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Nystrom: For Liberty - Review

By Michael Nystrom | December 2, 2009

It's hard to believe that it is almost three years since the beginning of the Ron Paul Revolution. Back in late 2006, when rumors began circulating online of his potential presidential candidacy, Ron Paul was not even a blip on the national mainstream media radar. The events that would transpire over the next three years would catapult him to national fame, casting a global spotlight on his never-ending campaign for Liberty.

Chris Rye and Corey Kealiher have done a tremendous service for us all with their documentary For Liberty: How the Ron Paul Revolution Watered the Withered Tree of Liberty. Not only is it a wonderful memento for all of us who were involved in the campaign, but it serves as an exceptional teaching tool for those who still don't get it about Ron Paul, especially those who may call themselves Republicans. In fact, at the recent West Coast premier of the film, many such Republicans had their first taste of who Ron Paul really is and what he stands for. One audience member had this to say:

I enjoyed the movie, and find it hard to believe that Republicans so marginalized Ron Paul during his candidacy. Quite simply, he is promoting that we get back to the basics of following the Constitution and principles on which this country was founded. That should be embraced, not rejected.

Comments such as this are typical from Republicans, and For Liberty shows us why: From the beginning, the Ron Paul campaign was ignored, ridiculed and marginalized by the mainstream media. But this is not the story of the film; it is only the beginning. The real story is about Ron Paul's message, why it resonated with millions of Americans across the political spectrum, how the mainstream media attempted to silence it, and what his millions-strong army of supporters did in response during the 2008 presidential campaign.

The film takes the form of a documentary, told by the activists who were instrumental in the movement, including exclusive interview excerpts of Dr. Paul himself. In a candid moment early in the film, Dr. Paul explains how he was the most reluctant person to get involved in the race, cataloging the litany of arguments that ran through his head:

I was the most hesitant to get involved - the time isn't right, people haven't heard about this, I'm not the right guy, we need more education…because I believe that ideas move the country, not individuals - unless they're in the right place at the right time.

Dr. Paul was in the right place at the right time. He just didn't know it yet. But what if Ron Paul had talked himself out of it? Pondering that thought for a few minutes can truly boggle the mind. Where would we all be today? None of the activities that are cataloged in the film - the memorable debate clashes with Giuliani, Huckabee, and Fox's Wendell Goler, Ron Paul's Iowa tax rally that outdrew the Tax Forum next door, all the money bombs, the homemade signs, the blimp, the High Tide video, all the other tribute videos, and the Rally for the Republic - would ever have taken place. There'd be no Daily Paul, there'd be no film to record it all, I never would have written this review, and you wouldn't be reading it right now. What would you be doing instead?

Thinking about this reveals how much Ron Paul has changed history already, for each and every one of us, and how the historical forces that have been put into play by his decision remain unfinished. This brings to mind an early conversation I had with Chris Rye about the project. Everyone who lived through the campaign knew that it was something special, and Chris kept thinking to himself, 'someone ought to make a documentary about it. Someone ought to do that.' That someone, of course, turned out to be him and Corey Kealiher. And what they've created is a gem, crafted with love, that will stand the test of time and preserve this story for posterity.

The cast list for the movie tallies close to 50 people, all of whom Chris & Corey took the time to personally visit and interview. They drove across the country in Chris's beautifully preserved, gold colored, vegetable-oil powered, 1984 Mercedes 300D, sleeping on fellow patriots' floors, and using waste fry-oil from Chinese restaurants along the way to power their trip. This is dedication and love in action. There should be a documentary about them making the documentary! When they showed up at World Headquarters of the Daily Paul (my house) (you'll see it in the film - apparently it gets a laugh, as its not what you might expect), they had Michael Maresco in tow and we all had a great time. After my interview, Mike and I piled into one of the back seats of the car (the other seat was filled with equipment) drove off to Larry Lepard's house for his interview, where we sat on the couch and listened as they interviewed Larry.

If you followed the progress of Ron Paul's entire 2008 presidential campaign, the film will bring back all of the highs and lows that are already starting to recede into the dark crevices of memory. If for no other reason, this DVD should be in your personal collection as a reminder of why we're here. It is sometimes easy to forget that and get caught up in petty squabbles, diversions and lose focus our ultimate goal. If you're new to the movement, this film is the back story of how it all got started, a reminder of the energy that once animated this movement, and a preview of what is to still come on a much larger scale in the near future.

Like I said at the beginning, it is hard to imagine that nearly three years have passed since all of this started. One more year makes four, which means that we should get definitive news from Dr. Paul on his plans to run again within the next year. And while I have no inside information, I see absolutely no reason why he wouldn't run again. He remains sharp, energetic, and in good health, and he is in the sweetest spot of his career to effect the kind of change he's been working for his entire life. The difference between last time and this time is like night and day. Then he was an unknown; today he is a household name; he's been proven right on the economy, has two best selling books under his belt, and the awe and respect of his fellow lawmakers in Congress. And of course, he has us. To put it very succinctly: This time he actually has a chance to win.

