Thursday, May 27, 2010

Rand Paul's Retro America

"I'm opposed to institutional racism, and I would've, had I been alive at the time, I think, had the courage to march with Martin Luther King to overturn institutional racism."

-Rand Paul

What a guy! But the nasty fact still remains and cannot be spun in any other direction:
Rand Paul believes that privately owned businesses have the constitutional right to discriminate against black people.

Back on April 20, I wrote that I was the proud grandson of Kentucky native Walter Clements. That's a photograph of him on the left. It was taken about seventy year
s ago during his heyday when he was thriving as a successful lawyer from South Bend Indiana. One of his clients (and personal friends) was Knute Rockne! Being a descendant of generations of Kentuckians, I know enough about that state to inform you - without equivocation - that it is packed to the rafters with down-to-earth, sensible and decent folks. That being said, what could it be about the politics of that state that would attract such good and righteous people to chowder-heads like Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul? Is it the water? Or is there some other mysterious, unexplainable force at work here? I just don't get it.

"Segregation Today! Segregation Tomorrow! Segregation Forever!"

-George Wallace, 1963

When I sat down to write this piece early this morning, my original intent was to title it, "Rand Paul's George Wallace Moment". But I realized that that would be grossly unfair - to George Wallace. Think about it: Wallace was born in rural Clio, Alabama in the summer of 1919 - a very different America in every way imaginable. He was socialized from the moment of his birth into believing that people whose skin was darker than his were inherently inferior; that they had no rights that he or any other white person was expected to recognize - not even the right to life! Remember that the hideous southern tradition of lynching only became illegal at the twentieth century's halfway point.

To the old bugger's credit, he eventually "came home to Jesus" in a matter of speaking. Toward the end of his life, he asked the African American population of Alabama t
o forgive him for his sins against humanity: "I was wrong. Those days are over and they ought to be over", said the contrite former governor. The people he tried to oppress for so many years forgave him. Good for them.

Rand Paul, on the other hand, does not have the convenient excuse of ethno-centricity to fall back upon. He was born on January 7, 1963 at a military hospital in Texas. Think of all that was going on then: Jim Crow's house of cards in the deep south was already in the process of crumbling. By the time of his third birthday in 1966, the Civil and Voting Rights Acts were the law of the land. When he was thirteen-years old, his father Ron Paul was
elected to the House of Representatives. He didn't spend his formative years shoveling shit on some horse farm twenty miles outside of Galveston. He spent them in the supposedly "sophisticated" city of Washington DC! Why would he go on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC program earlier this week and imply that he would not have supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had he been there to vote on it. Did he really believe that there would be any possible political gain by doing something as reckless and as silly as that?

The answer is - Yes he did - and here's the really sad part: He was probably correct to believe there would be a substantial political payoff in the long run for making such an egregiously ignorant remark. Just take a look around you....

The political landscape of this once-great nation is more tarnished than at any time in the
last half century. The right wing media, with FOX Noise in the lead, has created from scratch an industry whose sole purpose is to mine racial fears against the first African American president in history. For many years - right up until the moment Barack Obama took the oath of office - racism in America was, for the most part, covert. Very few people would have chosen to be identified as a bigot - not out in the open anyway. On January 20, 2009 - in too many corners of this country to count - a lot of people became (overnight) less self-conscious regarding their innate racism. This is what America has become. Rand Paul is merely a nasty reflection of our political dysfunction.

"Oh, the sun shines bright in my old Kentucky home,
'Tis summer and the darkies are gay."

-Stephen Foster

Coming out as he did against the one of the main purposes of the Civil Rights Act was not a stupid gaffe on the part of Rand Paul - it was a decided political calculation. He wants and needs the racist vote, and he has every intention of getting it. Are there enough bigots in that state to put him over the top? Being an descendant of old Kentucky, I sure as hell hope not. If this dingbat is sent to the senate next Elect
ion Day, I'm going to be just a tad disappointed in more-than-a-few of my distant kin.

Call it a crazy hunch on my part, but I have a feeling that Rand Paul has never been forced into the humiliating situation of relieving himself on the side of the road because some privately owned establishment would not grant him entry due to the color of his skin. I'm willing to bet the farm that - not at one time in his life - was he forced to go hungry because the black owner of a restaurant told him, "we don't serve honkies 'round here! GIT GOIN', CRACKER!" You would think that after forty-seven years on the planet earth, Dr. Paul would have learned the meaning of the word "Sympathy".

