I am not a Rand Paul aficionado, but Congress and the government would be far, far better off if more elected officials possessed his integrity and courage.
Currently he is being attacked, as those with integrity and courage often are, for objecting to the text of a piece of pure legislative grandstanding called the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, which would make lynching a federal crime. “You think I take joy in being here?” Paul said. “I will be excoriated by simple minded people on the internet who think somehow I don’t like Emmet Till or appreciate the history or memory of Emmett Till.”
Indeed he has been, but Paul’s point is unassailable: there hasn’t been a lynching in this country in more than 50 years, so the bill has approximately the same urgency as the Albert Packer Anti-Cannibalism Act, or a law making slave-hunting a federal crime. Most Senators, indeed all of them except Paul, seem to be willing to pass by unanimous consent this bill designed to further pander to the George Floyd demonstrators/rioters/looters, perhaps because some commentators and activists in their enthusiasm called Floyd’s death a “lynching.” Justice Thomas, as I recall, also called the effort to smear him and block his ascent to the Supreme Court by producing pre-#MeToo accuser Anita Hill a “high tech lynching.” But neither were lynchings; as Lincoln observed, calling a dog’s tail a leg doesn’t make it a leg.
Among his many objections to the bill, Paul pointed out that nearly none of his colleagues have read it, that it was sloppily written, and that too many laws get passed this way. “Someone has to read these bills and make sure they do what they say they’re going to do rather than it be just a big PR effort,” he said.
I can vouch for that: I read the bill, it is incomprehensible, and it’s primarily a mea culpa for Jim Crow pretending to be a bill. It goes on and on about the history of lynching and how it once was a terrible problem, but never suggests that anyone is still being lynched, because no one is. Never mind: the anti-lynching law, we discover when we get to the very end, will apply to any “hate crime” in which an individual is harmed by police out of racial animus. It is, in fact, an entire law embodying the hot rationalization of recent weeks, #64, Yoo’s Rationalization, or “It isn’t what it is.” Continue reading