Letter May 26, 2010
Rand Paul and Kentucky libertarians might consider reading John Howard Griffin's 1961 book, "Black Like Me." Griffin, a native of Dallas, was a decorated WW II combat veteran, a music teacher, a philosopher, a novelist, and a convert to Catholicism. In 1959, Griffin had his skin darkened so that he could try to understand what black people experienced in the segregated South. "Black Like Me" was developed from his journal entries. It was a best-seller and in 1964 was made into a movie starring James Whitmore.
Analyzing the reality of the South in the 1960’s, it appears impossible for anyone to be personally opposed to racism and at the same time opposed on the grounds of high constitutional principle to laws that eliminate an elaborate, interlocking system of racial apartheid. That position may appear on the surface to be theoretically coherent, but it is psychologically impossible.
Rand Paul may find racism abhorrent, but his beliefs do attract followers in droves who would use his positions to foster some of the more extreme forms of racist behavior. The website Stormfront.org is full of white nationalists encouraging each other to contribute to Rand Paul’s Senate campaign. Readers can find comments such as this at www.stormfront.org/forum/t631924/:
“When Don Black gave him that notorious $500, Ron Paul said that if "racists" sent him money he was going to use it to support his platform that everyone should be equal under the law. He didn't know why "racists" would want to put their money toward that, but he was fine accepting the money anyway. That's a paraphrase of what he said on video.
My first preference is for an all-white society. If I can't live there, I'll take a multicultural society where everyone is equal under the law, and where I have the right to self-segregate in schools, housing, and business. And I believe I'd be able to do that if Ron Paul had his way. “
John Howard Griffin writes in "Black Like Me: "the most obscene figures are not the ignorant ranting racists, but the legal minds who front for them, who 'invent' for them the legislative proposals and the propaganda bulletins. They deliberately choose to foster distortions, always under the guise of patriotism, upon a people who have no means of checking the facts."
We cannot afford an ideologue like Rand Paul to represent Kentucky in the U.S. Senate. In contrast, Jack Conway is a practical, no-nonsense, well-prepared, and highly-qualified candidate. His performance at the recent Alben Barkley debate in Paducah showed to me that he is ready to represent Kentucky in a positive and practical way to focus on jobs, the economy, and fiscal responsibility. I know which candidate is the right choice for Kentucky.