Let's put aside Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul's aggressively suspicious providence as a medical doctor for a moment, and instead focus on the fact that he is the scion of one of the most consequential bigots and conspiracy theorists in modern congressional history. With that in mind, Paul's obsessive pushback against even the most unobtrusive efforts to mitigate the ongoing coronavirus pandemic can be seen in no small part as a natural outgrowth of his saturation and maturation in the squishy underbelly of his dad's warped worldview.
What I'm getting at here is that Rand's latest pro-COVID screed, posted to his official Twitter account on Sunday, is both perfectly in keeping with his already warped worldview, and also a dangerous and significant escalation thereof.
Let's go to the tape!
"It’s time for us to resist — They can’t arrest all of us," Paul, standing in front of a plain blue background, intones. "They can’t keep all of your kids home from school. They can’t keep every government building closed."
Now, I'm not saying this is an explicit call to violence, but it sure does seem like the sort of thing someone already inclined to lash out over stuff like wearing a mask, or getting vaccinated — which we know actually help stop the spread of the virus — might read a little too far into.
"We will not show you a passport," Paul continued, addressing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. "We will not wear a mask. We will not be forced into random screenings and testings so you can continue your drunk with power reign over the Capitol."
Again, it's not hard to see how someone might not only take this as an excuse to continue their medically inadvisable pro-pandemic behavior, but also to interpret it as a call to resist these common sense strategies for saving lives, at any cost.
Horrifying as Paul's monologue is, it was in many parts a natural continuation of his recent conspiracy theorizing surrounding the pandemic, including recent comments on Fox News where he claimed the government was "taking kids from down at the border who may have it, and they’re plucking them up and putting them all over the United States."
Why would the Biden administration do that you ask? Well, according to Paul, it's: "as if they’re wishing to seed the country with a new variant."
Taken together, Paul's comments are a dangerous foray into the sort of racist propaganda historically used by aspiring fascist governments to sow fear and resentment by implying the ruling class has betrayed you, the real, patriotic citizens of our fair nation, in favor of some diseased foreign "other." Again, it's easy to see how the xenophobic base of the Republican party could naturally interpret this as a call to violence — much like the way we've already seen them do with similarly (barely) veiled exhortations on January 6.
As I write this, Rand Paul's official Twitter account remains online and active, despite the social media giant having suspended other users for similar statements. The question now becomes whether Paul will lay low for a while, or will take things even further the next time he decides to post?