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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Racism and Ron Paul


One of the most understandable reasons for progressives as well as people from across the political spectrum to hesitate about voting for Ron Paul is the existence of racist rhetoric in some of his newsletters.  Ron Paul has disavowed these statements and for his most ardent followers, that ought to be the end of it.

He has also admitted that he followed bad advice when his campaign staff told him to claim that these statements were taken out of context. The one statement, about the swift footedness of young black men, that he tried to defend in that manner was embarrassingly incredulous. Fortunately for Ron Paul, he has, until this campaign, been able to take a minimalist approach to this problem in part due to the long accepted “southern strategy” of the Republican Party.

Thankfully for America, the Republican Party can no longer count on that strategy to gain them majorities in all southern states. I do not think that Ron Paul ever liked the strategy as is evidenced by his standing against the racial bias of our judicial system, especially with regard to the death penalty and drug law enforcement and sentencing.

Furthermore, in all the books, articles and public speeches that legitimately bear his name, Ron Paul has never used bigoted language or advocated racism. In fact, he has explicitly condemned racism as a violation of both his libertarian principles and his Christian beliefs.  

Ron Paul can certainly continue through this primary and not make the speech I suggest. He might even win the nomination without such action. While I doubt that most mainstream Republicans care a wits end whether Ron Paul renounces the party's central political strategy of the last 40 years, he may need to satisfy enough liberal voices that he is not a racist before he can get a big time endorsement from anyone on the left.

Satisfying his critics, however, is just not Ron Paul’s way, and certainly that’s a part of his character I hope he never gives up (as if he could, if he tried). Deep down I think that what Ron Paul wants is to do the right thing.  So what I would suggest he think about is how deeply the problem of racism has infected our American system to its detriment.

I would not presume to know Ron Paul’s heart or anyone else’s but my own, and that not very well. (I realize that last qualifier makes me unfit to be a libertarian.)  I do know what I see and hear. I was born and raised a southerner but I have lived up north and overseas. In the latter I have seen American imperialism at work. Our supposedly enlightened and liberal entertainment industry has taught the world that black men are to be feared as inherently violent and criminal.

Northerners are just as bigoted as southerners. White liberals pride themselves on not being racists but are as much segregated from African Americans as any other political segment of our population. White conservatives have been thinking since 1865 that we live in a post racial society. Black leaders, regardless of their position on the economic ladder or political spectrum, continue to have to battle the impression that they somehow do not deserve their status. African American youth continue to be told there place is not in seats of power but in the sports arena or on the entertainment stage and sadly far too many of them embrace the stereotype.

The continued endemic presence of racism in our culture is revealed in subtle and not so subtle comments. The other day I was standing in line to purchase some books. Among them were 3 books on the life of Martin Luther King. The cashier, a white woman, asked me, “What are these for?” I simply told her, “They are for my 7 year old son.” Her silent and blushing reaction to a white guy buying three different books on MLK for his son tells us much about what is still expected in our culture. If I were a teacher purchasing them for display prior to the King holiday, that would be understandable but not simply so that my son could get to know a national hero from 3 different perspectives.

People with liberal political leanings are rightly cognizant of the continuing problem of racism in America but they should be careful not to pride themselves on not being racists. Whenever, some begins a sentence, “I’m not a racist…,” I am almost certain to hear evidence to the contrary. Culturally sophisticated liberals would never use such a phrase but their inordinate shallow openness and high regard for the supposed supreme virtue of tolerance makes me wonder just why they protest so much.

Such skepticism is my reaction to liberals' reactions to the obviously racist statements in some of Ron Paul’s newsletters. I think he rightfully deserves criticism for how casually he has dealt and/or not dealt with them. I like to imagine that when he found out about these statements, he was deeply embarrassed and went quietly to Lew Rockwell and said to him, “I don’t want to know who wrote this filth, but never let anything like it come anywhere near to anything bearing my name ever again.”

That hope might very well be truly wishful thinking. Ron Paul was raised in a racist culture. The thought of him never having a racist thought or saying a racist word or participating in a racist activity is about as ridiculous as expecting me to never think about eating blueberry cobbler. I don’t dwell on it but it wouldn’t take much for me to start craving some. Our culture is addicted to racism and if not for certain legal and cultural barriers, we could easily slip back into its worst manifestations.

