Black Folks campaigning for Bush : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread

I must confess that I am undone by those persons who can attribute any degree of success to the W administration or to Republicans in particular with respect to black folks. Those so inclined are prepared to tell black folks that they are wrong in their perceptions; that the Republicans have been misunderstood and that the Democrates are the true enemy of African Americans. If only African Americans would wake up, not follow their instincts, dismiss past offenses, and stop being duped - they would see the wisdom of abandoning the party of Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Clinton, and instead choose the party of Nixon, Reagan, Bush and W. Forget those who champion civil rights and affirmative action, rather, embrace those who have consistently and in some cases vehemently fought against them. Let's trade an increase in the minimum wage for enterprise zones in the inner cities; let's surrender ideas that enable all boats to rise for one that espouses every man for himself.

I consider any educated black man or woman that would try to convince other blacks to re-elect president Bush as traitors to the race - who are more concerned with lining their own pockets than with the well-being of this people in particular and with the health of the world in general. The Bush administration and the Republican ideologues that surround him have been a disaster for this nation and the world and must go.

In Christ,

-- Anonymous, October 25, 2004


Ron -

Are you saying that Rev. Kirbyjohn Caldwell, Secretary Colin Powell, Secretary Rod Paige, the late Senator Edward Brooke, Justice Thomas and others are racial quislings and traitors simply because they have a different political perspective from yours? With the exception of Carter all of the Democratic Presidents you named were involved in war that resulted in the loss of lives. I suppose if Kerry is elected President you will find comfort knowing that he will abstain from war. I'm afraid you are in for a rude awakening.

From where I live and work all of the progressive legislation which has been fostered by Democratic politicians still hasn't closed the disparities in employment, income, wealth, k-12 learning, health, digital infrastructure, etc. Many black communities still live in terror caused by a proliferation of drugs and crime. Impugning the character of Republicans does very little in addressing the core problems which confront black Americans in the US. You seemingly have a simplistic position that the "right" political party can correct the structural problems we face. My experience has taught me it is not that easy. Even with 8 years of Bill Clinton in the White House the systemic issues I addressed earlier remained in tact. I find it ironic that your editorial is no different from intolerance expressed by other fringe commentators. Black people have never been a monolith in political ideology and neither does any party have a monopoly on social justice and Divine truth. QED

-- Anonymous, October 25, 2004

Amen Bill.

-- Anonymous, October 25, 2004

Bro. Dickens,

It's true - I strain for simplicity and have been mistaken as naive on occasion because of it. But let me remind you that simplicity is the root of elegance.

My position is not that all Republican are bad and all Democrats are good. Surely, that would be simple! My position is based on as honest an assessment as I can make, of the state of my people, my nation, and my world as the result of the priorities and policies of the parties and individuals in power. Obviously, no administration, regardless of political party, has been perfect - but - some have most certainly been worst than others. I agree that black folks have never been a monolith in political ideology - a testament to our diversity - but we are treated as a monolith by the prevailing ideologies with very different results depending on which one is in power. Let's take for example the people you named - Powell, Page, Thomas, etc. Tokens all - save Caldwell and Brooke. Wasn't it politically expedient in almost every case for them to be Republican? Could they have possibly attained the heights they occupy if they had been otherwise? Why not name the sea of people of color who are Democrats? Maybe it because black Republicans are something of an oddity.

Let's not quibble about minor issues or players but let's rather consider the big picture - the basic, on the ground outcomes that attend a party's reign and affect real people. Is this country safer, more prosperous, more respected, more optomistic, more unified, more progressive, more fiscally responsible, more anything since W came to office? NO! WHY would we return them to power?

Now I know we've mixed several conversations together here. You mentioned that blood has been shed in the world regardless of the party in power. You suggested that you think I believe Kerry will abstain from war - I don't - he'll inherit one. You also spoke of the continuing disparities in a variety of areas and that many black communities remain plagued by drugs and crime - again - despit party in power. The long and the short of it is - is that Republicans tend to work on behalf of the affluent while Democrats tend to work on behalf of ervybody else - too.

In Christ,

-- Anonymous, October 25, 2004

Ron -

Thank you for your response. We agree to disagree on this issue. You write with compassion and conviction and I respect that in an individual, irrespective of his/her political beliefs. I strongly believe however that your assertion about Powell, Rod Paige and Justice Thomas as "tokens" is a deliberate insult and unnecessary. How can you or I determine what motivated their decision to become a member of the GOP? It may or may not have been opportunistic. I don't pretend to know and neither quite frankly is it a concern for me since that is their private decision. You opine -

"Is this country safer, more prosperous, more respected, more optomistic, more unified, more progressive, more fiscally responsible, more anything since W came to office? NO! WHY would we return them to power?"

