I don’t mean old in years, because look, Jimmy Carter is 457 and I think we should run him again tomorrow. Also being old is not a guarantee that one will be a racist, homophobic moron. One of my least favorite things is the idea that you have to attain a certain age to hold an opinion, and that once you hit 40 everybody’s Republican, and nobody younger than 25 knows anything at all about taxes or responsibility, or similar forms of reductive, ageist bullshit. I meanold in thinking, old in the world he inhabits, and old in his approach to people with whom, as a politician, he will most certainly have to deal:
He is what I would describe as “out of touch,” with both Hispanic and Black culture. Ron is far from being the hippest guy around. He is completely clueless when it comes to Hispanic and Black culture, particularly Mexican-American culture. And he is most certainly intolerant of Spanish and those who speak strictly Spanish in his presence, (as are a number of Americans, nothing out of the ordinary here.)
Is Ron Paul a homo-phobe? Well, yes and no. He is not all bigoted towards homosexuals. He supports their rights to do whatever they please in their private lives. He is however, personally uncomfortable around homosexuals, no different from a lot of older folks of his era.
Cole takes this all to mean that Paul actually is a racist, homophobic anti-Semite, and while I certainly wouldn’t argue those, I would say a larger problem that this letter reveals is that he is, like lots of people once favored by a power structure, totally out of his depth when it comes to life these days, and what’s more, DELIBERATELY out of his depth.
Which wouldn’t all be a problem for him if he wasn’t running for president, after all. One can be a racist, homophobic, anti-Semite in the ways the above letter defines and have lots of friends and live in a town and do a job and live what is deemed by society to be a reasonably respectable life. So long as you arrange things such that you have minimal contact with anyone who is not like you, you won’t ever be unhappy and thus will have no reason whatsoever to learn to deal.
Every single person reading this knows ten people like this. It’s just they usually confine their clueless pondering about why those black kids don’t pull up their pants and why all those homeless don’t get jobs and why men would ever want to kiss other men to embarrassing the younger relatives at the family party, instead of putting themselves in the position of having to decide on policy that concerns those about whom they know nothing on purpose.
That the world doesn’t work like this anymore, that it’s so much easier to be exposed to information about people different from ourselves and thus grow and change and push each other, that makes anyone — of any age — tolerant and curious and young, intellectually speaking. And anyone who doesn’t want to come along might as well be a fossil.