All this is not to say that we have not made significant strides or that all white Americans are inherently racists. It is to say that the media ought to expect to find some racism in politicians born before 1964. (Not suspecting it in politicians born after the civil rights would be just as na├»ve.) Ron Paul has shown his homophobia publically on film when he was baited. It’s not a huge step to believe that such irrationality might show up in matters of race.

I am not saying that the liberal sector of the media should ignore Ron Paul’s racist associations or perhaps real racist sentiments. I do however want to ask, how will such real or imagined racism likely guide his policy agenda and enforcement of the law?  My best guess is, if he is elected (and it hardly bears repeating my often asserted belief that he will not be elected except in coalition with progressives who would see to it that he not ignore the Civil Rights Act), he will do his best to prove, through how he governs, that racism is not his motive.

Beyond the usual affirmative action in hiring staff, Ron Paul would do something significant about our nation’s drug policy and penal sentencing by ending the federal death penalty(at least under his watch) and commuting and/or pardoning all non-violent drug offenders, thus releasing thousands of African Americans from unjust imprisonment to be reunited with their families. He would also greatly curtail the disproportionate number of minorities killed or injured on battle fields by bringing them back home from ill advised missions. These two measures alone would be of significantly more concrete benefit for African American individuals and families than any implemented or proposed by the current administration.

I would never pretend that Ron Paul is going to create a post racial America, but the criticisms of him on the matter seem to be more motivated by partisan politics than actual concern for racial justice.

All this said, I reiterate my call for him to deliver the exhaustive speech which affirms his commitment to both the presumption and the goal of racial equality in America. This is a necessity not just for political purposes but because it is the right thing for Ron Paul to do.

9 comments:

  1. Hello Cornelius,

    You have a fascinating blog here.

    Although I am very confused on how a Ron Paul supporter can support using federal funds to fund a universal health care system, I believe you are also seeking to define liberty, like me at Define Liberty:

    http://definelibertarianism.blogspot.com/

    I have also posited to you two questions regarding your views about reconciling federally-funded green projects and a universal health care system with the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the Constitution:

    http://definelibertarianism.blogspot.com/2012/01/define-liberty-introducing-progressives.html

    I encourage you to answer these questions on your blog, and perhaps we can have a friendly inter-blog discussion about these matters, while raising awareness about Dr. Paul and his plan to Restore America Now.

    For Freedom and Liberty,
    John Galt

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    Replies
    1. John, thanks for your insight and comments....i will respond to your new blog...just want to think more clearly about your 9th and 10th amendment arguments....not a constitutional scholar.

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  2. The anti-whites need to be told we won`t accept their white genocide agenda:

    Africa for the Africans,Asia for the Asians,white countries for EVERYBODY!

    Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.

    The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.

    Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

    What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

    How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

    And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.

    They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.

    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.

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  3. Hey Genocide,
    Race is a political construction... you need Jesus to help you get beyond this idol.

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  4. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=x-AQKDTyDx0

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=JDhnfk5rVWs

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  5. Hoping you pick up comments on slightly dated entries, Cornelius. LIke you, I think this coalition you speak of is the key. Because of that, I try my best to talk to my politically liberal friends (many) moreso than the politically conservative ones (fewer - and more of a lost cause).

    I actually read this particular posting of yours when you put it up. At that time, when the "Ron Paul rascist newsletters" were resurgent, the topic of the day due to the good doctor's showing in Iowa, I felt like the BlueRepblican/DemocratsForRonPaul movement would be hurt by it. Then, to my surprise, the whole thing just sort of disappeared.

    Well, yesterday, the issue was brought back front and center for me personally, but with a twist. The newsletters themselves were not even mentioned. Instead, the dark underbelly of what they "could" represent was loudly thrust into my face. Now, I'm thinking this thing may indeed be THE BIGGEST hurdle we face.

    Briefly, the backstory is that I have a liberal friend who still supports Obama just as wholeheartedly as she did in 2008. She knows I support Ron Paul. She knows I support the crossover strategy you and others like you (Robin Korener at BlueRepublican) are promoting.

