To my great consternation, I found out today that I will not be voting in Tennessee’s Republican primary. Despite having solicited an absentee ballot over six weeks ago, government employee incompetence failed to deliver. More specifically, they failed to deliver my ballot to me (via email per request). Instead, on further investigation, they admitted it was emailed to an unknown person in an unknown location with an email address that happens to be one letter different from mine. In short, clerical error cost me my vote. “Sorry, there is nothing that we can do now,” was the reply the incompetent desk lady gave. Am I disappointed? Yes. Am I really surprised that government bureaucracy could make a disenfranchising clerical mistake? Not at all.
Governments often do many bad things. They start unjust wars, deliberately lie to citizens, and steal through taxation and currency debasement. But for all the intentional bad that governments can do, they also act with a good amount of incompetence. Sometimes I’m actually glad that governments act incompetently, especially with all the totalitarian legislation coming out of Washington these days (i.e., Patriot Act, NDAA, etc.). But in this case, simple incompetence at the county level frustrated me by keeping me from voting for a candidate I really believe in, Dr. Ron Paul.
Congressman Paul is probably not going to win the Tennessee Republican primary, with or without my one vote. Unfortunately, most state Republicans will choose the candidates who supported the raising of the federal debt limit, bank bailouts, No Child Left Behind, the Patriot Act, the unsustainable wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the wisdom of the Federal Reserve.
While a majority of Tennessee Republicans this primary may not support the message of Dr. Paul, I am increasingly optimistic about the vitality of the liberty movement he has created going forward. Ron Paul has the rare ability to connect with people and not just garner their vote, but also change the way they think politically and economically. He doesn’t just get people to cast a ballot; he gets people to become liberty activists. It’s incredible the way young people are supporting Paul and his ideas of sound money, individual liberty and non-interventionism. Just two days ago I found out about a friend who, while formerly a Ron Paul skeptic, is now an all-out Ron Paul supporter and actively encouraging others to vote for Paul. Ask anyone under 30 about Ron Paul and they most likely will be supporters. If the GOP was really aiming to get a candidate that can attract young people, they have found their man.
So for my fellow Tennesseans reading this post, I encourage you to think once more about which candidate really represents your values before voting tomorrow.