There was only one Jack Kemp. God knows we need his all-American appeal to conservative and urban audiences at a time when the GOP is attempting frenzied “minority outreach.”
(I put “minority outreach” in quotes because involvement is more my cup of tea.)
That aside, Senator Rand Paul’s Howard University speech set the outreach march on steadier ground.
Instead of sounding like a Democrat with a removable “R,” he was himself, which is all American blacks (pro and con) should ask of him.
I don’t think I’m alone is saying I don’t need White folks adopting minstrel show phony drawls (see Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden), nor drop obvious applause lines based upon our religious or civil rights experience.
Just talk to us.
From the podium and during Q & A, he addressed his stance on issues like the Civil Rights Act that got him in hot water in the past.
One mistake I think Black folks make is demanding that those far removed from our community magically address us as if they’ve been lifelong insiders.
Rand Paul is obviously a White male libertarian and Republican US senator. Some of his conclusions on the GOP or icons like Ronald Reagan differ from those of the Black liberal mainstream.
That his conclusions differ from those of the Black liberal mainstream doesn’t necessarily make him a villain.
American Blacks of Paul’s generation should focus less on what happened in the past and more on what can be done now to distance ourselves from the limitations of yesteryear.
Rand Paul was born in the South three years ahead of me. We came of age in a region forced to confront its Apartheid by federal troops and legislative leveraging from the White Hosue and Capitol Hill.
A lot of Black liberals will charge that he doesn’t “get” Black folks. I wonder: does “Mt. Negro Dialect” Harry Reid “get” us any better?
I’d argue that Rand Paul’s decriminalization of what he calls “victimless drug crimes” alone has the potential to liberate several generations of Black men who chose drug-dealing as a profession.
That stance resonates far more with the Black liberal (and parts of the conservative) mainstream than with anti-drug hardliners like myself.
I consider crack, heroin, meth, and other chemical angels of slow motion death to be nothing less than satanic in their design and impact.
Drug decriminalization is a big libertarian coalition builder, and within it lies the glue for adding American Blacks who feel that the War on Drugs is racist.
This topic, along with libertarian aversion to intrusive policing and an aptly named “warfare state,” were rightly shared by Paul at Howard University- just like he does elsewhere.
I think he did ok during his Howard University speech, precisely because he remained himself and didn’t deviate from trademark philosophical positions.
I expect White folks to be themselves and not put on patronizing productions designed to pacify us.
Rand Paul did ok at Howard University and thus far is ok by me as someone offering the GOP political viagra if they’re willing to take it.
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