• Pies In The Sky.

    I was about to post a bunch of links that made for interesting reading and call it a day. Until I read the following comment on Joy-Ann Reid's enlightening experience with a Ron Paulite (or Pauloid):

    A Ron Paul presidency means that tens of thousands of African American men will be returning to their families, communities and churches. They can begin working and re-building their lives. That is revolutionary! That is precisely what will happen when Ron Paul ends the Drug War, pardons non-violent drug offenders, and returns narcotics policy back to the states.

    A Ron Paul presidency means that the bombs and drone missiles will stop dropping on Arabs, Africans, and Asians.

    A Ron Paul presidency means that the Federal government will no longer threaten the interests of gays who want to pursue marriage in their respective states. No Republican or Democrat (not even Obama) is promising these things; they neutralize the “Ron Paul is a racist” charge, and they expose Obama (and the GOP) for the damage they have allowed the War on Drugs to do to African American communities.

    There's something about the above comment that just draws in people who want to have hope. They want to believe that there's someone out there who can just wipe the slate clean and put right to what went wrong, just like that. People want the failed War on Drugs to come to an end. They want to see the hundreds of thousands of people who've been locked up behind it (for relatively minor non-violent drug-related offenses) come home, especially the black Americans whom the War on Drugs has disproportionally affected. We all want to see our troops out of harm's way and an end put to the bombs, the drones and the missiles. We want to see an end put to hassling same-sex couples that want to get married. So it's no wonder people are so willing to throw their weight behind a guy who's been played up as being the ultimate alternative, the guy who seems most likely and most willing to get all of these things done, and more. It's the way most people saw Pres. Obama, at least until it became apparent that the executive position in the Oval Office does not operate by unilateral fiat, no matter how much George "Dubya" Bush attempted to make it so.

    And there lies the problem. The moment Ron Paul steps into the Oval Office as President is the moment he comes to realize that there are a labyrinth of channels and legislative checks to go through just to get anything done. This includes 435 representatives, 100 senators, 9 Supreme Court justices, dozens of cabinet members, a massive number of government agencies, 50 state governors and last but not least, plenty of American voters who may or may not take umbrage at Paul's attempts to change policies. Oh, and there's Paul's own supporters to deal with. He won't be able to please all of his supporters all the time, no matter how much he tries. It's what Pres. Obama is going through - many of his supporters are pissed that he can't please them all of the time, and they're ready to take their electoral frustrations out on him.

    But let's get back to outlining the reasons why the above comment is thoroughly rooted in pie-in-the-sky idealism (no matter how good it sounds):

    1. Ending the War on Drugs may be popular for some, but for others, the failed attempts at prohibition and enforcement have been a profitable boon to many. Federal agencies such as the DEA and ATF, state agencies and local sheriff's departments have benefited from the media coverage and valuable proceeds that drug and drug-related seizures bring. It also expands their budgets and selection of nice equipment and vehicles. Anyone attempting to bring all of that to a halt will face the wraith of many throughout the law enforcement community, as well as that of the sector lobbyists. Ron Paul may even get tarred and feathered as being "soft on crime."
    2. Ron Paul might be able to steer the ship of foreign policy somewhat, but not to the degree that his supporters expect. America might be able to reduce its involvement in foreign entanglements to a degree, but it won't be anything big. Paul might be a bit reluctant to knock over the overseas chess board and say "Game Over," especially with neo-conservative interests and their friends in the defense industry to consider.
    3. I didn't quite understand this third point. Saying that the feds "will no longer threaten the interests of gays who want to pursue marriage in their respective states" implies that such decisions will fall solely on the states. And if you haven't noticed, there are plenty of states that are looking to put a stop to same-sex marriages. Gays have a better chance of enjoying their full civil rights as partners under a federal umbrella than they would taking their chances on individual states. If Ron Paul pursues the "let's leave this shit to the states" theme as President, lots of people will find their civil rights under question (or nonexistent) if they happen to live in the wrong state.
    Too many people have little to no grasp of what it takes for the head of the executive branch to get anything done, especially when fighting against political inertia and the recalcitrance or outright refusal of any number of important political figures and agencies to aid in getting things done. No one appreciates the crap that Pres. Obama constantly goes through just to keep the country humming along smoothly. So it's easy for people to imagine that the Oval Office is a magical place where edicts are handed down from above with finality. Dubya often dreamed of such a place and the nation is fortunate that it didn't - and won't - exist.

    I don't blame people who are fed up with what they see as the same-old, same-old shit. I don't blame them when they pin their hopes on someone they see as the guy who'll fix all of this crap, if only he's given the chance. It only irks me when its done out of sheer ignorance of what's involved to actually fixing anything in the political arena. It doubly irks me since these same people proved to be fickle in who they stand behind. They stood behind Pres. Obama until it became apparent that he was no Superman and no Magic Negro™. Chances are they'll stand behind Ron Paul until he becomes too toxic to stand behind (which is easy enough, given the infamous newsletters and mounting evidence of his rather "unique" views on race) or until it's finally proven that he's just as human as the rest of us.