In allowing himself to be sucked into a discussion on 1964 Civil Rights Act, last week, Rand Paul set himself up for failure. Not that he will fail in Kentucky’s general election in November, but he set himself up for it, if he does.
Whether his comments were a simple lack of political savvy or outright racist – and I don’t believe that for a second – the mainstream media will certainly levy the implication of the latter, day after day, until the story loses its legs. Wacko lefties will come out of the woodwork. The impression will be fixed in many voters’ minds like a glaring, Pulitzer-winning photo from a 1960s Life magazine cover. The one where Southern cops are siccing their dogs on defenseless Negros.
And the Tea Party movement will suffer.
The purist ideology of libertarianism is like Marxism – it looks good on paper. I understand Rand’s views on government enlargement and intrusion into American lives; they are noble and most of them are right.
But the fact remains that an entire population of this country in 1964 was being shut out of American life. The Supremes, the biggest girl group in history, who knocked the Beatles Revolver album out of the Number 1 spot on Billboard, couldn’t get a decent room in the South. With all of their wealth and fame they could not eat in a downtown Atlanta restaurant.
That was simply wrong and the government had to act. Yes, one should have the right to refuse service to anyone, but not to the exclusion of a race. The Church in America had 100 years in which to rectify that crime and it did not act.
And ironically, the law opened up the very can of worms that Paul and other libertarians are now protesting. The Civil Rights Act became a springboard for the government to bash its way into every aspect of private life in the country.
No one in this country detests charlatans like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson more than I. I believe they are opportunists who have little sincere regard for everyday African Americans. In a perfect world I would like every Muslim in this country deported to Azerbaijan.
But I don’t get those rights. They are un-American. They have a right to shop in the same stores and eat in the same restaurants that I do.
The Ku Klux Klan and the Democratic Party ruled the American South with an iron, racist fist from Reconstruction until the mid 1960s, and it would be that way today had not the government stepped in and made it right.
The government should not have had to step in, but as I previously said, good Americans failed to act.
Rand Paul may survive in Kentucky and I hope he does. But this should be a civics lesson for all of us who want smaller government. Someone has to guard the rights of the oppressed and down trodden. It should be us, but when it is not, a government – some government –will.