1 vote

Low Expectations

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!

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You know you're getting big

when they give you bad press..We scare the H--- out of them..They need a whole dedicated department to counter our effects..Think about it..

Expect The Best

The true lover of freedom expects the best in people.

Good Vibe Benny

I understand it like this

He's not saying that you should strive to fail, he is saying that when things don't go your way don't let it get you down. Shoot for the stars, but when you miss the target don't be surprised, and get up and try again.

The Founders set up a free

The Founders set up a free republic for a reason and they abhorred democracy! I repeat THEY AHBORRED DEMOCRACY!!! let the sink in next time you claim to be a constitutionalist. Nowhere in the constitution is democracy mentioned. I urge you all to read what the founders had to say about it. It is simply a mechanism for the mob to oppress the minority. Your not going to fix democracy it is inherently flawed.


It is a very Buddhist idea

and the road to contentment. Continue to work toward what you believe in, do not be dissuaded by failure --try again fail better. Thank you for this uplifting post. I have been following Dr. Paul since before his first run for president. People are waking up, but they have been asleep a long time and it takes a while to clear out the cobwebs. The enemies of freedom would like nothing more than for us all to go back to sleep. Don't do it. Change will come. There will be a paradigm shift and it may happen when you least expect it. A life lived striving for good is a satisfying life -whatever the outcome.

Sorry to say this but I

Sorry to say this but I disagree here. Low exceptions is just a way of masking the futility and failings of democracy. I don't see it as a wise and smart move. Prudence dictates we don't waste our energies where we know they will fail. Not go ahead and waste our time on a known failed system and just have "low expectations" The futility of pinning our hopes and expectations no matter how low on democracy only allows us to avoid facing the reality that democracy is a flawed idea and construct of the power elite to give us the illusion we have a voice in our government.

The Founders set up a free republic for a reason and they abhorred democracy! I repeat THEY AHBORRED DEMOCRACY!!! let the sink in next time you claim to be a constitutionalist. Nowhere in the constitution is democracy mentioned. I urge you all to read what the founders had to say about it. It is simply a mechanism for the mob to oppress the minority. Your not going to fix democracy it is inherently flawed.

Our republic has been supplanted with this modern construct and popular votes. orginally spokesman were elected locally and the president was elected by the spokesman who were called the electoral college now days people don't even know who that is. Senators were appointed by thier state legislature to keep local control and could be yanked immediately if they failed to express the will of the people.

The elite have decieved you we don't even have democracy much less a republic form of government. We have an oligarchy. Until the people here and the activist realize all this and more and quit wasting thier time and energy playing on the hamster wheel of socialist democracy/oligarchy just like the hamster we will get nowhere.

Sorry but low expectations is a cop out in my opinion it is refusal to face the facts and reality of the situation and excuse to continue to run on the hamster wheel to nowhere!

End The Fat
70 pounds lost and counting! Get in shape for the revolution!

Get Prepared!

Sorry guys and gals, I am not

Sorry guys and gals, I am not a good loser. The day after was not a good day for me. I do not accept failure very well. Especially when she was polling at 24% before Benedicto and Blowhard popped their jaws open. And then the voter fraud...

I have recovered and ready to find some new prisoners!

There is no Left or Right -- there is only freedom or tyranny. Everything else is an illusion, an obfuscation to keep you confused and silent as the world burns around you." - Philip Brennan

"Invest only in things that you can stand in front of and pr

Unless we focus seriously upon

Vote fraud, low expectations are all we can expect until the end of time.

Michael Nystrom, may I suggest that it would be a very good thing to have a banner on your site pushing this documentary, as a starting point.


And this video shows the flagrantly unconstitutional vote fraud system in SOUTH CAROLINA, which needs to be challenged if Ron has snowballs chance to make it past their.


we have to have a paper trail, its been proven that electronic voting machines are unreliable.

This tallies well with the Ron Paul interviews we've seen.

Absolutely nothing fazes Dr Paul.

The only way for an interviewer to surprise him is to say something nice or intelligent. That always gets a reaction!

I also think he was genuinely surprised by the strength and popularity of the 2008 Ron Paul Revolution.

as a recovered boozer and a recovered Neo Con

I cannot validate RP's advice to you enough....in fact, I would say Eliminate Expectations. I learned that my expectations of others often would lead to disappointment, depression, anger, and, eventually, drinking. Lowering my expectations helped, but Eliminating all expectations on others really did the trick. I haven't had a drink in nearly 3 years and I'm not mad about it at all. In fact, I'm quite happy and even get a laugh out of the asinine behavior of the Neo COns as they struggle to maintain control. The Revolution cannot be stopped. People will change as they are forced to look at the policies they have backed and the consequences of them.

