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WASHINGTON, January 22, 2012—Anyone who believes that Ron Paul’s foreign policy is a sign of weakness, or that he does not have the courage to defend this country, should talk to Dr. Paul’s military supporters. More than 1,500 supporters showed up at the march on the White House in support of Congressman Paul.
Among them were over 400 active duty or retired military members participating in the rally. None of them were timid about their support of the only military veteran in the race for the Presidency.
“We support him because he supports us!” exclaimed Corporal Jesse Thorton in his speech supporting Ron Paul. Echoing the theme of the march, Thorton also said, “Ron Paul is the choice of the troops.”
Paul’s supporters gathered at the Washington Monument and then marched to the White House with the troops in the lead. Those who provided proof of military service then fell into a formation facing away from the White House. The formation of over 400 troops stood at salute one second for every military victim of suicide while Obama has been President. This lasted for over eight minutes.
They then stood at parade rest in silent prayer for another 21 minutes to honor every troop who had died in combat during the Obama administration. When asked how he felt the march went, co-founder of Veterans for Ron Paul, Nathan Cox was very pleased. “I think it was awesome. We had over 400 troops in formation.”
Veterans for Ron Paul is not done planning events and preparing for activism. Asked what the group had planned next, Cox said that there were tentative plans to have troops march at the Republican National Convention in August, and organizers are asking troops to participate in other activities as well.
“We’re still encouraging active duty troops to make YouTube videos about why they support Dr. Paul for President.”
While not speaking in an official capacity, Adam Kokesh, one of the event organizers, had this to say: “If the grand old party supports the troops enough to listen to them, then Ron Paul will be our next President.”
Kokesh also had some words aimed directly at the current occupant of the White House. “Do not think for one second that you can silence this voice!”
Ron Paul supporters at the march gave several reasons for their support. One man spoke of military blowback. “When we occupy other sovereign nations, we make many enemies who are then intent on attacking the United States.”
Another supporter was the wife of a military chaplain. She carried a sign listing the negative effects that being in the military can have on families. These included increased rates of suicide, post traumatic stress disorder, and a high divorce rate (62%).
Several participants claimed that many active duty troops were forbidden by their officers to take part in, or even show up at the march. When asked about this, Nathan Cox expressed disappointment.
“I’ve disobeyed direct orders. Just because someone gives you a direct order does not mean it’s justifiable. We took an oath to defend the Constitution, and if orders are unconstitutional then you have a right to disobey them.”
For a long time, “supporting the troops” has been made almost synonymous with supporting an aggressive foreign policy. If you didn’t support unconstitutional wars and an erosion of our civil liberties, you were said to be un-patriotic and un-supportive of our military.
With rallies and gatherings such as this, that argument is being discredited. The troops support a former military veteran who wishes to bring home all the troops from around the world. Whatever happens during the nomination process, one thing about Ron Paul seems certain; his supporters are not going anywhere.
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