Nine years ago this week I sat in our Kia minivan parked in a (rare) street parking spot on Capitol Hill near the Capitol Hill Club, with a handful of large index cards in one hand and a pen in the other. I was far outside my comfort zone, as for the past 12+ years I had been ensconced in the deep back end of Ron Paul’s Congressional office, way back behind Adam’s desk. With my satirical posters, my photo of me and Maarten Doude with perplexed Montenegrin border guards, and my electric tea kettle. But I did have a window.
In those days you operated anonymously. If your name was in the press…well you did something wrong! Drug scandal, sex scandal, money scandal. Thankfully we had none of those in Ron Paul’s office (well, for the most part). But we staff members were always determined to avoid the public eye.
Sitting in my van jotting notes just an hour before our official launch of the Ron Paul Institute, with my then-young kids making a ruckus in the back seat, I realized that world must necessarily come to an end. The Ron Paul Institute could never succeed if metaphorically hiding in that horribly crowded cubicle, just barely down-wind from Legislative Director Norman Singleton’s Chernobyl-like death cavern with cafeteria food from the paleolithic era fossilizing under the legislative schedule from seven years prior. (But in his defense, he knew where every paper was – numbered in his mind like every grain of sand).
A week or so later my parents were in town. My late-father was walking with me as our children were playing in a playground in Arlington. Jamie Kirchick in the (appropriately named) Daily Beast and even Jamie Weinstein in Tucker Carlson’s Daily Caller did their best to strangle our baby RPI in its crib. (Tucker you have a lot to answer for!) We had no right to bring Ron Paul’s non-interventionist foreign policy and support for civil liberties front and center in an institution because that was hateful and racist and conspiratorial and kooky and evil. Probably anti-Semitic, though they (accurately) had nothing to cite.
It was just an old-fashioned smear. They were worried, not confident. They knew we were not bigots by any stretch.
I remember reading Jamie Kirchick’s article out loud to my father as we walked around the playground. He was smart, college-educated, but a truck driver. Definitely not a Washington guy. A working man by choice. His face turned dark and I could tell he was worried. He knew I had a family to support and he hated seeing my and Ron Paul’s name dragged through the gutter.
“Aw dad,” I said with a smile. “Don’t worry! This is actually really great for us! Being attacked by the bad guys is a huge boost! The only danger is when they ignore you.”
He smiled, but wasn’t fully convinced.
Nine years later and we have established a real track record. Five major Washington DC conferences, featuring icons of our time like Julian Assange, Rep. Thomas Massie. former Rep Dennis Kucinich, Col. Douglas Macgregor, David Stockman, Lew Rockwell, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. The list could go on and on.
Two seasons of the Ron Paul Scholars Seminar. Conferences in Houston (more in a moment). And perhaps ten thousand published articles. Two thousand episodes of the Ron Paul Liberty Report.
Every single conference completely sold out. Standing room only. The best revenge is success, and our success has always been thanks to you!
Anyone seen Jamie Kirchick lately?
Unlike most of these fake, money-grabbing institutes, we view you as friends and partners. We would be nowhere if you did not decide that what we have on offer is worth supporting. You, like me, thought of your children and grandchildren and were fearful of the world they might grow up in without an organization to boldly proclaim that we must change course from war and conflict and a “social credit” system at home to Ron Paul’s society where everyone is free but with the responsibility to take care of themselves and their loved ones.
Nine years. We thank you.
Still…”Time, Please stand still, stand still.”
Houston Conference is our next event. Please get your tickets. Seven in ten available tickets are sold. Former US Marine intelligence officer and former UN chief weapons inspector for Iraq Scott Ritter will join us as a speaker. More will follow. Trust us – this is going to be great!!!