By Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D., Kansas City, MO –
Republican party and blacks being apart of the same political agenda, at the local or national level, is very rare indeed these days. It has been that way for what seems to be decades as we purvey the political and electoral stage in America. There has been some window-dressing and even less substance.
In Florida, the Republican convention will soon occur amid all the campaigning between President Obama and Republican nominee hopeful, Mitt Romney. What is going to be the role of blacks and real inclusion amid all of the partisan discussions?
With the development and sway of the Tea Party on the Republican Party, it really is a question worthy of serious consideration if not during this presidential election, definitely in elections in the future.
However, if you believe in the function and usefulness of our two-party system, every African American should be increasingly uncomfortable with the opinion that, unlike any other ethnic group, we are taken for granted by one party and ignored or snookered by the other.
At best, you’ll expect that enough African Americans would be so outraged by such clear token gestures that they start to work within the Republican Party in droves to produce substantive change and would join it. This will be a giant step toward getting our two party system to work, as it should.
Who knows if not during this election cycle, maybe during the Republican convention, in four or eight years, one or more of the surreal images of conventions past may have become reality.
At the chance of being labeled heretical by some and maybe practical by others, I am calling on African Americans to join the Republican Party in droves, not only to optimize the effectiveness of our two-party system in being representative of Americans, but also to test the claim that members of the Republican party make that they’re neither racist nor elitist.
While the nature, philosophy, and political positions of the Republican party have transformed during the last few years — becoming more extreme in its economic and societal views — whether it is consumed with racism is definitely debatable.
One just needs to think of the 2000 Republican convention. You would have reasoned from seeing the Republican convention you would have assumed that minority and ethic groups have a major function — actual contribution — in the Republican Party, if you did not know any better.
There was a continuous parade of African-Americans and other minorities from the performance of the classic rock stars on the first night to the energetic church choir similar to an old-time revival on closing night. Black people performed to some warm, open, and participatory crowd of delegates.
Even a Philadelphia pastor and his entire congregation were beamed in by satellite to give a fire and brimstone review on behalf of how Gov. Bush of Texas was responsible for their growing economic independence and self sufficiency in Philadelphia.
On stage, you had African-Americans represented from opening night to the curtain call. Yes, there were speeches by then black Congressman J. C. Watts from Oklahoma and addresses by General Colin Powell and Bush’s foreign policy adviser, Condoleezza Rice.
But back in 2000, that was where the actual inclusion stopped. Just 4 percent of the 2,066 delegates on the convention floor were African American where contribution actually counted.
Fast forward to today. What will be the nature and message of the 2012 Republican convention? It seems that among minorities, Blacks are the least represented in the Republican Party.
It’s a fact that the Republican platform, as we now can identify, is not very inclusive of those issues that are important to African-Americans and other minorities, whether it is a reasonable taxing system, equal opportunity for education and jobs, a realistic immigration policy, etc.
The only way to impact, either the Democratic or the Republican Party is to shape it from within and to become active participants.
Take a lesson from the Tea Party.
Feature Photo Credit: theblackman.com
Edited and Reprinted with Permission of USAonRace.com