There's been a ton of talk in the media about Rand Paul's alleged Libertarian / libertarian stance on equal rights.
But, the media won't let this die, in part because of the candidate's previous primary opponent, and in part because Democrats are poised to take an awful beating nationally in November, and playing the race card is probably the only thing they've got.
Sadly, this issue could likely win the election for the Republicans in Kentucky. You may disagree with that statement on its face; but follow me here:
- Since 1952, Kentucky has voted as a block with Ohio and Indiana in the majority vote for President. However, that changed in 2008.
- Obama won Indiana and Ohio, but lost in Kentucky. Here's a quick table of the results ( raw data provided from Wikipedia )
Why did Obama do so poorly in Kentucky? I'd like to believe it's because Kentuckians didn't believe the hype; however, a 15-to-20 point difference between KY and the other members of this former voting block is a bit excessive. More likely, it's because there is a racist segment of Kentucky's population; moreso than Ohio and Indiana. I do believe this, and it saddens me.
I also believe that those over in the D camp know this, and that by pushing this issue chances are very good that it will win the seat for Paul in November. This will be a net-zero sum for R's and D's, as Republican Jim Bunning is the current office holder.
I believe the goal of those pushing this story is to use the Paul campaign to associate Tea Partiers with both Libertarians and Racists, nationally, to suppress the Republican vote in November, and to swing moderate votes in other states to Democrats.
- A recent poll showed that Republicans dislike Libertarians (more than Democrats, and Independents like us). So if they can hang a "Libertarian" noose around Tea Party Republicans, they can suppress Republican votes in November.
- Add in the racial component nationally, so that in states where moderates generally rule the day, guilt by association may drag an additional 5% away from the Republican and give it to the Democrat. And in those states (and in many other races), 5% can decide everything.
It appears the D's strategy is to intentionally lose the seat in Kentucky held by a Republican today, so that they can stem major losses nationally (an otherwise inevitable result of passing the healthcare bill and perpetual 10%+ unemployment).
The real problem here, and my real concern (beyond the smearing of the term "libertarian"), is that politics is trumping solutions at the expense of people.
Why are politicians and the media pouring salt in old wounds? Using race as a divisive issue only serves to deepen the divide and repulse those who might otherwise one day awaken to the reality that all men are created equal. We must be careful not to regress, by fighting fights from over half-a-century ago. Please don't hurt the progress that's been made by making a political issue out of this! We're on the right path; please don't derail it for short-term political gain.
America has made great strides in overcoming bigotry in the past 55 years. Most of my generation (I was born in 1977) and the younger generations are practically unconcerned with race when making decisions. This is a very positive step for all of us. We are beginning to live Dr. King's dream, a nation where [his children] will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I've personally witnessed the growth of people who have -- over time -- shed bigoted beliefs and begun to accept people for who they are. It's indescribable how happy it makes me to see that happen. It refills my hope that the human race can one day find peace amongst the various divisions along national, cultural, and religious lines.
Have there been set-backs -- even recent ones? Yes. In 2008, the KY General Assembly voted to ban the adoption of any children by anyone who wasn't married, in a not-so-subtle attempt to keep gays from adopting. (Even talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger, who is by no means a lefty, believes that this sort of law is a wrong-headed move.)
But generally, we have been changing the hearts and minds of people. We must continue that journey toward true equality, not legislated faux equality.
So, people inevitably have asked me where I and/or the LPKY stand on this issue.
The Libertarian in me agrees with the idea that we shouldn't be telling private businesses what to do. Admitting this will probably make media pundits (if they even read this) say "See! Rand Paul is a Libertarian!".
The problem is that it's just not that cut and dry. Libertarians agree with Republicans and Democrats on various issues, as mentioned in our Clarification on our December 2009 Press Release. Sometimes for the same reasons, and sometimes not.
I am not a bigot. I treat all people the same, until they personally do something to directly threaten or harm me, my family, or my friends. Libertarianism is all about condemning and stopping the initiation of force. It's a pledge that any member of the Libertarian Party must sign in order to be a member.
Personally, I'd like to know who the bigots are. I'd like to spend my money where the proceeds aren't going to fund activities that are counter to my own personal beliefs.
Today's laws prevent me from knowing that! Does the shop keeper use the proceeds of the sale of a product to burn crosses, or to fund anti-gay activities on the weekend? I don't know -- if I did, I'd certainly make better decisions about where I spend my money!
But this has been the accepted practice for 55 years. There are much bigger fish to fry, and as time continues to pass, this becomes less and less of an issue, as (thankfully) fewer and fewer people hold bigoted views.