Christopher Donovan: Rand Paul, The Civil Rights Act, and My Evening at Wendy's

The other night, there was a fundraiser at the local Wendy’s.  Ten percent of the evening’s proceeds went to the local library, so my wife and children headed over for some delicious greasiness.  Not our usual dinner routine, but it was for a good cause.

Every person in the restaurant — including, believe it or not — the employees, was White (perhaps the library fundraiser skewed things).  Compared to the typical ghetto-area fast-food restaurant experience, this one was delightful.  The restaurant was clean.  People were friendly.  Families were interacting.  There were older couples smiling at the babies crawling on the floor, mothers chatting with each other.  It was as comfortable as a family dinner.

I reflected on all this after having listened to Rand Paul be grilled by Robert Siegel, a Jewish NPR host, about his views on the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Paul, as most know, is the son of Ron Paul, and has recently emerged the winner of the Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat in Kentucky.

Whatever Paul’s real views, he of course has been taking the careful tack of insisting that he opposes “racism”.  I trust Siegel relished needling him about whether he’d allow roadside barbecue joints to bar entry to Blacks.

I don’t know how I’d handle that one myself if I were serious about getting high elected office in America today.  The legal distinction between government discrimination and private discrimination isn’t one most people grasp in dumbed-down America, so arguing Constitutional principles wouldn’t work.

How about this?

“Robert, the Civil Rights Act wasn’t about expanding rights, it was about taking them away — from Whites.  Everyone’s got a right to decide whom they’ll associate with, and whom they won’t.  This is probably the most fundamental right.  The government has no business dictating who our associates will be.  This may be awkward and painful at times, but that’s life.  How would you feel if the government forced you to host three Ku Klux Klansmen at your condo in D.C.?”

Christopher Donovan is the pen name of an attorney and former journalist. Email him.

Bookmark and Share

53 replies

Comments are closed.