I am amazed(well, not really) at how a group of non-free thinking sheep can take one sentence spoken by one of the most free thinking individuals in the public eye right now and pin a racist label on him. Do they seriously believe that just because MSNBC and CNN play the same sixty second Rand Paul “story” for twenty four hours straight for days at a time that it will make it more poignant and serious? What Rand Paul said was this, “…(he) doesn’t support the law as it was written. (He) believes that(private) businesses should have the right to discriminate based on race, gender, disability, or any other factor.” It is true that when asked about whether or not he supports desegregating lunch counters, Paul couldn’t answer yes or no. First of all, find me a “lunch counter.” What year is this? 1964? Are people still being denied service at the five and dime downtown? And second of all, the reason he “couldn’t answer” is because the news journalist(and I use that term loosely) wouldn’t LET him answer; she kept talking over him. Even GMA’s headline was accusatory, “Rand Paul defends discriminatory remarks”….uh, what discriminatory remarks?? Any intelligent person knows the difference between an opinion on how our government handled racial discrimination in the sixties and a KKK rally organized by David Duke. It’s the uninformed that choose to equate the two. And third, the liberal media took a benign statement, twisted it into something horrific, deemed him a racist, and then dared him to utter one sentence in his defense! No matter how one defends himself against such an accusation, he’s seen as defensive! Look, most restaurants are chains and are not privately owned, so his remark doesn’t include them; they don’t refuse service based on color, gender or disability. Should a business openly practice discrimination(in their hiring renting, selling or serving), then we, a smarter, kinder, nation wouldn’t stand for it, law or not. That said, there are still a smattering of those “privately” owned business that practice discrimination, but I can’t name any, as I doubt they are flourishing businesses. These days, our awareness and tolerance of race, gender, and disabilities stems in large part from boycotting those places that practice discrimination, word of mouth, educating ourselves, and the fact that overall, we are a more decent nation; not because a law forces us to do so. Again, there’s a smattering of racists, mysogynists, and people who don’t like people with disabilities(is there a term for that?) among us who practice no tolerance of anyone who is not a white male with all of his physical and mental abilities–law or no law. Rand Paul made the remark that the Federal government did have to step in in the sixties because racial discrimination had become so dire and local and state governments were not taking action. He agreed with the federal government’s actions and has never stated the Civil Rights Act should be repealed. (I don’t think MSNBC kept playing this part, so just repeat it to yourself about a billion times). His entire point was that if privately owned businesses chooses to discriminate, sadly, it should be their choice. He never said it was a correct choice.
That is the sad truth about living in a truly free society where a government does not legislate acceptance or tolerance or kindness. There will be stupid, moronic people who make bad decisions. Did I wake up in China? This situation also begs the questions: Is it scary to believe that we need legislation to force us to be tolerant, to be kind, to tell us how to feel about another person? Or is it scarier to believe we are decent enough to be kind, compassionate, tolerant, and accepting without laws to tell us to do so? If we are to silence Rand Paul for his remarks because we are afraid of a nation left more to its own devices with less government intervention, then do we silence Louis Farrakhan for his racial extremism? Al Gore for his climate theory extremism? Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson? Whom do we silence next? Keith Olbermann? Glenn Beck? Ann Coulter? Arianna Huffington? Do we silence those whose opinions we don’t agree with? Do we silence those we are afraid of? Who will be left talking when everyone is muzzled? Keep looking over your shoulder, America…the next person silenced might be you.
©Mary Flanagan Taylor May 23, 2010