Quantcast

Ron Paul’s war against civil rights

Earl Ofari Hutchinson | 5/17/2011, 2:36 p.m.

Ron Paul’s war against civil rights

GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul still wages war against civil rights. And we really shouldn’t be surprised since Paul has repeatedly gotten into hot water nearly every time he opens his mouth about anything that remotely touches on race.

But this time Paul sailed past the outer limits with his defiant boast that he would not have voted for the landmark 1964 civil rights bill. That’s right the 1964 bill; a bill that’s been the law of the land for nearly six decades, and Paul still opposes.

Paul’s rap against the bill is just as absurd and tortured as the rap that Southern Democrats and Northern GOP conservatives who bottled the bill up for more than a year in Congress used to pretty up their opposition to it. It violated property rights. Paul, nearly six decades after their efforts failed, tells Chris Matthews, “I’m for property rights and for state’s rights, and therefore I’m a racist, that’s just outlandish.”

But what else would you call it? The equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment wiped away the bogus claim that property rights trumps racial discrimination a century before Paul and Jim Crow maintenance proponents used this ploy to torpedo the civil rights bill. There’s method, though, to Paul’s silly and repeated knock of the law. He’s now a declared 2012 GOP presidential candidate.

And he knows full well that there are legions of frustrated, disgusted, even enraged defrocked GOP backers and purported libertarians that are desperate to have an alternative to the drab, lackluster and downright zany cast of would be GOP presidential contenders.

Paul gives those desperate for an alternative exactly what they want. That’s a candidate who will say anything to tweak the establishment. Paul actually garnered a 49 percent approval rating in the recent AP-GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications Poll. That high an approval rating put him far ahead of Minnesota state Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels and former Utah Gov. and Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman in the GOP favorability derby.

The cornerstone of his appeal is his view of government and what it should or should not do about civil rights. Paul holds that government should have minimal, or better still, no role in civil rights laws and enforcement. The government passed and enforced civil rights laws, did nothing to solve the country’s racial ills, and worse, fueled even more racial polarization, he says.

That old, worn and thoroughly discredited view warms the hearts of the packs of closet bigots that pine for the old days when racial and gender discrimination was the American norm and government did little to protect black and gay rights.

On his campaign website ronpaul2008.com, Paul highlighted this as “Issue: Racism.”  “Government as an institution is particularly ill-suited to combat bigotry.” In other words, the 1954 landmark Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of education school desegregation decision, the 1964 and 1968 Civil Rights Acts, the 1965 Voting Rights Act and legions of court decisions and state laws that bar discrimination are worthless. Worse, said Paul, they actually promoted bigotry by dividing Americans into race and class.