In between grading finals, I have been reading through the comment threads on the racist sentiments expressed in Ron Paul Newsletters from the and have come to a couple of conclusions
1. That the sentiments expressed in those Newsletters, whoever wrote them, had far greater currency than most Americans would like to believe, and probably helped Rep Paul in his district far more than it hurt him
2. That Ron Paul, whatever you think of him, is probably FAR less racist than many of his white followers.
What we have , whether we like it or not, is a great "teaching moment" for the entire nation. Ron Paul, for the first time in his long career, has become a major force in mainstream American politics with a following that is increasingly multiracial. Now that a discourse about race has emerged around his candidacy, will Rep Paul emerge as a force for healing longstanding racial wounds, or a force for greater rage and division.
I honestly do not know which way this controversy is going to play out. Rep Paul is probably not going to be elected President, but his influence on our public life will in some measure depend on how he, and his more farsighted followers, respond to this very difficult challenge.
December 24, 2011