This is an important question and will undoubtedly weigh in the minds of the electorate over the following week. The fact that this election will be extremely close shows if anything your conclusion is hardly a self-evident truth. In many polls, despite all of the hard- hitting from the Kerry camp, Bush still leads by a small margin. Now it is true that Kerry commands a huge lead among likely black voters but black votes are just one of several key votes.

Now despite my interest in the so-called "big race" for the Oval Office there are many state and local issues which are of equal if not greater interest. For instance, voters in the state of Colorado will be deciding on whether to adopt a Constitutional Amendment which will allow for a proportion of that state's electoral votes and not the current "winner-take-all" outcome. If passed, it would take place in 2004 so youcan imagine the legal ramifications this would create. Currently only Maine and Nebraska allow for proportional electoral votes.

Three states will be voting on whether to include a ban on gay- marriage in their state constitution (Ohio, Michigan & Oregon). At this year's 47th Quadrennial the AMEC passed legislation imposing a ban on AME clergy performing same-sex weddings. Despite that ban I have not heard whether AME members in the Ohio, Michigan and Oregon are encouraged to support the proposed constitutional amendment. I'm sure if there was a state constitutional initiative which sought to impose a ban on hiring students from non-accredited HBCUs the outcry would be long and loud.

In my state of Florida, voters are asked to approve or reject parental notification of minors seeking abortion and the use of gambling to supplement funding for public education. Now what I find interesting in these two constitutional proposals is again the near silent response from the black church in Florida. These are both family issues (abortion and gambling) and represent an area where the black church has a long history in addressing. Much to my surprise I recently discovered that the NAACP Florida Conference has taken a position of neutrality on these two issues yet the same organization has taken a clear side in opposing medical malpractice limits and supporting a state minimum wage. Many black clergy are active in state and local NAACP. This recent decision to not weigh in on important family issues in Florida is simply cowardly and in my opinion a dereliction of theological duty. QED

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2004

Bill, my state Montana is also voting on a constitution amendment to ban gay marriage. And also on the ballot is legislation to legalize marijuana for medical reasons.

It is interesting in the state of Montana where the population is 98 percent white those that are supporting a ban on gay marriage are quoting black pastors in their advertising, especially when it comes to equating the rights of gays to marry with the civil rights movement.

I am glad you are lifting up the fact that there are some very important issues on the state and local level that voters should be aware.

In terms of the presidential race, my prayers are that everyone will get out and vote.

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2004

Bro Bill, Your list of Black Republicans caught my eye. You listed Sen Ed Brooke right before Justice Thomas. They hold the opposite views. Sen Brooke was the first and only Republican I ever worked for. Some on the board may know him as a trivia question but here is a word on him.

Times have changed. I doubt if Sen. Brooke would not be received in the current Republican Party. He was from what was the Liberal wing which has ceased to exist. He was from Massachusetts and as he points out in passages below worked for issues long abandoned by the GOP.

The first African American elected to the Senate by popular vote, Edward Brooke of Massachusetts served two full terms, from 1967 to 1979. Born in Washington, D.C. in 1919, Brooke graduated from Howard University before serving in the United States Army during World War II. After the war, he received a law degree from Boston University. During his Senate career he championed the causes of low-income housing and an increased minimum wage, and promoted commuter rail and mass transit systems. He also worked tirelessly to promote racial equality in the South. Senator Brooke received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in a White House ceremony on June 23, 2004. To date, twenty-one U.S. Senators have received this honor.

Although he had supported Richard Nixon's campaigns in 1968 and 1972, he clashed with Nixon on several issues, including the nomination of two anti-civil rights judges to the Supreme Court. He was the first senator to call for the President's resignation during the Watergate scandal (Can you see a current Black Republican doing this today?)

He was a member of the liberal wing of the Republican Party, and often had conflicts with President Richard Nixon, particularly in 1970 when Brooke helped lead the movement to stop the Senate confirmation of the President's nominee to the Supreme Court, Harold Carswell. Brooke was re-elected in 1972, defeating Democrat John Droney 62%-34%

In 2000, a report on the National Conference of Black Republicans included this: “While most of the black Republican speakers defended the GOP on social issues, the final speaker at the event, former Massachusetts Sen. Edward Brooke, came equipped with a big wet blanket. "I am ashamed of some of the policies of the party," Brooke said to the suddenly silent crowd. "Conservatism unfortunately has come to mean opposition to civil rights, to reformers, opposition to campaign finance reform, to urban Americans, opposition to new programs ... which would improve the quality of their lives." He went on to slam the party's environmental record, its neglect of the poor and even its stand on abortion. Brooke urged the GOP to return to advocating a small government approach without all the fire and brimstone. Brooke's rant considerably dimmed the crowd's spirits, and moved racial division back onto the front burner. His pro-choice line got scant but enthusiastic applause, and most of the black attendees clapped for his calls to end race-baiting, though the coterie of white Republicans curiously concentrated at the front tables sat stone-faced throughout. “ As he said, he was ashamed of some of the policies of the party.

