“You can be a minority because of the shade of your skin, or you can be a minority because of the shade of your ideology. You can be a minority because you’re African American or Hispanic, but you can also be a minority because you’re an evangelical Christian,” Paul said told the audience at the oldest historically black university.
He was speaking about the importance of the Bill of Rights to protect “the least popular,” saying it’s not necessarily for the prom queen or quarterback – although it will apply to them too. “I think we have to pay more attention to the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is there to protect all of us,” Paul said.
“Those who are popular among you will always do fine. It’s for the least popular among you. It’s for those who might have unorthodox ideas. It’s precisely for minorities,” Paul said.
Paul said there are “all kinds of reasons that you can have minority opinions that need to be protected.” He described an example of where the Bill of Rights was not considered in protecting the rights of the unpopular – specifically, American terrorist suspects detained indefinitely in Guantanamo Bay without a trial.
“We have something now in America called indefinite detention. This means that an American citizen can be indefinitely placed in prison and sent to Guantanamo Bay forever without a trial, and I had this debate with another senator on the floor, and I said, ‘Really? You can send an American citizen to Guantanamo Bay with no trial forever?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, if they’re dangerous,’” Paul recounted.
Paul said it “begs the question” of “who gets to decide who’s dangerous and who’s not dangerous, and who should be afraid of this.”
“Anybody think that you might want to be afraid if you’re Jewish? Have people ever seen any kind of animus towards the Jewish people? Anybody ever think there was any animus towards African Americans in our country? Anybody ever think there’s been an animus towards any kind of minority in our country ought to be concerned about incarceration without a trial?” Paul asked.
Paul said he doesn’t think President Barack Obama will “round up people” based on race. A provision of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) first signed into law in 2012 allows the military to indefinitely detain individuals without trial, and remained on the books last year. Obama signed the 2014 NDAA into law at the end of 2013.
“I don’t think he will do that, and that’s what he said when he signed the legislation. He said, ‘I’m a good man, and I will never do this.’ I’m not questioning whether the president’s a good man. I’m questioning whether you want a law on the book that requires our leaders to be good people,” Paul added.