Dear Senator Paul:
I have wanted to contact you regarding this incident since it happened but couldn’t contain myself to appropriate words until yesterday, when the microphones were in my face. Microphones scared me before last month when, at a rally for union workers, I realized no one else was going to deliver my exact message. The same thing happened yesterday in Lexington, at Tim Profitt’s hearing, when I wanted to speak to how this incident changed the political scene for all of us and, if justice is not served, will endanger all of us.
First, I am terribly disappointed although not at all surprised that you have said so little about this crime. I know it is difficult to say much when you start with a lie since everything you say after that confirms your dishonesty. However, there are times when swallowing false pride and coming clean makes things better in the end. This could be one of those times for you.
I’m sure it was easy to develop super-star mentality and that you might have felt like Michael Jackson or Barack Obama while in the national spotlight. After reflecting, you probably realize, as many of us do, how ridiculously inappropriate it was for you to entertain the idea that you needed to arrive at political debates with a full entourage, much less your own satire-squelching security team.
To be fair, my background left me totally unprepared for anything like what I witnessed in your campaign. As a child, I spent a great deal of time in Democratic Party clubs. My parents took me to political events and allowed me to work political campaigns with them. I grew up believing political participation was a safe, family activity. The politicians I knew and admired attracted sane people whose ideas of “family values” did not include getting together for target practice or threatening or hurting others. They did include helping others instead of begrudging anyone who had less, practicing instead of preaching. In turn, my children and grandchildren were interested in politics at early ages and I always knew – until you – that it was safe to take them to political events.
My twelve-year-old grandson was present for the first Conway/Paul debate. You might have noticed him – the well-dressed, well-behaved, well-informed, extremely handsome young man in the crowd. (I may be a tiny bit biased.) I was disappointed to see that there were not more young people interested enough to attend but realize now that interest might not have been the problem. Maybe other parents and grandparents knew what I didn’t about your crowd.
The disturbing part is that, had I not been too ill to attend myself, I would have brought my grandson and/or a granddaughter the night that I will continue to remind everyone about until you have made a public statement that eases my fears. I was very disappointed to discover that you knew enough about your dangerous supporters to think it necessary to bring your own security in addition to official police patrol at the event, and that you did not consider alerting the public to this fact. That is the only explanation since Jack Conway could walk his wife and daughter through Democratic events without fear, and since there were no head-stompings, no threats, no assault rifles, and no fear-inducing moments at any Democratic event I attended or any Jack Conway campaign office I visited, even though Rand Paul supporters infiltrated and tried to start trouble at times. Clearly, the violence and vile-intent was on your side.
Since you aligned yourself with the Tea Party/Annie Oakley Brigade faction of the Republican Party, and they openly threatened and intimidated throughout campaign season, I believe you owe Lauren Valle and your constituents an apology for your poor judgment at the time, and an honest statement about your abuse of power. I believe you owe the country and the first amendment an apology as well. Satire is NOT a stompable offense, nor is pointing out a truth or an opinion that a political candidate would rather the public not see or hear.
As a result of what you and yours caused that night, the fight against violence has taken a giant step backwards. Others would speak of this totally in gender specific terms but I prefer not to do so. Violence is not acceptable, ever, regardless of gender. I would be as angry if the victim of your poor decision had been a man. However, I will address the gender-specific disappointments I saw in the aftermath of what you created. Women who supported you, and who previously gave lip service to things like family values and a belief that there is never any excuse for a man to hit a woman, and who knew absolutely nothing about Lauren Valle and had no understanding of Republicorp jumped immediately to the defense of the man who held her down and the man who stomped her neck, and blamed her.
Senator Paul, this speaks very poorly of the critical thinking skills, the intelligence, and the honesty of your supporters. If you truly care about Kentucky and/or the United States, you will surely want to do something to educate these people. I believe a great first step would be to address this in a public apology to Lauren Valle, stating that there was no excuse for anyone to physically harm her and that you were wrong to bring in security on the implication that you feared this young woman. You must, at least, admit that a bad back and protection of you are pathetically unacceptable excuses for stomping a girl after she has been knocked to the ground and was obviously no threat to anyone. And you must explain why you, a physician, offered her no assistance.
I am very pleased that the judge refused to dismiss charges against Tim Profitt. It would be a dangerous precedent to excuse violence in the name of third party protection and fall guy rights in light of the cross hairs, assault rifles, second amendment threats, and intimidation factors employed by your party.
After you’ve addressed these matters, I am also anxious to hear your response to Lawrence O’Donnell.
(Although the media labeled me a MoveOn activist when airing my statements, my association with MoveOn has absolutely no bearing on the opinions stated above nor was I speaking for the organization in my interview.)