Washington, DC. Recently, on a trip to Silicon Valley, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) sat down for an interview with Wired and, among other things, touted his credentials as a champion of minority rights. Said the senator:
"If you've seen or read anything I've ever written or talked about,
you'll find someone who's been a great defender of minority rights, a
great defender of those who wish to be different, those who are
different, those who have different religious beliefs. Those who are of
an ethnic group that may be a minority. You'll find no greater champion
of someone who believes that you have rights, privileges and immunities
that go beyond what majorities are allowed to do."
Move over Martin Luther King, Jr. It appears we have completely misunderstood Senator Paul. What we unfairly assumed to be simple textbook racism is in fact quite the opposite.
For example, much has been made of Sen. Paul's objection to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, specifically his objection to the ban on racial discrimination in private businesses that serve the public. Many wrongly assumed this meant he was in favor of, say, a restaurant owner refusing to serve Blacks, when in fact he is entirely in favor of Black folk being served at restaurants throughout the country, with a side of hushpuppies.
Then there was the brouhaha regarding former aide, media director and co-author, Jack Hunter, who hosted a radio show as "The Southern Avenger," a persona that included a Confederate flag mask. And while Hunter railed against Hispanics and Blacks, compared Abraham Lincoln to Hitler and ritually toasts John Wilkes Booth's birthday every year, the former chairman of secessionist organization, The League of the South, is actually not a racist.
"I only wore that mask until my skin cleared up," Hunter said. "Plus I was tryin' to git a job as a wrestlin' villain, ya know, like The Iron Sheik or Sgt. Slaughter. And heck, that thing about comparing Lincoln to Hitler, it was supposed to be a compliment."
And now Senator Paul is being falsely accused of favoring voter disenfranchisement simply because he has no problem with Voter ID laws and doesn't see the need to restore the Voting Rights Act. As he stated:
“The interesting thing about voting patterns now is in this last
election African-Americans voted at a higher percentage than whites in
almost every one of the states that were under the special provisions of
the federal government. So really, I don’t think there is objective evidence that we’re precluding African-Americans from voting any longer.”
So there you have it. And Senator Paul's idea of putting voting booths at the end of an American Ninja Warrior obstacle course is designed not to intimidate, not to disenfranchise, but to make voting more fun for everyone.
Meanwhile, Senator Paul is shopping for some good walking shoes so he can keep up with Rev. Al Sharpton and Congressman John Lewis as they link arms this coming weekend when they commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington. We can only hope they have room for one more monument on the National Mall.
©2013 Kona Lowell