These two presidential candidates from different parties are compared frequently: both are against needless wars in Iran and Iraq and refuse to fund them, both voted against the PATRIOT Act and continue to oppose it, both are unusual “underdog” candidates with large followings, and both claim they will bring a revolution to America’s government by returning to the values of the Constitution. But Ron Paul is far from “the Republican equivalent of Dennis Kucinich” and not everyone realizes this. In fact, the differences are so huge that it is a wonder they are compared at all.
The very basis of Ron Paul’s campaign is to uplift the Constitution. As you already know, the laws of our nation are subjected to a lengthy and complicated process before becoming law. The Supreme Court can declare these laws constitutional or unconstitutional. This high court has ruled time and time again in favor of the separation of church and state, citing the establishment clause of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion.” The Supreme Court applies this clause to issues like Christian nativity scenes in front of government buildings and a moment of silence for prayer in public schools, which could respect the establishment of any religion. These laws are declared unconstitutional because our Founding Fathers designed the American government to stay out of religion in order to prevent discrimination, which their ancestors had experienced in England.
But Ron Paul explicitly opposes the separation of church and state in several ways, including his assertion that there is a war on Christmas and that secularists are trying to destroy Christianity. He said, and I quote from Paul’s own House of Representatives website: "The tired assertion of a separation of church and state has no historical or constitutional basis. Neither the language of the Constitution itself nor the legislative history reveals any mention of such separation. In fact, the authors of the First amendment- Fisher Ames and Elbridge Gerry- and the rest of the founders routinely referred to "Almighty God" in our founding documents.”
This is true, but the fact that our Founding Fathers had a deep and personal belief in God does not justify any union of church and state, nor does it justify such things as a Christian education in schools paid for by the government. If one religion —in Paul’s case, Christianity— is allowed to maintain and alter the way our government works, this would be an extreme violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment. Not to mention that it would be a dangerous precedent to set, in which any religion, no matter how controversial the beliefs, could one day conceivably control America. Paul, who claims to be a strict constitutionalist, would be contradicting everything his campaign stands for by violating the Bill of Rights. Yet, this is what he seeks to accomplish if elected president.
I have a hypothesis, and, like all hypotheses, it has the potential to be incorrect. It is well-known that many of Ron Paul’s supporters are actually Democrats who are dissatisfied by their party’s candidates. They look to Paul because he is against the war, in favor of civil liberties, and seeking to uphold our founding documents. But I imagine that these supporters see only the positive aspects of Ron Paul’s philosophy, and not the suspicious discrepancy between who Paul says he is and his actual stances. Perhaps the issue that most concerns me is that these voters are generally in line with Dennis Kucinich’s values and political platform, yet, having been misinformed or misled, they follow Ron Paul. Votes are then taken away from Kucinich, a candidate who could represent them in their pursuit of peace, justice, and governmental action in accordance with our Constitution.
Many other points of Ron Paul’s platform defy the typical stances of the young, rebellious, and peace-seeking “revolutionaries” who make up much of Paul’s voter-base. The list is so long that it practically covers his entire political viewpoint, but here is just one obvious example. Young American voters are, in general, concerned with the environment and global climate change. Are the young American voters who support Ron Paul aware of his extremely lax policy proposals for energy conservation, including the removal of the Department of Energy and permission for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge? This totally contradicts our generation’s “revolutionary” approach to demanding more accountability for environmental protection. Paul even voted against implementing portions of the Kyoto Protocol that are already allowed under law. In a way, this makes Paul’s environmental proposals no better than President Bush’s environmental proposals. Dennis Kucinich, on the other hand, wants the United States to enter into the Kyoto Protocol and seeks to hold corporations and car companies accountable for America’s needless pollution and relentless consumption of our limited natural resources.
So, why do voters who seem to belong in Dennis Kucinich’s following instead campaign so passionately for Ron Paul? Last I heard, you’re not being a revolutionary by supporting a politician who says he is someone he’s not and continues practices that his predecessors, like Bush, also advocate. If you want a real revolution, vote for Dennis Kucinich. He's similar to Ron Paul in the positive ways and, fortunately, totally unlike him in all of the others. It just might be that Kucinich is the Ron Paul you think Ron Paul is.