I recently attended the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida as part of the Houston Free Thinkers media team. I went into this experience with an open mind, ready and willing to learn whatever may come our way. The lessons learned have helped me tighten my focus on ways we can claim our freedom in a more tangible way than voting.

The weekend started with P.A.U.L. (People Awakening and Uniting for Liberty) Festival. The event was dedicated to the ideas of Liberty and a thank you to Dr. Ron Paul for all his hard work. This event featured some of the biggest supporters of Ron Paul and top names from the Liberty Movement. From Presidential Candidate and Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson to Lew Rockwell. Adam Kokesh, and Tom Woods.

The event was not without controversy however. According to the Paul Fest website:

“By now, most people are aware of the video taken of Peter Schiff reading a text message written to him by (Ron Paul’s Campaign Manager) Jesse Benton about the P.A.U.L Festival organizers.

Peter Schiff inadvertently unveiled some very painful truths – that people within the Paul campaign were actively working to undermine the grassroots efforts for Tampa – period…This is fact. And it is likely that the attempt to dissuade Schiff from speaking didn’t end with him. Benton clearly states that he wanted us to “go away”.

Why so much contempt for the grassroots? Where is the evidence that the organizers are “bad people” and a “big fringe element”? Most of us are the same organizers who put the ‘08 Revolution March in D.C. together, which Benton himself attended. We believe we deserve an explanation for these damaging remarks.

What if the campaign had decided to support P.A.U.L Festival from the beginning? We believe it would have shown the country something very powerful. It would have helped heal the fracture in the liberty movement by unifying us at a critical time. By leaving our differences at the door and joining in celebration and unity, we could have shown the nation and the world that Dr. Paul is one of only a few candidates in political history with the love and support of a true grassroots movement. In the end, despite the division, we in the grassroots organized a massive event in Dr. Paul’s honor because we believe so strongly and so deeply in his message.”

So what does this reveal? Many people had long suspected Jesse Benton of sabotaging the campaign from within. The text message to Schiff shows that the powers that be have worked to co-opt any movement that seeks true change, such as the Ron Paul campaign. I am thankful to those who put on the event however. It was a great experience to meet so many others from across the spectrum, even within the Liberty Movement.

After the conclusion of the festival we moved on to reporting on the RNC itself. We had delegates reporting to us from inside, as well as interviewing delegates and supporters of Romney and Paul from the outside.  The first day of the convention was rescheduled after a recess because of the possibility of Hurricane. We decided to go take a walk around the city and see what we could find. As we walked around the city we ran into a bit of a snag and were temporarily detained by the DHS.

  Once released from the grasp of the Homeland we continued documenting the counter protests happening around the RNC. Here is an example of one of the events.

 We also took the time to interview supporters of Mitt Romney outside a delegate event. Our main purpose with these interviews is not to attack people but rather, to encourage them to look into the many similarities between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.

    Due to the fact that there were armed National Guardsmen, Sheriffs deputies, DHS, Federal Protective Services, and more, the protesters were largely outnumbered. During a protest by the Westboro Baptist Church, Resist-RNC protesters staged a counter protest which led to a mass presence of SWAT style police.

  While the protestors outside did what they could to bring to light the fact that the Republican is working to destroy the country, the Republican party itself worked to eliminate any hope of a fair delegate process from within the Convention. By now you have heard the reports of rule changes by the RNC, effectively keeping Ron Paul’s delegates from having their voices heard. Despite the childish antics, RP’s supporters rallied outside the convention to call for common sense voting.

   After the convention wrapped up we headed home. We had met new friends, learned background information, and were a little more aware because of the experience. Lessons were learned.

   I first heard about Ron Paul and read his book, “Revolution: A Manifesto” a couple years back. I have never known whether or not to fully trust another politician. The words he wrote and spoke seemed genuine, and unheard of from someone in his position. I was blown away, and a piece of me has always hoped that we could achieve real change with Ron Paul.

  For the past few years, though, the media and the Powers That Be have made it perfectly clear that that was not going to happen. Many former Ron Paul supporters are now turning their back on him. Others are more than anxious to shout, “I told you so!”. Many in the Liberty Movement will now make the move to support Gary Johnson’s campaign.  Still others will continue to support the Republican Party and hope that real change will come through those channels.

  To each his own. I for one have only had my views that the people are the true answer, reinforced. We can not look to politicians on high hills proclaiming that they have the answers and they will share them, if only you vote for them. Some will say that Non-Voting is a cop out. It is our American duty to vote, they say. I will explore why that logic is false at a later date, but for now I suggest you look into the Diebold Voting machines, as well as the fact that both “candidates” are receiving mass amounts of donations from Goldman Sachs and other banks. The same banks that caused the Financial Crisis that began in 2008.

   We must continue to focus on the community. Why wait til 2016 and the possibility that maybe, just maybe we might get some good guy in there? The Republican party has made it perfectly clear they will change the rules any time you get close to beating them at their own game. The Democratic Party is no different.

  Start researching Agorism and Voluntaryism. Begin community projects, such as free/alternative schooling, community gardens, alternative exchange networks and more. Once we begin encouraging our friends and family to become more involved in their own struggle for freedom a process of discovery will begin. Discovery of our own innate potential to change our personal worlds. Change has to begin inside, emanate outward, be reflected onto others and then it will continue to spread. In short: It is time to be our own leaders.


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