I can’t count the number of times lately politicians remind me of the line made famous by Richard Pryor. Pryor’s wife catches him in bed with another woman and he says, “You gonna believe me or your lying eyes.”
Recently we had Connecticut Democrat Richard Blumenthal claiming his words were misplaced when he said, on more than one occasion mind you, that he served in Vietnam, when he never did serve in Vietnam. That’s called lying Richie B. Now we have Rand Paul who, like his father, has views on civil rights that would be well represented by a wardrobe heavy on the white sheets. His father, Ron Paul, was the only member of congress – the only member of congress! – to vote against honoring the 1964 civil rights bill on its 40th anniversary.
Rand Paul spokesman Christopher Hightower wrote “Happy Nigger Day” on his MySpace page on Martin Luther King Day with a picture of an African American being lynched. Paul has spoken out against the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act and he says private business should be allowed to discriminate because this is a free country.
It seems to me that there has been a spike in the expression of racist views since the election of President Obama, a president I believe will go down as one of my country’s greatest and, not incidentally, and bravest. This, I suppose, was to be expected. What also ought to be expected is a surging response from the majority of Americans who believe in equality for all and who are very present in both of the major political parties. It would be unfair to define all Republicans by the actions of Rand Paul and it would be unfair to define all Democrats by the actions of Richard Blumenthal. What does need to happen, however, is the leadership of both parties needs to take their misguided members to task in voices the public can hear.
We can hope the spike is part of racisms last gasp.
As for the racists who think they can turn the tide of freedom, remember what the Japanese leader of the bombing of Pearl Harbor said of my country after the attack. "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."