I’m a traditional conservative with a preference for small government, a commitment to balanced budgets, and a disinterest in being the world police. People like myself spent several years out in the political wilderness, being unwelcome inside the GOP’s “big tent”. From what I can gather, the tent is only big so it can fit a handful of swollen egos and bags of special interest gold. For much of this decade, the Republican Party has essentially been the War Party, foisting these unnecessary and unpopular wars to the forefront of their agenda.
At the height of the stupidity, National Review even came out and declared that we were outright unpatriotic. Tellingly, the Republican National Convention of 2008 welcomed Joe Lieberman as a speaker and didn’t welcome Ron Paul at all. Joe is an advocate of abortion, big government, gun control, amnesty, and affirmative action. But he’s a war hawk. Ron Paul has the conservative position on each of those issues. But he’s a dove.
The election of 2008 was a blistering condemnation of the GOP’s decade of being liberals who want to invade Middle Eastern countries, culminating in the the repudiation of its avatar – John McCain. Ron Paul suggested in a recent podcast that we “old right” conservatives need to become active in the anti-war movement. I decided to take him up on it this weekend and do something that I should have done a long time ago. I attended a peace rally.
I followed the breadcrumb trail of “Obama/Biden” campaign signs to a gathering of a couple dozen people around a Black man in a very dapper hat. His speech was calm and the crowd had a melancholy mood, nothing like the collage of angry hippies that I know from the History Channel specials. This is because they were saddened, not angry.
Their political messiah is a warmonger.
The next speaker was an older White guy who wasn’t wearing any hat at all. He tried to thread the needle. He tried to frame the issue as one of Obama having yet to fulfill his promise, of patiently waiting on a comrade to get the job done. But I remember the campaign and I remember the promises. He promised to very gradually refocus from Iraq to Afghanistan and Pakistan, instigating an evolutionary shift in Middle Eastern military policy – not a disengagement. This was, in a bit of a deviation from his modus operandi, a case of Obama actually doing what he said he was going to do.
The protest signs, if they deserve to be called that, very frequently worked to mash up the awkward peace issue with the more politically pertinent healthcare issue. While that may have been a crowd pleaser, it ruined any pretense of non-partisanship. Of course, after all these years without a single conservative ally bothering to participate, I can’t really blame them for giving up.
The event was depressing on several levels. It’s sad to watch all of these people struggling to keep their faith in a leader who is turning his back on them. It’s sad to watch what happens to political movements when corporations, special interest groups, and media outlets forsake them. But most of all, I think it’s sad that these sad little events are as much as the American people can muster when tricked into the loss of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars by agents of a foreign government.
I didn’t stay long. There didn’t seem to be a point to it all. Nobody on the main street could even see that they were holding an event. Practically nobody except those who are participants in Leftist organizations like The Green Party even knew that the event would be taking place. It felt sort of like a solemn religious ritual, a rain dance for the media gods that they’ve lost favor with. There were some actual veterans there, standing up for their battle buddies overseas. There were some friendly people there. But there was absolutely no plan.