Bush To NAACP: You Have Blacks Too?
Beware of the Black Republican Trap
A few weeks ago the Imperial George W. Bush made his first visit to America’s oldest civil rights organization the NAACP. "I consider it a tragedy that the party of Abraham Lincoln let go of its historic ties to the African-American community," Bush said. "For too long my party wrote off the African-American vote and many African-Americans wrote off the Republican Party." Bush’s visit to the NAACP in the sixth year of his presidency did not represent a change of heart about his feelings about the progressive organization but represented a a political necessity in an election year where three African American republicans are seeking prominent statewide offices.
Lynn Swann, the former football player is running for governor in Pennsylvania, Richard Steele, the Maryland Lt. Governor, is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Maryland (who could end up facing former NAACP chair Kweisi Mfume) and Ken “I hate black people voting” Blackwell, is running for governor of Ohio. Blackwell, as secretary of state in Ohio consistently worked to suppress the black vote and democratic votes in Ohio likely tilting the election to Bush in the 2004 presidential election. Although it is great to see African Americans running for statewide offices it is imperative however that the black community not fall victim to the black republican trap.
The republican trap which many low income and working class white voters have falling victim is the notion to vote not in your economic best interest or for the candidate whose stand on issues mirror your stance but to vote merely on what they deem moral issues. Don’t vote for the guy whose policies will help with your child’s healthcare or education, vote for the guy who only talks about being a good Christian, who talks about the family being under constant attack by the entertainment industry, big government and of course liberals. Although Bush only received 11 percent of the black vote in the last presidential election, the Republican party is trying to home in a message similar to what has worked for poor to working class white Christians, i.e., the democrats are for gays marrying and snatching your bible right out of your hands and recruiting the black churches through government funds to indirectly do their bidding.
Do all black people have to vote democratic? No. Do all black people have to think alike politically? No. But that’s not where the questions should end. Black Republicans must demonstrate the ability to think and explain their party’s position. Who could associate with a party whose members opposed the extension of the voting rights act, whose members oppose an official apology for slavery? I mean, come on, slavery! And whose party actively attempts to suppress the black vote, through misrepresentation, removal from voter rolls to outright fraud. We are not talking about 1964 we are talking about 2004. What is the black republican explanation for their party’s attempt to silence black political participation? They don’t have one.
Republican party officials have apologized for its alienation of the black vote but at the same time it continues to play on other racial fears to gain electoral advantage as in the immigration debate. This Republican Party is not the party of Lincoln; it is the party of Bush Cheney and their quest for an imperial unchecked presidency. The last thing we need in times like these are yes men.