Monday, December 31, 2012

The Hell With 2012 Already

Paul supporters protesting at the GOP National Convention

I remember exactly where I was a year ago when the ball dropped to ring in 2012.  I was sitting in the common room of the lodge at the YMCA camp in Bluegrass, Iowa.  New Years itself was more boring than a Ben Stein lecture on hygiene, and I was incredibly pissed that a few pricks hadn’t invited me to go clubbing with them at the Iowa City college bars.  Even still, I was surrounded by the company of Matt Pagano, Cory Chenard, and a bunch of other good people.

We were all working together to usher in Ron Paul’s victory in the Iowa Republican Caucuses and start the momentum that would bring him victory after victory and then the Republican Party nomination for the Presidency.  2012 quickly brought us a major disappointment as we watched how Fox News was quickly able to hijack his leading momentum with propaganda.  January 3 was a disappointing night for us.  We’d worked incredibly hard and we were defeated.  What a way to start the year off!

I continued with school, work, and local activism.  In May I happened to meet one of the most beautiful people I’ll ever know—beautiful on the inside and out—who was able to change me for the better in just a short amount of time.  We dated, we decided we would be exclusive, and that the long distance wouldn’t deter us.  Perhaps she wasn’t ever serious about it.  Perhaps I was too naïve to expect large bumps in the road.  Maybe I even realized subconsciously that it wouldn’t work, but my desire to live in the idealized “Zach’s world” made me blindly overlook her faults.

Somewhere along the way our relationship turned from a mutually loving give-and-take experiment to my mission to rescue her from hard times.  I became her white knight, and in doing so I focused exclusively on solving her problems while allowing my own issues to pile up on the back burner.  The sons of bitches would eventually jump off the stove and catch up to me.

We’ve since gone our separate ways and now there is only a white knight standing alone in a field, sword and shield in hand but no one to rescue.  There are no townspeople calling for me in the distance.  Frankly, I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do.  For the first time in a while I’ve had ample free time to seriously think back on the last eight months.  I can be honest with myself about the mistakes I made, and even more honest in admitting exactly the ways she did me wrong.  Basically, every free pass I gave her when she screwed up was like Neville Chamberlain letting Hitler keep Czechoslovakia.  Then I was actually surprised when I got the blitzkrieg!  It’s a bitch, but hindsight’s always 20/20.

Frankly, there are two things I can carry with me and walk tall like a man.  First, I honestly tried my absolute best to make it work.  Hell, I even tried my best to get Ron Paul elected, but that didn’t work either.  To top it all off, every single other liberty candidate I worked hard for and campaigned for individually got their asses handed to them, thanks to gerrymandering.  Damn!

There are just times when you lose and the outcome is beyond your control.  But damn it, I did my best and I have no regrets!  I worked hard for what I believe in.  Furthermore, I was able to love a human being unconditionally.  Every time she said “I love you back” I knew I was looking into the face of God.  I wouldn’t trade that experience for all the gold in the world.

Some of you reading this may ask, “Why the hell is he sharing this with everybody?”  The answer is simple.  I figure if I can be completely honest with the world, then I can be completely honest with myself and not make the same mistakes, neither in political work, the workplace, nor—especially—in my personal life.

It’s hard to deal with, but all the while I’ve stayed completely away from the bottle.  These are the kinds of disappointments I would have got wasted over just a few months ago.  But booze doesn’t make problems go away; it only makes you forget for a few hours, and then those problems come back tenfold in the morning.  The hell with that; I’m not drinking.

So here I am, sitting at a computer in southern California, with not even a vague idea of what the future holds.  I’m staying away from booze, hitting the books on Austrian economics and libertarian theory, getting back to the Bible, and going back to church.  These aren’t New Year’s resolutions; they’re already part of my new routine.  Better yet, I’ve been going on incredibly long hikes to feel empowered, and I’ve also been getting more creative with my writing and also in the kitchen. 

It’s incredibly satisfying to feel both empowered and creative.  I would recommend this in a heartbeat to other people in the liberty movement.  Too many of us waste lots of time behind a computer screen, either toiling away over a lengthy economic treatise that four people will glance at or endlessly reposting on Facebook some link exposing Monsanto.  Pretty soon my buddy Havoc and I will do a straight twenty-mile hike beginning at my doorstep and ending in Mt. Baldy Village.  How excited I am!

One thing I can proclaim is “The hell with 2012 already!”  Honestly, I’m over this year.  I learned a lot and grew a lot.  Ron Paul will always be my President and a young lady from Indiana knows I’ll always love her with all my heart, but it’s time for everyone to move forward.  Dwelling in the past is dangerous; Jay Gatsby tried it and it got him killed.

There’s a lot of work to be done in 2013.  People in the liberty movement need to learn to walk away from Facebook and do some real activism for real liberty candidates.  We also need to soften our rhetoric so our ideas can appeal to non-libertarians, especially neoconservatives and disillusioned Democrats.  2014 and 2016 will soon be upon us.  Most importantly, we all need to look inside ourselves, be honest with ourselves, and takes steps to improve ourselves as human beings.

I’ll tell you what though, if Rick Santorum runs for President again, I’m just going to mail giant sad face posters to everyone who endorses him.  Honestly, were it not for Ani DeGroot’s hard work, I would have lost complete faith in Iowa simply for the Santorum caucus victory. Double-you tee eff and never again!

2012 may not have been what we wanted it to be.  Just think of it as a rehearsal for better times.  I’d like to extend a big thank you to all my brothers and sisters in the liberty movement.

Happy New Year.

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Ron Paul supporters photo courtesy of Jayel Aheram, used via CC BY 2.0 license.  "Knights" painting by Viktor Vasnetsov is in the public domain.  Both images wre obtained from Wikimedia Commons.  Rand Paul 2016 artwork courtesy of Iowa News Liter blog with no rights given or implied.

1 comment:

  1. "People in the liberty movement need to learn to walk away from Facebook and do some real activism for real liberty candidates."

    Amen. Nobody ever got elected through Facebook. Most folks who vote are not on Facebook at all.

    "We also need to soften our rhetoric so our ideas can appeal to non-libertarians, especially neoconservatives and disillusioned Democrats. 2014 and 2016 will soon be upon us."

    This is the big challenge. Electing a "self-proclaimed conservative" to your City Council, over a statist Democrat, and teaching him the virtue of limited government is as valuable as finding the "perfect" unelectable candidate.

    "Most importantly, we all need to look inside ourselves, be honest with ourselves, and takes steps to improve ourselves as human beings."

    The rEVOLution starts within each one of us, first. You're clearly off to a great start, Zach. Glad to know you and Happy New Year