Keep the faith and ELIMINATE ALL EXPECTATIONS on others. It's much easier to keep chugging away like that.


Good Post

Short term low expectations, long term optimism pretty well describes it.
The human race has come a long way in a relatively short time. The time when mankind lived in caves hasn't been that long ago. We're getting there.
In my youth there was nothing so permanent as the Soviet Union. Those who said it would come to an end were the butts of jokes, but when the end came it came quickly.
Those who reject political freedom are like the "flatearthers" of yore. Their time will end.
In the long term truth will win out.

NCMarc's picture

great post

I think it's great she got almost 20%. People are waking up! Ron never got even close to 20%. This just shows you that people are hungry for liberty and freedom.

A great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges. - Ben Franklin

Good post and summary.

However, it still sucks bad that Medina didn't do better.

And, it's disturbing how ignorant and apathetic the American population still is.

For me this is a good thing, because it makes me want to fight harder.

The Revolution has grown

As many have pointed out, slow and steady wins the race, but that's not a cop-out face saver. The movement has grown quite a bit over the past two years.

Not only did Ron convert me, a card carrying GOP member, to his cause, but I've been working on my friends and family and know that I've converted at least four others. I've heard 'I'm voting for Ron in 2012' from all of them in the past month.

Just gotta keep the momentum going, there will be bumps in the road, but success is the ONLY option.

Tom Mullen's picture

18% was Awesome!

Hello Mike,

I didn't want to be a downer before the election, but I kept wanting to jump in and remind everyone that Debra Medina was definitely going to lose - there was never any doubt about that at any time during the campaign. She was consistently third in the polls and you have to remember that her supporters all knew that they were going to vote for her, while the "undecided" voters answer that way because they're still walking in their sleep.

That being said, the fact that Debra got 18% of the vote with the platform she ran on, saying things she said is IMMENSELY ENCOURAGING! Remember, the libertarians have never got more than about 3% of the vote in a national election, and I suspect they never got much more in a gubernatorial race. Debra Medina was talking like THOMAS JEFFERSON for Christ's sake, and got almost 20%. She should keep running, if she can, and everyone should be encourage that a candidate talking the kind of radical liberty that our country was founded on could cause a stir like that.

This fight isn't going to be won overnight. Most Americans are still living in a dream world because no real harship has hit them yet (but unfortunately it will). We need to get 20%, then 30%, then 40%, then....win. I took us at least 150 years to lose our liberty, we won't get it back in one election. Keep your chin up (and your stick on the ice). :)

It's because he's free

that Ron Paul is as he is:

But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

James 1:25

plus, he knows that Freedom is popular!


I have spent many years studying the philosophies of the world. Your and Ron Pauls approach most closely resembles the teachings of the Indian philosphy of Vedanta. The core of the philosophy is that you should focus on what you "ought" to do and that is your reward. Focus on the effort as opposed to the fruit. In both your and Ron Paul's case, you are doing what you "ought" to do, namely, spreading the truth. Your work is appreciated and I thank you.


For the love in the R3volution.....

“The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had." - Eric Schmidt

Love that speech

Gentlement may cry Peace, Peace, but there is no peace, the war has actually begun. The next gale from the north will bring with it the sound of resounding arms. Our brothern are already in the field, why stand we here idle? (My apologies to Mr. Henry if I misquoted)

Jim Rogers

More than 2 years ago I

More than 2 years ago I posted that I would be thrilled with 4th place for RP in the Iowa Caucauses. It drew insults and ridicule of course. Same deal these days, just ask Senator Joe Kennedy and GOP nominee Debra Medina.

DPers are warriors, they want to wield their sword right now, not plot troop movements on a map of the near future. I've written about low expectations before too. And I have them for DPers as strategists, but not as warriors.

10-15 million more voters need to believe in non-interventionism (liberty) at home and abroad to change America. Minds changed on Syria. Minds changing on privacy. "Printing money" is part of the dialogue. Win minds through focus, strategy.

Debbie's picture

Thank you Michael, for this beautiful post. I am here for the

exact same reasons you are. One thing I would like to say about Dr. Paul's comment: I don't think he would allow himself the "luxury", if you will, of being depressed, as then he would not be very effective. As you said, some people you know could barely get out of bed they were so overwhelmed. The way to handle that is to DO something as you are talking about. Of course it's best to do something before you allow yourself to get that far gone, but just taking any kind of action such as joining one of the Patriot groups and participating in their activities is a wonderful antidote. If people allow themselves to be depressed, they will not be able to do anything against the very things that are depressing them and their enemies will have won without firing a shot! That is what they want - for you to just lay down in your bed and be too overwhelmed and depressed to be able to get up and DO anything to stop them! That is why I think with Dr. Paul and with our Founders, it didn't occur to them that this was a way to operate. It used to be considered in our early days, that you faced your challenges with cheerfulness and did not complain. I think there is a very practical reason for this philosophy, because you won't survive if you don't, and you certainly won't have fun!