Yes, the current political climate in America is ripe and ready for the type of nuttiness that was offered to us this week - gift wrapped - by Rand Paul. Within hours of his debacle on the Maddow program, he canceled a scheduled appearance on Meet The Press with David Gregory. His campaign claimed that he was "exhausted". The fact that this was Friday and that he had two days to rest up for the Sunday gig apparently never occurred to them. Besides, going on MTP was now unnecessar
y. He had gotten his message out. He now says that for the rest of the campaign, he will only talk to the Kentucky news media. Shrewd move.

It's bad enough that they thought sending a corrupt thug like Mitch McConnell to Washington was a good idea. If Rand Paul is elected this November, it will not be a complementary reflection on the people of Kentucky.

Weep no more, my lady....

Tom Degan


Big Russ and Me
by Tim Russert

I just reread it yesterday. If you haven't already read it, please do. It's a wonderful book. I sure do miss Tim Russert.


The day p
assed and, as far as I can tell, I was the only person in the country to take notice of it. Eleven days ago, President Kennedy made a major recession into history. When he died on November 22, 1963, he was one week shy of forty-six and-a-half years old. One week shy of forty-six and-a-half years after he died was the fifteenth of May. This means that May 16, 2010 marked the very first day in history that Jack Kennedy has been gone longer than he was alive on this earth.

Do I have way too much time on my hands?


At 5:19 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know how you feel Tom. That guy is a real nutbag. Let's hope Jack Conway cleans his clock in November.

At 9:46 AM, Blogger Nance said...

"Rand Paul, on the other hand, does not have the convenient excuse of egocentricity to fall back upon."

I agree with every word of this post except those. Rand Paul has got Flaming F*cking Narcissist tattooed across his forehead. His every move reflects absolute certainty that he has a ready-made constituency just due to the fact that he is so Gloriously Himself.

Yes, he knew exactly what he was doing in the Maddow interview--to the extent of his conscious decision to make a bald bid for the Racist Vote. But the very fact that you ask the question, "Why would he go on the show?," points to his narcissism. We are baffled by the thought processes of true narcissists. We're often left wondering, "What on earth could he have been thinking?" It's a hallmark of the disorder.

If asked, he would describe an entirely different experience from the one his interviewer or his audience had; he would believe he had comported himself admirably, made his interviewer look a little foolish, and gathered in some moderate-independent votes due to the utter logic and sincerity of his viewpoint.

Sick. And lethal.

At 10:11 AM, Blogger Rain Trueax said...

Rand Paul is a good example of what is wrong with libertarian thinking. The government is required to make environmental standards stick, to make practices fair, and the idea that it's not needed is ignoring human nature. Paul himself might not be a racist but who knows for sure given what he said and who he wants to capture their votes. He probably won't win without the racist vote; so maybe it was calculated. A person hates to think that but politics is a scummy business.

At 10:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm…. I wonder if he would have joined in on Sen. Byrd’s filibuster.

At 11:01 AM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

He probably would have, Harley. No doubt about it.

A little reminder: Robert Byrd is one of the very few Dixiecrats who didn't migrate en masse to the Republican party in the sixties following the passage of the Civil and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965 respectively.


Tom Degan

At 3:28 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

Just when we think that racism is dying, along comes someone like Rand Paul to remind us that it has only been sleeping.

The Tea Party has given courage to the racists to vent their ugly views under the guise of patriotism. Rand Paul will be their darling. I just hope there are enough sane people in Kentucky to send this opportunist back to his Ophthalmology office.

At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rand Paul is not a racist – or at least you can’t infer that from what he has said. Ideologically, he is a libertarian, which means he believes a private business should be allowed to engage in ugly racism if it wants to – that was really his point. Not that he would agree with the business that did it. Libertarianism is a simplistic philosophy that wants government to intervene only as far as it can benefit and propagate business and economic growth – that’s really the lynchpin to the whole thing. While I don’t reject it completely, I find it to fall far short of being a comprehensive world-view I could support – it just doesn’t address the human condition in total. If anything, Rand Paul is guilty of using carefully veiled rhetoric to gain support from those he knows are racists – for his political gain.

At 5:12 PM, Anonymous Skepticat said...

You would think that after forty-seven years on the planet earth, Mr. Paul would have learned the meaning of the word "Empathy".

Ah, but he's extremely empathetic. It's just that it's corporations rather than humans with whom he empathizes.

