Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Comentarios from Maria: Rand Paul Goes Against His Own Record


Last week, Rand Paul, the Republican senator from Kentucky and Tea Party favorite, became the second candidate to join the race for the White House, declaring that he would be “a new type of Republican.” The truth is that there is nothing distinguishing Paul from the rest of the party: the inconsistency and incoherence which guides his vision for the United States is the same incoherence which guides the petty priorities of the GOP that continue harming our community and country.

I will be the first to give credit where credit is due, and to a certain degree, we should applaud Senator Paul until now for his efforts to reform the criminal justice system of our country. The Senator is one of few Republicans who have identified the importance of correcting a penal system that disproportionately incarcerates African Americans and Latinos. He also recognizes the importance of taking into account the priorities of minorities in the country.

Therefore, it is difficult to understand how this so-called defender of minority rights is the same person who has opposed key provisions of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. On many occasions, Paul has suggested that corporations and the private sector have the right to discriminate and deny services to whomever they want, a clear violation of the Civil Rights Act. When the Supreme Court annulled some of the fundamental provisions of the Voting Rights Act last year, Senator Paul insinuated that such a law was no longer necessary because “we have an African American president.”

Paul, an ophthalmologist, chose to begin his announcement with a touching story about his service trip to Guatemala, where he performed ocular surgeries that returned sight to many members of the poorest communities in the country. Although his work is truly admirable and important, it is a tad hypocritical because his record opposing foreign aid contradicts his own work. The Senator prefers that foreign aid be completely eliminated, no matter how much damage that this would bring to countries like Guatemala which, with the support of the United States, continue to develop its country and economy. Just the same, Senator Paul is opposed to the aid we provide to one of our most important allies in the Middle East, Israel. For many, this means that Senator Paul does not understand international affairs to the level necessary of being President of the United States of America.

The Senator has been consistent in his inconsistency, and there is no better example of these discrepancies that his stance on immigration. Although he claims to be an advocate for fair immigration reform, Paul was one of the principal opponents to the immigration reform passed in the Senate in 2013. He has also introduced legislation that seeks to eliminate DACA and wanted to change the constitution of the United States to deny citizenship to the children of undocumented immigrants. To rub salt in the wound, the Senator decided to help campaign for Rep. Steve King (R-IA), the most anti-immigrant member of Congress.

During these next few months, the Republican Party will attempt to flood the political arena with the same antiquated ideas, disguised as a new vision. Senator Rand Paul does not offer anything new or an authentic alternative; the lone novelty that he pretends to have is that he adopts and abandons new political stances at his convenience.

This article originally appeared in Spanish in The Washington Hispanic.