Right on Michael,

Good words, I too have low expectations of the prostitutes in the halls of government. They are low life scum suckers who do not listen to us, I am so sick and tired of their treachery. I have so much respect for Ron Paul, he is the first elected official I can say that about.

"Politics ought to be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free men."

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Thanks, Michael

I needed to hear that. When a child is learning to walk he first must crawl and in time with practice, balance and confidence that little fellow takes his first steps.
Soon he is running and everyone is chasing after him to keep up. We are ALL new at this stuff and as time goes on we will get our balance and stride. Peace

Prepare & Share the Message of Freedom through Positive-Peaceful-Activism.

Very inspiring Michael...

Thank you!

Thanks Michael for the

Thanks Michael for the positive comments. For me it is all about planting and nurturing the right seeds in the right season. Debra Medina and Ron Paul have the right message at the right time "for everything there is a season". As a young boy living on a farm,I learned that fact early on in my childhood.

Medina's loss was painful but the gain was equally joyful. As has been pointed out, the liberty movement is gaining strength every day. We can build on the gains and fully expect victory in the future as long as we persevere.


Medina got a pretty damn big chunk of the vote; we are making excellent progress. Hopefully we will get some badasses in Congress in 2010.


Medina got a pretty damn big chunk of the vote; we are making excellent progress. Hopefully we will get some badasses in Congress in 2010.

Thank you Michael

for those inspiring words of hope. God bless you and our movement.


thx. Spot on.

It may take a while, but we shall prevail.

'Peace is a powerful message.' Ron Paul

ok, now that i got what i needed to say about your post

what i really want to know is:

what kind of a car does ron drive? lol

seriously, i've always wondered. so pray tell...

Ron Paul is My President

aw michael, what you wrote put tears in my eyes...

it is so beautiful!

we are one big happy ron paul family here and it means the
world to me.

you're the best michael - and you know one of my favorite clips in FOR LIBERY is when you laugh when you say how outrageous the blimp was...i loved it! i've watched it a few times and your laugh always makes me laugh!

god bless you michael - you're the best!

Ron Paul is My President

Debra Medina campaign

her campaign is another baby step toward arriving at Liberty...

it will take time it could take 10 years...

but there is something I want to point out -

Ron got 8% in NH
hard to believe...actually I never believed that was the true correct number - we got robbed.

our numbers grow daily -
as long as this trend continues there is plenty of reason to be optimistic.

LL on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LibertyPoet
sometimes LL can suck & sometimes LL rocks!
Love won! Deliverance from Tyranny is on the way! Col. 2:13-15

I lowered mine.

I figured Debra would lose points due to the "can't win" factor and I took the Rasmussen poll that had her at 16% as my base. I figured she would get 12.5% so I was encouraged by her actual results.

One problem with pulling new participants into the process as supporters is that they tend to form unrealistic expectations based solely on cherry-picked anecdotal evidence. I ran for Congress as a Libertarian many years ago and actually allowed myself to become convinced I could win despite low funds and no polling. Result: about 6.25%, not bad for a Libertarian, but it sent me into a funk in which all I wanted to do was escape into science fiction novels :-) The point is, I have a good understanding of how newbies can form unrealistic expectations.

I think part of Ron Paul's ability to have low expectations was revealed in a recent interview where he said he never really wanted to hold office. He figured he would just run and speak out on the important issues. That would be his contribution and he could go back home and resume his private life and medical practice.

New Hampshire and Ecuador.

why don't you guys figure out a campaign guideline

and think how you're going to refine the message like 911 from here on forth. when a public figure like alex jones gets anywhere near a candidate (take ron paul), there is always going to be attack from those awaiting those opportunities. you can't always rely on a political veteran's response to pull it off, think medina. a lot of the liberty candidates are grassroots and have no experience. i think it's very much the responsibility of those who identify themselves as truthers but yet want to get involved in politics to figure something out and offer those in their conspiracy group some guideline such as what to ask and what not to ask, and sometimes whether some well known figures should approach a campaign at all or just help in the dark. on one hand i am hearing these conspiracy people attacking rand because he feels too much like a politician with his rhetoric and they always want a straight answer, then they turn around and attack medina for her lack of experience in handling political traps.. isn't the reason these conspiracists use to justify their existence and potential harm in a political movement that "we are activists and we get things off the ground quickly"? i'm not sure how activists can be so naive. why don't you get together and figure out some kind of self policing guideline, and start acting like it.

you are overstating the

you are overstating the importance of conspiracists. Ron Paul was called a 9/11 truther for talking about blowback, not being on Alex Jones. No conspiracists required 4 smear. Self policing has been surprisingly strong. Liberty candidates are blackballed by the MSM and are required to use the Alex Jones media network to gain recognition and a donor base. We play the hand we are dealt, crying about it won't change anything.