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2004

Bob, Your excellent report on Senator Brooke proves that black folk need to be a part of both parties rather than just one party. Senator Brooke's counterpart today is Colin Powell. You do have two wings in both parties and a middle ground. A "bird without two wings does not fly very well.

BTW, someone fragged on Secretary Powell: Read his history, 4-star General in the Army, led the first Iraq War. That brother has my nomination as one of the greatest black men that have ever lived except Jesus, the Christ.

Be Blessed al paris

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2004

Bob -

Many thanks for the overview about Senator Brooke. I was raised in Washington, DC so the former MA Senator is no stranger to me because his high school was considered the best in the city for many, many years. Brooke's political legacy, much like his fellow respected black Republican lawyer, William T. Coleman (Secretary of Transportation under Gerald Ford) was characterized by a commitment to social and racial equality. It is true that the GOP party today has difficulty in creating a big tent to reflect a broad cross- section of Americans. Brooke was indeed a maverick and I often liken him to former Washington Democratic Senator Henry "Scoop" Jackson. Like Brooke, Sen. Jackson was a maverick in the Democratic Party because of his fiscal conservatism and hawkish approach to US foreign policy. What I can't recall about Brooke is whether his election to the US Senate preceded Ted Kennedy? What I do recall unfortunately is his Senate re-election in 1978 was dealt a severe blow caused by personal issues, unrelated to his performance as Senator,(e.g. a messy divorce). The late Mass. Senator and Presidential Candidate Paul Tsongas defeated Brooke. Currently, Senator Kerry holds Brooke's Senate seat. Now just think what life in Washington would be like if Brooke's personal life was not politicized in the 1978 Senate race? Kerry might well be practicing law for a major Boston law firm and the candidates for the Presidency would probably have the names Gephardt and McCain. QED

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2004

Denise -

What I'm about to say may come as a surprise but I believe our drug policy in the US is completely wacked (emphasis mine). I favor decriminalization of marijuana consumption for any person above age 18. If marijuana was decriminalized, like liquor, this would erode the super-normal profit on the transaction thus reducing the incidence of crime and attendant violent activities. Marijuana consumers should be treated no differently than alcoholics. Treat marijuana as a public health issue and cease this nonsense and waste of public resources incarcerating folks who are first-time and recreational users. Stiff penalties should be imposed on anyone selling marijuana to a minor. Sentencing guidelines for this felony should be 10 years hard labor and no parole. Now I'm NOT encouraging folks to purchase Jimi Hendrick's Greatest Hits and go out and get high. Sure, I experimented with a few joints when I was in high school but unlike Bill Clinton me and my posse` did in fact "inhale". Fortunately I soon discovered this was not for me so I have been "drug free" for close to 30 years. I happen to think that marijuana consumption is bad for one's health and I discourage its use but I can't conclude that such users are in the same company as serial killers, rapists and arsonists. Prison should be reserved for the truly incorrigible members in our society. Too many folks, black and white are populating our prisons for the wrong reasons. If we redirected current prison dollars and built more schools, libraries, medical clinics and recreation centers our society would be much better off. QED

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2004

Bill the issue on the montana ballot is legalization of marijuana for medical reasons. i.e. cancer.

To be honest I am surprised it is on the ballot, Montana is a pretty conservative state.

-- Anonymous, October 26, 2004

Bill said:

"If we redirected current prison dollars and built more schools, libraries, medical clinics and recreation centers our society would be much better off. QED"

While I agree with your assessment of the prison situation, I think that we are wasting our money building schools, libraries, etc. if we do not rebuild our moral fiber. We must start teaching at birth that there is a right and wrong, there is a God in heaven that cares about us; that abortion is murder, etc. We have to reverse this philosphy that "every man/woman do what is right in their own eyes." How can we condemn a drug dealer killing his non-paying customers when we are killing babies in our hospitals every day?

I have noticed something about this board: We wring our hands and cry about killings in Iraq, the Sudan, and other places but we are strangly silent when abortion is mentioned. Even the most "compassionate" have nothing to say. Is that silent support for baby-killing? I wonder? Iknow the terms I use are offending but not near as offending as the practice.

Be Blessed al paris

-- Anonymous, October 27, 2004

Moderation questions? read the FAQ