Arlington (VA) and San Antonio (TX) - The Ron Paul campaign has done it again, bringing in their second and largest ever "Money Bomb" via Internet donations. Already there is talk of a third Money Bomb on the anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s birthday January 17, 2008.
Big bucks bombed again
On November 5, 2007, in honor of the anniversary of Guy Fawkes Day, some Ron Paul supporters unaffiliated with the Ron Paul 2008 campaign decided to give Ron Paul a monetary boost. On that day, over 37,000 Americans donated $4.3 million dollars in a single, 24-hour period. And yesterday, December 16, 2007, the 234th anniversary of the 1773 Boston Tea Party, the same organizing group helped over 25,000 first time donators, and an undisclosed number of repeat donators, raise over $6 million in one 24-hour period. The previous record for single-day donations came from John Kerry’s $5.7 million in 2004.
The significance of this type of movement, one which would not be possible without the Internet, cannot be over-stated. We are witnessing a changing of the guard for presidential elections. The established, tried-and-true, multi-trillion dollar communication system, the so-called "mainstream media", is up against an active group of young, techno-savvy voters. And whereas the mainstream media previously had not given Ron Paul any kind of real chance for winning, try and tell that to a devout Internet crowd that is literally out there walking the streets for their candidate, fueled by one of the nearly 1,400 Meetup.com groups for Ron Paul, with over 80,000 members, the most by far of any presidential candidate, Republican or Democrat. Huckabee is #2 with nearly 6,000 members in 273 Meetup groups.
The Internet is changing the face of this presidential race. Dr. Paul and his simple message of rights and freedoms, have established a following of devout "Paulites" (or "Paul-Heads" as they’re called by the mainstream media, a reference to the Grateful Dead’s "Dead-Heads"). The truth is, no matter what they are called, they are taking their free time and donating it to the Ron Paul 2008 campaign. CNN and Fox News have both interviewed members of active local Republican and Libertarian Parties where volunteers go out door to door, speaking personally with citizens, especially in New Hampshire, and handing out flyers.
Many of these personal efforts are fueled by the reverse of apathy. Volunteers see the many communities springing up on YouTube, MySpace, Meetup, and independent sites like the November 5th and December 16th fund-raising drive sites, and even now the RonPaulBlimp site, and they see others with the same beliefs they have. The Internet is fueling their anti-apathy movement in a way which could significantly reshape American politics.
By staying home and not being actively involved in organized local political parties, and instead by watching other activities on YouTube, their desire to do something has been touched by others with similar desires, feeding one another. And whereas they now see an avenue of release for their desires, one which must no longer go through the establishment, the Internet is literally opening the door to a new form of grass roots activist, the kind that mostly stay home building up ammunition to then go out and directly move, going door-to-door, standing at street corners holding up signs, and even plastering "Google Ron Paul" banners all over their local communities, over bridges, bill boards, sides of buildings, schools, everywhere.
The significance of this type of change in grass roots movements also cannot be over-stated. The previously dormant majority of voters in this nation now have access from their very own living rooms, to a wealth of knowledge and social activity coordination which, when an idea like Ron Paul’s message of rights and freedom are involved, can focus and direct a person’s activities into an agile, mobile fleet of force for change.
The anti-apathy movement is another direct result of the Internet and web sites like YouTube, MySpace and Meetup.com.
The Ron Paul 2008 campaign’s message is simple: freedoms matter, rights matter, upholding the U.S. Constitutional role of a limited federal government matters. And whereas these ideas are not new, in Dr. Ron Paul and the Internet they’ve now found a face and a voice.
It is likely that no matter what happens with Paul’s campaign this year, in the face of ever growing questionable activities by the president, the attorney general, several high ranking officials involved in the Iraq War, the Guantanamo prison camp, illegal wiretaps, illegal requests of private citizen’s phone records, etc., that such a message will continue to grow and gain momentum regardless of the outcome, and especially in the previously apathetic crowds.
It may prove that the actions of one administration, coupled with the anti-apathetic message made possible by an in-your-living-room technology like the Internet, will be the fuel necessary to raise up the current 50+% of Americans who do not vote. Many of them will get out there and do something that could impart real change.
According to the feelings of Ron Paul supporters, the general consensus is two-fold: they hope the message is not getting spread too late to be of significant impact in the 2008 election, and that the electoral votes cast accurately reflect the popular vote, as it is still possible that even if Ron Paul were to win a popular primary election, he would not receive that state’s nomination for presidential candidate.