On October 23, 2015, Marco Rubio was scheduled to appear at the Presidential Forum hosted by the Conservative Leadership Project (CLP) in West Columbia, South Carolina at 5:30 p.m. The event was held at the Banquet and Conference section of the Brookland Baptist Church. Upon arrival, there were members of CLP readily identified by their red shirts and smiling faces holding signs with Senator Marco Rubio’s name on them to indicate to passersby that they were standing in the area where the event was being held. From the parking lot en route to the Presidential Forum were South Carolinian citizens ranging in age. The Brookland Baptist Church is a African-American Church, but you couldn’t tell because there were hardly any African-Americans in attendance at the event. Before Senator Rubio arrived, there was a quiet chatter by those in attendance, not the ruckus roar you hear at Donald Trump events.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, a gentleman in every respect, opened the event by telling the audience that he wanted to check the judicial philosophy of Senator Marco Rubio as the next President of the United States would be responsible for appointing Justices to the United States Supreme Court. Senator Marco Rubio was introduced and he walked out to clapping hands and faces full of excitement. Attorney General Wilson asked Senator Rubio a question about same sex marriage which had been answered with marriage is between a man and a woman. One of the most interesting questions asked intertwined same sex marriages and gays who are now protected by federal law under the Civil Rights Act and religious freedom for those Church going folk with heterosexual Christian beliefs. Senator Marco Rubio stated that he does not believe the First Amendment rights of Church going folks should be invaded by the newly enacted laws.
There were questions regarding the federalization of state waterways and whether Senator Rubio believed these rights were reserved to the individual States. Senator Rubio didn’t appear to be familiar with this question, but he provided a worthwhile answer for the audience. Senator Rubio is quite the politician and truly seemed to get it when he recognized that unarmed African-Americans killed by White police officers is a national problem that must be looked into. In the same vein, Senator Rubio recognized that good officers deserved to come home after completing their shift as well. There is something unsettling about this response because there are two competing interests at play:
• First, the individual’s right to life as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment.
• Second, the unwritten self-professed belief that police officers have a right to come home after every shift.
Due process, as set out in the United States Constitution, states that: “Nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law.” These are Constitutional guarantees afforded to every citizen in the United States. However, in what legislative document does one find a police officer’s right to come home after every shift? Truth is, there is no law that memorializes these words! Of the two competing doctrines, it is the Constitutional provision that our government says must be protected. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the outcome out in the enforcement of law. Law Enforcement Officer is a difficult and selfless title with violence as an employment hazard that comes with accepting the position. When an officer dies in the line of duty, s/he is looked upon as a hero. However, the unarmed deceased citizen doesn’t get the honorary funeral service that honorable police officers get. African-Americans have enough blood on the ground to be distrustful and fearful of the law enforcement community. It would be childish to politicize this phenomenon. The anecdotal evidence is mounting in support of protecting African-Americans in this regard. Senator Marco Rubio was correct on the first point.
At the end of the event Senator Marco Rubio stayed behind and shook hands and spoke to members who lined up to speak with him. In the photo assigned to this article, Senator Rubio is captured looking directly into the eyes of the man speaking. You can see that Senator Rubio was focused on what was being said to him during the moment. The Presidential Forum was upbeat and really interesting from a position of substance. Senator Marco Rubio is an intelligent orator who is comfortable with large audiences and very kind in his demeanor. Hopefully, South Carolina will be seeing more of Senator Marco Rubio as the voters across the nation start focusing on substantive issues and subtracting the candidates who are hustling a weird brand of politics with aspirations of reaching the White House.