Rand Paul and the Civil Rights Act of 1964

in Politics

With Rand Paul being the current front runner in the 2016 GOP Presidential race, while also being the face of the anti-establishment wing in politics, it is perfectly understandable for the media to try and discredit him by any means necessary. Even if it means distorting the truth and further discrediting mainstream journalism. For the past four years, MSNBC has had a track record of discussing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with Rand Paul. First, it was when he was running for US Senate in Kentucky.

Rand Paul and MSNBC journalist Rachel Maddow clashed over whether private businesses had the right to discriminate against others on the basis of their skin color. Paul specifically stated he was not in favor of any discrimination, but respected the rights of private business owners due to his strong convictions in private ownership and freedom. The debate was intended to spark a philosophical discussion about private property, but sadly, it turned into another debate about racism in America. There was serious controversy over whether Rand Paul was a racist due to his father’s past and his connections with Jack Hunter. Again, in 2013, Rachel Maddow attempts to grill Rand Paul’s stance on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 after his visit to Howard University. Even African-American analysts on MSNBC have tried to make Rand Paul still look like a racist or not have the interests of the black community at heart after his most recent attempts to help minorities affected by drug laws and felonies. Finally, Paul had enough of the extreme partisanship and slander MSNBC was using and he fights back by stating

“I’ve been attacked by half a dozen people on your network trying to say I’m opposed to the Civil Rights Act and somehow now I’ve changed,” Paul said. “I’m not willing to engage with people who are misrepresenting my viewpoint on this.”

Paul continued by pointing out how he only wanted a deep philosophical discussion and MSNBC was incapable of taking the thought seriously.

As an African-American, the Civil Rights act of 1964 is a landmark in our fight for equality under the law. It is a fight for our push towards being treated as an average citizen. However, the blatant disrespect and attempt to make Rand Paul look like a racist was simply unacceptable. The philosophical position on private property is not whether you feel as if racist whites during Jim Crow had the right to discriminate against blacks. The philosophical position on private property, conversely, is not whether you feel as if blacks should be forced to serve Ku Klux Klan members. The discussion was whether you felt as if government had the right to force business transactions. This debate could have easily been a well thought out discussion between liberals and conservatives but ended up being another way to discredit Rand Paul.

I’m an African-American and I have nothing against Rand Paul’s position on the bill. I believe it’s safe to say individuals can choose to agree to disagree with his belief. I have yet to see a logical case for Rand Paul being a racist. In fact, I respect him far more because he was willing open up about a belief he had outside of mainstream politics and public policy while also knowing it would create an uncomfortable atmosphere due to America’s past history on race. Similarly to how former Congressman Ron Paul did in an interview with Chris Matthews, along with former President Ronald Reagan, and Mr. Conservative himself Barry Goldwater. Barry Goldwater’s opposition sparked serious controversy due to his vote against the bill in 1964. However, when evaluating Goldwater’s position on minority rights, one could conclude Goldwater has a solid record for respecting the rights of all individuals. Barry Goldwater was a founding member of the NCAAP chapter in Arizona and also fought for the integration of public schools. Interesting enough, Executive Director Roy Wilkins of the NCAAP, did not feel as if Goldwater was a racist. He simply had an intellectual disagreement with him.

The difference between Rand Paul and those that were in complete opposition to the bill on principle is that he is pragmatic while still being consistent. Rand understands the difference between the public policy realm and the philosophy realm, but when the chance occurs to fully advance freedom and conservatism, Paul never hesitates.

He is not a racist and minorities should avoid listening to the critics of Paul on the Civil Rights Act and only pay attention to his actions and past conservative politicians with similar positions. Ironically, Paul, just like Barry Goldwater, supported minority rights and has supported them better than the majority of the members in both parties. For the exception of politicians like Senator Cory Booker and Mike Lee, Paul’s track record is solid and his recent efforts to help the African-American community should only clear up any perception about him being a racist racist.

To conclude, it is safe to say that when John Legend praises you, one can conclude you are nowhere near being a bigot.

Taylor is a student at Transylvania University, where he first developed an interest in politics and activism. He has worked on state and senatorial campaigns and is a member of several right-wing organizations.