The U.S. government's insane bipartisan position on the "need" for the War on Drugs may well be the issue that converts me into a Ron Paul supporter before all is said and done.
I've already stated my support for Government outsider Herman Cain in the 2012 Republican Primaries. However, with so many good candidates in the race, my vote will factor in performance of the respective candidates in the primary elections leading up to the Louisiana GOP Primary. Specifically, I am not going to vote for a candidate who hasn't won a primary by the time Louisiana's nominating contest rolls around, and I reserve the right to vote for a candidate who may not necessarily be my first choice based on among other things, a candidates respective standings in the race to be the party's 2012 Presidential nominee.
So while Herman Cain may be my first choice, and while I would ideally like to see him win the party nomination (and ask Ron Paul to be his running mate), should Cain fail to make a splash in the states leading up to Louisiana's primary, I may well cast my vote for someone whose campaign is in play for the nomination. My first choice among the other candidates Cain excluded is Ron Paul, who is almost neck-and-neck with Cain in the race to win over my vote. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum are in a virtual tie for third, and I could feasibly see myself voting for any of these candidates should the others fall out of contention early on.
Of the four names mentioned, the one who has gained the most traction with me as a voter and Tea Party activist in the time since the 2008 elections is Ron Paul. Many of my readers may remember my cold reception to Ron Paul's candidacy in 2008, even as he took the digital world by storm with his staunch libertarian beliefs and apparent disdain for the government.
I did not consider Congressman Paul to be a serious candidate in 2008. My how things have changed. I not only would consider voting for Paul in the GOP Primary this go-round, I have an unprecedented level of optimism for both he and Cain --- two candidates who in other election cycles would have been quickly relegated to the realm of "fringe candidates" who are quickly dismissed by the media and voters alike. Typically, these candidates might get a few percentage points in each of their party's primary elections, but never come close to actually winning one.
I believe the political dynamics this go-round are markedly different from any other election cycle in my lifetime, and I think the very same positions on the very same issues and dynamics that in years past would all but disqualify men like Ron Paul and Herman Cain may not only work to their advantage this time around, but may even be significant enough to put both men into real contention.
There are just so many things wrong with the so-called war on drugs. First and foremost, the very premise of such prohibitions are un-American and unconstitutional. America's war on drugs has created a real war in Mexico pitting the nation, its government and its law enforcement agencies against drug-gang militias that have killed tens of thousands of people in the last few years alone.
How many lives must be lost before the U.S. government decides to start behaving like adults with regard to the issue? How many non-violent Americans whose only crime was pursuing happiness in a manner the U.S. government deems illegitimate must be locked up, taken away from their families, losing their jobs and any prospect of a normal remainder of their lives in the process before Americans say "enough is enough".
For all the Democrats' nefarious behavior in terms of their rewarding campaign contributors with big government contracts, bailouts and other corporate welfare, the Republicans are on-par in their support of the "Big Law Enforcement" industry, whose lobby is hell-bent on seeing to it that drugs remain illegal for the foreseeable future.
Ron Paul is the only candidate in the race who I am confident would do everything within his capability to end this expensive and ultimately counter-productive war. In the end, that may go an awfully long way to securing my vote in Louisiana.
Author's Note: For the record, my position regarding the war on drugs is in no way an endorsement of use and/or abuse of illicit substances. I do believe addiction in America is a serious problem, but one that is not solved by incarcerating Americans who develop addictions to mood-altering chemicals. A propensity to abuse alcohol and drugs is passed down genetically from addicts to their children. Technically, addictive disorders are a medical illness, and putting people in jail for suffering from a genetic illness seems as un-American to me as anything with which I am familiar.