Snow and Paulitics
By Peter Roise
1 Feb 2008
The Internet is great. And web 2.0 is taking us places we never dreamed of before--most surprisingly it is taking us out into the real world. On Tuesday evening the word screamed into my inbox--"RON PAUL VISITING SPOKANE!!!!" At the same time the lower right corner of my browser reminded me that it was snowing and that it was supposed to keep snowing. This week a severe weather alert seems to live permanently next to the radar and little clouds with snowflakes coming down. Wednesday snowed on.
Thursday morning we awoke to the most snow I have ever seen in Moscow, Idaho. It looked like we had twelve to eighteen inches, on top of all the other snow we had been getting. In the shallow places the snow was knee deep. And still, the snow kept falling. The real question: was this a test of my determination and devotion to Dr. Paul, or a test of my sanity? Throughout the morning I checked the weather. It looked like the afternoon might clear up a bit, and the temperature was rising. I called the Paul campaign to make sure he was still coming. At noon we decided to go. After all, I really wanted that picture of Dr. Paul holding my daughter. So we piled in the car. The neighbor was clearing his driveway, again, and all we could see was his shovel and the top of his head when he threw some more snow on the top of the pile.
The trip was actually uneventful winter driving, aside from getting stuck on our own street when we tried to turn around. When we reached downtown Spokane it wasn't too hard to tell where the Ron Paul Rally was going to be. The number of signs increased as we got closer. Luckily we were an hour early, because inside the line was already way down the hall. We made our way into the hotel conference room and positioned ourselves. My wife was going to take care of the children and I was going to get photos. She found a place next to the back wall, and I looked for good angles.
As we were waiting for Dr. Paul news came through that he was running a little bit late. The announcer opened the mic. Various people with varying degrees of eloquence got up and spoke--all passionate about Dr. Paul, and his message. A seventeen year old guy stood up to the mic, clearly riding the high of both the audience and his own enthusiasm. He explained how he had watched YouTube video after YouTube video. He was not old enough to vote in the primaries, but he was going to vote for Paul in the general election when he would be old enough. He said, "I cannot wait to see Dr. Paul in THIS building today." While he was speaking the room was filling up. I realized my wife and kids weren't going to see much. I was glad I had a camera--a pass to a good view and a little space.
Finally, Dr. Paul arrived. The crowd roared. He was with his wife Carol and a couple of granddaughters. He introduced us to his family. He and his wife were celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary the next day. They seemed as glad to see us as we were to see them. The atmosphere was alive--each party getting energy from the other. As his wife sat down and he began to address us, you could see a little extra precipitation in his eyes. For thirty long years he has been fighting for the cause of economic freedom and the Constitution, and until recently it seemed that very few were interested. This man was seeing his dream come true, after years of what must have seemed like fruitless labor. He spoke and the crowd loved what he said, and they loved him. He seemed to be speaking without notes, without a script, but from deep conviction, and a love for his people and his country.
As the speech ended I think we all realized at the same time that we were not going to get our picture taken with him. There were too many. I didn't get that photo of my daughter with him. In fact, the kids couldn't even see him. They were disappointed. I made my way to the back of the room and found that my family had disappeared leaving behind only my wife's jacket. Eventually I did find them and we made our way across the slushy street to dinner at Chilis. We put our Ron Paul sign on the end of the booth.
As we drove home on slippery roads I couldn't help thinking about men who gather crowds like this. The experience is heady and it makes you think of other crowds that have gathered throughout history, and how we all look for a deliverer. Sometimes we find a good man who does bring some deliverance: think of Constantine...Ronald Reagan...Martin Luther...William Wilberforce. Sometimes we are wrong; look at what Adolf Hitler did to Germany, and the Germans saw him as a deliverer. And, of course the very highest example of a deliverer who drew great crowds is Jesus Christ. Sometimes we forget that He was seen by his followers as Messiah--a word that means "anointed," signifying a king. They wanted a civil leader to deliver them: they were looking for a king.
As I reflected on our snowy adventure in Paulitics I remained convinced that this man was the right sort of deliverer. He talks about Peace, Freedom, and the Rule of Law, and his policies, his demeanor, and his record are consistent with that. And whether he is the next president of our country or not, his message and his character have changed thousands of people. I know I won't be going back to my previous apathy and cynicism. I just hope we can find more good men to inspire and lead us through the difficult times that may lie ahead.