LOS ANGELES, June 15, 2012 — Dr. Ron Paul is a smart, funny, engaging fellow. There is plenty to like and admire about him, wherever you are on the political spectrum.
Some of his supporters are another matter. Too many of them spiral out of control, and they have been for some time.
Now that the primaries are over, his more passionate supporters seem to have gotten more belligerent. These uncivilized ones, mostly college students, have earned the media moniker Paulbots, for their robotic insistance that Dr. Paul is the only choice the American people can, and will, make.
They have every right to believe his policies will make the world better. They do not have the right use that right to justify a discourse in expressing support for those policies in a manner that makes the world far worse.
Unfortunately, in their world, the ends, no matter how crude, assaultive or disruptive, justify the means.
This is not about policy. Many of his supporters are well versed in policy. This is specifically about behavioral issues that are beneath the dignity of Dr. Paul and polite society. As we look at the bad behavior the simple question, “what is to be done with the Paulbots?” begs to be answered.
With the 2012 GOP Convention in Tampa we need to question the use of abusive language emanating from the Paulbots and how to counter it. A serious discussion of Dr. Paul’s policies cannot, should not, and must not take place until these behavioral issues among his supporters are worked out.
Otherwise rewarding bad behavior would lead to further bad behavior by future political movements.
My admitted contempt for the Paulbots did not occur in a vacuum. It came after experiencing them in their own words. Those who disagree with (or even fail to publicly agree with) Ron Paul are subjected to various forms of abuse. Paulbots express themselves with:
(I do receive occasional hate mail from leftists, Syrians, the French, and even Lady Gaga supporters, but the overwhelming amount of it comes from Paulbots. Paulbots are not in any way to blame for the tiny sliver of hate mail I receive from other sources.)
When confronted with these bad behaviors, the Paulbots rely on various excuses:
1) The bad apples in the movement are the minority.
2) The hateful commenters are really Romney supporters pretending to be Ron Paul supporters to make them look bad.
3) I fake my own emails and send them to myself to frame the Paulbots (a personal favorite).
In those emails and comments found in chat boards and comment sections, even the rare Paul supporter resisting the obscene language still falls into the pattern of turning the political into the personal. To wit, a woman named Brenda tried to stay above board, but in the end could not help herself.
Because she represented the Paul movement based on the ton of support her comments received, some of her comments and my responses had to be given more attention.
“We don’t attack you personally for supporting the candidate that you do.”
False. Your movement consists largely of verbal carpet-bombers who demonize anyone disagreeing with them as unpatriotic, unamerican, evil, etc.
“We stand for you and your children as well as for ourselves. We stand for America.”
You don’t stand for me and I don’t stand for you. You do not stand for America. You represent one viewpoint and I represent another. The difference is I do not claim to speak for all of America. That is pure arrogance.
“We campaign in peace”
No. Read many of the comments and then the hate mail that fills my inbox. I publish it once or twice a month. It is filled with profanity, sexual vulgarity, anti-Semitism, and other horrible sentiments that are anything but peaceful. Peaceful supporters commenting on message boards are the minority.
“I’m sure that’s a unique concept for you to grapple with from a framework of party mind control.”
This is just another slur to imply that anyone preferring Romney over Paul is a mindless automaton or party hack. It is another example of demonizing someone just for disagreeing.
“You would not need to attempt childish bullying to gain our support of that candidate.”
Bullying is the very essence of the Ron Paul movement. 90% of the GOP does not want the guy, so the 10% diehards just verbally abuse the other 90% and then wonder why the rest of us hate the guts of the Paulbots.
They will deny that the problem exists, which is natural for the source of the problem to do. Introspection is not a strong point of the Paul movement.
So what is the answer? What should Americans do about these abusers?
The solution is to track them down. Force them to use real names and email addresses. Hold them accountable. Let their friends, neighbors, and bosses know they behave this way. Get them fired from their jobs and disgraced from their communities. Show them to be the haters that they are.
Ron Paul stands behind, frequently referencing the Consitution. However there is no Constitutional right to anonymous hate speech, in the town square or over the internet. Newspapers require that letters to the editor include real names and cities.
It may be time to require that all internet forums be held to this standard. While the ACLU will talk about a chilling of free speech, this would fit into their normal pattern of siding with criminals and aggressors over victims.
For those uncomfortable with government intervention, the private sector can be used to smoke these miscreants out of their hiding holes.
In the interest of fairness, Paulbots are not the only people using the information superhighway to engage in this bad behavior. All people conducting themselves in such a barbaric manner should be dealt with accordingly. The Paulbots just happen to be one of the largest practitioners of cyber warfare.
Paulbots will claim that this is an attempt to silence Dr. Paul and his movementand nothing could be more false. It is totally and completely about the method of communication that the Paulbots use. Once the bad behavior stops, so will the criticism regarding this very real issue.
Paulbots will then make statements such as, “What’s the matter, poor baby can’t take it?”
I can take it. I just shouldn’t have to. Nobody should. Internet cyber-bullying has led to teenagers committing suicide. Things should never get to that point before one admits a problem exists.
Ron Paul supporters must learn how to communicate without profanity, vulgarity, sexually offensive language, and bigotry. The offenders must be publicly “outed.” Most people would never publicly speak this way to a neighbor, a colleague, an employer, or a romantic prospect. By hiding behind screen names, society allows vicious individuals to dehumanize others to the point where society devolves into “Lord of the Flies.”
It is time for the excuses to stop. It is time for the bad behavior to stop. Ron Paul, whatever one thinks of his policies, conducts himself with politeness and dignity. Boorish behavior is beneath him. His supporters who worship his policies would far better advance his cause by emulating his mannerisms as well.
To those Paulbots who insist on staying in the gutter, just understand that everything you type on the internet is traceable and lasts forever. Potential employers may not want to hire people who conduct themselves online in a shameful manner.
For those engaging in hate speech on company time, just remember that words have meaning and actions have consequences.
Paulbots are bullies. The only thing bullies understand is force. Reasoning with them has failed. At this time the silent majority needs to crack down hard against anybody corroding the public discourse under the debatable guise of a greater good.
Once the Paulbots are given the verbal equivalent of having their mouths washed out with soap, a cleaner discussion about policy can actually take place. At that point, when people actually listen and exchange ideas, society benefits.
In the end, literally, the proof will be in the comments left for this article.
This discussion continues in the next column….
Brooklyn born, Long Island raised, and now living in Los Angeles, Eric Golub is a politically conservative columnist, blogger, author, public speaker, satirist and comedian.
Eric is the author of the book trilogy “Ideological Bigotry, “Ideological Violence,” and “Ideological Idiocy.” Eric is 100% alcohol, tobacco, drug, and liberalism free. After years of dating liberals, he has finally seen the light and now only dates Republican Jewish women. His family is pleased over this. Republican, Jewish women, you may contact Eric above.
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Eric Golub is an independent writer for the Communities. Read more from Eric at his TYGRRRR EXPRESS blog.
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