Republican candidates giving speeches at liberal universities is a lot like being thrown into the lion’s den. It is fully expected that the ravenous crowd of leftist trained, government educated students will heckle, jeer, protest, and in purely metaphorical terms, devour conservatives who attempt to spread a non-statist solution to the country’s ills. Unless that conservative is Rand Paul, who like Daniel, walked into the lion’s den, and turned the ferocious felines who would typically make a quick meal out of him, into cuddly companions. Yes, it seems that Sen. Rand Paul and his platform of freedom wins the hearts and minds of young people deep in the belly of the beast at liberal Berkeley.
Paul is going boldly where no conservative has successfully gone before, which is right into the heart of young America, and connecting with them on a personal level. The Kentucky senator spoke to a crowd of 400 students, delivering a speech that was centered on recent abuses of power by the U.S. intelligence community. Paul condemned many of the actions of the CIA for spying on members of Congress and the NSA’s data mining of information on private citizens without a proper warrant. This issue seems to be one that concerns young people, as is evidenced by the cheers Sen. Paul received during his talk.
When someone like Rand Paul wins the hearts and minds of liberal students from a left-leaning university like Berkeley, it makes some conservatives nervous. To them Paul must be compromising on the traditional Republican party platform. He is not conforming to the preset program that all crusty, old, rich white guys have downloaded into their robot-like mainframe, attending the same old tired events, spewing the same drivel that Republicans have been regurgitating year after year. It appears this is true in Paul’s case, and it is definitely something the Republican Party needs to be concerned about, though not for the reasons most would think.
The Republican Party should not be concerned that by connecting with young liberals, Sen. Paul is somehow selling out and turning into a big government goon. It is clear by his stance on the issues that he is a die-hard limited government constitutionalist. No, the concern should be focused on learning how to effectively harness Paul’s strategy and apply it widespread across the country for the midterm elections.
Rand Paul has a simple strategy. He focuses less on the social issues, which since he leans libertarian, means that he is not for forcing morality on the American people through government laws and restrictions. Paul and most libertarians are not for gay marriage, they are against the federal government being in marriage altogether, as this limits the free choice of all people, not just heterosexual or homosexual individuals, in who they choose to be in a committed relationship with. This should be an issue left up to the state, or without government interference altogether. Paul is against the war on drugs, again, because this is an infringement on the natural right of individual ownership of one’s own body. If a person chooses to partake of marijuana or other substances, knowing the damage they may cause to their physical or mental health, that is completely their choice. These kind of stances are shared by young people across the political spectrum, which is why so many are connecting with Paul.
The attention that Paul is getting from young people, Republicans, and even some Democrats should be sending a loud and clear message to the Republican Party. Change is coming, whether it is welcomed or not. It is time to stand for freedom, and to stop ignoring young people who are waking up to the reality that big government is not the solution. These individuals have been taught that there is no other option. The government either steps in to solve the problem, or things fall apart. The truth is, there is a third option. The government steps out of the way, allows the people to govern themselves to the maximum extent possible under the Constitution, and fairness will prevail. This belief wins the hearts and minds of liberals and conservatives alike, in places like Berkeley and around the country, and Rand Paul gets it.
Opinion by Michael Cantrell