At 5:37 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

Tom, you ask are there enough bigots in that state to put him over the top. Sadly, I would say there just might be. I at one time was foolish enough to think that things were improving, that we as a people were becoming better, more accepting, more open minded and yet seeing the continual hate, lies. fear and venom coming from the right, I think we are receding into a new era of ignorance. When we have politicians (and I am not referring specifically to Rand) who are not only ignorant and uneducated but glory in it, I have little hope for an enlightened future.

I often mention my south GA red necked cousins and I sometimes wonder what the hell the difference is between me and them. The only thing is that I get out of there; I lived in other parts of the country; I was exposed to things they can not even comprehend and they have lived their small bigoted little lives with their small bigoted little minds in their small bigoted little towns and don't have a clue that there is another world outside. So,yes there just might be enough people in Kentucky to vote this male Sarah Palin into office.

At 1:12 AM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

Actually, I think Rand Paul is emblematic of the inevitable pushback from the right in response to President Obama's election, and maybe it isn't a bad thing.

Was his win a combination of anger at the previous administration, and a laughably inept republican ticket, or have the majority of the voting public in this country really elected a black man solely because he was, in their opinion, the best man for the job?

Maybe with the help of people like Rand Paul we'll find out. There will be no subtlety to the racism in the next election cycle, thanks to him and the other village idiots in the Tea Party, and I sort of welcome it. Let there be no doubt about where people stand on racism, let the Right polarize their base along racial lines, between Paul and the Tea Party and the morons in Arizona, and let's hope that once and for all, the voters in this country make a stand against small mindedness and bigotry.

At 3:52 AM, Blogger Ivory said...

If you people really understood the mindset of a Libertarian, you would understand that his viewpoint is that the government does not have the obligation or right to force its moral opinion on anyone, including a private business. Do you honestly believe that forcing a business to de-segregate suddenly made the owners or their other patrons less racist and magically minorities were suddenly treated like equals? Please.

I love it when morally superior Liberals try to shake their fingers at Libertarians for not having their staunch desire to pummel others into taking up their crusade. Here's a thought- mind your own business. You don't have the right to tell others what to think or how to feel, no matter how fair or just or morally appropriate you perceive it to be.

Rain, if you think that the government has the job to regulate life to create fairness, please be sure to keep your feet planted firmly when the moral steam roller is headed your way. You can't legislate perfection into human nature. If you understood human nature at all, you would know that.

Darlene clearly knows nothing about the Tea Party movement. Clearly another Liberal zombie- seriously if you are going to make accusations, please know what the Hell you're talking about with more to reference than someone else's bias. It amazes me that the Tea Party movement is trying to revive our Constitutional freedoms and you people are using them to bitch-slap and malign them for it.

Can't wait until the government boot it on your throats, so to speak. Then, maybe you people will get it.

At 6:41 AM, Blogger W.D. Shirley said...

Ivory, the "government" is us. Us is black men and women, latinos and latinas, light skinned and dark, all of us are "the government". Do we have the right to assert that you can be a bigot all you want except in areas where the "government" has issued you a license to run a public business? You can even hate minorities if you are so ignorant, but not on the public stage, not while using government services, because as stated above, blacks are the government in the same way whites are. Libertarians want minimal government intrusion and I would say that correcting the errors in thought processes brought about by living in ignorance is part of the educational mandate of government and should remain part of the government process. Libertarians seem to feel that less government is better, but as WE are the government the idea is therefor that less of us is better for us... I don't get it. We should all live in isolation from one another? Can I beat my wife and children? None of your business after all if I want to rape my daughter, doesn't affect you, right? How about if I want to worship my God by placing my son up on a pile of rocks and slitting his throat? Is that anybody's concern but mine?

I am inclined to say that sometimes people join together to do things in union that would be difficult if not impossible to do singly. This includes protecting the weak from the strong. This joining of people to protect and support is called "government" and if you want to have a libertarian local government I think that's fine. But do not think you have the right to dissolve MY version of good government and take away those services which, for instance, keep my comatose son alive until we can raise the cash for better health care. I like intrusive government when it busts up human slavery rings, don't you? I like having traffic laws. Police can be your friends, and this is from a guy who ran from the Alameda County pigs during a Berkeley riot. Let's get rid of bad government and keep the good parts of government.

At 12:05 PM, Blogger Opinionated Gifts said...

His first name says it all. Named after a certifiably insane woman with delusions of grandeur and a lack of imagination, how can this guy help but remain stuck in college sophomore smoked a bone philosophy. Yeah I think he knew who he was appealing to when he stumbled on Maddow, but I also think he honestly buys that utopian bullshit.

