Burroughs Adding Machine

Social justice, arts and politics, life in New York City

Rand Paul’s Discrimination Under the Law

I’ve been following Rand Paul’s views on civil rights over the past couple days, interested by the division that Paul seems to make between the idea of racism and the intervention of government. He’s against racial discrimination, but should the government protect citizens from it?

In Paul’s opinion, he makes clear that he does not think the government should step into the realm of private business. He’s a libertarian. And his reluctance to endorse the Civil Rights Act of 1964 supports basic principles of libertarianism: small–if nonexistent–government, individual rights above all, and belief in the free market. When Rachel Maddow put his libertarian thinking to real-life scenarios like private restaurants refusing to serve black customers, Paul refused to answer directly. Though he espouses that he doesn’t support discrimination of any kind, he would not vote to protect these customers. In Paul’s view, the private business owner can discriminate as he or she wishes.

Moreover, Bob Cesca connects Paul’s troubling stand with the Tea Party’s racial issues in The Huffington Post:

However, he obviously supports allowing businesses to engage in racial discrimination with impunity. Evidently, if the government says it’s against the law to run a whites-only business, this is a bridge too far for Rand Paul.

Even more troubling, Paul gave this convoluted and misguided suggestion that goes against ADA access policies. Essentially, his viewpoint for people with disabilities is this: If you can give an employee in a wheelchair a first-floor office rather than spend thousands on installing an elevator for the person to access a second-floor office, than this solution should meet societal standards.

Separate but equal was shut down long ago. However, separate but equal is fine by Rand Paul. Is this viewpoint what we want in a voting member of Congress?

Filed under: politics, racism, republican, , , , , , , , , , ,

Tea Party Speaker: Reinstate Pre-Civil Rights “Literacy Test”

Republican Tom Tancredo opened the Teabag Party convention this past weekend (in which Sarah Palin was notoriously photographed with a cheatsheet handwritten on her palm) with a rousing call for a “literacy test” for voters. The “literacy test” was a pre-civil rights method utilized in the South to prevent blacks from voting.

According to the Justice Department’s website on Federal Voting Rights Laws:

President Johnson signed the resulting legislation into law on August 6, 1965.  Section 2 of the Act, which closely followed the language of the 15th amendment, applied a nationwide prohibition against the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on the literacy tests on a nationwide basis.

A shameful, disguised way to motivate the Republicans’ conservative base. Worse yet, Republican Tancredo blames the lack of a literacy test and citizenship schools for the recent election of President Obama.

Filed under: politics, , , , , ,

Iowa: 3rd in the nation to legalize gay marriage

bt13231747Today, Iowa became the third state in the nation to legalize gay marriage and the first in the nation’s heartland. Hooray!

The state government protection of civil rights in Iowa for all is particularly meaningful for me. I was born in Des Moines, attended public schools in Council Bluffs, and still have family and friends there. Only after I moved to the East Coast did I feel welcome–and safe–enough to come out while an undergrad at Boston University nearly 20 years ago.

I’m in awe and admiration of the good people of Iowa.

Filed under: gay rights, social justice, united states of america, , ,

Gay, Straight, Black, White: Marriage is a Civil Right

More footage of last night’s Manhattan protest of the Church of Latter Day Saints, from the steps of the Mormon temple to Columbus Circle. AP estimates now say that the crowd numbered 10,000 marchers. In this video the fervor in the air is palpable.

Filed under: politics, , , , ,

Writing

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RECENT PUBLICATIONS
» "Pinays," AGNI, Spring 2016
» "Dandy," Post Road, Spring 2015
» "Wrestlers," Fifth Wednesday, Spring 2014
» "Babies," Joyland, August 2011
» "Nicolette and Maribel," BostonNow, May 2007
» "The Rice Bowl," Memorious, March 2005
» "The Rules of the Game," Screaming Monkeys: Critiques of Asian American Images (Coffee House Press, June 2003)
» "Deaf Mute," Growing Up Filipino (Philippine American Literary House, April 2003)
» "Good Men ," Genre, April 2003
» "The Foley Artist," Drunken Boat, April 2002
» "Squatters," Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America (Asian Am. Writers' Workshop, 2001)
» "Deaf Mute," The North American Review, Jan 2001
» "The First Lady of Our Filipino Nation," The Boston Phoenix, 1999
» "Paper Route," Flyway Literary Review, 1996
» "Brainy Smurf and the Council Bluffs Pride Parade," Generation Q (Alyson, 1996)
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Ricco Villanueva Siasoco is a Manhattan-based writer and non-profit manager. More

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