In the social arena, says Koehl, “People have the right to make their own decisions who they want to marry, what kind of food they want to eat. One group doesn’t have the right to tell other people how to behave as long as they’re not hurting anyone else.”
An example is “that there are some folks that want a constitutional amendment that bans gay marriage. If that’s what they believe, then they should have the right in their church or other social avenues to say so. And if they want to even ban somebody from being in their church, I think that’s okay. It’s just that the government should not be involved in those social transactions.”
Koehl is a stay-at-home mom with twins, a boy and a girl who are not quite three. “My daughter is allergic to the regular milk you buy off the shelf at the store, and she drinks raw milk. But the federal government says you can’t transport raw milk across state lines for sale. So, let’s say something happens to the short supply here in California; it’s illegal for me to buy the milk that [my daughter] can drink. Here is some bureaucrat in Washington, D.C., deciding for me what is safe for me to give to my child, while I feel fully capable and competent that I can do my own investigation and decide for myself what’s right for her.
“What happens in Washington, D.C., is that an arbitrary decision is made. And sometimes that decision is made not necessarily on pure evidence but by a political force. There are winners and losers.
“The Food and Drug Administration also wants to limit people’s ability to access dietary supplements. I think that if I can’t make the decision on my own, I’m fully capable of paying a doctor or someone else who’s trained in that area to work with and give me individual guidance rather than having a blanket statement come from someone who may be under political influence.”
But shouldn’t there be regulation of unethical companies that might put dangerous products on the market?
“I think that’s a social function,” says Koehl. “I can read in the newspaper that XYZ Corporation is swindling folks. I can talk to my neighbors and share my bad experience. People are quite adept at making sure that those who are swindling them come to justice. They have the court system available. And we have a great tool, the internet, where folks can post their own experience.”
How about illegal drugs?
From the perspective of Ron Paul, who is a licensed physician, Koehl tells me, “people’s overuse of those substances is a medical issue. It’s an issue between the person, their family, and their doctor, not an issue the federal government needs to be involved with.” Think “what happened during Prohibition with alcohol. It drove the sales underground, and a few people were able to produce and benefit.”
When her children are ready, Koehl will opt for homeschooling. “The Department of Education wants to tell everyone in the United States how their child should be educated,” she says. What happens is that we pay our federal taxes, and all that money goes to Washington, D.C., and then they say, ‘Okay, we’ll give the Department of Education X amount of money,’ and then everybody has to pile on and say, ‘We want a piece of that pie.’ All of a sudden, you have states competing for that money, and the Department of Education can then tell them, ‘Here are our rules to get that money.’ So they have a lot of influence. The rules become a blanket for the whole country to abide by, and people lose their ability to influence government at a local level.
“The government’s position on a lot of things,” says Koehl, “seems to be that ‘Jackie is not going to do the right thing on her own, so we have to require her to do what we think is right.’ It really comes down to a pessimistic view of humanity and an optimistic view. Ron Paul is very optimistic. He believes that in a free market, people can trade and they’ll be charitable toward each other. By the way, I think that, like the government, the Occupy movement is very pessimistic, too.”
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Angie Dodd lives in Oceanside, where, at 27 and single, she owns her own home. Prior to discovering Ron Paul in December, she had been a Democrat. She voted for Obama in the last presidential election.
“I really wanted somebody that would end wars,” says Dodd. “I don’t understand why we can spend so long in these countries that are very inferior to us. We can take them out quickly, but why do we stay there for so many years afterwards? I see at my work [for a defense contractor] that we keep building parts for them, and we go in and build buildings there. We spend so much money in these other places that we don’t want to leave. I want a politician who will actually stop this kind of stuff and the crony capitalism that goes along with it. So many politicians will say one thing, and you send them to Washington and then they say, ‘I’ll do what whoever pays me the most wants me to do.’ What I like about Ron Paul is that he doesn’t take money from special interests, and as long as he’s been in Congress, he keeps saying the same things. Even though they’re unpopular, he still stands by them.
“And it seems like every time we go into another country, we make people more upset at us, and it gets worse every year. We go over and tell them what they have to do and what they can’t do, and then we bomb them, a lot of people die, and we wonder why they hate us. As long as they’re already wishing they could kill us, we might as well be far away and they can wish that from across the sea. Then we’ll just say you can’t come over to us and we won’t go over to you. It might work out better, because things aren’t really going well with how it is now.”