October 02, 2007
Fed up with the Trotskyite takeover of the Republican party, Americans hopefully elected scads of Democrats to Congress last session in order to upend that nonsense. But lo and behold, the Dems dutifully responded to the mandate first by allowing more American troops sent to Iraq, then by boldly agreeing that soon, maybe, unless it’s decided to invade Iran, or Syria, or some other difficulty pops up, why then they’ll favor deescalating, at least until American troops are back to the same number they were when those Dems got elected. Not that our elites don’t respond to the electorate’s concerns, however, they do, which is why to compensate for ignoring them we are granted ever increasing doses of la rhétorique anti-war.
Well yes, quite predictable and the rest, but despite all that, it’s been a delightful summer for the paleocon contingent here in Greenwich Village – which I am happy (and amazed) to report isn’t comprised solely of me – for indeed, the honorable thrill of patriotism has resonantly captured the heart once again! Ron Paul’s the inspiration of course, and though there seems some small possibility he won’t actually win the White House – unless Bush does go after Iran – nonetheless when a window of this kind opens it seems best to ignore the elites just like they ignore us.
And what a window! I mean anybody with an honest brain, not to say soul, understands the aspiring caliphs struck over here because l’USA was being so helpful over there: but for a politician to say that, and in a Republican debate, and in (no longer) Calhoun’s South Carolina no less, well, it was all more than just the pleasure of seeing Rudy’s knickers pucker, seemed instead rather like a thing impossible in American politics. Until then I was vaguely for Paul, but assumed the entire campaign season would be as interesting and as fun as watching Rudy’s wife torture those dogs. Instead, it suddenly became something – of real possibility.
So in response I first decided I had to get a Ron Paul button, then thought, you know, other people would want one too, and then realized that if lots of people were sporting Ron Paul 2008, it would be as accessible an anti-war, anti-Empire public statement as could be made. If the buttons started popping up all over New York, who knows, maybe even Hillary would notice. Thus inspired, quite independent of the campaign itself, solely as an entrepreneur, I bought 1000 of them, and made a big, colorful and laminated sign that read:
Pressure your candidate.
Ron Paul 2008.
Shake up Bush-Rudy
Get our troops home!
Whereupon, more or less every day, I’d take the sign and buttons out with my American flag lawnchair to that prime real estate on the corner of West 4th and 6th Avenue, and sell the buttons at a dollar a pop – six for five bucks! My hope was to get the money back and then buy some more and, ah, now it’s time to buy some more after those!
Hey, it’s a lucrative business, so I recommend it even if you’re just a cynic out to clean up. All right, not that lucrative, but a 6-hour stint’ll sell more than 50 every time, all helped along in my case by a New York summer that wasn’t nearly so brutal this year. The thing is, the last time I did anything even remotely political like this was back in the jail days after joining Operation Rescue at the abortion mills; but this time it came easy. Left, right, queer, straight, and – pardoning the expression – everything in between, people not only from the Village, but the rest of New York and far-flung places like Georgia and Oklahoma were grabbing up the buttons. And, how to put it, talking sensibly, intelligently, unlike anything you ever hear in the media – save when Congressmen Paul gets his five minutes of course.
Allow a summation of what they’ve said: the Republicans are nuts, every one of them is but offering endless war, yet the Democrats are only marginally better. They won’t run the Empire quite so incompetently, but incompetent enough to drag our resources, not to say our sons and daughters, into a black hole for as long as necessary until the Empire implodes. Like the Republicans, they don’t care about Americans at all, but only in interests that have a financial stranglehold on public discourse. Just listen to the debates: only Paul talks with any respect for his listeners, all the rest do little better than insist America needs a president who loves puppy dogs and flowers in the spring as much as they do.
More than one customer noted that after the fight with Giuliani, other Republicans stayed away from Paul in those debates, fearing how deep the response would be toward his call to restore the Republic: and wisely so perhaps, since not a few Repubs told me they’d had some hope for Huckabee against Hillary after the Iowa caucuses, until his pathetic performance against Paul in the recent debate. Again and again I heard the confidence that America’s strengths are not just formidable, but would be more formidable still if we brought our troops back, and back not only from Iraq, but from Korea and Europe and wherever NATO might wish to send them next week. I was surprised by how often I heard this, but probably shouldn’t have been when you consider that the actual American soldiers in Iraq have sent more money to Paul’s campaign than to any other candidate; in fact, take McCain from the equation, and according to the Federal Election Commission Paul’s got more contributions from our soldiers than all the other candidates combined!
Occasionally I’d get some pro-war snarls, though what really struck me was how few. In response to one of them, a Paul partisan snapped back:
“If you want an Empire you’ve got a whole gaggle of stooges ready to carry water for it, so you shouldn’t complain just because a patriot has also entered the race.” That came early, so I’ve had it in my arsenal for the rare occasions, but I’m happy to report the summer passed without fistfights. Doubtless that’ll change when Paul wins in Iowa and New Hampshire next January, though then I suppose the thing to worry about will be novel interpretations of the Patriot Act.
One last tale is, for me, the happiest. With a group of supporters buying the buttons, a partisan expressed dismay that Paul really had no chance, and that even if he did, the elites would cut him down before ever letting him restore the republic. Maybe. But another then remarked that though Paul has no chance, neither did the Romans when Hannibal the Great – the glory of Baal! – occupied Italy for eighteen long years. Throughout that occupation, Hannibal never lost a major battle, rarely lost even a skirmish, and in the meantime devastated the Roman armies again and again, and again.
That’s how you win wars, the fellow continued, when the enemy knows he is defeated. And the Romans were defeated, they had lost, everybody knew it, everybody but the Romans. Over and over the window against them seemed absolutely closed, or all but, yet with only that sliver of a caveat, against odds quite impossible, they fought on, they kept it open, until finally it closed only when, not republican Rome, but Carthage was destroyed.
So granting that Paul’s chances are better then Rome’s certainly were, you can still find a fellow pushing Ron Paul buttons on the corner of 4th & 6th in Greenwich Village, usually in the evenings now that the school year has recommenced. You can buy a few, 6 for $5 remember, or better still, you could try pushing the window open a little further yourself. Lots to be done no doubt, but if nothing else, buy a thousand and have some fun pushing them at the mall or wher’er the local folks hang about, with the surprise of discovering how much more interesting they all are than you thought. Better do it before New Hampshire, though, while it’s still legal.
Richard Cowden Guido is the author of The Battle for Vatican II and other historical works. Image of Washington Square courtesy of Wikipedia and GNU.