Over the past couple of weeks, two distinct memes about Ron Paul have grabbed hold; 1) Ron Paul is racist 2) a racist should never be President. I submit to you that even if both these suppositions are true, they still don’t matter, certainly not in any meaningful way that actually matters to African Americans.
Firstly, I would like to fundamentally change the definition of racism: To the extent that policies target and do damage to the African American community, they’re racist. So being a racist and behaving as a racist isn’t solely a function of calling a black person the “N” word, making demeaning or disparaging comments, or harboring bias. It’s much, much broader than that, and it extends to all Presidents and public officials who marginalize the core issues impacting the African American community.
So please, stop thinking that the worst thing a white politician can do to you is call you a nigger, because it’s not the worst by any stretch of the imagination. The worst thing any politician can do to you is refuse to take your demographic seriously and thus, recapture and neutralize your political power. The worst thing a politician – any politician – can do to you and me is saturate us with symbolism and starve us of substance, as is the case with our current President who sends us Christmas cards showcasing a beautiful black family, with few policy initiatives that actually support any black families other than his own, to match the card.
This is politics people. It’s a tough game. Get your emotions out of it. It’s not about cute kids, cute families, or a dog named Bo’. It’s about the Deal. It’s about the Exchange. Many people have attributed racist views and comments to both Presidents Nixon and LBJ, but we still extracted a good deal from their administrations. We made mutually beneficial deals which were free from emotion and sentimentality, something the African Americans electorate has been utterly incapable of achieving during the era of Obama, the defining aspect of which is the foil of imagined post racialism.
Would Ron Paul make a good President? I’m not sure, but he’d certainly make an effective Republican nominee for President. I wholeheartedly believe that having a Republican nominee in the fray who has real policy differences with establishment politicians would be superior to having Obama face his slightly more evil twin – Mitt Romney – in the 2012 election.
On most issues, Romney and Obama are in close alignment and so a race between the two of them would be a Presidential campaign in futility, without any meaningful distinction. This would not be the case for Paul candidacy. An Obama v. Paul race would force Obama to clarify, defend, or maybe even change some of his most heinous policy positions. These are issues we should all take into consideration before bashing Paul. In fact, I would encourage AA’s to stop reacting as Pavlovian dogs whenever the issue of race is injected into the national conversation. Right now, black writers and commentators are being dispensed by the establishment media to take down Ron Paul, and although they may get rewarded with extended contracts and higher pay packages, bashing Ron Paul won’t get us any closer to having our needs met or having our issues heard by the current President.
It’s time to cut a deal. The Wall Streeters cut a deal to ensure that they weren’t held accountable by the Obama administration for engineering the second Great Depression. Hillary Clinton cut a deal that netted her the position of Secretary of State in exchange for the women’s vote. Even Al Sharpton cut a deal to defend this President in exchange for a national television show, so the only question is; where’s your deal?
If I can cut a deal with Ron Paul whereby I exchange my vote for an end to the failed War on Drugs, a war that has unfairly imprisoned far too many of our young black men, and put an end to a War on Terror that has redirected tax dollars from our communities to drone attacks, then I’ll consider it. It’s not personal. It’s business. It’s politics.