Representative Ron Paul spoke to a crowd of thousands of enthusiastic supporters in the UCCU Center Thursday, Oct. 18. A presentation on a jumbo screen that outlined principles supported by Paul and examples of his previous speeches led up to the congressman’s introduction.
Erin Haskell, UVUSA Vice President of Academics, introduced Paul, pausing periodically to ask the crowd to withhold from cheering until he actually came out.
The crowd supported him with standing ovations and chants as Paul explained how he believed individuals can solve national problems. Many attendees showed their endorsement with clothing, buttons and flags. An abundance of T-shirts, hats and banners emblazoned with “Ron Paul Revolution” were seen in all sections of the center.
UVUSA introduced Paul, but he was not invited specifically by the university. Mike Rigert from University Marketing and Communications explained that the Young Presidents’ Organization contacted Dr. Bob Rasmussen, Assistant Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, and asked if the university would be interested in hosting Paul to speak on campus.
YPO is a global organization focused on continuing education and networking for chief executives. Matt Browning of YPO was one of the day-chairs for the event. He explained that the Utah chapter of YPO brought Paul and contacted the university for a venue.
“UVU was very quick to embrace the opportunity,” Browning said. “It’s been great to speak with administration on campus.”
Paul spoke on myriad issues facing the nation, offering his beliefs and suggestions to resolve the problems. Paul said that the American people cannot afford to give the responsibility of their lives to the government, and that many problems could be solved if individuals took responsibility for their actions.
“In a free society, the responsibility is on each and every person,” Paul said. “You can’t give the responsibility to the government, or they’ll screw it up . . . If you’re a true American, you support responsibility.”
Quoting Benjamin Franklin, Paul said, “Freedom doesn’t work if you don’t have a moral society.”
Paul spent a large portion of his speech outlining what he identified as failures of the welfare system and tax system. He said he believes people should help one another, but the government should not be the moderator of welfare.
“Get rid of the Federal Reserve and get rid of the income tax,” Paul said.
While his supporters were comparatively small in number to other presidential candidates, Paul explained that he is optimistic about the future and the attitude of the nation. He praised students and young people for their use of technology to communicate and move ideas forward. He identified self-awareness and educating others as what will be the driving force for change in the future.
“The individuals, as they improve themselves, can improve others,” Paul said.
The event was free and open to the community at large, with students receiving priority seating starting at noon.
Joshua Wartena is a senior studying Journalism and Spanish at UVU and will graduate in Fall 2014. He is hoping to work as a middle-east correspondent or long-form magazine writer in South America. Josh is currently living in Orem and is the Opinions Section Editor