NARDI: The truth behind the chalk

 

 

Tom Nardi

The way the Villanova pavement tells it, Ron Paul is the ideal candidate. He opposed Iraq and wants America to mind its own business in the world. He’d pull us out of CAFTA and NAFTA. Because he’s an ob-gyn, he understands women’s issues – even better than Hillary Clinton. Paul’s committed to reducing the deficit and being fiscally responsible. And he likes Internet porn.

But there’s a lot about Congressman Paul that his supporters won’t tell you. He’s famous among politicos for doing things like suggesting that American Middle East policy was a partial cause of 9/11. He wasn’t excusing the attack but providing context for how our actions are viewed in the world. Such a reasonable stance drove Rudy Guiliani into a fit of rage only possible for a man milking the overly drastic fear of terrorism for all it is worth.

However, Paul is much more than a reasonable Republican. He’s a libertarian in the strictest sense of the word. Paul stands for what Ronald Reagan always claimed: the notion that the only thing we have to fear is government itself. This position leads to some quandaries that should give even the most steadfast Paulies pause.

The sidewalk says Paul voted against regulating the Internet. This claim is the most misleading of all. When I think of “Internet regulation,” I think of censoring the Internet. In fact, the sidewalk statement implied censorship – and Paul voting against it – when it mentioned Internet pornography. However, what Paul voted against was something far different; he voted against and opposes Net Neutrality.

When we think of the Internet, we think of unfettered access to whatever Web site we may choose to access, regardless of our provider. If I subscribe to Comcast, I should be able to access Google as quickly as I do Yahoo, or Facebook as quickly as I do MySpace. The same would hold true for Verizon or even plain dial-up.

Currently, Internet in the United States by-and-large operates along with the concepts of Net Neutrality. However, there are no laws governing this system. If Comcast were to, say, sign an exclusivity deal with Yahoo tomorrow, it could restrict access of Comcast users to rival sites to Yahoo, like Google. Or Comcast could launch its own search engine and restrict access to any third-party servers.

Comcast’s restriction of torrent downloading has already proven this phenomenon to be plausible and real. Paul opposes putting any law on the books that restricts such consolidation, threatening the open nature of the Internet as we know it.

The sidewalk says Paul supports non-intervention. While this claim is true, it doesn’t mean quite what you think it does, simply that Paul opposes war. On July 31st, the House passed a resolution to divest from Darfur in an effort to stop funding the genocide there. HR 180 would identify companies actively conducting business in Sudan, and prevent the United States government from contracting with said companies.

The bill passed by a vote of 418 to 1, with 13 not voting. The only “nay” vote was Paul. His rationalization of his unconscionable vote is that divestment doesn’t work, except for when it did help end apartheid in South Africa. But that doesn’t count.

Also, Paul wants to abolish the Department of Education. If you like your federally subsidized student loans, think twice about supporting the gentleman from Texas.

You should also be concerned about what people are standing behind Paul. Specifically, he’s endorsed by neo-Nazis and white supremacists, like the organization Stormfront.org.

If you wonder why, Paul notably was one of the few representatives who voted against the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. He thought it was unconstitutional. I guess poll taxes were an overblown problem.

In all, Paul is the candidate that will protect us from having to solve our problems. Think foreign policy is tricky? Ignore it. Can’t figure out how to close the racial inequality gap? Stop trying. Won’t take a stand on gay rights? Leave it to the states. Not sure how to alleviate Central American poverty, thereby reducing illegal immigration? Build a fence. Think the federal government spends too much? Get rid of it.

Our Founding Fathers envisioned three coequal branches of government that would be too busy fighting each other to oppress us. Paul might claim to protect the Constitution, but what he’d really do is gut it in the name of states’ rights. If you want to support the Constitution, vote for Chris Dodd instead. But that’s for another column.

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Tom Nardi is a senior political science major from Philadelphia, Pa. He can be reached at [email protected]