Thursday, January 17, 2008

Why Ron Paul Stands Out In The GOP Against Racism

At last night's D.C. Log Cabin Republicans candidate forum, I had the honor of representing the Ron Paul campaign. Romney and McCain apparently couldn't find a single gay spokesman and instead both sent straight, gray-haired surrogates who could only fumble uncomfortably when asked to say something about gay issues by the audience. (Campaigns more in touch with youth-obsessed gay voters would at least have tried to find younger, if not gayer, representatives. Couldn't Mr. "Perfect Hair" Romney have found some hunky-and-blond-but-straight Latter Day Saint Adonis to tell us about Mitt's "plan" to fix all America's ills through the wonders of high-powered management consulting?) To great collective disappointment, Huckabee's campaign sent no one while Thompson's campaign wasn't invited because they couldn't even collect the ~290 signatures required to make it onto the February 12th D.C. primary ballot.

I'll blog more on the forum and LGBT issues later, but I couldn't wait to share the most interesting part of the evening: after the formal part of the event, I met a dapper young gay, Black, Republican veteran with a fine set of dreadlocks neatly tied up in a pony-tail. He explained that, after researching all the Republican candidates, he was struck by the fact that Dr. Paul is the only GOP candidate to consider racism sufficiently important to be included among the "Issues" pages on his campaign website.

See for yourself: Huckabee lists 19 issues, Giuliani lists 16, Thompson lists 15, and McCain lists 12. While Huckabee considered "Education and the Arts" and "Cuba Policy" issues of noteworthy importance, not one of these candidates considered the subject of "race" or "racism" a priority worth mentioning. By contrast, Dr. Paul proclaims on his "Racism" page (one of his 18 issue pages), “The true antidote to racism is liberty. Liberty means having a limited, constitutional government devoted to the protection of individual rights rather than group claims.”

Dr. Paul also stands out as one of a handful of GOP candidates who bothered to attend the Morgan State University forum in Baltimore on minority issues on September 27, 2007. Then-longshot Huckabee, desperate for any media attention, also joined Dr. Paul, but Giuliani, McCain, Romney and Thompson all snubbed the forum's organizers. Dr. Paul earned cheers from the mostly Black audience for his unequivocal--and lonely--calls to end the so-called "War on Drugs." In this great clip (at 1:22 and 5:10) Ron Paul decried the racially disparate impact of the Drug War as well as its obvious unconstitutionality and violation of individual liberties:
"Blacks make up 14% of those who use drugs, yet 36% of those arrested are Blacks, and it ends up that 63% of those who finally end up in prison are Blacks. This has to change! We don't have to have more courts and prisons, we need to repeal the whole War On Drugs. It isn't working!"
Dr. Paul's record as an advocate of federal drug decriminalization makes him unique among the current field of Presidential candidates, and that record has earned him a top rating from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). “I attack two wars that Blacks are suffering from,” Paul has said, referring to the Iraq war and the drug war. Paul has also said, “I would pardon all Blacks, all Whites, everybody that was convicted of non violent drug crimes.”

Who else is speaking out against the suffering of Black America under these wars? It is no wonder Ron Paul has polled better among Black voters than any other Republican candidate. The averages of each leading Republican in head-to-head match-ups against Obama and Clinton are Ron Paul (32%), Mitt Romney (24%), John McCain (20%), Rudy Giuliani (16%).

My new dreadlocked friend and I had a thoughtful conversation about these and other issues affecting Black America. Why Blacks would be better off paying into a private retirement account that can be passed on to their children when they die was especially important. (This would promote capital accumulation in inner cities. Under the current system, blacks receive less than whites on average in Social Security benefits because they die earlier.) I daresay I may have made a new convert to the Ron Paul rEVOLution.

I encourage everyone who has not done so to pledge for Dr. Paul's "Free at Last" money bomb, to be held January 21 in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, another fearless critic of state-sanctioned bigotry. I also invite commenters to guess: (i) which GOP candidate will be the first to slap together a "Racism" issue page now and (ii) how long it will take for them all to do so once the scramble to cover up this glaring omission starts? I've saved screen shots of all the GOP candidates' issues pages, lest they pretend they had such pages all along.

* * *

On the Democratic side: While Barack Obama has a page on "Civil Rights" and John Edwards has pages on no less than eight identity groups, Hillary Clinton says nothing about racism on her issues page--an omission made all the more glaring by the fact that one of her thirteen issue pages proclaims her a "A Champion for Women." One wonders whether, in their gynocratic frenzy, Hillary and her army of Amazons have simply forgotten about non-gender bigotry?

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