Today, I have come to pay my last respects to US Senator Rand Paul.
His campaign was bold and brilliant. He connected with millions of people, men and women, young and old, of diverse colors and character.
And yet, his pathway to the White House has ended. I heard about some other deaths (Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum). I even received invitations to those funerals, but I have to say, the one death which grieves me the most is the untimely demise of Senator Rand.
He was more than a conservative. He was a libertarian Republican, yet one who understood that liberty means nothing without life. Sadly, his life gave out as other candidates either gathered more donations or copied his policy moves to better effect.
With my small bouquet in hand, I look for where to say a little prayer and give my last good-byes.
What killed him? A lack of organization, for one. A master of social media, An unsound reliance on the youth vote, perhaps. After all, the disconnect between the political process and the Millenial generation still gapes at us. Rand Paul never caught onto the retail aspect of politics, and for that, he did not stand much of a chance. Great ideas, a great record, but a not-so-great ground game buried Rand in the sand. His shots at Republicans for the foreign policy morass in the Middle East was not smart, too. I still smart when I recall his calling illegal aliens “undocumented citizens.”
He corrected some of those errors. But he forgot that liberty has become an acquired taste, especially for a nation which had looked the other way during Republican and Democratic Presidential administrations and their rapid explosion of government power.
Right now, I am walking along a calm, green field. I kneel down and weep. It all started on the bluegrass fields of Kentucky, where the first Resolves were penned two hundred years ago. At the turn of the 18th century, the several states were already discussing whether to severe ties with the federal government, fed up with expansion of the state and ignorance of the Constitution.
Two hundred years later, the rabble-rousing fight for life and liberty broke out once again.
The year 2010, the Tea Party Revolt was brimming over with life. Ophthalmologist Rand Paul, a restoring revolutionary, defeated the Establishment and the Democrats. Senator Paul made liberty chic, not just necessary; he reminded everyone that socialism isn’t sexy, but shameful and stupid. Rand reached out to minority communities throughout the United States. Black people gave him a standing ovation when he preached to them to start living lives accountable and in line with the American Dream.
I cry for what could have been, and I cry for what has already happened.
|Rand Paul (Credit: Gage Skidmore)|
Rand Paul 2016: RIP—I imagine those words etched into his tombstone.
But wait: his headstone is hard to find.
Maybe the blue grass of his old Kentucky home has grown over it. Maybe he skimped on the pageantries, and someone penciled in the dates of his life on a stone, just like on the funeral marker of Les Miserables hero Jean Valjean, a former convict who found redemption and restored life and dignity to the masses, bowed down by government-induced squalor and poverty. Then again, it’s not the numbers that matter, birth and death, but that dash in the middle which makes all the difference.
And speaking of poverty and criminal justice, Rand was the man who championed criminal justice reform plus a reduction in militarized police power.
Rest in peace, Rand; but your fight will never end. We have experienced a new birth of freedom. You did more than amaze us. You inspired us.
In Cudahy, California, residents are rising up against a rogue city council bent on stilfing our freedom of speech. In Virginia, the liberal Democratic governor tried to stop concealed-carry, and it failed. In Michigan and West Virginia, Americans are not just fighting for the right to work, but for right-to-work. While Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was taming public sector unions, Senator Paul was petitioning for a National Right to Work law.
He filibustered—actually stood up and talked to death—questionable executive appointments and legislation. His Eleventh Hour (and eleven hour long) protest against an Obama nominee for CIA director galvanized a movement of power and principle in one. A friend of mine from Palos Verdes, CA was glued to his computer, watching the junior Senator filibuster, while he asked aloud: “What would happen if the President ordered a drone hit on Jane Fonda?” Attorney General Eric Holder finally caved and answered the question: “No, The President cannot do that.”
Without Rand, the NSA program would still be widely collected information on everyone’s cellphones.
Without Rand, the corrupt Ex-Im Bank would have never closed.
Without Rand, Republican Presidential candidates would not be talking about the invasive police state.
Without Rand, we would never have witnessed the courage to defend and promote free market policies, even in places as illiberal as San Francisco, CA.
By now, you all know why Rand Paul’s tombstone is hard to find. There is none. Rand’s Revolution is not stopping or slowing, but enlarging and growing. He won’t be headed for the White House, and that’s fine with me.
Today, Senator Rand Paul, let your campaign for president rest in peace. You have done a great work for this country, and you will continue to do so standing tall, fighting hard in the US Senate. Your power to legislate belongs to Congress, and a thriving libertarian Republican is exactly what we need, standing shoulder to shoulder with Jeff Sessions, Ben Saase, Mike Lee, and James Inhofe.
I want you to be the Majority Whip, and whip into shape (or ship out) the rest of your get-along-to-go-along colleagues. We need young, power, enthusiastic legislators like you in the Senate, who will drive the Establishment crazy, and drive out the cozy cronyism and corruption which has dominated and defined Washington DC.