September 03, 2008

I've been down this road before

Way back in high school (yes, it really was that long ago!) I nearly flunked out of American history. I've never been good at memorizing names, dates, and places, but what almost cinched the deal was the paper I wrote as a final term paper: "Mythologies and Legends". At that point I'd been a Christian for almost three years. For better or worse, I'd already taken the first steps down the road that would lead to where I am today. History, I'd already realized, was the single best proof of the reality of scripture. So when we had to write a paper on any topic we liked in pre-World War One American History, instead of jumping on the Monroe Doctrine, justifying Manifest Destiny, or reviewing the case surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, I wrote with the intention of proving that most of the material we had spent the past seven months learning was nothing more than a modern mythology.

Starting with Daniel Boone and Davy Crocket (two guys I really enjoyed reading about so I already had a lot of material) then moving into the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, and Lincoln's assassination, before finally closing with the Gunfight at the OK Corral, I showed step by step how historic events had been so transformed by legend, popular fiction, and even Hollywood movies that it was now impossible to separate genuine American history from popular myths and legends. What inspired my paper and provided the framework was a book called, "Legends of Daniel Boone". The book presented the life of Daniel Boone not as he'd really lived, but as he'd lived according to the tales told in popular fiction since his death. The life presented in the book, clearly marked out as legend and myth, was identical to the life described in our high school history textbook.

My teacher was not amused. He held a meeting with my mother, the school principal, and me, and stated flat out that if I did not submit another paper on a more "conventional" topic, I would not pass his class.

So I grabbed up some encyclopedias and used them to supplement the story of Lincoln's assassination presented in the textbook. He gave me an A+ on the paper, which meant I finished the class with a B-. And yes, that does indeed mean my test scores had been pretty dismal.

Now I'm forty-seven years old, which also means high school was just about thirty years ago. I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that every single "fact" presented in that A+ paper was completely, flagrantly, and utterly false. The textbook and the encyclopedias were all completely mistaken in the events leading up to Lincoln's assassination and the people involved. They didn't even have the date right!

What does all this have to do with the CNN video at the top of the page? Well, as I said, I've been down this road before.

Someday, some historian is going to look back at the temple-like stage where Barack Obama gave his acceptance speech, the magenta lit and confetti-filled civic hall where Ron Paul defiantly proclaimed the two-party system dead in the water, as well as (if the historian is honest) the eerie quiet outside the Republican National Convention resulting from dozens of preemptive arrests, and that historian is going to ask, "Couldn't these people see how badly they'd been deceived?"

Our myths and legends no longer take decades to develop. The complacent media and corrupt political establishment of our time, backed by armies of public relations experts and digital devotees, can present whatever image they like to the adoring masses and not only will we swallow it hook, line and sinker, we'll also record it on our TiVo's, post hours of amateur video online, and write countless blog posts explaining how this interpretation or that interpretation fits the reality we are observing. No one dares look behind the curtain, no journalist dares ask the hard questions, and no politician dares take a real stance and fight for it until they've ruined their personal career but saved the country. There is no modern Martin Luther King who will stand toe-to-toe with the corrupt establishment knowing that sooner or later an assassin's bullet is going to find him, but caring enough about being right that death seems a small price to pay to get the message out.

So Ron Paul gathers his followers in RNC country and holds a big rally, knowing full well that the only real impact he will have in November is to take enough voters away from one candidate or the other to insure that we will see yet another election settled by the courts rather than the voters.

If Ron Paul had the slightest chance of winning, I would be stumping for him with every ounce of my being. I would be writing checks, sending out letters, and making blog posts rallying the faithful to the fight. Sadly, I know enough of history both recent and distant to know as certain as the sunrise that Ron Paul will do more harm than good in the coming election. He has not been shut down by his former party for one reason and one reason only: they hope the candidate he will do the most damage to will be Obama rather than McCain.

By supporting Ron Paul as a write-in candidate his followers are practically guaranteeing another split election. Don't get me wrong, I hate the two-party system as much as they do and I agree with Ron Paul's platform far more than with either of the other candidate's. I really do. I also know that Ron Paul is no Theodore Roosevelt. He lacks the charisma necessary to galvanize our shattered country and slide into the White House with no endorsement other than his own wit and charm. What Ron Paul really needed to have done was declare himself an independent with the intention of running for president way back in 1999 (for the year 2000 election) and then continuously worked to oppose the Bush-Cheney team through all eight years of their virtual dictatorship, gathering up grassroots followers every step of the way until finally way back in November of 2007 both parties would have begged him to join their ticket.

If he had done that, then maybe, just maybe, he would have had enough power and influence to create a successful third party, reform the system, and bring back a genuine democratic republic. As it is, all he's going to do is make it easier for the people behind the curtain to hold another dog and pony for us and pretend we've actually elected whichever candidate they decide to stick in the Whitehouse.

Honestly, people, my money is still on martial law, a canceled election (or election result), a disbanded congress, and a full handover of the country to some kind of New World Order dictatorship. If that is their ultimate goal, then it would explain why John McCain did not bother to make a realistic choice for VP, it would explain why Barack Obama can stand in front of a faux Greek Temple without feeling foolish, and it would explain why the Republican Party has not ordered Ron Paul to rein in his supporters or be forced out of politics permanently.