Rolling the Snowball: The Philly Rally

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"I
think it looks like it’s about time we had a new declaration."
~ Ron Paul, Independence Mall

I arrived at
Independence Mall around 9:30am. There weren’t very many people
around for the rally yet. The chairs and stage were still being
set up. A family with three small children had a table set up and
was selling Ron Paul shirts. Ron Paul was scheduled to meet with
the Philly Meetup as soon as he arrived.

The first person
I saw from the campaign was Kent Snyder, and just seconds later
Carol Paul walked in. The room, filled with about one hundred people,
stood and clapped for Mrs. Paul. Kent spoke for several minutes,
and then Carol addressed the crowd. While Carol was speaking, someone
got a call and gave word that Dr. Paul’s plane had just landed.

Dr. Paul arrived
to meet the Philly Meetup around 11:30. The guests were ecstatic
when he entered; you could feel the energy in the room. I was happy
that people were respectful and didn’t yell too loud upon seeing
him, as I fear that he would go deaf if every time he met supporters
in a closed space they gave it their all. Dr. Paul spoke for ten
or fifteen minutes. He thanked everyone for their support and congratulated
them on winning the fund raising contest. There was a short frenzy
for pictures and autographs after he finished speaking. This is
when the picture that made the front page of the New York Times
was taken.

Later, when
the room was opened for the private briefing, Dr. Paul was waiting
inside as the line filtered in, everyone taking their time (against
Kent Snyder’s insistence that we please move quickly) to have autographs
and pictures with Dr. Paul. Dr. Paul was only able to speak for
about twenty minutes by the time everyone had their personal moments.

Heading back
out to the rally, it was 1:00 already and the area was now full
of Ron Paul rEVOLutionaries. I spent the next half hour with a friend
handing out several hundred copies of Ron Paul’s book Mises
and Austrian Economics — A Personal View
(Thank you Mises
Institute and donors). I was delighted to hear so many people say
something like "Oh, Mises! I’ve heard of that." or "Hey,
I’m a big fan already, I check the blog." For the people who
looked a bit puzzled, I just quickly remarked that there is an academic
tradition of which Ron Paul is only one voice, and that in this
book Dr. Paul discusses some of the influences that the Austrian
school has had on his economic understanding and policy. Other people
were handing out bumper stickers, slim jims and other Ron Paul goodies
during the concert.

The crowd roared
when Ron Paul took the stage at 2:00 sharp. In the first few minutes
of his forty-five minute speech, Dr. Paul was powerful in projecting
the words, "Bring our troops home NOW!" Chants of "Ron
Paul" and "Freedom" broke the speech many times.
Dr. Paul also asked the audience if there were any members of the
military in attendance. He named every branch of the service, each
one being met with at least several loud cheers. He then talked
about freedom bringing people together, and said that we might have
some Republicans, Independents, Democrats, formerly apathetics and
even some anarchists in the crowd. Each mention drew notable cheering.

From my vantage
point I could see nothing but a sea of people in all directions
when I stood during ovations. Ron Paul remarked that other campaigns
often dole out "appropriate" signs for supporters to hold,
but not his campaign. I don’t think the rEVOLutionaries could be
contained in this regard if anyone tried. The unique flavor of the
signs was one of the best parts of the rally for me. While sitting
down in my spot in the seats, I could see a large "IMPEACH"
sign, a "V for Vendetta" sign but with an "R"
instead of a "V," a "Don’t Tread On Me" flag,
several American flags, several home made Ron Paul signs and many
of the official-looking Ron Paul for President ’08 signs.

The speech
went by very quickly, and the energy was great the entire time.
I particularly appreciated when Dr. Paul spoke about restoring the
revolutionary spirit to America, saying that we should draw on the
energy of Constitution Hall and other nearby historic landmarks.

When the speech
finished, there was one final roar of energy from the crowd, even
though I’m sure many people, myself included, had lost their voices
by this point. As the crowd filtered out, there was a man in a "Veterans
for Ron Paul" shirt playing Taps on a bugle at the memorial
for the fallen soldiers which was set up adjacent to the rally.
Many people remained at the rally site waving signs in the street
for cars and pedestrians passing by.

On a personal
note, I have to say that the message of liberty truly does bring
people together. I never thought I’d see the day when my traditionally
liberal Democrat mother, a neighborhood family who are traditionally
Republican, and myself, would be united behind one candidate. I’m
sure many others are experiencing the same thing among their friends
and family. I think we can all be encouraged by the great showing
of support for Dr. Paul’s candidacy and also for the greater message
of liberty witnessed in Philadelphia this 10th of November,
2007.

November
14, 2007

Andrew Greve
[send him mail] has a Bachelors
degree in History. He is a co-author of Voluntaryism for Everyone
and the Short Guide to Market Anarchist Deconversions.
He contributes to www.MarketAnarchy.com.

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