A Pandemic Journal Guest Column from Sen. Rand Paul: Lynching Should Only Be a Federal Crime if it’s Done Right

Standing on the wrong side of history demands unshakable faith in one’s own morally flexible principles, but that has been my M.O. from the day I plopped my hand on the Bible, crossed my fingers behind my back, and took the oath of office. Today, as I singlehandedly stand astride the highway of human progress and shout, YOU SHALL NOT PASS! I affirm this faith.

You would think that a well-earned beat down by my neighbor and a bout of COVID-19 would cause me to pause for a moment and consider the legacy I wish to leave when I shuffle off this mortal coil. But no, I’m satisfied with being memorialized as a paragon of entitlement and self-regard. Even if my reputation is the equivalent of a floating, rusty dumpster filled with flaming excrement, Americans will look at me, then glance over at my colleague Sen. McConnell, and agree that in comparison I wasn’t so bad after all. I can live with that.

Singlehandedly obstructing bipartisan legislation to make lynching a federal hate crime might seem tone deaf or even evil. I admit it: Lynching is an awful thing. But anyone who might think this legislation is the proper solution is missing the point: I am not pro-lynching. I am opposed to what my daddy would call “half-assed attempts at lynching.”

Are we, as a nation, prepared to charge, convict and sentence rage-filled individuals who never learned to tie a knot, finish a job, or take pride in their work? Bruising someone isn’t the same as lynching them, even if both acts are propelled by the same intentions. But I will not allow our justice system to be clogged by half-wits and haters who can’t be bothered to do the job right.

If my colleagues can guarantee that every miscreant who sees the inside of a jail cell because of this bill is there because he finished the job, I will lift my hold tomorrow. But if we’re talking about sloppy work that yields a few bumps and hurt feelings, then I will stand firm.

Pandemic Journal invites elected leaders to weigh in on the issues of the day. Look for an editorial from Sen. Thom Tillis as soon as he emerges from hiding.

Learn more about this bill and Sen. Paul’s opposition.