I wrote this in 2008 after having an awesome time fighting for liberty in Dubuque Iowa. For all of you who were there, enjoy! If you weren’t, you missed out, it was amazing. It just so happens that the group of students in Dubuque are still impacting the liberty movement incredibly. This story is not unique, however, and is continuing even today as YAL groups and SFL campus coordinators engage in a fight for liberty through education, activism, and training.
The Amazing Students for Ron Paul
The Ron Paul revolution is alive and strong here in Dubuque. About twenty-five college students detached from two hundred sixty college students in Des Moines to canvas Dubuque. It has been one of the best weeks of my life.
All of us in Dubuque met about a week ago after going to an inspirational rally in Des Moines. None of us really knew what to expect out of the next week. Jeff Frazee, a graduate of Texas A&M, promised us long hours and little sleep, and we could feel the bitter cold of the Iowan weather threatening our progress. Boone camp turned out to be cramped and unappealing; an ominous sign of what we thought was to come from our Dubuque assignment. Dubuque turned out to be a lot nicer.
Some of us were a little disappointed in the girl to guy ratio but that is not why we came. We came to convert as many as possible to the cause of freedom, to meet like minded individuals, and to impact the world in a positive way. Day one at Dubuque was spent discussing subjects from anarcho-capitalism, the metaphysical nature of concepts, Epistemology, and the usual topics college students talk about (edit: I lied, we were special). I was impressed many times by the arguments made for freedom and glad that I didn’t have to make them all. While getting into some good conversations we stuffed pamphlets with information for voters in Dubuque.
The next morning we ate our pop-tarts, granola bars, and trail mix that the campaign provided for us and we headed out into the bitter cold weather to knock on doors and hand out literature. My car consisted of Andrew Kovacs and Micheal Kapostasy and myself. Andrew drove, quite frighteningly at many points, I marked of the map, and Micheal stuffed and organized literature in the back. We parked our vehicle and went door to door until our fingers and legs were numb. We spent a lot of time talking to different people about why they supported which candidate and why they should support Ron Paul instead. We converted a few people but probably had a larger impact reinforcing Ron Paul’s name along with radio ads and TV ads.
At about 4:30 to 5:00 we all met at a small school that a member of a local meet-up group let us use. At that point most of us were physically exhausted and full of tales from what happened during the day. Some of these stories are pretty memorable. One story included a student who knocked on the door of a disapproving Iowan who yelled at her kids to shut up when they were cheering for Ron Paul. Others included encounters with democrat campaigners who infiltrated the heavily democratic Dubuque area. Ron Paul supporters have always been curious as to why a person would support Clinton or Obama. Most of the volunteers for these two candidates were either dumbfounded or came up with superficial answers that included the race and gender of the candidate they supported.
After telling our nightly tales we would settle down and call hundreds of Iowans to see if they were Ron Paul supporters. We used our own cell phones for most of the week until the campaign provided us with pre-payed cell phones. Unfortunately we were calling Independents and Democrats and, although we had some pretty astounding conversions, we had a lot of negative responses. Some Iowans were sick of phone calls while others enjoyed talking to us.
Sign waiving was one of our favorite activities. We wanted to reinforce the name of Ron Paul in as many ways as we could think. After dark sign waving in well lit city areas, freezing ourselves beyond numbness, and having short winded hilarious commentary created a feeling of camaraderie that enticed us all to become good friends and open up to each other despite our differences. The anarcho-capitalists, the limited government types, and the Aaron Russo fans all openly discussed why they believe what they believe. Freedom is what bound us, it is how we met, and it is what we fought for. The cold martyred us, the people reaffirmed us, and the friendships catalyzed us. We became a group not unlike the elements of Freud’s psychoanalytic philosophy. Some of us just wanted to confront the press and fight the argumentative fight, while others held us in check, but all of us had our own little intellectual areas of expertise that made us want to win it all in a rational and reasonable way. It was the id, ego, and superego manifest in Ron Paul students.
We met Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Sam Brownback, Nixon’s daughter, John Mccain, and most importantly Ron Paul. We went to a Mike Huckabee rally and waited outside for Chuck Norris, who we saw through the window. We were not allowed in the rally because we were decked out in Ron Paul paraphernalia but we glimpsed Norris through the window. They snuck him away, he didn’t even take the “Huckabeast” from where we were located (the large Huckabee bus). The former governor of South Carolina talked to us in a very cordial manner.
At the McCain rally John McCain mentioned us in a positive light twice because he saw the twenty of us in the small audience. He was very respectful and even took pictures of us sporting Ron Paul signs. Brownback was there too. He told me and a student I was with that “Ron Paul” had a nice ring to it. I asked if that was an endorsement but he laughed and said “no.” Can’t win them all I guess.
I will never forget the group of students I met this week. One can almost wish that Ron Paul would run every year so we could gather in solidarity to fight the good fight for a unifying cause. This will probably be the last time I see or talk to most of these people. It is a little sad, and, I am sure if Ron Paul comes out of this successfully we will all remember the cold we suffered through (though suffering was never on my mind), the relationships we formed, the jokes we made, the games we played, the talks we had, the random debates, and of course the few but beautiful Ron Paul girls. We were ordinary people doing extraordinary things.Published in