Does this mean I believe in racism in any form? Of course not. It amazes me that in the 21st Century we are still having these arguments. But let's break down Rand Paul's statements and history.
From the Huffington Post article: Rand Paul On 'Maddow' Defends Criticism Of Civil Rights Act, Says He Would Have Worked To Change Bill (VIDEO)
Maddow: Do you think that a private business has a right to say that 'We don't serve black people?'
Paul: I'm not in favor of any discrimination of any form. I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race. We still do have private clubs in America that can discriminate based on race.
But I think what's important in this debate is not getting into any specific "gotcha" on this, but asking the question 'What about freedom of speech?' Should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent. Should we limit racists from speaking. I don't want to be associated with those people, but I also don't want to limit their speech in any way in the sense that we tolerate boorish and uncivilized behavior because that's one of the things that freedom requires is that we allow people to be boorish and uncivilized, but that doesn't mean we approve of it...
Maddow:... How about desegregating lunch counters?
Paul: Well what it gets into then is if you decide that restaurants are publicly owned and not privately owned, then do you say that you should have the right to bring your gun into a restaurant even though the owner of the restaurant says 'well no, we don't want to have guns in here' the bar says 'we don't want to have guns in here because people might drink and start fighting and shoot each-other.' Does the owner of the restaurant own his restaurant? Or does the government own his restaurant? These are important philosophical debates but not a very practical discussion...
Anyone who has followed Rand Paul understands a couple of things. Rand stands firm on States Rights and limited Government interference in private business.
If you believe in freedom of speech than you must understand that that freedom comes with caveats. One being that not everyone will agree with you on anything. With that said if I choose to exercise my freedom of speech, which I do with this site as one example, then I must allow anyone who opposes my speech the right to exercise theirs.
Read some of the comments throughout this site and yo will see many who disagree with me. All I can say is God Bless America.
Whether I agree with their point or not, and in the case of racism I absolutely abhor it, I must understand that the rights granted to me by the Constitution are the same ones granted to those I oppose.
That folks is America.
One of the best speeches I have heard in any movie comes from The American President with Michael Douglas:
America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free".
Of course this actually makes sense doesn't it? Perhaps not to some of the party at all costs versus the people at all costs contingent. To copy even more from that speech on how to win elections? Insert any opponent's name in the blank below and see if you agree that is American politics today.
We have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them. And whatever your particular problem is, I promise you, _______ is not the least bit interested in solving it. He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections. You gather a group of middle-aged, middle-class, middle-income voters who remember with longing an easier time, and you talk to them about family and American values and character......
We continue to be led astray by the divisive tactics of campaign strategists without ever considering what is being left behind. While we spend our time arguing over things that have already been hashed and rehashed throughout history we continue to fall further behind as a Nation. One Nation under God.
Still the greatest economic Nation on earth we now have serious problems of our own. While we have been led down a path of division these so called "leaders" have allowed history to repeat itself with mass unemployment and leaving even more of our citizens behind in the quest for the Great American dream. Look around you. Since the federal Government has forced its way into private business what has happened?
Does anyone see the small "mom and pop" business that used to thrive in our neighborhoods around anymore? They are falling further and further behind because they cannot pay for the costs of Big Brother. When once they were the backbone of our communities our communities are now being left behind. The backbone has been cracked.
While Paul's opponent Jack Conway has been busy chastising the remarks by Paul he has been able to avoid actually giving us solutions for the problems that lie ahead. Think about it:He is interested in two things and two things only: making you afraid of it and telling you who's to blame for it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you win elections.
Whether you agree with Rand Paul or not is your choice and yours alone. Just do not continue to allow these divisive tactics from those who want to represent us. Make them represent us.
Force them to answer the questions that affect each and every one of us. Economy, health care, safety, security and the list goes on. We can continue to be divided over the same old dog and pony show or we can stand united for a better American way of life. We have done it their way and look where we are.
We continue to fall further behind because we allow the issues to be lost in our desire to be self righteous. We spend our time fighting over who has more rights than the other. We continue being divided over something that is granted equally to each of us Americans.
I will fight against racism at every turn with every fiber of my being as I do daily. Like Rand Paul I abhor it. Period.
I will continue fighting and giving voice to those who cannot speak for themselves. We must stand up for those, for whatever reason, who cannot stand for themselves.
I will not, however, fight to destroy free speech in America no matter how much I may dislike the message or the messenger.
To do otherwise would be un-American.