Day Five: The Convention
Today was the day. I tossed and turned all night, trying to think of more strategies to help Ron Paul. There were strategies flying all over the place. A rules change. A nomination trick. Lobbying the Santorum folks. On and on and on . . . we Ron Paul people were thinking of every angle to help our man.
Security going into the convention was tighter than the green zone in Iraq. Hundreds of military with sub-machine guns walking the perimeter. We had to go through about five checkpoints, and we weren’t allowed to bring anything from an umbrella to a banana. It was worse than the TSA which republicans are supposed to be against.
Once I got in the Times Forum, it was as if I had entered a giant television. Everything was so well lit, there wasn’t a single shadow in the entire colosseum. A giant podium about three stories high stood in the center of the stage, along with a quadruple jumbo-tron in the background showing a FOX NEWS-Y image of American flags and rolling fields of wheat. There were video cameras following me everywhere – some seemed to just float in mid-air. It really was like being inside a TV, except I wanted to change the channel.
Just as I was finding my seat, I saw Ron Paul out of the corner of my eye. No – it couldn’t be. Could it? It was! Sure enough, he had shown up on the convention floor in a show of solidarity with his delegates! I quickly pressed my way into the media surrounding him, and asked him, “May I give you a lei, Mr. Paul?”
“Sure!” he said, and I put the lei on him.
After that, there was a complete frenzy around him! Not only did he make a surprise appearance in a convention he wasn’t supposed to be at, but he also had a Hawaiian lei on him! The media went nuts!
“Someone had thrown a lei on him to say he is greeted here favorably, as a rock star . . .” (Fox News)
“Paul walked around the floor wearing a red, white, and blue lei . . .” (ABC News)
“As Paul toured the convention floor – wearing a white dress shirt and green lei (yes, you read that right) . . .” (Washington Post)
It’s funny that they didn’t get the color of the lei correct. The lei was purple. I took a picture with him, and we all chanted so loudly that our voices were raw, “RON PAUL! RON PAUL!” The Romney folks had been trained to counter our chants with “ROMNEY! ROMNEY!” It was a total zoo!
I also gave another lei to Ashley Ryan, the Ron Paul supporter from Maine. She was a contested delegate, and she spoke at the Paul Rally two days before. I had the biggest crush on her, and I got a picture with her too! (But I have to ask her for it yet — so nervous!)
After a few minutes, Ron Paul left, and it was up to the delegates to do the best we could. Roger, the lead Ron Paul delegate from Iowa was leading the cavalry, and we stuck by his side. There were two plans. One was to submit a six state plurality to allow his name to be on the ballot. We got all the signatures, and we helped round up the media to present it to the vice chair of the event, so it wouldn’t be lost somewhere. We made sure there were video cameras recording when we handed the signatures over.
We also lobbied people from our delegation to vote “No” on the rules change. The change would increase the number of states we would need from five to eight, making it impossible for us to get a plurality.
If it sounds confusing – it was! I was trying for dear life just to keep up – but I did. And I successfully lobbied everyone I talked to. I would just go up to people and say, “Excuse me? Can I lobby you for a minute about something?”
Then they would say, “Haha, at least you’re honest! Okay sure!”
And I would say, “Well, we really want to vote for our man Ron Paul, and the only way we’ll get to is if you vote ‘no’ to the rules change.”
Then they said, “You know what? That sounds reasonable. You should be able to vote for the candidate you support.” And so they agreed.
When it was time to vote, the ayes were like, “AYE!”
The no’s were like,
Then the chairman banged his gavel, “The ayes have it.”
Then we all started chanting “POINT OF ORDER! POINT OF ORDER! POINT OF ORDER!” Which the chairman completely ignored. The six delegations were calling the podium but they had disabled the phone system so no one could make a motion. Pretty soon they just cued the band and it was all over. The chairman had completely cheated, and didn’t follow the rules.
That’s when I realized that this wasn’t democracy. It wasn’t a republic. It didn’t have anything to do with voting. It was a TV show. The whole voting process is just one giant television show, like an advertisement for coca-cola. There weren’t any ideas. No debates. No real policies or principles put forth. It was all just a big Obama bashing television show. There is no such thing as democracy in America right now. Instead, it’s something else, I call tele-mocracy.
And I realized that the Republicans were just obsessed with Obama. The whole time they talked about Obama, Obama, Obama! It’s all they knew. Republicans are totally in love with Obama. It’s all they can talk about! They can barely even focus on the candidates in front of their own faces. They’ve forgotten that a candidate needs to actually stand for something good. Their entire campaign is about bashing the other guy, so that no one will realize that the alternative has no real ideas to talk about.
I wanted to leave, right then and there. But I also wanted to make sure my vote was counted by our Hawaii delegation. One thing I was happy about was during the roll call vote, our Hawaii delegation decided to announce the Ron Paul votes. They said, “Three for Ron Paul. Five for Santorum. And Nine for Romney.” They didn’t have to do that. They could’ve just ignored the Ron Paul vote, like many other states did. But it made me feel really proud to have my vote recognized like that. I flew all this way, did all this work, and my vote was actually tallied somehow. Somehow that little instance of this whole process was a tiny bit fair and square. And that’s all we wanted to begin with. We just want it to be fair and square. In fact, it made me feel a little bit like staying. But pretty soon all the Ron Paul supporters started walking out of the building, and I followed suit. It’s one thing to lose, but it’s another thing to lose illegitimately. In an effort to get more power, the National Republican Party lost the most powerful force of all – the Ron Paul Revolution.
Here I am giving Ron Paul a lei: