I have been particularly interested in the Republican primaries in this election cycle, just as I was 4 years ago. The main reason is Ron Paul and his message of liberty. It has been both really exciting and frustrating at the same time.
I am optimistic for the long-term future. I think that a combination of technology, open communication, and a sense of individualism in America will be strong enough to overcome big government and usher in a new era of liberty.
My hopes for the near-term future are not as bright. There are wars going on in several countries (some bigger than others), the U.S. government is trying to run an empire on the planet, the spending is out of control, and the debt is a ticking time bomb. There is going to be some serious economic pain in the near future.
I also don't have much hope in politics, particularly in the near future. I have been a big supporter of Ron Paul's campaign, only because he is spreading the message of liberty and turning more people into libertarians with each passing day.
Unless something big happens in the next few months, Mitt Romney will probably be the Republican nominee. Even with third party runs, Obama or Romney is highly likely to win the general election in November. The American people, while starting to awaken, are unlikely to awaken enough and fast enough to back Ron Paul in large numbers like Romney is getting today.
It is frustrating to watch. Ron Paul didn't really campaign in Florida and I thought it was a good decision, but it would have been nice to see him at least get into double digits. He received about 7% of the vote, which means that 93% of the voters on that day weren't ready for serious change. They may vent a lot to friends and family and they may say they are fed up with the system and the politicians, but their actions didn't reflect their words. They haven't felt enough pain or had enough self-education to really want something different than the status quo.
Let's face it - all of the candidates in the two major parties are part of the status quo, except for Ron Paul. Their language may differ a little here and there, but their overall policies would keep the establishment in place.
Donald Trump, the media whore that he is, called a press conference for a big announcement. People thought he was going to endorse Newt Gingrich. Instead, Trump endorsed Romney. I'm not saying this because it will have much of an effect, but it tells you that he could have gone either way. He jumped on the Romney bandwagon because he can now see the writing on the wall. But there really isn't much difference between Gingrich and Romney when it comes to their politics.
When Ron Paul ran 4 years ago, I was very active. I was making signs, mailing letters, making calls, etc. I have not really been active in the last year, except to write about him and talk to friends about him. I guess you could say that Ron Paul has made me apathetic. 4 years ago, I thought it was important to get his name out there and expose people to the man and his philosophy. If there is someone out there today who doesn't know who Ron Paul is, then they just aren't paying attention at all and don't really care and will probably never care. Everyone else should know Ron Paul and at least be vaguely familiar with his message. There is not much of a point for me to hold signs. I will be more than willing to talk to people and explain his philosophy for those who are interested.
It is really up to the American people now. It is their choice. The libertarians have done their job in exposing the message of liberty. It is now our job to explain it as well as we can when people ask. It is important for us to write and speak so that people who want to learn more have a place to turn. But there is no sign waving for me now. We have led the horse to water. We can't force the horse to drink it.
The American people are going to regret not getting behind Ron Paul, although some will always be too oblivious even when the problems become more evident. The ones who supported Paul, or at least didn't support any of the others, can hold their heads high. We have done what we can. We will continue to work hard in spreading liberty, but it is ultimately up to the American people to decide. It is not too late, even after the elections are over. Americans must withdraw their consent. They must realize that more liberty and less government are the answers to so many of our problems. They must drink the water or suffer the consequences.