An atmosphere to remember: Paul’s visit elicits roars of approval

An+atmosphere+to+remember%3A+Paul%27s+visit+elicits+roars+of+approval

Kelsey Rogers | Contributing Writer

A bright late winter day invited a boisterous crowd of students, families and area residents to the Hyland Arena Saturday, March 10 starting at 1 p.m.

A little girl runs across the hallway, her mother chasing after her, while other kids wear Ron Paul stickers like a badge. People waving around American flag star-shaped balloons approach the attendance booths. One table worker sports a hat with an American flag tucked on the side.

At 2 p.m., the crowd herds into the Hyland Arena, passing by tables selling Ron Paul-authored books. A ponytailed dark-haired man in blue jeans keeps his copy of “End the Fed” close to his feet at his seat.

The arena fills with a crowd of 2,500. Chipper noise erupts like bird tweets from the podiums.

A husband wheels his baby in a stroller to find a lower seat in the podiums. An elderly woman unrolls a Ron Paul sticker and tapes it on her head. A man slicks back his red and blue gelled hair.

At 2:55 p.m., the air is almost sucked out of the room. The audience knows Paul is about to come on stage. Three seconds of airless silence erupts into “President Paul, President Paul” cheers, roars, pursed whistles and bulled stomps. People crane their heads left and right, trying to scan where Paul will enter the room.

Two speakers, including Kenny Newhouse, the President of Lindenwood Students for Ron Paul, hold the preliminary intro. The audience is responsive, hooping and hollering when the speakers call on their participation.

Finally, Newhouse concedes the podium to Ron Paul. Like a spinning top, the audience unwinds. The arena drowns in applause, cheers and roars.

“I am not the Goldman Sachs candidate,” Paul said. “I am not the candidate for the military industrial complex. I am not the candidate for the Federal reserve system.”

The audience roars and cheers, held in rapt attention.

“It is our duty to change the course of history in this country,” Paul said.

The audience booed at the mention of the Federal Reserve and cheered him on to the end of the major institution which makes all the money decisions. Paul promises he’ll cut a $1 trillion in his first year as President, leading to another standing ovation.

Paul brought up the recent assassination of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American terrorist who was killed on foreign soil.

“[President Obama] thinks if it’s not explicitly stated in the Constitution, he can do it,” Paul said. “And I’ve been called a danger to authority. The President needs to live within the law.”

His comments were rewarded with furious applause.

After his speech, Paul opened the floor for audience questions.

One man asked about the conflict between Georgia and Russia. After what seemed like his straining to understand his accent, Paul responded and said America should not get involved.

A Lindenwood student asked about the recent controversy over government mandated birth control. This was met with an almost awkward silence, as if the audience were pursing their lips. Paul responded tautly that if anyone wants birth control, they should pay for it themselves.

After Paul left, the energy ballooned out of the room as people filed out. A few chose to linger behind, taking photos and starting a few conversations.

A booth was propped near the exit, selling Ron Paul souvenirs.

Outside, crowds pooled together for pictures and conversation as John Weber Drive in front of the Hyland Arena became packed with cars trying to leave.

Support for Ron Paul was still shown on bumpers and back windows, including a dollar-blazon sign posing to “End the Fed.”