Ron Paul rallies for Internet freedom during Super Tuesday speech
Addressing a crowd of supporters as Super Tuesday voting wrapped up in North Dakota, presidential hopeful and Texas Congressman Ron Paul told an audience in Fargo that while the rest of America is slowly joining sides with his crusade for liberty, legislation continuously threatens freedom in the United States. Aside from laws like the National Defense Authorization Act provisions that allow for the indefinite detention of Americans, Paul pleaded with supporters to make sure that as the federal government goes after personal rights, voters let lawmakers know they need to leave their Internet alone.
Super Tuesday results were not on par with what Paul had hoped for, but speaking as voters were still hitting polling places in ten states across the US, the congressman insisted that the ideas he is campaigning on continue to catch on with more and more Americans. Addressing a packed room in Fargo, ND on Tuesday, Paul prefaced a speech by insisting, “The cause of liberty is on a roll, let me tell you that.”
“This country is ready and raring, and tonight, we're going to send a very loud message to the rest of the country. And as I've said so many times, the American people are way ahead of Washington,” cheered Paul. “Washington is sound asleep, we're on the right track — so make sure they hear our message all the way in DC!” he added.
The candidate used his brief address to discuss issues that have been trademarks of his campaign thus far. In Fargo he harped on abolishing the Federal Reserve, withdrawing US troops from foreign wars and decreasing the size of the US government. Speaking only hours after the FBI reported that they infiltrated the LulzSec hacking collective, however, Paul said that the country’s open Internet is just as at risk of being ravaged as the rest of the rights that are guaranteed in the US Constitution yet continuously threatened.
Comparing his policies with those preferred by the other Republican Party frontrunners, Paul said that “the rest of the candidates support the status quo.” He added that foreign policies never change and neither do monetary policies. Most importantly, however, was how the mainstream GOP has refused to take a stance against protecting the liberties of American’s, including their online rights.
“There's no challenge to the Federal Reserve system,” said Paul, adding, “And most of all, there's no —no desire to protect personal liberty, personal privacy, protect us from the intrusiveness of the federal government, to protect your right to use — to use the Internet.”
Paul added that legislation such as the Patriot Act has let the government “invade our premises and our houses and invade our Internet, our emails and whatever they want to look at without a proper search warrant.” This, declared the congressman, is “Something the founders explicitly fought a revolution on and put in the Fourth Amendment, the right of privacy.”
Citing what online restrictions could do to his ethos of ending an erosion on personal liberty, Paul added, “How are we gonna spread our message without the Internet?” In response to his question, supporters answered the congressman with both applause and laughter.
Although Paul has failed to project to a first-place win in any states that have voted so far in primaries, he has consistently come out on top in studies that show that web surfers search out his name more often than Romney, Santorum or Gingrich. Google Insights recently reported that in 2012 so far, Paul continues to persevere in search results if nothing else. For the candidate, that comes as enough of a reason to continue his campaign that has been largely fueled by Internet support, but he warned the Fargo crowd that they might not always be able to use the Web as they wish.
Paul said that as Americans must continue to fight for their rights, they have already proven that online campaigns caused a major congressional upset only earlier this year. Speaking to supporters on Super Tuesday, Paul cited the defeat of the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, as proof enough that a substantial number of Americans are not just concerned about the government infringing on their personal rights, but are willing to take to the Web to protest.
“As frustrating as it might get at times, we do have victories. We've had one here recently, in the last month or so, because there was a bill floating around, Stop Online Piracy Act. And this was an effort for the federal government to take over and control the Internet,” said Paul.
“But a lot of people like you got word of it and sent a message. And Washington, even though it had majority votes in both the House and the Senate, once they heard from the people, they withdrew those bills, they took 'em off and they are no longer pushing through the Congress. But--so the people have to be heard!”
Although the SOPA law eventually died on Capitol Hill, Paul was the first House Republican to publicize his criticism with the act. He addressed it during a televised GOP debate earlier this year, offering condemnation that contrasts largely with what rival and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum had to say.
“The Internet is not a free zone where anybody can do anything they want,” said Santorum, while at the same time saying he opposed SOPA in its then-current incarnation.
Paul also rallied on Tuesday against the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012, or the NDAA. The congressman attacked President Barack Obama for granting himself the power to indefinitely hold Americans without trial and argued, “It's your life, you should do with—what your life what you want,” said Paul. “People shouldn't tell you how to run your life, as long as you don't hurt other people.”