Kentucky Senator Rand Paul fancies himself as an Outreacher in Chief who will win the hearts and minds of minorities with calls for criminal justice reform, but that alone is not enough.
Rand's plan to appeal to minority voters with calls for criminal justice reform, a campaign he set in motion over a year ago, has been undermined by virtually all of his other policy positions and rhetoric; revealing a hollow promise and sentiment.
Rand son of Ron spoke with local NBC affiliate KING 5 in Seattle who asked the presidential candidate to reflect on the Black Lives Matter movement and their interruption of Bernie Sanders.
According to Rand, the civil rights activists have a lot to learn, such as the high monetary cost of their civil rights activism.
RAND: Do I think it's a good idea for people to jump up and commandeer the microphone? No, and I wouldn't let them take my microphone. You know things cost money, and they need to learn that things cost money, and really all lives matter. Someone said that the other day, and then they had to apologize, and it's like 'Really? You're apologizing because you said all lives matter.?' But I think there are some grievances, and I think the drug war has disproportionately affected black individuals, and I'd be willing to meet with them anytime; I'd be willing to sit and have a forum with them. I've been to 10 criminal justice forums that include many African Americans talking about all these same things, but we do it in a civil way. We don't get up there and grab someone's microphone and yell at them. And they're getting attention, but I don't know if they're making a good point.
It's one step forward and two steps backward for Rand Paul as he seeks to court minority voters while simultaneously undermining a movement that is, at its core, a campaign against state violence against minorities.
You cannot have a conversation about criminal justice reform as it relates to minorities without acknowledging the disproportionate use of force against minorities for reasons that may not be directly related to the war on drugs.
The fact is black Americans are killed through state-sanctioned violence at an alarming rate for, in most cases, exaggerated, fabricated, or imagined offenses. Compliance or noncompliance. Cooperation or disruption. Armed or unarmed. Resisting or not resisting. It doesn't matter. Black Americans are far more likely to be killed by police regardless of the circumstances.
An issue like this should comfortably fit into the libertarian wheelhouse. Police officers are agents of the big government, after all, and they regularly shoot and kill unarmed citizens on a whim. It does not fit comfortably into Rand Paul's agenda, however, because libertarianism is an false dichotomy that facilitates privileged access to the rights and freedoms supposedly guaranteed to all citizens by the Constitution.
Rand Paul is scheduled to appear in one of Seattle's richest neighborhoods next Monday where he will reportedly talk about criminal justice reform, but Rand's pandering to white bros with too much money who want to get legally high cannot erase the underlying weakness of his ideology and his candidacy.
Rand may not believe the government should lock people up for smoking a joint, but he's not personally willing to confront the existential threat of state violence against minorities.
Rather than confront it, Rand is openly dismissing it.
To say that "Black lives matter" is not to say that other lives do not. It's a reminder that black Americans have lives, hopes, and dreams of their own which are unjustly ended in a nation that is seemingly comfortable with the disproportionate killing of black citizens.
To say that "all lives matter" in response to saying "black lives matter" is to dismiss the unique circumstances black Americans face in a world where they may be killed for no justifiable reason and with no justice for their state-sanctioned killers.