The problem with Paul, a warning to students

Last month, a sizable group of Michigan State University students did something remarkable.

Four thousand college kids, millennials living in the age of apathy, dragged themselves across campus and piled into their school’s auditorium. No, not for a concert and no, not for a basketball game, but to sit and listen to a 76-year-old Texan congressman talk politics.

With the general election season slowly but steadily taking form, Ron Paul appears to have wooed the young vote.

In the same way that Obama’s 2008 effort grabbed hold of this demographic, the Paul campaign has gained vocal and ardent young supporters, especially online via social networks (Take a look at comment sections of politically-oriented YouTube videos or CNN articles and you’re bound to find somewhere in all caps, whether relevant to the conversation or not, “RON PAUL 2012!”).

The Congressman’s libertarian views (his stance against the War on Drugs, his stance against wars of all kinds, his general “under-my-watch-the-government-won’t-get-into-any-of-your-business” rhetoric) seem to resonate with many young adults, even a large number of college liberals. And while on the surface Paul’s platform may seem like a dream ticket for a young voter, many should take a second look at the man’s ideals.

Our generation grew up hearing horror stories of atrocities committed by a federal government out of control.

Bush’s executive powers lent us two gruesome wars and a wake of messes the current administration is still attempting to reverse.

So for many young adults, to hear the word “government” is to see images of wire-tapping NSA agents listening in on their phone calls and reading their emails.

According to Paul and his supporters, the federal government, in nearly all forms, is responsible for restricting and infringing upon your rights as a citizen.

But here’s where the trouble begins.

While Paul vows to do away with all those scary things the government can do, he has vowed to severely slash funding to and completely abolish many governmental programs and agencies we should not be afraid of. This is what I mean:

– Those who care about our environment have no business voting for Paul, who plans on abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency, allowing corporations to police themselves when it comes to pollution and emissions.

– Young Americans who benefit from the Affordable Care Act would most likely kiss their health insurance goodbye, as Paul is a staunch enemy of “Obamacare” insurance companies would be free to exploit their customers, erasing all the advancements this last administration has made.

– Future teachers take note: Ron Paul is anti-union.

– Women and men who take interest in protecting women’s rights ought not vote for Paul, who would likely lead an effort to repeal Roe v. Wade and pave way for a future of governmental violations of a female’s rights. A twisted irony coming from a candidate with such strong libertarian leanings.

But what should baffle us most about the Ron Paul craze (and the new philosophy of the Republican Party, for that matter) is how a candidate can be so anti-federal government when the job he’s applying for is exactly that – running the federal government.

The office he’s asking you to vote him into, he wishes to make obsolete.

It is this writer’s opinion that a strong society needs taxation and a responsible government to fund programs and services.

Highways, parks and energy all come from — you guessed it — the government.

In the same sense, we certainly do need to keep a close eye on all branches and levels of government as these powers can often be abused. But deregulation and cuts in funding to our most important federal programs is certainly not the answer.

The chances of Paul making it to the general election and grabbing the nomination are slim to none.

His strong group of supporters really stands no chance against the powerhouses of Romney and now Santorum who lead polls in every state.

But even if you still vote for him — despite the numbers and the politics (over 100,000 Michiganders voted for Paul last month) — please try and think beyond voting for an icon.

Just because Ron Paul stands out among the normal selection of politicians and is an outspoken voice in Washington, doesn’t necessarily mean that his policies will benefit you or your fellow Americans.

Join the conversation on Twitter: #studentsvspaul