Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Rand Paul Race Hysterics

I’d like the throw the full weight of my blog and its following (my parents) behind the candidacy of one, Rand Paul. Although far from the ideal Senator, his election is just what America needs.

Over the past year, the Left has been peddling the message that the millions of Americans with a particular political persuasion, namely Tea Party supporters, are generally crazy, racist extremists (right wing terrorists, remember?). Short of shamelessly hypocritical name-calling, no other repudiation has really stuck.

Democrats think they finally found a chink in the Tea Party’s armor in Rand Paul and are eager to take down the nascent movement. They argue, illogically, that a man with no history of any discriminatory leanings and with a clearly defined political philosophy is crazy, racist and an extremist unfit for holding office. Bill Clinton, Harry Reid and the Reverend Al Sharpton all have rap sheets way longer than Rand’s, but that doesn’t seem to matter much.

First, we should frame the issue: Rand Paul is a Libertarian. His political philosophy is one that holds personal freedom in the highest regard. All Americans should appreciate his honest adherence to his convictions, a departure from your average politico.

A prime example of his philosophy is his position that the American government overextended its constitutional privileges in one of ten Titles in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title II outlaws discrimination by businesses with the exception of private clubs, which Paul believes infringes upon free speech. He maintains, however, that he would have voted for the bill because of its overall worthiness and despite his objection. Anyone who supports the law but thinks that the private club exemption is ludicrous knows exactly how he feels.

Rand applies the very same criteria to national safety standards and education, two contentious areas he thinks should also be outside of centralized government authority. His point of view is consistent and clearly rooted in a well-defined political philosophy, not bigotry or extremism as liberals are claiming. Few may stand by such staunch advocacy of Libertarianism, but there is logic to his thinking rarely seen in politics today.

A noteworthy exception is his opposition to gay marriage, a long held Libertarian position. His vexing view is likely pragmatic, similar to those of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Both were officially against full equality for the LGBT community despite their wide gap on the political spectrum. Both also neatly punted the issue while in office to avoid controversy. Rand Paul ran as a constitutional conservative, so he’s not betraying his cause as blatantly as the current President. But it would be nice to see him fully embrace Libertarian platform, especially if he’s going to hold his ground on civil rights.

Like his father, Rand Paul is close to being a pure Libertarian. His spot on the political spectrum, however, hardly renders him unfit for office. Judging by Ron Paul’s presidential run in 2008 and Rand’s landslide victory in Kentucky, sizeable numbers of Americans feel that heart and soul Libertarians have a place in Congress.

One Senator amongst ninety-nine others cannot do much on his or her own. Other legislators will have to accommodate his concerns to win his vote, just like major parties absorb third party issues to bring them into the fold. Some of his platform may blow against the prevailing winds of the electorate, but those idiosyncrasies will shape debate for the better.

Rand’s Civil Rights Act comments offer food for thought despite being politically polarizing. On an obvious level, the role of government in private enterprise is an important quandary in an age of bailouts, omnipotent lobbies and cozy relationships between regulators and the regulated.

On a deeper level, I think Rand questions the effectiveness of a government mandate as a vehicle for social change. America has horrendous race relations because, intuitively, people can’t be simply instructed to abandon racism. Achieving social equality is nothing more than a big “gotcha” game these days, with liberals sitting on their pedestal levying accusations on a Right scared senseless. Minorities themselves are caught in the middle, reduced to their ethnicity and quite often the victims of the same race baiters who supposedly defend them.

Example: Progressives think that Hispanics should be offended by illegal immigration legislation. The implication is that there’s no difference between Hispanics and illegal aliens. That’s racist. Rand Paul appears radical at first glance, but he brings up an important point that merits discussion and not hysteria.

We need people like Rand in Congress. His unapologetic defense of personal freedom will amplify the political diversity of Washington, something all Americans can appreciate. He is clearly unafraid to speak his mind and will very likely infuse our politically correct Senate with a breath of honesty and forthrightness. Attempts by Democrats to delegitimize the Tea Party via Rand, or vice versa, are baseless and overblown political rhetoric.

Our Democratic government grows larger and hungrier by the day. After a year of massive nationalizations at the expense of the unaffiliated individual, a Libertarian is quite frankly just the start of what we need. That’s why I am endorsing Rand Paul for Kentucky Senate.