At 1:57 PM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

It's somewhat hilarious to watch someone try to explain the 'mindset' of a Libertarian.

It's really simple, you want to be a bigot fine, it's your right. But if you want to open a business that that caters to the public, you cannot restrict your clientele based on your prejudices.

'Public accommodation' means just that, if you want to make money serving the public, then that's what you do, or don't go into business.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Ellis D., Esq. said...

Okay folks, the only legitimate purpose of government is to protect and care for those who cannot ( for whatever reason ) protect and care for themselves. Private business has been given numerous benefits that are undeserved but were obtained through the muscle of wealth used to buy the government and thereby control it. To make private business subject to civil rights law(s) is totally reasonable and warranted. I'm sure these businesses would prefer a one way street and reap the benefits of citizenship without the burdens that come with these benefits. I think all people here LEGALLY should have equal rights. Folks have to lose this mindset of only seeing differences among people and focus on the similar human needs of all. That is really the first step to improving society for all of us. I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for it to happen....

At 5:05 PM, Blogger guy said...

The Tea-Party is such a monumental failure of all the US political movements.

At least the Evangelicals and others weren't based off of racist xenophobia alone (?.. lol ID even K)...

Is there really a freaking "racist vote"? WTH? This is the year 2010 right?... How did I wake up in the f-ing 50s

At 6:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think people need to read about Libertarian thinking. Because anyone who equates Rand's comments to Racism, lacks critical thinking. It bothers me to think the well being of everyone relies on a the lowest common denominator of understanding... and you actually get to vote from that perspective.

Fortunately I have hope in the future, that there are enough people who do not simple watch MSNBC or CNN or FOX and just accept the reality that other people decide for them. So to anyone here who thinks themself a free and intelligent person I recommend you google / youtube search libertarian thinking.

At the very least it might remove the racist stigma you are wrongly trying to apply to Rand and Libertarians in general.

And for the record I do not agree with what Rand tried to do, but *atleast* I do understand why he tried to make the argument.

At 7:23 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

Ivory and Anonymous. Please note I did not say Rand was a racist. I simply implied that his stand allows racism to be practiced. If any private company can discriminate and they deny services to an ethnic minority what is that except racism?

As for the Tea Party trying to revive our constitutional principles I suggest, Maam, that you are the one who does not understand the movement. In reality, I am not sure the Tea Party knows what it stands for. It is seemingly a fractured group of people that have different agendas. They just seem to be angry at everything that is wrong now, forgetting that the trouble started years ago.

But don't get me started on deregulation during the Reagan administration that led to the banks being able to bring our economy to it's knees, or to the unfunded wars and tax cutting for the wealthiest during the Bush administration that exacerbated the problem and led to the largest deficit in our country's history.

Oh no, the Tea Party put up signs that it's all Obama's fault. They want their country back. How far back? Shall we go back to pre-Civil War?

Give me a break!

At 3:55 AM, Blogger GeniusJunky said...

What saddens me most is that Rand Paul's constituency, whether or not they consider their reasons for doing so, all vote. Maddow has used a lot of her air time going back over the Paul incident, which I think is actually to her ( and to his opponent's) detriment. The fact is that Dr. Paul's ridiculous statement on her show gave a green light to the closet confederates in his state to vote for him.

He brings that portion of the Tea Party movement out into the open.

At 1:33 PM, Blogger Bill_in_DE said...

"The fact is that Dr. Paul's ridiculous statement on her show gave a green light to the closet confederates in his state to vote for him."

I just don't see that as a bad thing. I see it as a test, if all the bigots rally behind this wingnut, and they lose, maybe once and for all, both the Democrats and the mainstream centrist Republicans will stop fearing and/or catering to the small minded people who actually think their skin color is enough reason to hate others and deny them the same rights they think are their birthright.

And if they win, it just means there's more work to be done.

At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LMAO @ "right wing media" ... Unless one ONLY watches Fox News (which is more balanced than most major media outlets), no reasonable person could think our media is right wing. Now, perhaps the folks that think that are WAYYYY left wing nuts?

At 8:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tom Degan
Goshen, New York, United States
We don't need your hate speach here in Houston, TX, so keep your hate and fear of reality in Goshen,New York

At 8:33 PM, Blogger Tom Degan said...

It's not hate speech, And you DO need it in Texas. It is needed in Texas more than any other place in the entire United States!