    I received a private message from her yesterday on facebook. It follows, as well as my initial response, which will be self-explanatory. I just want to be sure you check out the embedded links; one of which is the dailykos opinion article, the other a youtube video that is the focus of the dailykos article.

    Are people on the left in this category essentially unpersuade-able? Is it simply a matter of priorities? They will vote for a corporatist warmonger over a rascist? Or is it worthwhile to pursue a dialog in the hopes of changing a mind? I'm really interested in how you would respond to my friend (p.s..., I also asked Robin Koerner - haven't heard back from him yet).

    Okay, here it is (in quotes)...

    [MY FRIEND]: "What would you make of this article? I have felt since the last election that Ron Paul strikes me as blind to his own brand of racism. I read his website, hung out with his supporters (many homeschoolers love the guy!), and have tried to pay some attention to him in debates. I'm far from an expert on his positions though. But I've been uneasy repeatedly with how he represents his views of history and how blacks fit into that history.

    Today, I read at Daily Kos (progressive blogging think tank) the following diary post and it articulated what has made me uneasy. How do you see it? Do you have a rebuttal?"

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/01/25/1058381/-Not-All-Slave-Owners-Were-Rapine-Beasts:-Ron-Pauls-Musings-on-States-Rights-and-the-Civil-War?showAll=yes&via=blog_506539

    [MY INITIAL REPLY]: "I appreciate this, 'J' -- and I'm not ignoring you... Work happens, as they say, so I don't have enough time right now. Rebut? No, I doubt that is possible. Hell, its not even desireable.

    Chauncey DeVega(?) has her own story. And this piece is a dynamic and moving testament to it. It would be like rebutting the liberation theology of James Cone, or the social philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

    But I do see things differently.... Hopefully I can present it to you in a way that connects, or at least in a way that makes some sense. :-)..."

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  6. btw, you can reply via email if you prefer:
    timsgolf@aol.com

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    1. Did you get my email? Would love to hear back with an update. Of course it is getting late in the campaign and this strategy of mine has not and sadly probably will not be deployed. Perhaps it can be relevant in a future election and we can get a candidate less tainted.

      The Ron Paul campaign did him no favors by not confronting this head on. I think it was moment of opportunity missed to turn this thing around in a big way. Would love the opportunity to face them some day and ask why the hell they didn't get him an interview with Tavis Smiley before SC.

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  7. I have written a personal response to Tim but I wanted to say a few things here which will probably need to be followed up in a post.

    Ron Paul's unwillingness to confront this issue exhaustively is the Achilles heel of his campaign. It is the only legitimate reason that progressives have found to oppose him on the grounds of principle.Fortunately there are libertarians who are just as disappointed.

    If Ron Paul can do an interview with the likes of a Tavis Smiley or make a speech addressing this issue in full he could still deprive progressives of an excuse for not supporting him in the primary. I use the word "excuse" when speaking of the primary because the vote in the primary can still be legitimated on tactical grounds. His strong showing in the primaries will severely damage a corrupt party.

    That damage is not for our revenge or laughs. It is for the purpose of undermining the GOP's ability to exploit the poor and wage unjust wars. I say this knowing full well that the Democratic Party, my party of choice until this election, is in need of severe damage as well and I think I know a way to do it.

    Ultimately global corporatists need to have their own party while the rest of the nation needs to be represented by 4 other parties: cultural conservatives, libertarian, labor, and green peace.

    Unless Paul does what is needed to expunge racism from his campaign (and I am convinced it still exists or else it would have been dealt with by now...read the post above if you are having a hard time getting your head around my reluctant accusation),then I would recommend that a different course be pursued in the general election, a coalition candidacy with Gary Johnson and Rocky Anderson, Jill Stein, Dennis Kucinich or Bernie Sanders.

    Such a ticket would not garner nearly as many votes as a Paul/Kucinich or Sanders ticket, and so I still hold out hope that the Paul campaign will come to its senses and deal with this issue the way it needs to be. I would much prefer that my year year of blogging for Ron Paul here be worth something.

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