Chances are that if you have any friends under the age of 35, at least one of them is a big ole’ Ron Paul supporter. Okay, maybe if your judgment is better than mine, none of your friends are Paul supporters. Consider yourself lucky. But you can’t help but notice that the young “˜uns flock to this guy in droves, and it isn’t just because of the pot thing.
Alright, maybe a good portion of it is the pot thing. Ron Paul wants to let us all get legally high, and that’s probably good. Jails are overcrowded and backed up because of drug offenses, and many drug arrests are racially prejudiced and full of personal and political bias. Of course, Ron Paul doesn’t actually care about the racism of the thing, being a racist himself, but he does care about all that taxpayer money going to feed those free-loading people of color in prison. Oh, and all that government regulation. He hates government regulation!
Except when it comes to women’s bodies. In that case, regulate away! Yes, I know this will come as a shock to all of the young, pot-smoking fauxgressives, but Ron Paul isn’t going to let you have an abortion! In fact, he’s going to try really, really hard to make sure that you never get to control your own body. You see, he, an old white guy, knows best. He’s a doctor, you know!
Apparently all of this gets canceled out by the fact that he’s known to be fairly anti-war. In fact, he’s one of the only members of Congress who voted against the war in Iraq. Because of this, the man is championed as He Who Shall Bring Peace to America. That’s all well and good, but when one of your primary causes is waging a war on a woman’s right to control her own medical decisions, it doesn’t hold much weight with me.
See, it’s a funny thing that going on here. There appear to be two sorts of people in the camp of the Young Paulite. On the one hand, we have the aforementioned stoner sort. The chill, relaxed, fuck-the-man, smoker with the liberal arts degree and the closet full of Urban Outfitters sale finds. I usually like this person, until I see their Ron Paul 2012 bumper sticker. This is the sort who swear that those racist newsletters weren’t really written by Paul, who act aghast when you tell them that Paul is vehemently anti-choice, rationalizing that you can’t always agree on everything, and who clam up when you mention that nasty little let-them-die incident.
And then you have the other Paul supporter. In Texas, where I live, these people are scurrying about everywhere you look. These are the I-think-I’m-too-cool-to-label-myself-a-Tea Partier types who are, well, Tea Party types. In my experience they are young, white, and working or middle class. They love Jesus, but hate women, and favorite activities include heckling women outside of Planned Parenthood and proselytizing to coworkers. They are most likely to use the reverential Dr. Paul title. Drugs are good, but sex is bad, unless you’re straight-married to a good ole’ boy or girl next door. They have queer friends that they talk about behind their backs, and the biggest bootstraps attitudes you’ll ever see, even while they rely heavily on the health insurance of a parent of spouse.
In reality, what you have here is nothing more than a money-obsessed conservative at heart with a mission to uphold privilege at all costs, pandering to the young voter. Yes, I know he’s never going to make it into office. They know that too. But it doesn’t stop them from championing the man to the extreme, and it doesn’t stop me from being concerned, even though I’ve got Romney-sized fish to fry now. I’m worried about my peers, the people I went to high school with, the people I’m in a graduate program with, friends of friends who I don’t even know. Those who have front row tickets to The Paul Show tell me one of three things: either you think you’re happy denying other people their rights because of your own privilege, you’re ignorant about what your Dr. Paul actually stands for, or you realize the disturbing nature of your candidate and are too proud to drop him like a sack of really hateful bricks.
No wonder I have so much politics-induced anxiety.