Local proponents of Ron Paul joined in yesterday’s worldwide “Sign Bomb” campaign and held vibrant demonstrations at several Santa Barbara freeway overpasses to express their support for the Republican candidate’s 2012 presidential campaign.
People from an estimated 670 counties across the nation — including over 43 percent of California’s 58 counties — participated in the rally alongside provinces in Ireland, Spain, Australia, Germany, France, Croatia, Italy and Serbia. Sign-bearers positioned themselves in high traffic areas within their respective counties to share the Texas congressman’s presidential bid to the public.
Paul won the California GOP straw poll over Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney in early September and went on to defeat Herman Cain and Rick Santorum in the Values Voter poll earlier this month. Paul seeks to shift authority to state governments and is opposed to the Iraq war and increases in taxes.
According to Santa Barbara “sign bomb” organizer Stephen Pratt, the media has frequently overlooked the Texan’s campaign efforts.
“We’ve always felt like there’s been this golden rule to marginalize or ignore Ron Paul,” Pratt said. “He doesn’t get a lot of the attention, especially at the debates … a lot of times they disregard when he wins and say a straw poll is unimportant or it was fixed.”
However, fourth-year political science and global studies major A.J. Rawls said he feels the demonstration might not have too much of an effect on students and first-time voters.
“A grassroots movement based on something as small as having signs over overpasses is really kind of pointless — people driving those routes are most likely the people who already have their political minds made up,” Rawls said. “A political movement on campus, like a rally in Storke Plaza, would be much more effective than having signs over a pass.”
Pratt said the event recruited many of its participants through the social media venues Facebook and meetup.com.
“A lot of people are bashing Ron Paul; it makes us have to go out and put attention on him,” Pratt said. “A lot of other supporters for other candidates don’t have to do that … Ron Paul supporters have to create their own attention.”
According to Santa Barbara supporter Troy Lucero, Paul is a viable candidate for the local community’s politically diverse population.
“Santa Barbara is always at the forefront of a lot of issues — Ron Paul kind of bridges the gap between the left-right paradigm,” Lucero said. “He voted against the war; he wants to get troops out. His message crosses the spectrum.”