Speaking on the Rachel Maddow Show, Rand Paul, winner of the Republican Senate primary in Kentucky, elaborated on his opposition to enforcing the 1964 Civil Rights Act in terms of private businesses. In the following video, Paul starts by explaining that he would have tried to "modify" that part of the bill. Watch:
The most telling point exchange comes at the end:
Maddow: Should Woolworth lunch counter been allowed to stay segregated? Sir, just yes or no.
Paul: What you have to answer when you answer this point of view, which is an abstract, obscure conversation from 1964 that you want to bring up, but if you want to answer it you have to say then that you decide the rules for all restaurants and then do you decide that you won't allow them to carry weapons into restaurants.
Actually, the question of the sit-in at the Woolworth lunch counter on February 1, 1960, is not "abstract" at all. It strikes at the heart of what we determine about American values and human dignity. Paul's attempt to dodge a direct answer is its own answer. He believes that Woolworth should not have been forced to serve the four college freshman, real individuals and not abstractions, shown in the following photo:
One of the protesters, Joseph McNeil, looked back and spoke of principles other than Paul's cherished "right" of businesses to operate according to racism:
“We were quite serious, and the issue that we rallied behind was a very serious issue because it represented years of suffering and disrespect and humiliation. Our parents and their parents had to endure the onus of racial segregation and all that it did in terms of being disrespectful to human beings and the difficulties it places in so many ways of life, not just public accommodations, but in areas like employment and education. Segregation was an evil kind of thing that needed attention.”
One more point: what does it say about the Tea Party movement that Paul is one of their favorites?