Ventura 2012

lol funny

even some in your group think you're very politically relevant and that a candidate can never do without the conspiracists doing activist work to quickly get it off the ground. you should have seen those posts considering how closely you track every single post of mine. the inconsistency in your group is amazing.. it's not just the theories. you can't even seem to agree on how many of you are out there and how politically relevant you are. yet you all insist on the collectivist group mentality in calling yourself "truthers". my description is arbitrary-- for conspiracists who think they can affect the election outcomes and reward or punish a candidate at will, why the hypocrtical act of not policing their own acts if they intend to help a candidate. whether you agree or disagree with YOUR OWN "GROUP" on you being politically relevant is none of my business. it is an argument from YOUR OWN FELLOW conspiracists trying to stretch your political importance, it was none of my invention. and self policing is a legitimate proposal in terms of winning elections. think how medina's poll stopped going up after the 911 issue and how angry supporter is time and time again an issue for ron paul, but that he was able to not tick anyone off while distancing himself from his own supporters. (medina tried to do the same but she couldn't pull it off due to her lack of political experience, but i would bet you were among the first to get pissed off, if i had to) yet you equate that proposal to improve as "crying". well your lack of cerebral capacity has been readily observable from all your mostly one-liner responses.

Is jtstellar asking

for central planning of a grassroots movement?

holy shit you're clueless about the definition of the word

if you even take the definition on its face you would realize central planning refers to planning on something "large" and thus there is a differentiable distance from its "center" to its locales. besides, i'm not even talking about organizing something from the top down because i am one of the grassroots myself. to see suggestions from someone at the organizational bottom and even begin to consider it represents anything central/top down is just retarded on its face. secondly i was talking about the minority group who refuses to let go of the group mentality who insists on taking on unsubstantiated conspiracy to at least do some self policing when it comes to politics, so they don't undermine the very political effort they're trying to support. self policing is as local/non-central/voluntary as you can get. and my last question: is VR using his brain when he posts comments?

I'm not in that group. I'm

I'm not in that group. I'm sorry you had to waste so much time babbling on about that, then.

Its a fact that Alex Jones has a strong presence on the internet(check ALEXA ratings) and that it was internet donors that pour money into liberty candidates.

You weren't here in 2007, or you might remember RP's poll numbers in NH go into free-fall after he was smeared as a truther and racist with almost no means to respond to the allegations. Facts are not important to the MSM. Did Medina make things easier on them by giving a poor answer? sure. Doesn't mean that she wouldn't have been smeared big time.

Ventura 2012


i'm trying to find a real person who adopts a group mentality and calls himself a "truther".. you and couple others don't seem to have a problem but you keep responding to me. look one way or another that "group" will have to do some self-policing. they are killing the campaign.. it's different than being smeared as racist--that was ron paul's own fault for his poor administrative work on things published under his name that he had control over. he can't control his supporters and they need to self police. i hate having a collectivist group inside a liberty movement but i realize they will probably never disband. the best chance is to just get a leader in that group to smarten up and tell their well known conspiracist leaders to not support a political campaign out in the open.

Once our candidate can afford

Once our candidates can afford to do that, it will happen, believe me.

Ventura 2012

great post


Thanks Michael

For putting everything into perspective.

great expectations

leave one open for great let-downs.

reedr3v's picture

That is beautifully written. And thank you

for repeating the story of Ron Paul's "low expectations." The greatest work for any of us is to become the best we can in what we love, and share our joy with others. Few may value revolutionary work outside the mainstream paradigm. But if we have created something wonderful, we will know, and it may inspire other seekers.
Debra ran a wonderful, revolutionary campaign, and helped shift the mainstream paradigm.
Today on NPR I heard two pundits analyze the race. One said, in an odd way Medina helped turn the race away from Hutchinson and Washington as usual, moving the conversation toward some of the rhetoric used by Perry to draw many voters attracted to Tea Party ideas.
The response is subtle and underground at first, as was so for Dr. Paul; but over time the impact is profound.

Thanks Mike!

Our message is spreading and taking root pretty quick. Maybe not quick enough for some, but certainly at a faster rate than I thought. I feel really good, looking back at the election results. 18% is not bad at all, considering the obstacles the Medina campaign were faced with, and it serves as a gauge to show how far our movement has come. Stay positive! Keep your head up and keep fighting!