can I say about Rand Paul that has not been said? Paul, of course,
is the GOP nominee for Senate in Kentucky, and Great White Hope
for the Tea Party faithful around the country. And he is the son
of Congressman Ron Paul of Texas.
Rand Paul recently made statements in opposition to portions
of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, on the grounds that private businesses
should be allowed to discriminate against African-Americans and
others and deny service to them. He is entitled to his opinions,
however racist they may be. But he cannot expect to run as a serious
candidate from a major party and not have such controversial points
of view scrutinized. At the very least, watching this not-ready-for-primetime-politician
try and wiggle his way out of his past statements will make for
great entertainment at the very least. Paul is dead wrong, but
he unwittingly provided a valuable service to the public.
Tea parties and racism. Many of us suspected that the Tea
Party movement is a fundamentally racist one. Although it would
be unfair to say that all Teabaggers are racist, certainly it would
be disingenuous for anyone to argue that the movement does not appeal
to the angry mob, particularly those white folks who hate blacks
and Latinos, immigrants, and most of all the President because he
is black fascist-socialist-Muslim-communist from Kenya who refuses
to produce his real birth certificate. And it would be intellectually
dishonest to say that the Teabaggers are not a part of the recent
surge in right-wing hate group activity of late, including militias,
anti-immigrant Patriot groups and others.
From their early days at the McCain-Palin rallies during
the 2008 presidential campaign, the Tea Party crowd has had an energy
about them that smells of a Jim Crow type of racial intolerance,
just like the 1950s and 1960s. Rand Paul’s prominence only confirms
what many already knew, which is that racism under girds the Teabag
Flawed ideologies. All ideologies need to undergo a stress test to
see if they can survive everyday use. It is one thing to express
an ideology, and sell wolf tickets if you will. But it is an entirely
different thing to put those ideas into practice. In that regard,
Communism as practiced has been a huge failure. The notion of equalizing
a society that has known harsh inequities and economic exploitation
sounds like a good idea. But when the new system of government
is as brutal, corrupt and incompetent as, or more brutal, corrupt
and incompetent than the one it replaced, well, that is a bankrupt
ideology—at least as it is being applied.
Similarly, capitalism in the American context is a failed
system. The concept of trickle-down, free-market economics has
led to an unprecedented looting of the American people and a concentration
of economic power, with an upward redistribution of wealth from
the have-nots to the have-mores. Moreover, the financial institutions
that espouse laissez-faire capitalism for the rest of us prefer
socialism for themselves in the form of government-sponsored bank
bailouts and corporate welfare payments.
Aspects of libertarianism have their merits, and there is
something to be said about less government intrusion in certain
aspects of one’s life. But his civil rights views demonstrate that
Dr. Paul and his libertarian ideologies are impractical and simply
not ready. If you hate government so much, why run for political
office in the first place? And how can you claim to oppose government
intrusion, yet oppose physician cuts to Medicare when it serves
your own narrow interests?
Finally, for Paul to call the President un-American for criticizing
BP—the corporation responsible for the world’s worst ecological
disaster—is confounding at best. Obviously, Rand Paul is cheerleader
for a system that allows people and businesses to do as they please
without limits, without social responsibility built into the system.
Remember, unfettered capitalism gave us slavery, worker exploitation,
and all sorts of human rights abuses. That was the free market
Dr. Paul wants to appear principled by opposing civil rights
and endorsing the oppression of black people over forty years after
the fact, all in the name of his narrow ideology. In the end, he
appears boxed in by that ideology, as are his prospects in the Senate.
But then again, in this country, you never know.
Executive Editor, David A. Love, JD is a journalist and human rights
advocate based in Philadelphia, and a contributor to
Media Project, McClatchy-Tribune News Service,
In These Times
and Philadelphia Independent
Media Center. He
also blogs atdavidalove.com,
and Open Salon.
to contact Mr. Love.