Standing in line in the Rosenberg Gallery, (the Gallery makes up the lobby for the Kraushaar Auditorium at Goucher College) I was waiting for a friend. A friend I had made just two weeks earlier at the same venue, while listening to former General Counsel of the U.S. Navy, Alberto Mora.
I was one person of approximately 1,000 people, made up of Goucher Students, young professionals, older couples and blue collar workers of all ages. I saw Jews and Gentiles alike. Young married couples with kids in tow and a few individuals that I guessed to be of Middle Eastern descent. We were all waiting for the same thing. The doors to open to Kraushaar Auditorium so we could begin filing in to hear the speaker.
That person being the Republican Congressman from Texas running for President of the United States, Dr. Ron Paul. The free Ron Paul event at Goucher College Monday night, was as hot a commodity as any concert ticket could have been. There was a line formed next to will-call for those not having a ticket but hoping that all of the tickets may not have been spoken for.
There was also a long queue for those wanting to buy Ron Paul’s latest book, The Revolution A Manifesto.
I was fortunate that my new friend (he and two of his buddies drove 2 hours from southern Maryland to hear Ron Paul) had saved a ticket for me. We hooked up and walked into the Kraushaar Auditorium, me with my point and shoot camera, he with his video camera, and found a seat down at the foot of the stage.
After some preliminary remarks by Goucher President Sanford Ungar, and a Goucher Student Representative, Paul made his appearance to the Lectern. One would think that Paul had already clenched the GOP nomination! Ron Paul was met with approximately 1,000 people standing and waving Ron Paul for President placards and bumper stickers.
After allowing the crowds frenzy to die down a bit, Congressman Paul started his speech. Speaking completely off the cuff, but never at a loss for words, he explained his view on the Iraq War (he voted against it) his passion for personal liberties and limited Federal Government intervention. His desire to work with our allies and those not our allies and not impose our Government and values on others. Paul spoke with knowledge and insight into the money supply, the value of the dollar abroad and why he supports going back to the gold standard. His remarks condemning the Federal Government’s illegal wiretaps and citizen eavesdropping drew applause and standing ovations.
He explained why he voted against the Patriot Act (that doesn’t make you less patriotic) and why he would work to overturn Roe v Wade (Ron Paul is an OB/GYN doctor). So many of his remarks resulted in an almost revival-type response with people shouting “Yes!” and “Alright!” One topic that was absent in his talk was that of immigration. Immigration is addressed on his website (http://www.ronpaul2008.com/). But was MIA at Goucher.
After 40 minutes of Paul talking, he was ready to take questions. As is the policy of Goucher College, Students have the first, and usually only opportunity, to ask questions. As Dr. Ungar pointed out; “after all it’s their tuition that pays for this.” Point well made.
The students queued up and asked a variety of questions, ranging from women’s pay gap discrepancy to abortion to the Iraq War. As an aside, Dr. Ungar’s ability to call many of the Students by name impressed me.
The evening finished with Ron Paul signing his books that had been purchased (and sold out I might add).
I found Congressman Ron Paul to be knowledgeable, gracious and yet somewhat like an old-time country doctor. He had that down-home, common-sense quality that reminds you of an older uncle that you used to visit in the summertime. Ron Paul definitely has a following as was evident Monday night, even his wife was courted and interviewed. A grass roots following that is loyal, diverse, and very much in touch with the political goings-on.