There was no bigger development on the American political and social scene in 2010 than the emergence to power of the "Tea Party", and that movement arguably had no bigger inspiration than Texas congressman Ron Paul.
Emerging in the wake of the disastrous Presidential election of 2008 that saw Barack Obama win the race to the Oval Office for the Democrats, the Tea Party (basing it's moniker on the historical 'Boston Tea Party') espouses a firm adherence to the U.S. Constitution, drastic reductions in government spending, and reducing the national debt and budget deficit.
A longtime critic of what he perceives to be the frequent misuse of our nation's military power by the American military-industrial complex, Paul inspired the Tea Party with his Libertarian-based run for the 2008 Republican Party nomination. Paul fell short, but his agressive criticisms of the American foreign, domestic, and monetary policies, especially in attacks on the Federal Reserve system, struck a chord with many.
For his leadership example and principled stand on the vital economic and Constitutional issues at this fragile time in American history, Ron Paul is named as this website's annual "American of the Year", following in the footsteps of previous honorees Glenn Beck (2009), George W. Bush (2008), Chuck Cassidy (2007), Billy Graham (2006), Bill O'Reilly (2005), and the first honoree Pat Tillman from 2004.
Born and raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Paul went on to Gettysburg College and then to med school at Duke before becoming a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force during the 1960's. On leaving the military, Paul became an obstetrician, deliving more than 4,000 babies in the ob-gyn field across two decades before turning solely to politics.
He first ran for President in the 1988 election as a member of the Libertarian Party, finishing 3rd in receiving .5% of the popular vote. More than trying to actually win, Paul wanted to begin to spread Libertarian values as an alternative to traditional Republican and Democratic Party platforms. Those values include strong emphasis on civil liberties, less government regulation, and military/diplomatic non-interventionism in a generally less powerful state.
In 1996, Paul sought a return to Congress, where he had held a seat from Texas during a portion of the 1970's and 80's, and won in a hard-fought campaign. After that he built his political popularity and power to the point where he was winning re-election fairly easily, now serving in the U.S. House of Representative from Texas' 14th District.
Inspired by many of Paul's ideals, the Tea Party candidates upset Republicans in a number of elections this year and became a viable political force with the elections of politicians such as U.S. Senators Scott Brown in Massachusetts and Mike Lee in Utah, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, Dean Murray in the New York State Assembly, and Paul's own son, Rand Paul, to the U.S. Senate from Kentucky.
While Ron Paul himself has had limited and perhaps just regional actual election success, his inspirational ideals and speeches have changed American politics and may have begun a genuine push-back by the more conservative side of American society in an age when liberalism and even socialism are rearing their ugly heads. For this inspiration and leadership, Ron Paul is the 2010 American of the Year.
NOTE: To view the write-ups for all of the 'American of the Year' winners simply click on to that label below this article at www.mattveasey.com