Watching the film reminded me of when I set up the Daily Paul, back in January 2007. I had heard an interview podcast with him on the The Korelin Economics Report, discussing his potential run. One of the interviewers asked him whether he was running to win, or simply running as an educational campaign. Ron said, "Oh, I'm running to win…but you have to be realistic." I knew it right then and there that he didn't have a chance and he knew it, too. It was an educational campaign, but of course he couldn't say that. I decided to play along and set up the Daily Paul because I'm a sucker for lost causes. But as the momentum built through the campaign season, I got swept up in it like everyone else, and I began to believe.

Late in the movie, I talk about how I really expected him to finish first or second in New Hampshire. By that time, in January of 2008 (nearly two years ago now) I really did believe it. When he came in fifth, it was crushing not just for me, but for all of us. Super Tuesday in February was the finishing blow. It really is heartbreakingly bitter sweet, if you allow yourself to start thinking back, which is what this movie will make you do…

Everyone was disappointed except, I think, for Ron Paul. And the reason he wasn't was because he went so much further than he ever expected. But this time around will be a different story, something I'm sure he understands. "I believe that ideas move the country, not individuals - unless they're in the right place at the right time."

Again he's in the right place at the right time, but this time he knows it. It's the bottom of the ninth and he's at the plate, the count is 3-2 with two outs against the Republic and there's a big, fat, juicy fastball coming right down the center of the plate called 2012. Yes ideas move the country, but these ideas have been lying around for ages collecting dust until Dr. Paul came along to breathe life into them once again. Anyone can talk about Liberty and the Constitution because words are cheap. Ron Paul has lived the message and remains the living, breathing embodiment of the message for our generation.

For Liberty is a precious reminder of what we're doing and why we're here. Watching the end of the movie, seeing myself crying on the screen, I realized that to some extent, I've been suffering from, and slowly recovering from, a broken heart. Many others have told me that the movie made them cry, too. There remains a deep, untapped wellspring of passion in our movement, ready and waiting to explode. That is why my feeling at the end of the movie was not one of sadness, but one of joy. The first thought that popped from my mind in the powerful, closing scenes of the movie was that we would do it all over again - in a heartbeat. And I'm sure we'll get that chance.

Do yourself a favor and get a copy of the movie for Christmas. You'll be glad you did.

For Liberty: How the Ron Paul Revolution Watered the Withered Tree of Liberty.

- - - - -

Theatrical Premier of "For Liberty" the Ron Paul Revolution Documentary Thursday 12/3 in Tempee AZ, in Conjunction with The Freedom Summit.

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Sorry I have to disagree but not about the film.

My point is that there is still an 800lb gorilla in the room and even though it appears that progress is being made. I know what MSM has done and can do. I'm sure Ron knows this all too well and if he were to run again his best hope would be to further educate the masses. They have social engineering down to a science and right now it is like the gorilla is using us as their play toy. I want to believe as Micheal does but I do not think we have reached the threshold because I know most people still rely upon TV for their decisions. Until we can overcome a propaganda machine the resembles an 800lb gorilla, I don't have the same hope. I'm sorry to be a naysayer but I still remember the most recent Obamanation of "Audit the FED" and you can hate me for bring up a negative point of view but that is the beauty of liberty. I'll bet you still remember this:


jaseed's picture

Never Saw This Jerry Day Video Before

Thanks much, Liberty4Compassion !

"My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them".
Senator Barry Goldwater, Senator Rand Paul
and others.

“The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time: the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Michael, just reading your

Michael, just reading your post started tears down my face. They are sad, but they are happy. I feel so much passion and am so deeply moved when I think back or watch some of the old videos that I sometimes just sob. Then I pick myself up and trudge on and fight the next skirmish knowing that I will never stop fighting.

Even if we were to restore the Republic, we would still have to fight to keep it and teach our kids and grandkids how to fight.

Thanks for the post.

Who is John Galt? Vote ███ ███ 2012!

I screened it for family over the holiday

They enjoyed it, but I had to twist their arms to watch it (I said, 15 minutes, if you don't like it, then, we can turn it off). Well, 2 hours came and went and they were mesmerized.

They knew about the campaign somewhat because they are Republicans (I haven't shown it to my Democrat family, yet, but expect a similar interest), and I had sent them links during the campaign, but they certainly did not see what we at DP knew: that the Revolution was a really big deal.

I'm also looking forward to seeing the series put out by the C4L.

Oh, and when I saw this thread title, I thought it was about Nystrom's acting performance. He played a techno-political mastermind-nerd perfectly.

What do you think? http://consequeries.com/

Mr. Nystrom

If I am reading(between the lines)into this reveiw correctly,Ron Paul 2012 !
Thank you will get it!

If I disappear from a discussion please forgive me. My 24-7 business requires me to split mid-sentence to serve them. I am not ducking out, I will be back later to catch up.

Michael Nystrom's picture

That's what I think!

That's what I think!

All art is only done by the individual. The individual is all you ever have, and all schools only serve to classify their members as failures. E.H.

For Liberty to air on WI PBS

For Liberty docum3ntary to air state-wide Wisconsin on PBS!

Info here.

Not for Newbies

I finally had a chance to watch For Liberty.

