Yes, racists exist, but a racist these days is all too often really just a conservative winning an argument with a liberal.
You've seen big government propagandists do it again and again. They will bend over backwards to assail defenders of liberty as racists on the basis of flimsy circumstantial evidence and rationally deficient arguments used to smear their targets by insinuation, false association, and outright fabrication.
When the Tea Party was in full swing waving a million anti-tax signs across the nation, all too many of its critics jumped on any opportunity, no matter how ridiculous or outright fabricated, to cast the fiscal policy movement as a sinister bastion of racism. The NAACP passed a resolution in 2010 calling on the Tea Party to purge its ranks of racists or accept responsibility for them.
The NAACP and its cheerleaders were heavy on condemnation, but light on actually making a case that the Tea Parties were in fact rife with racism. It was just a smear campaign.
Enough Americans went to Tea Party protests to know they had nothing to do with race. I went to several big Tea Party events and if I didn't have the cry wolf media to tell me otherwise, I could have sworn that it was all about balanced budgets, term limits, and trying to figure out how to make legislators actually read bills before deciding to turn them into laws that have real consequences for the rest of us. I didn't feel like it was too much to ask. And I certainly didn't see what it had to do with race.
So if the Tea Party's ideals stirred a little something in you, if you believe the Washington regime is out of control and exploits its power over us for its own interests instead of to make our lives better, but if you aren't sure which politicians are simply talking the Tea Party talk and which ones really mean it, then pay attention to which politicians the defenders of the status quo are trying to smear as racist without making a very convincing case.
One of the Tea Party's leading figures, Rand Paul, was the victim of just such a smear this week, a piece published in the Washington Free Beacon with the title, "Rebel Yell," and the subtitle, "Rand Paul aide has history of neo-Confederate sympathies, inflammatory statements."
Here's what it all looks like to me: Jack Hunter, the Rand Paul aide at the center of this smear attack, as a young radio shock jock bristling at the overreach of the federal government, spent some time captivated by a romanticized notion of the Confederacy because it once stood up to the government that he wanted to stand up to. Being from the south himself and having pride in his culture made it easier for Jack to relate.
Hey, I'm with you-- the young Jack's interest in the Confederacy wasn't very critical or well thought out. He's said himself that he's embarrassed by some of the things he said in his youth. Since then, he's dropped his interest in it because he's been transformed by a much more inspiring and inclusive vision, Ron Paul's message of peaceful co-existence, constitutional rule of law, and individual liberty for all. Those are the things he's talking about and seriously advocates for now (which is what his critics actually have a problem with), and all this time he's been perfectly forthcoming and public about his past as he transitioned from shock jock entertainer to serious political activist.
The idea that any of this has implications about Senator Rand Paul's worthiness as a 2016 presidential candidate is suspicious.
The late Senator Robert Byrd didn't merely have an aide that wore a Confederate wrestling mask in his youth as a bad joke; Byrd himself was an active leader for years in the KKK. His title was "Exalted Cyclops," and he organized a "klavern" of 150 members. He's the man who said this:
"I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side... Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds."
Now I read all of Hunter's past incriminating quotes (and several that I wouldn't consider incriminating at all) published by the Washington Free Beacon, and none of them hold a candle to the unrestrained hatred and actual racism of Robert Byrd on full display in the quote above. Regardless of this, Byrd would spend decades as a powerful US Senator, and when he died in office of old age, the New York Times gave him a shining tribute entitled, "Robert Byrd, Respected Voice of the Senate, Dies at 92."
The Times obituary apologized aggressively for Byrd's racist past. Readers didn't even see a word about it until suffering through fifteen belabored paragraphs of gushing praise for the man, and then finally, the Times columnist's lead-in to the difficult subject matter was as merciful as he could have possibly mustered, "Mr. Byrd's perspective on the world changed over the years..."
And I'm not making this up, the NAACP even released a statement praising Robert Byrd after he died, and saying that his life "reflects the transformative power of this nation."
If the man deserved his senate seat, a glowing endorsement from the NAACP, and the newspaper of record's lavish praise with a history like that, surely Rand Paul might just merit the presidency since this story isn't even about him though the Beacon is trying to make it about him, and since it's about an aide being remorseful and embarrassed about an insensitive radio persona in his youth that does not come any where close to the same ballpark of the kind of genuine racial terrorism that the senator with a "D" next to his name participated in.
See, the media outlets that feign indignation at trumped up charges of racism are worse than the boy who cried wolf. At least when a real wolf came the boy cried wolf again. The moral of the story is no one believed him even when he was warning of a real threat because he had destroyed his credibility. But imagine what we would think of the boy if he cried wolf when there was no wolf, and remained silent when a real wolf approached. That's your status quo media. Phony exaggerated outrage for the merely uncouth; mercy and forgiveness for undeniable, flagrant racism.
On that note, I don't see any articles on The Washington Free Beacon condemning the daily, racist stop and frisks in New York City or the racist War on Drugs. If any of the cry wolfs had any sense of perspective and any real concern about the destruction of racism in our country when it's real, undeniable, and relevant, maybe every time Mayor Bloomberg's name gets floated for the presidency, you'd hear someone disqualify him as a serious candidate.
Clearly, Rand Paul's critics want to condemn him for some racism that they fantasize he would be guilty of in the 19- or 1860s, but the only people who I ever seem to hear consistently taking a serious stand against actual racist policies happening right now are libertarians like Rand Paul. It's obviously not about fighting racism for the cry wolfs; it's about defending the establishment's grip on power.
The real problem Rand Paul's critics have with him is that he is winning the argument about freedom. He is winning the argument that Washington has become a machinery of exploitation, corruption, secrecy, and abuse.
With this latest distraction out of the way, let's keep having that real argument. Because we're winning it.