“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…”
— “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens.
Allow me to paraphrase Dickens.
It was the best of times post Romney defeat in 2012 when the Republican Party claimed they understood the need for diversity, it was the worst of times when they screwed up their approach to make this happen. It was the age of wisdom when the Republican National Committee (RNC) finally decided to hire some Black staffers, it was the age of foolishness to actually think these Black staffers would listen to those who wanted to help them succeed. It was the epoch of belief that these staffers understood that Blacks before them opened doors for them; it was the epoch of incredulity that these millennials actually thought that history began with them. I think you get my point.
I thought of “A Tale of Two Cities” after watching last week’s presidential debate. I saw a plethora of Black “so-called” Republican operatives who have proven to be unmitigated disasters in their feeble attempts to become political analysts on TV, radio, and newspapers. I discussed this issue two weeks ago in my column.
Blacks will listen to Black Republicans who have credibility and who are not afraid to embrace their Blackness. The Black Republicans you are seeing in the media this cycle have absolutely no credibility within the Black community nor any power within the party to make anything happen.
They typically are trotted out to the media and asked to justify Trump and his stance on Obama’s birth certificate; or to denounce Black Lives Matters; or to side with the police when a Black is murdered. Like sheep being led to the slaughter, they are stupid enough to do it, because they live for that proverbial pat on the head from massa and long to hear him say “atta boy.”
I get calls from the media everyday to discuss relevant issues of the day. If they want me to discuss an issue that I have no strong position about, I decline the media request; or if it’s an issue that I just don’t want to deal with, like Trump and the birther movement, then I also decline.
Many of these Black Republicans are just simply media whores and they say, “yes” to every opportunity to appear in the media. This is a sure sign of immaturity and a total lack of wisdom.
Exhibit “A” in this regards is the RNC’s national director of African-American Initiatives and Media, Telly Lovelace. He was doing a local radio station hit prior to last week’s debate, before I was to do their national feed.
He was debating a liberal Black Democrat. She thoroughly embarrassed the hell out of him. Not only was he weak on the basic mechanics of doing a radio interview, like projecting his voice, he was also ineffective in his responses to the Black liberal’s condescending attacks on him. It was difficult to listen to this beatdown take place.
Black Republicans MUST stop allowing the party to force them to choose between their Blackness and their party. You can be both a Black with credibility within our community and also be respected within the party; it’s not an “either or,” but a “both and” proposition.
I have been teasing Roland Martin, the host of TV One’s “News One Now,” about this. He purposely has Black Republicans on both his TV and radio show who have absolutely no intellectual firepower to go up against him or the institutional memory to contextualize issues like civil rights, voting rights, or HBCUs.
Martin obviously gets off on slapping these Republicans around and relishes every opportunity to neuter them in front of a national Black audience. Do these Blacks really wonder why no one takes them seriously? These Blacks are not knowledgeable about the issues, don’t understand the art of debating and tragically, have no intellectual curiosity about the history of Blacks in the Republican Party.
Last week, I was in a soul food restaurant in Chicago and several tables overheard my conversation about the presidential campaign. The whole restaurant began to spontaneously engage me in a conversation about Trump and Clinton. They began by expressing their total dissatisfaction with President Obama for his lack of meaningful engagement with the Black community; then they vociferously criticized Hillary Clinton for the lack of any substantive acts within the Black community; finally, they criticized Trump on his demeanor and hyperbolic language, then concluded by saying they were voting for Trump.
I hear this all across the country. This simply validates what I have been saying for years: that Black people are open to voting Republican, but the party refuses to engage with Blacks in any meaningful way.
To quote a famous Greek writer, “After all is said and done, more is said than done.”
Raynard Jackson is founder and chairman of Black Americans for a Better Future (BAFBF), a federally registered 527 Super PAC established to get more Blacks involved in the Republican Party. BAFBF focuses on the Black entrepreneur. For more information about BAFBF, visit http://www.bafbf.org. You can follow Raynard on Twitter @Raynard1223.