Ex-Aide: Rand Paul Wants Conservatives to Rethink Race Relations

Wednesday, 20 Aug 2014 08:26 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul is asking conservatives to think anew about race relations, and when crises such as unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, arise not to instinctively dismiss claims of racism against police, Jack Hunter, a former Paul aide, wrote in Politico.

Hunter came to Paul's defense in reaction to a Washington Post commentary by Michael Gerson, a former George W. Bush speechwriter, which argued that Paul's outreach to African Americans would not withstand scrutiny if he became the Republican presidential nominee.

"Racially explosive events of the type we're seeing in Ferguson, Missouri, have historically elicited a knee-jerk response from conservatives – that African Americans have no real foundation for their grievances and are largely imagining oppression and racism," Hunter wrote.

The last thing "anyone expects when these controversies arise is for conservative Republicans to even consider the side of African Americans, much less take it," Hunter wrote. "Rand Paul is a revolutionary exception."
While backing cops against looters, Paul identifies the "larger, systemic problem" of over-militarization of law enforcement, Hunter said.

Paul has written in Time that, "Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them."

Paul went on to write: "This is part of the anguish we are seeing in the tragic events outside of St. Louis, Missouri. It is what the citizens of Ferguson feel when there is an unfortunate and heartbreaking shooting like the incident with Michael Brown."

Hunter said, "If you're against big government, you probably should be more skeptical of tanks rolling down Main Street America."

He wants conservatives to consider that "America's problems are not due to black people in the inner city or even brown people coming across our border," but to big government, seen in a different perspective, with its "overzealous and oversized police force."

Hunter concluded that no Republican is doing more to try and bridge the gap between black America and the Republican Party than Rand Paul.

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