Friday, July 12, 2013

One last comment on this latest Paul fiasco

The reason it's important that Rand Paul seriously reexamines his approach to race and his familial ties to neo-Confederates is because to ignore it is to implicitly say "I don't give a damn what black people think." Why should that matter?

Because it is societally unacceptable to openly say "I don't give a damn what black people think." Not because black people all think alike (we don't), or because black people vote overwhelmingly Democratic and thus aren't an important constituency to Republican politicians. It's because to say so is an unnecessary insult. People who are insulted for no good reason aren't going to be very open to what you have to say. And for those of us who believe what we do because we think it's the best thing for the country, and black people particularly, that the Pauls continually surround themselves with people who reject the historical cause for our ancestors' liberation and embrace the government of those who enslaved our people--in the name of liberty, no less--is a massive and repugnant obstacle to our goals of a freer society.

For decades, "states' rights," "liberty," and a host of other codewords were used by politicians and activists to preserve slavery, and later block anti-lynching legislation, desegregation, and the Civil Rights Era generally. As libertarians, it is incumbent upon us to be as inclusive in our messaging and in convincing people that we want more liberty for all people, not just the white ones. It's hard to make that case when the most prominent faces of libertarianism give speeches in front of rebel flags to say the South was right and have people who run websites called "The Southern Avenger" run their digital PR shop.

The Southern bloc that ran the Senate for so many years didn't need to wear sheets or say "nigger" to pass (or block) laws to the detriment of black folks. Likewise, that one of Paul's staff has put his mask away is of little comfort to those who still hear the echoes of the Old South in a Southern senator's rhetoric.

This is why Paul and Hunter should be more vocal in their denunciation of the "Southern Avenger" and fully come to terms with the GOP's problematic history with race, and their own.

bellum medicamenti delenda est

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