Recently by Christopher Manion: Ron Paul's Potential Catholic Problem
Four years ago and more, I met a neighbor at our farm gate. He was an LRC regular and wanted to say hello — and to post a big 3'x6' "Ron Paul Revolution" sign on our farm fence.
As he drove up, I smiled at his license plate — "Wrench 1." He got out the sign, unrolled it, and we talked while we put it up.
"How long have you been interested in politics," I asked.
"About two months."
"What got you hooked?"
"I was driving to work one morning and saw a sign at the side of the highway, u2018Google Ron Paul.' I went home that night and looked him up."
"I haven't sat down since."
That's how I met Richard Conrow, a living tribute to the passion for liberty that God has planted in every man, woman, and child ever born. While Rockefeller Romney has placed paid campaign staff in virtually every county in the country — and there are some 3,300 of them — for the past five years, Ron Paul's simple appeal to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" has inspired countless lovers of liberty to devote millions of unpaid hours to spread the word that freedom isn't dead, and it need not die.
Richard came back last spring and we went to work again at the farm gate. I asked him if he'd be so kind as to write down his story — why a guy who had seldom been interested in politics had suddenly become an engine of inspiration out here in the Shenandoah Valley. With his permission, I am quoting here his reply.
"One of the things that struck me the other night was a question you posed, asking me if I was in touch with the Ron Paul campaign. I’ve been asked that before and I have even been asked how much the campaign was paying me to spread the word about Ron Paul. Every time that I hear it, I’m kind of blindsided even though I shouldn’t be, since it occurs so often. Why would I work so hard, with no pay, for a cause that will only benefit me minimally, if at all? What would make me, or anyone, stand in the cold rain to hang a banner supporting a “politician”? On the drive back home I gave it some thought. This is what I came up with, I hope you don’t mind me sharing it with you:
"When I was a child, I’m not sure how old, perhaps my early preteen years or just into my early teens, I had a vision of America. It was right around the first term of Reagan. I had not grown so old as to become jaded or so educated as to know the true history of injustice and inequality in America. I was innocent, I guess you could call it. I saw America as a bastion of freedom in a world of injustice. I had read the federal Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. I “believed.” Deep within me I knew that people had an inherent “right” to be free; to live their lives as they saw fit and to make the mistakes or missteps that they would, without an overbearing master dictating their actions. People are substantially “good” and “giving." There are a few bad apples out there but they are the minority, or so I supposed. When we apply ourselves to work, we have the right to the fruits of that labor. Any money or benefit that we derive from our efforts belongs to us, not to any “collective.” I was told repeatedly how evil the Soviet Union was and the reason usually given was that they believed that any human effort was rightly taken away from the individual and used to “benefit all.” We Americans were going to band together and fight this evil nature that wanted to destroy our economic freedom and civil liberties!
"Then I grew up, educated myself and became jaded. I grew to realize that neither party really stands for much of anything that the other party doesn’t also support to some degree. Both want me to give up my economic and civil rights to benefit (or to bend to the will of) the larger collective. So much for us having defeated the “evil” Soviet empire — it looked to me like they might have won.
"I was completely disillusioned. I pretty much gave up on ever being a part of the America that I was so proud to imagine myself a part of when I was younger. Then came the day I told you about, when I Googled Ron Paul. I came upon a video where Ron Paul was speaking. I cocked my head to one side, amazed that someone was talking from my viewpoint. A politician who believes that we are a free people? This can’t be true. Only the power-hungry people decide to become politicians. You certainly can’t find a decent American that would subject himself to the intense scrutiny and personal attacks that comes with a public office unless they had ulterior motives. I figured that politicians only came in two flavors, those who were crooked from “go” and were trying to enable their corporate friends or those who wanted to be Robin Hood (take from those “evil” rich people and give it to the “needy” poor people – when you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can count on Paul’s support).
"Within hours I had searched Ron Paul’s voting record and his positions. In the first hour or so I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. This had to be another politician that would say what was needed just long enough to get into office and enact his “real” plan. As the hours went along and I dug deeper and deeper, I began to hope. I hadn’t seen hope for my youthful America since I lost sight of her decades ago. “Can it be? Is this person real?” I felt sure that the next web page rendered would unmask this charlatan and show his true nature. With every story and YouTube video, my hope grew stronger and stronger. The flickering spark started to burn brighter. I needed to help get people to see that there is one politician that has actually read the Constitution and believes in it. Within hours I got involved in a local Meetup.com group and did all I could from there.
"You will find people who only “like” Ron Paul. They believe as he does about Americans being free but they haven’t got behind him one hundred percent. I think that they fear placing too much hope in any politician because they fear the thought of having their hopeful spark extinguished, and having hope stepped upon once again. Hope is a powerful thing in the mind, but how many times can it be crushed and yet remain? You will find many who are Ron Paul activists. The only difference between the supporters who like him and the activists is the degree to which we believe he will effect a change. The supporters have a small spark of hope that has not quite blossomed into the u2018brushfire in the mind' that the activists feel. The thought that we may one day change America into the bright beacon of hope and liberty that we know is possible keeps us going."
"In my mind the choice is clear. Ron Paul or someone else. But, to get back to the point, why do I do what I do? I guess, put simply, I still have hope for the America that we can be."
That is Richard Conrow's Ron Paul story, in his own words. On Tuesday night, he was rewarded. Our own Warren County had the highest margin for Ron Paul in the Commonwealth of Virginia — 59% for Dr. Paul, and 41% for Romney. Thanks in large part to the tireless work of "Wrench 1," who bought his own bumper stickers to distribute, who made his own signs in his garage ("You gotta be careful, the paint fumes get pretty strong," he told me), who paid for his own gas, who knocked on countless doors, and who worked the Shenandoah Valley for the cause of liberty for four years without being paid a dime.
Congratulations, Richard, and thanks for your devotion to the cause of liberty.