Opinion

Paul-supporting delegates: Make yourself heard, but be respectful

Photo of Matthew Hurtt
Matthew Hurtt
Contributor

With the 2012 Republican National Convention less than a week away, I want to take a few moments to give my fellow Ron Paul-supporting delegates and alternates (bound and unbound) some advice on what to do once you get to Tampa.

On Sunday, August 19, Ron Paul’s campaign held a conference call for delegates, alternates, and others to cover the details of the Convention, notably convention etiquette and certain platform-related issues that should please liberty-minded Republicans.

I was pleased to hear the focus on Convention etiquette, and I wanted to share the guidance from the campaign and my own thoughts for those Paul-supporting Convention attendees who may not have been on the call and to mainstream Republicans who are wary of our presence.

Most importantly, Paul campaign representatives encouraged delegates to act in a manner that would best embody the liberty movement and represent Congressman Paul.

All eyes are on us, and it’s important that we act in a manner that enhances our movement. We have an opportunity to impress upon the Republican Party our ideas of limited, constitutional government. Let’s not squander that by causing unnecessary conflict.

The second thing the Paul campaign conveyed was the need to be vocal and informed, but respectful. If you’re comfortable talking about mainstream issues of liberty, seek out opportunities to take that message to the media and to other delegates and attendees.

As I’ve come to realize in the last couple weeks, the media is looking for Paul supporters to interview. It is important that we’re able to bring our issues and ideas to the forefront without turning people off from our message.

As Congressman Paul says, the issues of liberty unite many diverse groups. Always seek out opportunities to bring people together.

There will be plenty of opportunities for us to share the message of liberty with other delegates, attendees, and the media.

If we’re abrasive and disrespectful, you can sure bet that will be the headline in the media. Always act in a way that is respectful to other Convention attendees. And be mindful that there will be hundreds of cameras around, filming every interaction.

You should assume that you are always being recorded when speaking to someone else. In the age of “undercover” and “gotcha” journalism, anyone with an audio recorder and a URL can make your comments a top news story.

As Morton Blackwell says, “Remember, it’s a long ballgame.” We’ve come a long way since Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign.

The GOP is taking seriously some of the big ideas of our movement: a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve, issues of Internet freedom, and even opposition to indefinite detention of U.S. citizens.

Let’s encourage the GOP to fully embrace these ideas and adopt more of our ideas moving forward.

Lastly, remember that this movement doesn’t end with Ron Paul; it continues with us. Your diligence in your community has given rise to the liberty movement within the Republican Party.

It’s up to each and every one of us to continue our movement after the Convention. There’s a lot of work to do, and this is our big shot to make our voice heard within the Republican Party, to “plant our flag.”

I look forward to seeing you in Tampa.

Matthew Hurtt is a Ron Paul-supporting, Mitt Romney-bound At-Large Delegate from Virginia to the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa. Follow him on Twitter: @matthewhurtt