Ron Paul is never going to be the president of the United States. He didn’t win the Republican nomination, and there wasn’t a fight at the convention. I’m sorry. I know, I know, Ron Paul’s a great American hero. He’s not a politician. He delivers babies in his spare time, for goodness sake! I saw him help a grandma cross the street the other day. What’s that, you say? Ron Paul is old? Wrong: Within his blood courses the youthful life force of the American dream.
Yet before we sink any further into hero worship of American’s favorite libertarian, I want you to stand back for a moment and ask yourself, honestly, what it is you like about Ron Paul. You hear it all the time: Ron Paul is the voice of the college student. During his visit to MU last March, Rep. Paul drew the loudest cheer for his endorsement of marijuana legalization. You’ll get no argument from me about the point —the war on drugs should end. But the drug war is not the most pressing problem facing college students. It’s not even in the top five. If you support Ron Paul because of his antiestablishment message and opposition to the drug war, you owe it to yourself to re-examine both his positions and your priorities.
Here’s a priority: health care. Obamacare allows young adult students to continue receiving coverage under their parent’s health insurance plans until the age of 26. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, three million young adults now have access to health care who otherwise would not. Are you one of them? Under President Paul, that policy would be gone, along with the rest of the Affordable Care Act. Goodbye, easy access to health care.
Or maybe you have diabetes. Assuming you’re not insured under your parent’s health plan (remember, we’ve repealed Obamacare), you’re going to need some insurance. So on top of rent, food and tuition, you’re going to need to find some insurance company willing to pay for your health care. It’s alternately impossible or impossibly expensive, and it’s real life under President Paul. Obamacare, for comparison, forbids insurance companies from turning you away based on your preexisting conditions.
I can hear you now: “Wait, Ben! College students are a mostly healthy bunch! Why should we care about those few poor suckers that aren’t us?” Fair question, friend. Young adults are, on average, healthier than any other age group. We are united by two things: our general health and our general poverty. Many college-age people are in the unique position of not being supported by their parents and not having the time to pay for both their expenses and their tuition. Pell Grants, Free Application for Federal Student Aid, and federal subsidization of college loans allow thousands of students at MU to continue their educations. These programs, more integral to college students than any drug policy, would be abolished under a libertarian philosophy. You would suffer. Your friends would suffer.
It’s almost funny Ron Paul is known for his rabid support from college students. It betrays a deep ignorance on the part of those students — an ignorance toward the issues that affect students most. Maybe you have your tuition paid by your parents. Maybe you fall under your mother’s insurance plan. Maybe even your credit card statements are sent to a faraway mailbox. For those not so lucky, Ron Paul’s platform poses an insurmountable obstacle to their health and future. Remembering those students, and that their concerns are greater than the need for a legal joint, will help you decide which politicians deserve your worship.