At 9:27 PM, Blogger charles moore said...

1. What Tom has to say is not hate speech; what Paul has to say is hate speech.
2. Tom did not take his article to Texas, you came to his web site.
3. Why should anything you have to say be taken seriously if you don't hate the balls (or tits) to sign your name to it?

At 10:29 PM, Blogger Cimarron said...

nice piece, Tom.
what is it about libertarians that enables them to construct airy fantasies & promote them as proven fact?
what is it in the words of the Preamble that so eludes them? i mean, "we the people," "more perfect union," "common defense," "general welfare"... evidently, the Founder's vision endorsed neither unbridled acquisition, nor the unfettered exercise of individual whims & preferences. and yet...
i'm not convinced that Rand Paul really shot himself in the foot - too many white Americans want to "move past race," & curiously enough, Obama's election & the Teabagger push-back seem equally expressive of this phenomenon.
think about it:
most liberals, & way too many progressives, were blinded by the inspiring symbolism of Obama's candidacy - hence the growing impatience/disappointment w/policy initiatives amounting to Bill Clinton's third term.
and all those specious claims about a "post-racial" America have only encouraged demands that we act as if this lofty goal were already an accomplished fact. indeed, Chief Justice Roberts opinion on the Seattle deseg case said as much. in post-racial America, w/o hard proof of Intent to do harm, harmful Outcomes are deemed meaningless.
so, i won't begin to speculate on Rand Paul's immediate political future, but i am convinced that we haven't heard the last arguments pitting individual rights against social goods.

At 8:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's scary is that Sue Lowden in Nevada makes Paul almost look liberal!

At 11:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm just wondering.. are you GLAD that President Kennedy's been gone longer than he was here?? Is he an "enemy"?? ...Because he certainly wouldn't fit in today's Democratic Party.

At 1:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The spin machine is in full SUPER-SPIN mode.

Sheeple: How many times does Rand Paul have to confirm that he is NOT for racism in any form for you to get the big picture? He simply wants to put the power Fed back in the hands of the people. Thats a pretty patriotic stance in my humble opinion. End this tyranny and botch this smear campaign, GO RAND!!

Dr. Paul "I abhor racism of every form". This means to regard with extreme repugnance or aversion; detest utterly; loathe; abominate.

At 9:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"[T]he nasty fact still remains and cannot be spun in any other direction: Rand Paul believes that privately owned businesses have the constitutional right to discriminate against black people."

Rand Paul may believe that the Constitution doesn't prohibit an act not because he endorses that specific act, but because the Constitution literally doesn't prohibit the act. You haven't shown why that couldn't be the case here.

The Constitution doesn't say anything about restricting a private business or individual's right to discriminate based on race. If it did there would be no need for laws protecting equal opportunity in employment and housing.

Please enlighten us -- where does the Constitution prohibit private businesses from discriminating against customers based on race?

And, assuming you can defend that claim, why do we still need laws to protect equal opportunities in employment and housing if companies are already prohibited from such bigotry?

At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Bill S. said...

LMAO, Rand Paul simply stated the Constitutional truth of our land. Quite simply, if you force me to do something against my will to help someone else that I don't feel obligated by my moral code to help, then I am no longer free. I might as well have been born black rather than white, since whitey is forced to help me. I am absolutely not racist, but I absolutely believe that it would be wrong if black people were forced to provide me with a job, to serve me food, drink or shelter against their will. What is freedom if you are not free to exercise your right to keep what is yours? It's not freedom, that's for sure. The thing is, if YOU want to give equal rights to someone else in your business, knock yourself out doing it, but don't come into mine and tell me I MUST consider hiring someone that I don't like just because they're black. I simply will not go along with that train of thought. Freedom above all else.

At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What really makes me laugh above all else in this libtarded blasphemy of reality, is that Rand Paul is a republican, not a Libertarian. This, like so many other outlets for "truth," starts off by misleading the reader. Most of you people are not smart enough to be anything but dangerous. Go back to sleep.

At 5:12 PM, Anonymous Here in California said...

Brother, if people only knew that Ronald Reagan at several times in history (often in California) referred to himself as a Libertarian. Hmmmph... how exactly did his tax & spend policies (yes he taxed, but he just created a deficit in place of a tax) identify him as a Libertarian? He was.... very pro-white. And anti-law against anything protecting the non-white, non-disabled, non-Christian person.

That isn't America, that is fascism.

Rand Paul is a fascist. This isn't the 1960's it's the 21st Century.


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