What's particularly galling about the people who continue to portray Paul as a quasi-racist with unenlightened views on civil rights is the fact that he is doing far more than most senators to protect the minority group presently subject to more institutional racism than any other: Muslims. He has been criticized by some for focusing in his filibuster on American citizens being targeted by drones, spied upon, other otherwise violated by the federal government. What about foreigners? This ignores the fact that he has expressed skepticism of drone strikes abroad on many occasions, once going so far as to say that "I don't believe Jesus would've killed anyone, or condoned killing, perhaps not even in self-defense;" and that when Paul defends Americans against warrantless spying, indefinite detention, harassment at the airport, and drone strikes on U.S. soil, he is opposing policies that disproportionately hurt powerless minorities and stigmatized others, as so many Muslim American emailers remind me. Falguni Sheth asks:
Is Paul any more racist in his economic and drug policy endorsements than the White House in its policies of kill lists, targeted killings, drone strikes, TSA no-fly and watch lists, Department of Homeland Security's Secure Communities program or "See Something, Say Something" policy?" "Is Rand Paul more of a threat to black and brown populations (American or foreign) than the current administration, which deported more than 1.5 million migrants during its first term and separated tens of thousands of migrant parents from their children? Is Rand Paul more of a threat to our safety than the current administration?
Despite the White House's defiant disregard of procedure, transparency or accountability, the Democrats disassociated themselves from an important strategic ally -- a libertarian who is the only one asking the questions that progressives, Occupy protesters, political dissenters, Muslims, Arab Americans, African-Americans, Latinos, South Asians and undocumented migrants want an answer to: Will the president claim and exercise the power to kill one of us at his and his advisers' discretion?
Compare the reaction to Paul's comments on the Civil Rights Act to Michael Bloomberg's ongoing stop-and-frisk policy and the NYPD task force he sent to New Jersey to spy on innocent Muslim college students. I understand why the Civil Rights Act is regarded as sacrosanct, but treating non-racist, abstract discomfort with one of its provisions as a more important than actual, ongoing state harassment of innocent blacks and Muslims is bonkers. It isn't that no liberal has ever objected to Bloomberg's excesses, but tell me this: If pitted against one another in the 2016 presidential election, do you think the press would give Paul or Bloomberg a harder time on matters of race? What do you think would garner more mentions, the Civil Rights Act or spying on innocent Muslim students for months without producing any leads?
Why is that?