By John Stoehr
11:30 AM EST, December 28, 2011
That giant sucking sound you hear is Ron Paul's presidential bid. But I hope he wins Iowa.
Last week, Reuters reported on a solicitation in the early 1990s that urged voters to subscribe to his newsletters. These promised to help protect assets and make money by revealing the "coming race war," a "federal-homosexual cover-up," and "the plot for world government, world money and world central banking."
It's pretty much a sales pitch that hits all the high notes of white supremacy, homophobia, anti-Semitism and paranoia. It's also pretty much how you define "political shit-storm." Even so, I agree with Paul's camp. You shouldn't take his words out of context. We shouldn't take such things as "Red debt bomb" and "IRS agent with an AK-47" and "KGB-level security" and "totalitarian bills [money]" out of their original settings.
No, these phrases, all found in the solicitation letter, should be understood as the building blocks of a worldview — one that's irreconcilable with American values.
If you read the whole letter, you see it's about proposed alterations to U.S. currency like the kind that happened in the 2000s in which holograms, etc., inserted into bills to combat counterfeiters. But like I said, it's not the bit and pieces of Paul's newsletters that are alarming. It's what they add up to that's stunning to those of us who believe democracy is the rule of the majority.
Paul and his ilk believe they are the Real Americans. Just like Southern Confederates. Conveniently, Southern politics dominated national politics from the Jefferson's presidency until Lincoln's despite being in the minority in their own states (slaves vastly outnumbered whites) and compared to the industrializing and ever-growing North.
They were able to do this for a simple reason: If Southerners didn't get what they wanted, they'd break up the union. Which of course they did. They might have thought themselves the real Americans, but of importance was maintaining a concentration of power, not the United States.
A guerilla war began after the Civil War. Southern power players defied federal attempts to democratize the South. But it was a war on facts, too. With years of revisionism behind him, Ron Paul can say that slavery was on its way out, because the British Empire had abolished it and that Lincoln could have avoided war had he bought the slaves. He didn't, Paul has implied, because Lincoln was a dictator hell-bent on expanding his dominion.
Liberals don't take this seriously, but they should. The most vivid image contained in the solicitation letter is that of the Soviet Union. Remember the "totalitarian bills"? The message is clear: Federal power is like Stalinism. First they take your property (slaves), then they take your money (federal taxes), then they give your money to people who didn't earn it (former slaves).
The majority is supposed to rule. For those of Paul's Southern cast of mind, that's what's wrong, so they divide the majority up with state's rights. It's an old tactic that keeps on keeping on.
That's why I hope Paul wins Iowa.
Tribalism like Paul's thrives underground. Paul can stop the game when he doesn't like how it's going (as the Confederates did with the union). Under scrutiny, though, he won't be able to walk away. It would a very small step toward a kind of truth and reconciliation that this country has never had.
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