Americans are brave people. I believe we can set this country back on the right track and that we will all be better off for doing so. We can show the evil men who call themselves Neocons that this great country will not be hijacked by people who call themselves Christians but are anything but. In short, we can say to the two entrenched political parties: we will not be governed by liars and fools. You can no longer piss on our leg and tell us it is raining. The criminal gang which includes Dick Cheney and the Neocons will be reviled in history for the actions they have taken and America will experience a renaissance of Peace, Freedom and Prosperity.
The danger to our Republic is real—we must act now!
Remember, each one of us makes a difference.
If you agree please support Ron Paul by pledging to donate to his campaign on December 16th at www.teaparty07.com. Also, please vote for Ron Paul in your State Republican Primary and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same.
You can also learn more at http://www.ronpaullibrary.org/index.php about Ron Paul's positions on the issues that concern you.
Mr. Lepard is a venture capitalist and investment manager and lives and works in the Boston, Massachusetts area.