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Over the last couple of days I've heard Tea Party conservatives, like Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC), criticize MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and others for not being fair to GOP Tea Party Senate candidate, Rand Paul, in the questions they've been asking him recently.
The most bizarre line of defense that I've heard, however, has been....."Rand Paul said he would have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act, that settles the issue of whether Paul, himself, supports racial discrimination."
Let's look at what Paul actually said in his response to Rachel Maddow....
PAUL: Well, there's 10 -- there's 10 different -- there's 10 different titles, you know, to the Civil Rights Act, and nine out of 10 deal with public institutions. And I'm absolutely in favor of one deals with private institutions, and had I been around, I would have tried to modify that.
But you know, the other thing about legislation -- and this is why it's a little hard to say exactly where you are sometimes, is that when you support nine out of 10 things in a good piece of legislation, do you vote for it or against it? And I think, sometimes, those are difficult situations.
What I was asked by "The Courier-Journal" and I stick by it is that I do defend and believe that the government should not be involved with institutional racism or discrimination or segregation in schools, busing, all those things. But had I been there, there would have been some discussion over one of the titles of the civil rights.
And I think that's a valid point, and still a valid discussion, because the thing is, is if we want to harbor in on private businesses and their policies, then you have to have the discussion about: do you want to abridge the First Amendment as well. Do you want to say that because people say abhorrent things -- you know, we still have this. We're having all this debate over hate speech and this and that. Can you have a newspaper and say abhorrent things? Can you march in a parade and believe in abhorrent things, you know?
So, I think it's an important debate but should be intellectual one. It's really tough to have an intellectual debate in the political sense because what happens is it gets dumbed down. It will get dumb down to three words and they'll try to run on this entire issue, and it's being brought up as a political issue.
I think if you listen to me, I think you should understand that -- I think you do, I think you're an intelligent person. I like being on your show. But I think that what is the totality of what I'm saying -- am I a bad person? Do I believe in awful things? No.
I really think that discrimination and racism is a horrible thing. And I don't want any form of it in our government, in our public sphere.
I don't think that understanding what Paul said is that difficult. I don't believe there are any super-translation abilities needed to decipher what the Tea Party's mostest, favoritest candidate said in his interview with Maddow last week.
Yes, Paul said he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But sorry, Jim DeMint......that doesn't settle the issue, instead that fact is a distraction, a diversion, a changing of the subject.
What Paul clearly explains is that he is in total agreement with the 1964 prohibition on all forms of government (public) discrimination based on race or skin color.
What Paul also clearly explains is that he is against the provision in the 1964 Act which prohibits PRIVATE businesses, PRIVATE enterprises from discriminating based on race. Had he been around then, Paul says, "I would have tried to modify that", provision. "Had I been there, there would have been some discussion over one of the titles of the civil rights." "I think that's a valid point, and still a valid discussion,..."
According to the clearly understandable words of Mr. Tea Party Paul, the federal government has no business prohibiting privately owned businesses from openly discriminating against people of color. Paul explains quite clearly that when, or if, the government prohibits private business from discriminating based on race.....they are violating that private businessperson's first amendment right to free speech.
Rand Paul, without some future flip-flop, firmly holds to what my buddy Da King said the other day in one of his posts, "Rand Paul believes in a free citizenry."
A citizenry free to turn away customers because they are black,....or yellow, or brown. A citizenry free to place signs in their store front windows saying, "no n*ggers allowed". A citizenry proud and free to work out their discriminatory free-speech and free-expression ya-ya's by telling the "colored" to go around back to be served.
That is the America Tea Party senate candidate Rand Paul envisions. An America whose government takes a hands off approach to all private forms of discrimination and bigotry. That's part of what libertarians mean when they speak so often about "smaller government".
Tea Party supporters long for a "smaller government" America.....one in which open and bitter discrimination practices against "the other" are protected forms of free speech.
That's only one of the reasons why no American should support the Tea Party movement or it's candidates.....but it's a pretty important reason.