Soon after the mid-term elections are over all attention will be on 2016 and who is running. President Obama’s second term is up in two years, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will be the favorite to win the Democratic nomination. With no clear GOP leader, many names are being thrown around on the Republican side. But there is one non-“establishment” conservative who actively engage with the Black community that African-Americans should consider: Rand Paul.
Paul, an ophthalmologist by profession, is the junior U.S. Senator representing the state of Kentucky. Over the last couple years Senator Paul has been one of the dominant forces when it comes to Republicans reaching out to the Black Community, and other demographics that do not normally even give Republicans a look. There is substance to the efforts of Senator Paul, and he has put action to words with policy proposals that are starting to gain steam in many different states and at the federal level.
1. Ending the War or Drugs
The current state of racial profiling is a direct result of the “War on Drugs” and the psychological bind it creates for all parties involved from the officers that make use of profiling to the average perp that is picked up for possession or trafficking. The War on Drugs has without doubt been one of the major drivers of the high prison rate in relation to the Black community. It has broken up homes, robbed Black America of countless labor hours and gains, and helped fuel poverty in Black communities.
Black Americans are incarcerated at a much higher rate than any of racial group in America. The majority of these incarcerations are for drug crimes or drug related crimes, and a President Paul would make great strides to deal with this problem. Sen. Paul, since his early days of campaigning for his dad, former Congressman Ron Paul, has always contended that we should end the war on drugs.
A President Paul would seek to limit and abolish the war on drugs which would both largely take away many profiling tools from bad cops, and would allow the threat of families being torn apart due to harmless and victimless crimes be mitigated–and this would have a direct effect on Black America in wide reaching ways.
2. Rebuilding the Black Economy
Rand Paul is a proponent of rebuilding local economies without outside stimulus by allowing the money and commerce that is produced locally to stay locally. The same way we should not “rob Peter to pay Paul”, we should not rob Atlanta to pay for Detroit: “The answer to poverty and unemployment is not another government bailout. It is simply leaving more money in the hands of those who earned it,” Paul said, speaking to the Detroit Economic Club last Dec.
Senator Paul has suggested the creation of enterprise zones that would help spur economic growth locally. The idea behind it is to lower the tax rates of those places experiencing economic strife so the members of the economically depressed communities could grow themselves out of a depression or recession with their own dollars rather than send that money to Washington to be wasted.
In the black community there is a lot of talk among black intellectuals about the lack of Black owned businesses and Black economy.
Well, a President Paul would push policies that would help make that a reality.
3. Education reform
“I’m talking about opening up all of the lines, so that kids can go to public, to private, wherever,” said Paul. “Some of these schools are absolutely pitiful, absolutely. What I’m really proposing is helping these kids get out from the grind.”
One of the major plights of many communities of color is the lack of adequate education facilities and resources. This has become the case as there is often zoning and lack of competition within the “Education Marketplace” and many families do not have the resources to send their children to a private school. Rand Paul is a supporter of school choice. Paul believes decisions on a child’s education should be made by the parents and executed at the local level.
Schools that are failing many black and brown children today would get their act together immediately when they realize their monopoly on the education of the children within their radius is gone and so is their guaranteed funding.
A President Paul would help provide parents with the options they need make sure their child gets a quality education and has a brighter future.
There will be many different candidates that will emerge over the next year as the 2016 presidential race starts to shape up. But U.S. Senator Rand Paul is a candidate that many people in Black America should take a serious look at.
He may not be a Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey, Rickey Smiley, or Joe Madison endorsed candidate, but he is a candidate that has and will put action to his words.
Policies from a President Paul on the War on the Drugs, the Economy, and Education Reform would drastically benefit Black America, and very few other candidates are willing to put solutions on the table to match the platitudes we are sure to hear into 2016 that will have a direct benefit to Black America.
Rand Paul deserves an honest look from Black America, and Black America should give him one.
Eugene Craig is a Contributor to HBCU Buzz and is a senior majoring in History at Bowie State University. Craig is also a candidate for the office of Clerk of the Court of Baltimore County. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.