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Post details: Square Roots of Grass

Square Roots of Grass

On the surface, Ron Paul is still far away from a first-tier candidate. His official land line polls are roughly on par with the numbers that a WhiffleBall Bat might garner in the Most Favorite Sporting Equipment Competititon. Below the digital surface though - when judged by the number of Internet support groups - he ranks among the best. I was curious about how real the grassroots support for him really is, so I went to one of the improvised MeetUp groups event that was held at the Marcey Park, a leafy grove on the outskirts of Arlington, not far from Potomac River.

When I got there, I immediately spotted lots of Ron Paul bumper stickers and about 15 square looking individuals chatting among the picnic tables and getting ready to grill some bratwursts. The fledgling activists assembled from all walks of life - starting with a political science student and going all the way to a professional stock trader. Some of them were quiet, you could see they'd be more comfortable in a public library, engrossed in a comprehensive study of Affordable Health Care, and some were not, like that guy with a heavy Southern accent who seemed to have been raised in the firm belief that a hearty pat on the back is the best way to introduce your political platform. There was even a pair of twin brothers who had some Czech roots. A true hodge podge. But I also noticed a complete absence of posers. That was a good sign.

The happening had a distinctly underground character. I imagine this is how meetings of early Christians must have looked like. Little structure, but lots of ardor. I mean, here they were - a bunch of amateurs on a Saturday afternoon - and instead of watching football, polishing their cars or complaining about the sorry state of politics, they came to help a guy who is still a very very long shot - and all that just for the good feeling that one day in the future - should Ron Paul make it - they would be able to tell their offsprings that they were there at the very onset of his revolution.

When the bratwursts were successfully consumed, I made a trip to HomeDepot with a guy who volunteers at Ron Paul's headquarters, and we bought some tape and a roll of Tyvek. When we returned, we made a few signs and posters using makeshift stencils. The results - due to highly uncooperative paint - looked rather amateurish. I would imagine that Don Quixote would be very comfortable in our midst - hacking the cardboard with his sword and brandishing the spray-paint cans theatrically.

But when we were finished it occurred to me that the home made feel of our little Tyvek propaganda, when contrasted with picture perfect and mostly prefabricated signs of wealthier candidates, sends a very unique message: "This presidential hopeful has what it takes to inspire people rather than paid staffers."



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