Saturday, May 22, 2010

Rand Paul's Best Moment

From her days as an Air America host, it's always been very tempting to compare liberal icon Rachel Maddow to fictional liberal icon Murphy Brown. Both ladies are smart, funny and always seem to be on the right side of every debate. The only difference is that Brown's character was a fierce pitbull in the face of Republican idiocy whereas Maddow never loses her composure and remains ever the lady while nonetheless remaining true to her journalistic credo.

Therefore it was almost preordained that Rachel would eventually get someone on her show that personifies the positions taken by the odious Stuart Best, a former colleague of Brown's who ran for, and won, a seat in Congress. Anyone who's ever seen that infamous episode knows that this was one of the few times that Brown didn't actually earn her paycheck. All she had to do was ask three candidates for their positions, three politicians consisting of one Democrat, one Republican and Wallace Shawn's character, proto-Tea Bagger Stuart Best.

Best quickly got himself into hot water when he was forced to spew racist right wing talking points given to him in a position paper by his donors, including a White Supremacy group that would deny basic civil rights to those who weren't "at least 7/8ths caucasian" and a "radical offshoot" of the NRA.

Rand Paul had just such a moment on Rachel Maddow's show just days after winning the GOP primary for Kentucky's senate race. After having made some pretty inflammatory remarks on TV and radio about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it was Maddow's turn to put his feet to the fire.

If you've seen this interview, you'll easily note that while trying to remain on the side of private business and its right not to be dictated to by the federal government, Paul is also trying to walk down that rope on the side of racial equality. Instead of walking down that rope, however, he only wound up hanging himself on it.

It's difficult to know where to begin dissecting this Tea Party lunacy from which Paul is now forbidden to stray. He tries to compare apples to hyenas by conflating racial equality at lunch counters with peoples' right to carry firearms into such an establishment and tries to portray it as an academic debate that we on then left are trying to politicize,

Then he tries to accuse Maddow moments later of conflation.

OK, I'll concede that Paul has a point: This shouldn't be a political football. Civil rights never should've been allowed to become a political issue and should've remained what it truly was all along: A human rights issue. But it isn't us who's turning this 46 year-old landmark legislation into a deflated political football. You can credit Tea Party Republicans for that.

But Rand Paul, a man who every time he opens his big, mealy mouth seems bound and determined to prove himself worthy of being named after Corporate Goddess Ayn Rand, uncomfortably waddles down that rope while trying not to alienate blacks and liberals or private business owners who own little Walgreen and Woolworth lunch counters.

Rand Paul seems perfectly comfortable, however, in tacitly siding with such people who should be allowed to discriminate against others because of skin color and their right to allow firearms into such establishments. Looking back on the lunch counter beatings that are still preserved on film from those days, one shudders to think what would've happened if more white people had brought their guns to Woolworth's.

This is what Rand Paul is cravenly trying to support without seeming too obvious about it:

As well as this:

...and this...

...and this...

...and this.

What Paul doesn't realize is that the civil rights struggle is not a political, abstract or academic issue. In fact, as long as idiots like Rand Paul continue championing the rights of white business owners to practice racial discrimination over the equal rights sought by people of color, that struggle will never truly be academic or resolved.

I don't believe that Rand Paul is any more racist than the pathetic Stuart Best. But defending a person's right to practice racism is racism. In other words, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. And Rand Paul is not the solution to any problem, least of all the racism that still thrives in the Tea Party that helped him win the primary.


At May 23, 2010 at 2:51 PM, Blogger Stan B. said...

Wow, has all the charisma of a goy Joe Lieberman! And of course never once answered the question. Don't know what his doctorate is in, but talking in code would definitely qualify.

Reminds one of all the Southerners, back in the day when RP would've been marching in the streets with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (but not eating with him in a privately owned cafeteria), who used the word "nigra." Didn't have all the extreme negative connotations in polite society of their favorite N word, yet was completely lacking in the respect the term Negro then implied.

At May 23, 2010 at 10:13 PM, Anonymous P'ville reader said...

I liked how Maddow had Paul standing in front of a brick wall that looked like where you would face a firing squad!

Kudos for the pictures, JP. I had never seen the violent reaction to the lunch counter movement before, just the placid pictures of well-dressed black guys being ignored at Woolworth's. These shots should get more traction so that present-day people could see what Paul's position ultimately lead to.

White people. We should be ashamed. We could do SO much better, but we're just as animalistic as so many of the races we look down on.

At May 23, 2010 at 10:28 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

I liked how Maddow had Paul standing in front of a brick wall that looked like where you would face a firing squad!

More like comedy improv for racists.


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