Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Why is the GOP scared of black voters?

Roland Martin, who I've disagreed with on so many issues, really nailed it in a article entitled: Why is the GOP scared of black voters?. Its in part a response to the fact that the 2008 Republicans for president brushed off a debate hosted by Tavis Smiley and airing on PBS, which was geared toward the black community. (They also brushed off one aimed at the Latino community recently; only John McCain showed up for that one) I wish each of the 2008 Republicans and their staffs would read the article, although they almost certainly wont.

Smiley himself has says about the snub: "no elected official, no one running for president, black, white or brown, male or female, Republican or Democrat, ought to be elected president in 2008, if they can avoid people of color, black folk and brown folk ... as these folks are doing along the way." Well said.

As a black conservative, I find this interesting. I think many Republicans have lost sight of a few things: Blacks may well more anti-abortion than any other racial/ethnic group in America. Blacks are least in favor of gay marriage than any other ethnic group in America. We have one of the highest rates of attendance to weekly religious services, tend to be strongly anti- illegal immigration, and to be very much in favor of reforming our failed educational system. On many social issues, many many blacks have a lot more in common with Republicans than the Democrats, and would seem to be a natural ally of the Republican party on many issues.

So why do blacks still vote 90% or more for Democrats? Its the race thing, plain and simple. For several decades, the Republicans used the racist "Southern Strategy" designed to appeal to the worst racist impulses in southern whites, not caring if it alienated blacks. (And now they're surprised that so many blacks see them as racist?!). But it seems that every time they have a chance to repair the breach, they shoot themselves in the foot. 2- examples: 1) George Bush came along and claimed to be different, a so-called "compassionate conservative" . But when blacks were offended that he was going to appear at Bob Jones University , which had a racist policy against interracial dating, he decided to go anyway, even though he knew that blacks (and many whites) found this offensive. It just furthered the perception that noting had changed, and it was just more racially insensitive politics as usual. 2).. Now these 2008 Republican candidates knew about the Tavis Smiley debate for many months, but chose to schedule other things for that date so they could claim to have a "scheduling conflict" . (Utter nonsense, of course, and totally disingenuous) . They had a chance to put forward a positive face for themselves and their party, to make a statement that they are willing to be the president of ALL the people, even of communities that might be skeptical of them... but once again they blew it.

I'm embarrassed by the remarks I see and hear being made by so many white conservatives, from message boards, to talk radio, and it makes me really understand why so many blacks have total hatred for the GOP. This garbage about not bothering to appeal to a blacks because they vote 90% Democrat anyway... well, how do you think that 90% happened in the first place?...largely by the unwillingness of the GOP to distance themselves from racist elements withing the party, and the constant pandering to such elements among conservatives (such as talk radio hosts constantly carping about blacks always looking for a "handout").

It is for this reason that, although I'm a conservative, I will never become a Republican. The stench of racism still lingers in the Republican party to this day, and the comments made on this board just typify the type of thinking that alienates so many forward thinking blacks, who might be disenchanted with the Democrats, but still feel (rightfully, perhaps) like the Dems treat them with more respect.

Maybe one day, a forward thinking Republican will make efforts to rebuild the bridges, and to find common ground with the black community. Bush seemed like he could have been that guy, but he totally shot himself in the foot with the Bob Jones University debacle, and the Katrina response. It could take a generation or more, for the rift to be healed. Its obvious that this crop of Republicans isn't that interested, or don't have the guts or the vision to try.

1 comment:

healtheland said...

Republicans and Democrats, save a few marginal candidates like Ron Paul, are all part of the agenda of the Council On Foreign Relations and similar groups, which is to promote one global economic and political community. That is a reason why despite having "pro - life Republicans" dominate political office since 1980, pro - abortion judges like Kennedy, Souter, and O'Connor keep winding up on the Supreme Court.