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Free Advice to Republicans

June 18, 2015

Compared with the Democrat Party, the number of black Americans in the Republican Party is miniscule.   Because I am black and a registered Republican, party members often ask me how to get more black citizens involved with the Republican Party.  The low level of black involvement can be traced to Republicans being routinely portrayed as engaging in conduct and supporting actions detrimental to black Americans.  This case is made in ways that I find difficult to accept as passing the test of reason and fairness.  For instance, the Huffington Post reported the following in 2013 regarding statements by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a Republican:

In an appearance on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Powell noted that there is a “dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party.”  “What do I mean by that?” he explained. “What I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities.”  Powell specifically pointed to October 2012 comments by former Alaska Gov. and Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin on the attacks in Benghazi, Libya.  “When I see a former governor say that the president is ‘shuckin’ and jivin’ — that’s a racial-era slave term,” Powell said, referring to Palin’s words on Obama’s response.

So, Powell uses Palin’s words as proof of the Republican Party looking down on minorities.  I propose that an accusation of this magnitude should be supported by a detailed examination of actions by party members and not by simply referring to a single statement by one Republican.  Powell’s approach is what I observe among the multitude of black Americans who decry the Republican Party.  This background is important because it must be considered when answering the question of how the party might reach out to black citizens.

What follows are some of my thoughts regarding how Republicans should go about our desired outreach to the black community:

  1. Commit to in every instance doing what is best for all of the American people.  In my estimation, political parties are totally focused on winning elections.  The strategy has become to attract enough groups to win and then do whatever is necessary to keep those groups voting for the party’s candidates no matter how negative the impact on the country as a whole.  The proof is all around us that this strategy is helping destroy America.
  2. Come to agreement on the central principles of the party and stand on those principles.  I have seen what are supposed to be the values of this party and I am committed to those values.  Among them are limited government, individual responsibility, traditional family values, and a strong national defense.  As I look at the actions of too many Republican elected officials and party leaders, there is so much wavering on these principles that I find it very difficult to determine what the party really believes.  Without regard to skin color, people should not have to wonder what we believe and why.  Credibility is built through forthrightness tempered by reason.
  3. Share the Republican Party’s history.  My research of the party’s history shows it to be one that contradicts the claims made by those who endeavor to distance blacks from even considering involvement with the Republican Party.  Here is an example of the historical facts that should be shared.  Alicia W. Stewart and Tricia Escobedo in a CNN article titled “What you might not know about the 1964 Civil Rights Act” included the following based on comments by Todd S. Purdum, author of “An Idea Whose Time Has Come.”  The reference here is to the 1964 Civil Rights Act:

“… — in proportional terms, a far higher percentage of Republicans voted for this bill than did Democrats, because of the way the Southerners were divided,” said Purdum.
4.  Focus on educating the electorate regarding issues and the real condition of our 
           nation.  My observation is that most Americans are busy trying to earn a living and make it
day-to-day.  Taking advantage of this condition, politicians feed us an endless diet of
meaningless sound-bites that, for the most part, play on emotions and to individual and group
interests.  In the end, too many citizens do not vote based on accurate information and
thoughtful processing, but on emotions and what appears profitable for them individually or for
their group.  Given what is described here, educating voters will be difficult, but is essential
because an ill-informed and manipulated electorate will press for actions that are detrimental to
the nation.
5.  Gather all the 2016 Republican presidential candidates and have them seriously
           commit to work for the good of all Americans.  Like the party, it seems all about winning
for these candidates.  If they focus on the good of all, hopefully there would be a move to
discussing issues and proposing meaningful actions while not attacking others in the race.  The
not attacking others includes non-Republicans.  We face tremendous challenges that require
Republican presidential candidates to abandon “politics as usual.”

Unlike the Democrat Party approach that promotes and sustains a victim mentality, the approach here respects the individual and allows for thoughtful examination of America’s challenges, condition, direction, and how best to address all that threatens our nation.

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