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Campaign rally for Ron Paul draws diverse Oklahoma crowd

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
Thomas Kiene's trailer features an image of Ron Paul, supporting his candidacy.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – The large parking lot, just south of the Oklahoma State Capitol, quickly filled up with vehicles a couple of hours before Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul even showed up for his 1 p.m. campaign rally and speech.

Many vehicles sported signs and bumper stickers supporting Ron Paul or liberty-related messages. The same could said of the folks in the crowd and the signs they held. This was an informed, excited bunch of people who were clearly concerned about the direction the country had been taking in recent years, with bank bailouts, endless wars, attacks on civil liberties and a tanking economy.

Lukus Collins, a Republican and Ron Paul activist with the grassroots Ron Paul OK organization said he was simply excited to see so many people come out to hear Ron Paul’s message of liberty and small government.

“That’s the goal,” Collins said. “Get people plugged into the effort.”

Toby Pedford, also with Ron Paul OK and a “long-time activist,” told Red Dirt Report that Paul’s message resonates because “freedom is popular.” And as for him to getting involved in the campaign, Pedford said that Paul’s emphasis on the rights of the individual, rather than “black rights, women’s rights or Hispanic rights” was something he could identify with.

“I fell in love with that idea,” Pedford said.

Thomas Kiene, meanwhile, waited for the campaign rally to start and hung out by his car which was towing a box-shaped trailer with an impressive “Ron Paul 2012 / Freedom is Popular” image on it, with Gadsden and Culpeper “Don’t Tread on Me” flags whipping in the strong breeze.

While Kiene is impressed with Paul’s message on the Federal Reserve and returning to economic liberty, he said that the biggest problem he runs into when talking to people about Paul’s message is the perception of Paul’s foreign policy message.

“Foreign policy is clearly the issue I have the biggest problem with when trying to talk to people about Ron Paul,” Kiene said, adding that the “mass media” is a big part of that problem and that the people he tries to reach have been effectively “indoctrinated by the mass media.”

Wandering around the large crowd, you saw older folks, plenty of young adults and even children with their parents. Many people were smiling, from the guy with the punk hairdo to the conservative-looking man in a business suit. It was definitely a diverse crowd with white, black, Hispanic and Asian people all together. It was a reflection of what Ron Paul has called for - people all getting together and rallying around the cause of liberty.

The Sooner Tea Party’s Al Gerhart, who is apparently the state coordinator of Ron Paul’s campaign in Oklahoma, hosted much of the rally prior to Paul showing up. He made a number of war and battle analogies during his speech, which touched upon getting delegates for Ron Paul among other issues.

"He'll win Oklahoma, I'll tell you that," Gerhart said with a sense of certainty.

And then there was Kaye Beach, long-time liberty activist, blogger and host of the Axxiom for Liberty radio show with Howard Houchen.

Beach told the crowd that more grassroots activists are needed in this battle to restore the Constitution and freedom in America.

“Politically, we are a force to be reckoned with,” Beach told the crowd, adding, “You have a voice. You have power. Use it to defend freedom.”

Giving a particularly exciting and hard-hitting speech was State Rep. Mike Christian (R-Oklahoma City), who stood up on the stage with his son Michael Jr. and made a convincing argument as to why voters should strongly consider Ron Paul.

“My friends, we live in a time I never thought we would see,” Christian said. “We live in a time when the President of the United States can and does order the extra-judicial killing of American citizens, in secret, without any oversight, by processes that only he has approved. We have a government that snatches its citizens off the streets, holds the indefinite periods of detention and denies them access to the courts.”

State Rep. Charles Key (R-Oklahoma City) and State Sen. Ralph Shortey (R-Oklahoma City) also spoke, both endorsing Ron Paul and his message.

“We need a revolution,” Key said, the State Capitol building looming behind him. “We need one right here in Oklahoma, right here in this building.”

And while former State Sen. Randy Brogdon (R-Owasso) couldn’t be there for the rally, Key read a statement from the one-time gubernatorial candidate, which included statements about holding the Federal Reserve accountable and the repeal of ObamaCare under a Paul administration.

Key, a long-time advocate of freedom, liberty and adherence to the Constitution said that “When you show up in force like this, they (legislators) feel the heat and see the light.”

Added Key: “We are supposed to be your public servants, not your masters.”

Sen. Ralph Shortey, the new senator who was recently ridiculed in the media for introducing a bill that would prohibit “the manufacture or sale of food or products which use aborted human fetuses,” was particularly fiery in his speech to the crowd. He spoke highly of Ron Paul, saing he “has been consistent the entire time” he has served in U.S. Congress and on the campaign trail.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for a Ron Paul revolution,” Shortey thundered.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Matt Pinnell told the crowd that the door is open to Ron Paul Republicans and that the goal, over all, is “to make Barack Obama a one-term president.”

Copyright 2012 West Marie Media

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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