“In the search for culpability for the tragedy in Ferguson, I mostly blame politicians,” Paul wrote in Time Magazine Tuesday. “Three out of four people in jail for drugs are people of color. In the African American community, folks rightly ask why [sic] are our sons disproportionately incarcerated, killed, and maimed?”
The Kentucky Republican also blamed an allegiance to "government solutions" for deepening the cycle of poverty in some communities.
“Reforming criminal justice to make it racially blind is imperative, but that won’t lift up these young men from poverty. In fact, I don’t believe any law will. For too long, we’ve attached some mythic notion to government solutions and yet, 40 years after we began the War on Poverty, poverty still abounds,” he wrote. “This message is not a racial one. The link between poverty, lack of education, and children outside of marriage is staggering and cuts across all racial groups.”
“...Escaping the poverty trap will require all of us to relearn that not only are we our brother’s keeper, we are our own keeper,” Paul wrote. “While a hand-up can be part of the plan, if the plan doesn’t include the self-discovery of education, work, and the self-esteem that comes with work, the cycle of poverty will continue.”
Paul, who is reportedly eyeing a bid for the presidency, has spoken candidly in the past about the need for the Republican Party to address issues that matter to African American voters. The senator visited Ferguson in October.
Rev. Al Sharpton, a Democrat, signaled last week that Paul’s outreach to African American voters could be a strategic advantage if he decides to run for president.
“[H]e is beginning to demonstrate some very open, very consistent patterns of trying to broaden the framework of a potential candidacy,” Sharpton told Politico shortly after the two men met. “I think he knows it’s unlikely someone like Al Sharpton would endorse him, but I can’t ignore him. He’s openly dealing with issues that [politicians] including people in the Democratic Party, haven’t done.”