The editorial board of this newspaper endorsed U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in both of his elections and we were very glad to do so.
Since being elected in 2010, we believe Paul has done a very good job representing our state and our country and has voted on some very important issues that we and other newspapers have advocated during his time in the Senate.
Paul’s a straight shooter. He tells you what he thinks and doesn’t dance around the issues like so many other politicians tend to do.
While we are supportive of the senator and most likely will be in the future, we simply disagree with his stance on the anti-lynching bill that has been making its way through Congress.
The bill, called the Emmett Till Antilynching Act – named after the 14-year-old black child who was tortured and killed in 1955 in Mississippi – predates the recent high-profile deaths of black men and women at the hands of white police and civilians that have inspired protests across the country. The bill passed the House this year by a vote of 410-4 and has the backing of 99 senators, who have urged support for belated federal recognition of a crime that once terrorized black Americans.
If passed, the bill would for the first time explicitly make lynching a federal crime.
We believe this is legislation that is way overdue in our country and we are glad that it has broad bipartisan support. It appears that this should be a no-brainer to pass, but Paul is the lone senator who has prevented it from becoming law.
Paul is arguing that the lynching bill was sloppily written and could lead to yet another injustice – excessive sentencing for minor infractions – unless it is revised.
This bill would “cheapen the meaning of lynching by defining it so broadly as to include a minor bruise or abrasion,” he said. “Our national history of racial terrorism demands more seriousness of us than that.”
Paul said he takes lynching seriously, but “this legislation does not.”
We take Paul at his word that he does indeed take this bill seriously and respect him for standing on his principles, but at the end of the day we believe it’s time to be a team player and get with the majority of his colleagues and pass this most important bill.
The history of lynchings in our country is a very dark chapter of history that should’ve never happened. Passing this legislation, especially during these troubled times along racial lines, could go a long way toward healing racial divisions.
We wholeheartedly believe that Paul does not have a racist bone in his body. In his mind, he simply wants a better piece of legislation and he should be commended for trying to do that. But in politics, as Paul knows all too well, you pick your battles. Sometimes it is best to become a team player and do what is right for the country. In this case, it is voting to pass this piece of much-needed legislation.
We urge Paul to do so.