In a heated debate with a colleague of mine about civil rights, I was struck with all the force of a city bus when my views on civil rights somehow labeled me a racist.
You see, following Rand Paul's speech at Howard University this week, media coverage was as expected: Fake conservative media ignored it, liberal media attacked Paul's speech like a group of rabid honey badgers, and independent media had the audacity to present more than just sound bites, criticisms, and overzealous praise by doing something completely outrageous — that is, providing objective coverage.
The latter is where I tend to get most of my news.
My colleague, however, is a fully admitted slave to to the plastic faces on mainstream “news” shows that spit out lies and misinformation like the good robots they are.
In any event, I was labeled a racist because I found Paul's speech to be one of the few truly honorable ones delivered at Howard University, compared to other lawmakers who have also stood before the students of Howard in the past.
It wasn't delivered behind the backdrop of liberal white guilt, fake nervous smiles, and the visible fear of offending anyone.
Sure, it wasn't the most heartfelt speech I've ever heard. The fact that he attempted to teach black folks about their own history was pathetic, and does show how clueless and out-of-touch most Senators are these days, and clearly there was an agenda to make the republican case. But unlike other politicians I've watched speak at Howard, it definitely didn't carry that patronizing tone we've heard so many times before.
And that's what makes all the difference.
Despite my lack of angry criticisms of Senator Paul's speech, there were plenty out there who attempted to paint Paul as a racist because he had the courage to open up the dialogue on civil rights in a rational and honest way. I don't think he's a racist. I just think he's completely disassociated from modern-day America. That just makes him ignorant, not hateful.
You know, it's really easy to sit behind a camera and talk about the importance of civil rights and all the accomplishments the civil rights movement facilitated for minorities. But it takes a certain level of fortitude to be honest about where we are today on this issue.
Did the civil rights movement of the 1960s help lay the groundwork for opportunity and freedom for those who weren't allowed to enjoy it? Absolutely. Have dozens of laws and regulations been able to end the oppression of minorities? Not at all.
A Nation of Slaves
Although slavery was outlawed in 1865, there are plenty of folks these days (and not just minorities) who are still enslaved.
You see, there are three was to enslave communities: Keep them poor, keep them uneducated, and keep them unable to protect themselves.
My friends, this is exactly what our government does.
While plenty of politicians will boast about helping minority communities and providing financial help for those who need it, most are just exacerbating the problem.
If they truly wanted to embrace civil rights, they would spend less time chasing the effects of failed policies and more time focusing on the root of the problem — which is clearly the absence of opportunity.
Poor, Uneducated, and Defenseless
Today's lack of a real free market coupled with overzealous bureaucrats determined to further regulate our ability to pursue life, liberty, and property accomplishes the goal of keeping many folks poor, uneducated, and defenseless.
If you support civil rights for all Americans, then its imperative that we enable opportunity for all Americans.
And the best way to do that is to encourage wealth creation, education, and self-reliance.
You want to lift folks out of poverty? Encourage business development by limiting harmful and superfluous regulations that, these days, seem nearly synonymous with the tributes once paid by local store owners to mafia bosses.
You want to educate people? This is a tough one, as education really does start in the home. And the majority of American children living in poverty (regardless of race) are the ones who are not properly educated before heading off to school. I would argue that even if you had a superior school, public or private, available to these kids, if education isn't a priority at home, it won't be in the classroom.
Moreover, if those kids don't respect their parents, they won't respect their teachers. And that opens up another can of worms that makes things even more difficult.
Although I'm very much in favor of supporting more privatization and a complete restructuring or possibly gutting of the public school system as we know it today (including the Department of Education), it would be detrimental to the health of our nation if a system wasn't in place beforehand that would see to it that the most vulnerable were not denied an education and the chance to rise up and become financially independent as adults.
As Frederick Douglas once said, “Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.”
If you want to make sure folks can defend themselves, they must have access to firearms. That's not to say they should be required to own them; but if needed to protect their families from those seeking to do them harm, there should be no restraints on their ability to do so.
As I wrote last week, we simply can't make it more difficult for those on limited incomes in poorer, more violent neighborhoods to protect themselves, as these folks are at a much higher risk of victimization.
Bottom line: You will find more solutions to civil rights problems by encouraging free market solutions, supporting and defending the Constitution, and opening up a real, honest dialogue with those who are disproportionately victimized by a system that tends to praise the glory days of the civil rights movement, but actually promotes an agenda of restrained liberty — which, of course, erodes civil rights instead of strengthening them.
Live honorably live free...
Jeff Siegel for Freedom Watch