Many of us were taught, from a young age, to take advantage of any opportunity that could further our knowledge and strengthen our beliefs.
As we grow, we are likely to be presented with more freedom to choose which paths we will take, who we will follow, and who/what we will leave behind. This is all part of the process of becoming an individual- a unique identity with personal beliefs, opinions, characteristics and personality.
Much of who we are is defined by what we believe in and how we believe the world should work. In plain terms, political beliefs, for many, are a defining factor in our identity.
Politics, especially those concerning the distribution of power, is a widely talked about and debated issue in our nation, as well as on this campus. As young voters, politicians make it a point to appeal to our needs with the hope that they can count on our vote now and forevermore.
This past week the Davis community welcomed candidate Ron Paul to speak at the university campus on behalf of the Youth for Ron Paul chapter here at UC Davis. For many attendees (including myself) this was the first time they had seen a politician speak, let alone a running candidate for the presidential race.
As a registered democrat, I jumped on the opportunity to see Ron Paul. Many of my friends thought it weird that I, a strong democrat would want to hear a Libertarian speak. I brushed off the shaking heads and laughs because I saw this as an opportunity to learn, and learn I did.
I had no idea that there was even a chapter of “Youth for Ron Paul” here at UC Davis until last week, nor did I realize that there was such a large group of supporters in our community for the 76 year old, Texas, House of Representatives member and candidate.
The public rally took place on Thursday, May 3, at 7pm on the west quad behind the Memorial Union on campus.
Well before six o’clock a crowd began to form. Hundreds of students, community members, families, children, and campaign managers stood shoulder-to-shoulder waiting for the candidate to come on stage.
The diversity and size of the crowd resembled that of November 21st when Chancellor Katehi spoke to students and community members for the first time since the pepper-spraying incident.
Supporters brought handmade signs and flyers, signs and pamphlets were distributed before the event.
This Ron Paul anthem played through the speakers before the event.
When Ron Paul did take the stage (which I might add, was well after 7 o’clock) many members of the crowd began to chant “President Paul, President Paul,” over and over again.
For those of you who don’t know, Ron Paul is a “Libertarian”, though he swings more to the right than the left. Still, many of his fellow politicians know him as “Dr. No” because he has voted no on a number of issues.
At the rally, Paul motivated the crowd with his beliefs on ending the war, getting rid of the federal reserve, and restoring the United States of America with a smaller government.
What interested me the most was that Paul’s campaign had made such an impression on individuals my age. Perhaps this is because Paul, unlike his republican or democratic competitors, is an idealist. Like Paul, many of today’s youth want to rebel against the current form of government. Paul himself believes that we have too much government control, too many laws, and that our freedoms are being compromised.
Paul wants to decentralize power so that citizens can obtain maximized freedom of choice. For many, young and old, this is a dream come true.
Paul continued to talk about restoring America as a place where we have more freedom.
“The fruits of our labors are ours, not the governments,” said Paul.
The rally lasted less than an hour and left no room for questions. It was short and sweet.
Even though I have no plans to vote for Ron Paul in the upcoming election, the experience was one I will not soon forget.
As the youth of America we have a tremendous opportunity to shape the world we wish to live in – no matter what your political affiliation.
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