This is a great retrospective, but I wouldn't recommend this for anyone that doesn't already support Ron Paul.

It's sad, angering, and even motivating for Ron Paul supporters, but not quite something I would use to introduce people to Ron Paul.

One of Ron Paul's better and more informative intro videos is his exploratory video:


You should check the reviews

You should check the reviews of the film. They pretty much say the opposite.


...on the DP

Yet again

I hope if he runs tho.. that many of the original people come back to the DP if they are still around.

"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man."
-- Thomas Jefferson

jaseed's picture

Yes, We Need

Them All!

"My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them".
Senator Barry Goldwater, Senator Rand Paul
and others.

“The God who gave us life, gave us liberty at the same time: the hand of force may destroy, but cannot disjoin them.”

– Thomas Jefferson

Finally watched this.

This is a great retrospective, but I wouldn't recommend this for anyone that doesn't already support Ron Paul.

It's sad, angering, and even motivating for Ron Paul supporters, but not quite something I would use to introduce people to Ron Paul.

One of Ron Paul's better and more informative intro videos is his exploratory video:


Phoenix screening was awesome

Phoenix screening was awesome. Place was going nuts with cheering and yelling. Got to hang out with the crowd afterwards and partied with Ernie Hancock and the PHX crew. Such a fun time hanging with a great bunch of dedicated patriots.

I finally received mine

I screened it last night with a few patriot friends. We laughed, we cried, we remembered the fight and the passion of all the unknown patriots we met around the country. I Remembered a few decades ago stomping for Dr Ron Paul's last presidential bid as a libertarian. This time was so much more awakening for the public. I believe it had to do with the internet capabilities of passing information on a national level, quickly.
We may have lost the battle, but considering the msm as it is now we surely caused some wounds in the enemy. Goldwater lost an election but started a movement that had to be dealt with in the following years. This movement of liberty is stronger now than I have ever seen it.
We may lose a few battles ( the odds are against us )
We will win the war
It was nice to finally put faces behind some of our leading patriots
You looked good Mike
For Liberty .... a piece of history everyone must own.
Click on the DP tag it will make your holidays

Great review Michael, and a great little film...

I cried a few times too. I'll be showing it at a multi-group event at the start of the next semester down here at FSU...

Vote em all out! - http://www.teabombs.com/

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Loved the documentary

You said, "I got swept up in it like everyone else and I began to believe." I still believe with all that I am. You ask us to think the unthinkable of what if? It truly does boggle ones mind. I believe I was given this mission/message @ this time in my life for a reason that's not mine to question. (Perhaps to make ammends for all those lost years as a self-proclaimed liberal :) To quote Jerry Garcia from the tune Scarlet Begonias, " Once in awhile you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right." I must have looked @ it right because I've been shown the light that is Ron Paul and his message of Freedom.


you write so well. Your review made me cry, and gave me hope! Real hope, not that phony Obama type of hope. Thank you so much. Can't wait to watch the DVD. Just ordered it through the DP Amazon link.

I just bought the movie at

I just bought the movie at the Freedom Summit in Phoenix this weekend. I was thrilled to discover that the producers were from my small hometown in Wisconsin. It must be what's in the water (or beer)

You Judge A Tree By It's Fruit, NOT its Flower

"It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere".

It's hard not to be a menace to society when half the population is happy on their knees. - unknown

Too Neat!

Maybe you should think about writing a "State of the Daily Paul" once a year, it could become a part of the historical record.

the Iowa chapter

it forgot to point out the fact that we never lost a straw poll again

Beautiful review!! And I

Beautiful review!! And I completely agree with it... For Liberty blew me away, and hopefully will do the same with a lot of other people.

I'm going to a screening tonight!

Let us know

your thought and the reactions of others. Thanks

Michael, Wouldn't this years

Michael, Wouldn't this years Boston Tea Party at Faneuil Hall be a perfect venue for a screening of this movie?

Bumpity Bump Bump Bump!


Some important missing details

I really enjoyed seeing For Liberty and I think the creators did a wonderful job. My only significant critique is that it is missing mention of some of the major shenanigans that occurred.

Such as the GOP closing down its own straw polls in various localities when it was apparent that Ron Paul supporters arrived in force and would have handily delivered a victory for Dr. Paul. I recall at least three instances of this occurring.

Such as the farce that was the New Hampshire primary, and the video footage obtained by Bev Harris of www.blackboxvoting.org of the NH Secretary of State refusing to lock up the ballots in the safe of a municipal building, but instead proclaiming that a Post-It note across closed double doors was reasonable security for them (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKQEQ7qHvgM); and the footage that ensued of the high speed chase of a van that was absconding with said ballots; and the footage of opened ballot boxes being offloaded from the van the next morning for "counting".

i own a copy!!!

thanks for the personalized review. i don't think we gave this documentary enough attention. this is something that everybody here should own a copy of.

A Gift of Liberty

Wonderful review... Michael mentioned a documentary of making the film. I recorded much of it in words/pics in this thread over at RPFs


And for those who want to give a little more than just the movie for a gift, "For Liberty" is included in the gift packs being used to raise funds for Kokesh


Thanks everyone :)