Those of you who know anything about me probably know that I am a Ron Paul supporter. I am a Ron Paul supporter because my entire adult life has been one that has been defined by coming to grips with a nation at constant war. I have seen liberties stifled in the name of patriotism and national security and wars under the same pretense. Two reasons I am a Ron Paul supporter, peace and liberty. When it comes to economics, I am confused and so I really just try to learn rather than hold dogmatically behind capitalism, though I think a free market tends to be most consistent with civil liberty, but thats another issue altogether. The point is that I get behind Ron Paul because he has a consistent track record of fighting against unjust/illegal wars, and fighting for liberty. He has never been afraid to stand alone, and I find that conviction refreshing in today's political world.
Be that as it may, I find something very ironic about this surge of support for Ron Paul. In 2008 there was a massive surge and reaction against the 8 years of Bush where a neglected Democratic candidate rose up on the shoulders of the people promising Hope and Change. He promised to be a different type of politician, and chastised Bush's wars and poor economy. Even some republicans who had voted for Bush looked at McCain and saw another 4 years of the same thing, and decided to try something else. He had an incredibly boisterous and vocal following that literally celebrated when he became the President, Barack Obama. Children in schools sang songs to him, people cheered for days and weeks they celebrated. Now almost 4 years later, we are still in Bush's wars with no sign of relent, and we have marched into other conflicts and are on the verge of even more. We're still spending more than we make and the debt keeps rising and rising. This brings us to the current Republican presidential campaigns, and everyone looks the same, except for a one candidate. A candidate that brings Democrats who are sick of the same Republicrat politics year after year. This candidate has risen up on the shoulders of the people, and is being heralded as America's only "hope for REAL change". This is Ron Paul. The thing that worries me is the cult like following. there is no doubt that he has made a splash and turned heads. There is no doubt that he has even gained some crossover support. The trouble is determining whether the support he has is substantial or just extremely vocal. The Blue Republicans is a movement that has come up urging independents and democrats to register on the GOP ticket to get Ron Paul elected and get Obama out. The problem is that reading the posts from some of the 2600+ members on the facebook page a lot of these followers very well might be republicans inflating their numbers to gain more credibility (as my friend Jordan pointed out). Another serious problem is the finality that a lot of these postings have. Theres a very real sense of victory already pouring out from many Ron Paul supporters, and we're still in the early stages of the campaigns.
It seems silly, and almost counter-productive, to have such a certain view of victory for two main reasons. First, what happens if Ron Paul doesn't get the nomination (or if he does and doesn't beat Obama in the presidential election). Is all hope in eclipse then? Secondly, what happens if he goes all the way, and then turns out to be the president we're used to seeing. One who cannot deliver what they promise (at best) or outright lies to us (at worst). The problem comes from this fixation on individuals. Do we really believe that one person can change everything into a utopia in the course of 4-8 years? Carl Trueman had a very insightful post on the cult of personalities that is very characteristically true of Americans.
This brings me to the last part. What happens when the people we look to change things fail us? Are we so consumed with looking to others to fix our country that we forget about what we can do, what we are commanded to do? Whether or not you believe the government should feed the homeless people, do you feed the homeless you see on a daily basis? Are you willing to make a difference in the world from ground up, starting in your neighborhood? We certainly have some real belief in the power of the people when it comes to making a difference in electing someone to lead our country, but is that the final goal in our pursuit to create a better world? No man, no matter how noble his character, or how much integrity has been shown in his past, is going to lead this world in a flawless manner. All leaders will let us down in some way, and for the most part, most leaders (yes, even Obama), are going to have things they did well. The issue is this obsession with celebrities. We elect them to office because their lips drip with the honey of empty promises when in all reality we probably never take the time to pray for the welfare and wisdom and integrity of the leaders we don't like. This is what we are commanded to do by the only man worth obsessing over, Jesus Christ. No matter the outcome of this upcoming election, no matter if Ron Paul is our next president or Obama or even, God forbid (:P), Palin...we are called to pray for and encourage and pursue the well being of our leaders. Let us not get so caught up in looking at the created men and women we hope to save us that we miss the perfect creator who became man and in fact accomplished our salvation for us.