Like everyone else, I started today deeply disappointed by Debra Medina's loss this week in the Texas Governor's race. Disappointed, but not crushed, for we are making great progress.
In the 2008 presidential campaign, I expected Ron Paul to either win New Hampshire or at least come in second. There is filmic record of me saying this, in the documentary For Liberty. When I watch this now, and see myself on my TV in my own living room - a slightly younger, slimmer, and shorter-haired version of myself - I think, "Naïve boy. So earnest. So naïve." I can see that I was a different person then than I am now.
Ron Paul came in fifth in New Hampshire. I was emotionally crushed, even though he got about as many votes as the polls predicted he would. As MLK said, "there can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love." Disappointment is one thing, but emotional devastation is another. Ron Paul told me a secret about how to avoid it, which I've written about before, but I'll repeat it again here.
It was a short, but very significant conversation about expectations. The whole thing lasted less than 2 minutes. It was the day before the Revolution March in 2008, and I was riding in the back seat of his car, with Tom Woods sitting shotgun. We were just pulling into the parking lot of a restaurant (Chili's, if I recall). I had a burning question that I wanted to ask him, and prefaced it by telling him that I knew people in our movement who were barely able to get out of bed in the morning, so crippled they were with depression at the state of the world. I asked him if he ever got depressed about it all. His answer came quick: "Nope. Not at all." Both Tom and I were intrigued. "Why? What is your secret?" I asked. His simple reply: "Low expectations!"
At the time I thought it was funny, but he was quite serious. He followed up by saying that all the times he was on stage during the debates, when people were laughing at him, ridiculing him and jeering him, it never affected him. "I was a little worried that it didn't affect me," he said.
On a day like today, these words come back to me. I've thought about them often enough, from different angles, different perspectives, both in terms of this movement and life in general. Having low expectations doesn't mean that you don't pay close attention to what's going on, or don't work diligently toward your goal. It simply means that you do the right thing, without being attached to the outcome of your actions. A wise person knows that while you can control your actions, you cannot control the results of your actions.
I didn't expect Medina to win yesterday. My expectations were low enough that I thought she would come in second, and force a runoff with Perry.
At least that is what I expected before Glennedict Beck ambushed then ridiculed her with his irrelevant 9/11 question. That event in itself was telling - not only that he did it, but in how quickly news of the juvenile's radio show spread through the rest of the MSM - all the way up to America's "paper of record," the New York Times.
And of course there are the black box voting machines. Call me crazy, call me a conspiracy nut, but it is obvious to me that we should have transparency in vote counting. I'm no fan of faith-based vote counting, and I know that the overwhelming majority in this movement feel the same way. The very word secrecy is repugnant in a free and open society Secrecy is, in fact, the mother of conspiracy theories.
And then there is the matter of the money. In the Texas governor's race, the top two established politicians spent $45 million in their shopping spree for votes, brainwashing and bludgeoning the masses with their propaganda. Medina raised less than $1 million.
And finally, there is the matter of voter turnout, which was pathetic. For whatever reason, people don't care. Maybe they think the fix is already in. Maybe they think that whoever they vote for, the outcome will be the same. Maybe they think it doesn't affect them.
All of the above points are symptoms, not root causes. The mass media's power is a symptom of how ignorant Americans have become. The tolerance of black box voting machines is a symptom of how docile Americans are. The huge sums of money raised by big name politicians is a symptom of the power that special interests wield. And the low voter turnout is a symptom of flat out apathy.
As for those in our movement, those of us who have awakened from our slumber, we want change and we want it now! We're making GREAT progress, as Big T points out, just not fast enough as we all would like. Slow and steady wins the race, assuming that we don't quit before the finish line!
The importance of staying in the race, through thick and thin, is exemplified by what Ron Paul has done over the span of his 30-year career. Most of us are here because of the leadership he has shown over that period. At least I know that I am. Dr. Paul's example of steady, relentless dedication has had a compounding effect - something that we can all learn from, for we are the fruits of his dedication.
The distinguishing characteristic of fruit is that it contains seeds.
Ron Paul started out like every one of us here, with a seed of dissatisfaction, a feeling that things were not right. He did not give up; he did not throw in the towel.
We all have the potential to grow, and in our own ways, have as much of an impact for Liberty as Ron Paul has had. That Ron Paul is an example does not mean that we must follow lockstep in his path by running for office. The battlefield is large, and there are many ways to fight. We have many Liberty candidates who are still in the hunt, and they deserve our support.
One of the keys to Ron Paul's success is that he chose to do something that he loves, and has great talent for. It is up to each of us to do the same. Courtney Beadel nailed it in her post, What can I do for the Revolution? Write music! This also is a key to low expectations. For if you love what you do, it is reward in itself to simply do what you love. Our own quiltingsando has raised thousands of dollars for Liberty candidates doing what she loves and has served as an inspiration to others at the same time. Chris Rye made a beautiful film, through which we can better understand ourselves.
The simple act of doing what you love, without expectation of anything else, changes the world. For if you walk this path, eventually you become a master. At the age of 23, Courtney won the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer's Award for her composition, Revolution.
As Ron Paul has said numerous times, we will win when the ideas of Liberty permeate every level of society - not just one party, but both parties. Not just politics, but economics, literature, music, the arts and all of popular culture.
Our expectations need not be high to achieve this.
Disappointment? It is a matter of perspective. Don't forget the other thing that Ron Paul has always said: "Have fun!"
I don't know about you, but in spite of everything, it looked to me like Debra Medina had fun, and her supporters had fun, and along the way, we all had a journey in which we learned and grew as individuals. The bonds that were formed and the network that was created is still there. We are making great strides. At some point, our exponential growth will tip the scales in our favor.
Onward, seeds of Liberty! Do what you love and grow, grow, grow!