Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Republican Party And Its Potential Influence With The African-American Base

by Demetrius Minor

The historic election of Barack Obama was indeed an electrifying moment for the United States. The election of the first African-American President was a monumental step in racial equality and harmony. It was truly a sign that America is the land of opportunity and that regardless of race, people can succeed.

In particular, the Democratic party has historically seen high number of African-Americans vote for their candidates. African-Americans turned out in droves to elect Obama. Obama has not been the only African-American Democrat to capture the attention of blacks. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Charlie Rangel and others have become a beacon in the Democratic Party.

I will not waste my time addressing issues of the past regarding the Republican Party and its relationship with the African-American community. However, I will talk about how the GOP can move forward and establish a good relationship with the black community.

1.) The GOP must ATTEMPT to outreach to the black community. If the GOP will put forth the effort, African-Americans will listen. Blacks are not one-side minded people. They are very diverse in thinking, acting, and…living. Many blacks are frustrated with the GOP because they feel ignored. One of the ways the GOP can regroup and revitalize is to have “kitchen-table” talks with blacks, hear their ideas, and provide solutions.

2.) The GOP must realize that many blacks are socially conservative-minded. Family values are a huge concern and the central part of the African-American family. The culture of life is indeed sacred and valuable to the black community. With regards to the detrimental and devasting outcome of slavery and segregation policies regarding the lives of blacks, the African-American community deeply knows how precious life is. It was Martin Luther King, Jr and others who proclaimed that God is not a respecter of persons and that all men should be equal, therefore the culture of life reigns as an integral factor in many African-American lives.

3.) The GOP must have a sound economic message. Blacks for many years have been victims of economic disparity. They know how it is to work hard for minimum wages to provide food and shelter for their families. While many Caucasian individuals have seen wealth at the top of the economic ladder, many blacks have been in economic bondage. While The Obama Administration continues to expand government by massive spending, which is causing the national debt to increase, the GOP must counteract with a message that is helpful. Many African-Americans believe that they can achieve their goals and pursue their dreams without the government interfering. For so long governments have made promises that have turned up being empty. The GOP must proclaim its message of fiscal conservatism to the black community, so that their children and grandchildren do not have to spend their lives paying off the government’s debt, but can pursue the American dream joyfully.

In Michigan alone, where there is a heavy African-American presence, the GOP can do some serious outreach, This state, under heavy Democratic leadership, has seen its economic system turn to decay. With the auto industry, located in Michigan, fall to the captivity of bankruptcy, the GOP has an opportunity to emerge and help out the black community by making them aware that they will not only pay for Chrysler’s and GM’s incompetence, but that the government is making it worse on them by making them pay for their lack of discipline.

4.) The GOP should outreach starting in a non-election cycle. African-Americans and minorities in general, find it highly offensive when politicians try to reach out to them months before an election. Since the GOP is not in majority right now, they have the perfect opportunity to go into the African-American community and share its ideas and concerns. Showing up right before an election appears phony and simply “staged.” The GOP should not be afraid to go in the ghettos and the inner cities to outreach. The time for simply allowing the Democratic party to take advantage of the black vote is over. The GOP needs to take a visit to Black America and let its presence be known. They need to make their presence known on black radio, black television, magazines, etc. They should not be dominated by fear or anxiety, but be confident, optimistic and sincere.

5.) The GOP should avoid any slanderous commentary. The GOP should not advocate anything racial slanders or commentary regarding Barack Obama, his nominees, Cabinet or any elected official. While I do not advocate racial slanders, I do not believe the GOP should not provide an alternative message to Obama’s and the Democratic party’s “government-only” message. Like I previously said, African-Americans are not one-side minded people. They like to hear the issue being portrayed from different sources. Just because many voted for Obama does not mean they will not hold him accountable. African-Americans are looking for results instead of rhetoric. The GOP should provide solutions and answers, not condemnation or meaningless criticism, because it will not prevail.

Last, but certainly not least, the African-American community needs to give the GOP a chance. It is a good thing to see an African-American President AND an African American leader of the GOP–Michael Steele. This is good for the black community. It is healthy and constructive to have a dialogue with two different leaders that can help brighten the approach to political policies. It gives the black community two perspectives to look at. It gives them another voice to adhere to. It enables them to see that intelligence is promoted in both parties. The African-American community should not be resistant to the GOP, but should convey with the GOP their concerns and ideas.

To the GOP: get involved with the African-American community. Don’t expect things to change overnight, but a build a relationship.

To African-Americans: If and when the GOP comes into your neighborhood, hear them out.

Demetrius Minor is a new contributor HHR blog he is a senior at Augusta State University and a former White House intern.

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