Proverbs 3:5 directs us to not lean unto our own understanding but to trust in the Lord. I believe in this, yet there comes a time when we are unwise to not move in a direction save a direct word from him.
I don’t recall the year, but I believe in the same year that George Wallace spewed more hatred than he’d ever done, Medgar Evers, four little girls in a church, and a President were dead by the end of the year. If we don’t believe Trump is doing the same thing and bears as much responsibility, then we’re sadly mistaken.
As a Black man who’s been a registered Republican for a long time, I’ve spent more time defending that positon as a matter of course than I cared to discuss. The issues that we were told were white, Republican issues really weren’t and still aren’t. Without regard to your position (and I’m not taking any here), things like: Love of God, prayer in schools, fiscal conservatism, traditional definitions of marriage, protecting your home (bearing arms), a hard day’s work for an honest day’s pay, and so forth – are all traditional African-American values and stances. The most conservative people I’ve known in my life were older Black women in the South.
I’m sure many will be surprised. But I’ll tell you, my experience with the “normal” Republicans is that while they can be elitist and look down on folks, they hate no one more than they hate poor white folks. Additionally, by framing it as small business (not minority business), I was also successful at lobbying Republican Legislators for financial support of black businesses. They seem to admire (whatever that means) Black folks who “pull themselves up by the bootstraps” through entrepreneurship…especially given the notion that we all come from “disadvantaged” backgrounds. Its never about the underlying issues for social injustice, etc. (so don’t go there). In that vein, they always knew I was steering money to black folks but didn’t want it tied to “minority” funding…so we called it small business. These businesses, generally Black-owned construction firms, took care of Black families and contributed to the Black community in a real, intentional, measurable way. These same Republicans hated welfare as we know it, lol, but would approve cash to me for business training (and adding back to the tax base) at the drop of a hat. To this day, I remain grateful to those Republicans who always supported these efforts openly and financially.
In contrast to this, Democrats always thwarted my efforts, instead choosing to support “Great White Hopes,” never anything sustainable (e.g. – funding their daughters and wives for photo ops doing things like giving away computers to black children, etc.). To me, it seemed that they just wanted to fund themselves as the liberal heroes to my community. So when the Democrats were in power I couldn’t get money for training for Black contractors, but when the Republicans took over the spigot opened for the same. Therefore, I never drank the Kool-Aid that Democrats loved Black folks or that they even liked them more than Republicans did. At the end of the day, some of these Republicans just don’t like ANYBODY it seems, but were willing to work toward the common good. I think the Democrats just play us. For example, a guy plays a sax in a church and we give him status as the first Black POTUS, yet his policies were definitively and moderately Republican.
And at some level, our votes were null and void by being monolithic as many Black State Legislators around the country rally around and about race, but in the minority party never get a penny or anything done – where I could as a private citizen.
Furthermore, I grew up in a very politically liberal town, yet the haves are still the same and the have-nots are also unchanged. Both parties feel good about their relationships, but in my view, it was a liberal game of patronage. Vexing to me, over the years, was the automatic opposition by some in the black community, as if I needed to prove that I am not a “Ward Connerly” or “Clarence Thomas” type. However, when the money showed up for their company, they understood the different path. So, for me, it’s about intentionality and outcomes.
You can label yourself whatever you want to label yourself. I’ve cared no more what one’s political affiliation was than I did what someone’s college degree was. I’ve cared about intentionality and results and character. In fact, it may appear antithetical, but I’ve worked on two campaigns for US Senate in my life: (1) Black Female Democrat in the red state of Oklahoma; (2) White Male Republican in the blue state of Massachusetts. One was a little too liberal on some things for me which I saw as a lack of accountability for some, not necessarily racism; while the other was a little too conservative for me, i.e., regarding policy about sanctuary cities. But at the end of the day both had goals about moving the needle in areas where it needed to be moved and I felt that they could do it. That’s what’s important.
However, the days of folks like Jack Kemp, John Anderson (turned independent), or George H.W. Bush, promoting sound policy (whether you agreed with it or not) aimed at the good of all are gone. Although I did not vote for Trump, my opening paragraph speaks to the fact that I believed at some point along the way the Republican Party would correct its course back to its normal existence and views. However, Mr. Trump’s notion of being able to shoot someone and still be supported by his base seems to be true; and dispels the notion that Republicans are likely to self-correct. The idea that Mitch McConnell and other Republican leaders continue to go along with Trump and that the evangelical right is closed-mouthed speaks volumes. Far too many Black Christians bought the proverbial bridge up front seeing him as the lesser of two evils. For the record, I have always believed that Mitch McConnell is a racist. However, I always felt that we needed someone in the room because, “if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”
The Republican Party is now blatantly practicing voter suppression and making excuses for wrong doing using the “what about” reasoning and “everyone” needs to be civil conversation. The standard of care for the POTUS must be higher than “everyone” in these arguments. I’d compare it to the sexual harassment issue as related to power – the POTUS stands alone in his effect and affect alike. Further, the cowardly silence and inaction of those in congress who continue to roll with the punches is outrageous in and of itself. It is my thought that either: (1) they value their seats in congress more than doing what’s right; or (2) they too have been compromised by Mr. Putin’s efforts.
Otherwise it makes no sense. I refuse to believe that they are all Nationalists, if you will. Consequently, I can no longer associate myself with the Party. It is no longer the same party that it was even 5 years ago. A guy Like Ted Cruz didn’t exist just a decade ago. This Tea Party and anti-Obama wave have become quite incredible. The discourse spewed by Donald Trump, inspired by Steve Bannon, has hi-jacked the party. The Republican anti-Obama banter created the rise of Donald Trump, the monster now arisen to consume its master: Frankenstein.
I know that I shouldn’t judge anyone having had my own transgressions in life (log in my own eye) nor point my finger in conclusion (I can’t caste the first stone) having enjoyed the grace God has bestowed upon me. But this man Donald Trump is just a terrible human being. And he’s been allowed to take over the party – he is now the Republican Party. From the craziness of the guy from Missouri talking about the female body “shutting that whole thing down” in the case of a real rape, to the crescendo of the multiple bombs mailed followed by murder in a Synagogue, today’s environment is beginning to make even me feel somewhat vulnerable, as I see the multiple white males with their guns and ATV’s as if they’re planning for something crazy. All I can say regarding this issue is that I travel with mine, and, in my home, there is an AR-15. Again, say what you want to about that.
In any case, there is no longer anything that I can defend as a Black Republican. The hope that things will change seems delusional at this point. As a responsible Black man, I can no longer remain a registered Republican. Deuces!
So go out and vote on Tuesday – for Democrats for National office – and get Donald Trump at least held accountable for being (insert what you may).