Friday, January 20, 2012

One Question for Ron Paul

So Ron Paul published some newsletters, but doesn't want to talk about them. I find this odd, because I thot that the whole reason a person would publish newsletters - particularly if said person named them after himself - they would want to talk about them. Not Mr. Paul! This may be because the content of said newsletters is proving to be somewhat toxic and controversial. I've seen enough quotes from them that I have serious questions about his ideas on racial equality. He doesn't seem like he is overtly racist, and I'm willing to grant - at least for the sake of argument in this blog post - that he isn't. But he also doesn't seem to really care that much about working towards healing the wounds of the past, and he doesn't seem to care that much about taking strong moral stands against racism. That's putting it very mildly, but that's also not my concern here.
What bothers me far more is his reluctance to take any kind of responsibility for these newsletters. When some incendiary rhetoric from his pastor surfaced during the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama took responsibility for addressing the concerns raised by that rhetoric. He didn't give the sermons, but he understood that, as the first African-American presidential candidate for a major party, he was expected to addresses issues of racial inequality in America. Which he did. When Obama made the decision to run for president, he knew he was simultaneously taking on a certain responsibility for addressing moral issues. That's the deal. That's sort of the point of being president - or any kind of leader - in a democracy. You're asking for an opportunity to present your ideas to the public, and, ideally, shape the public debate, and thereby determine the policies of the country.
I would just like to ask Ron Paul one question: you claim that you did not read these newsletters before they were published. Then why did you publish them? Presumably it cost you a certain amount of money to do so. There's the basic costs for incorporating, registering trademarks, etc. Then there's the cost of paying the writers, paying whoever did the layout, and, of course, the actual printing and mailing. All of those things require money, and some of them - like, say, actually hiring the writers - take time. I'm going to assume, Mr. Paul, that you are the person who hired the writers to write these newsletters. If that is not the case - if you outsourced that rather fundamental management decision - then this conversation is over, and the remaining shreds of my respect for you are gone.
So that's the question: if you did not intend to exercise editorial control over newsletter that went out under your name, presumably designed to publicize your political views, then why did you publish them in the first place?