05/20/10-by bridgette P. LaVictoire
Dr. Rand Paul is running for the Senate in Kentucky, and he apparently had never thought through his own arguments. Comparing people who want to openly carry guns in public but privately owned spaces to racial minorities, Dr. Paul wants to remove portions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in order to allow businesses to discriminate. Dr. Paul states emphatically that he abhors discrimination in all forms, and says this to the virtual face of a woman who is denied many of the basic rights that many Americans enjoy such as full marriage benefits while stating his emphatic opposition to marriage equality.
Looking more like a man who had been savaged by a bunny than was probably comfortable, Dr. Paul kept trying to avoid the racial arguments that Dr. Maddow was busy making while trying to argue that the right of people to carry dangerous weapons in public but privately owned places was against his supposedly libertarian views. Dr. Maddow could have, and should have, made it clear that there are implications right here in the now for this. If Dr. Paul is so adamant about his hatred of discrimination and prejudice, then it would be interesting to press him on just how he reconciles that belief with the number of places which discriminate against lesbians, gays, and transpeople. Apparently, Dr. Paul seems to be against discrimination by the Federal government on many grounds such as rights and jobs, but not ensuring that those rights are respected by people who can and will make sure that everyone who is not ‘one of them’ is tossed out the door.
This was the problem back in 1964. Dr. Paul may want to read up on the opinions of President Lyndon Banes Johnson who pushed for many of those public but privately owned accommodations protections. He knew that the only way to have integration was force privately owned businesses to accommodate minorities. Without those provisions, businesses had the right to discriminate and nothing would have changed. While we have had a certain amount of segregation due to people’s migratory patterns, such as living in racially divided neighborhoods, that is personal choice not something forced on people by the racism inherent in any system, public or private.
The argument about this being about gun owners wanting to openly carry their weapons in bars and restaurants is the red herring, not Dr. Maddow’s argument. Dr. Paul keeps trying to bring it back to a Second Amendment argument throughout his interview, but the reality is that even back in the days when everyone supposedly had the right to openly carry their weapons in the West no matter where they went, towns and individual businesses did require people to check their weapons at the door. There is a difference between public safety, which is what the guns fall under, and discrimination against minorities of any kind.
The next time that a lesbian, gay man or transperson is denied anything from a private company, Dr. Paul should have to come out and explain just how discrimination is bad for businesses to the owners of those companies and see just how far telling them that will get our cause.
Discrimination is bad for business, but that does not mean people will not turn those that they feel are the wrong color, sex, religion, sexuality, disability, gender identity, or gender expression away.