Monday, August 30, 2004

Black and Republican, Oxymoron or a new reality

As the National Republican Convention gets set to kicked off in New York this morning, African-American Delegates are determine not be an afterthought in the GOP. For the first time in years the cries of help from Black delegates are being heeded by the party leadership, and not just with lip service. To understand how far Black GOP members have come, look back to 2000. Only 6 percent of the delegates were Black. This year they make up 17 percent which is a new critical mass that can not be shoved aside.Many of those are elected officials who have proven that your Blackness doesn’t have to be set aside in order to be a member of the GOP. Most are conservative when it comes to social policy, but these traditional values in Black faith based community.On the eve of the opening of the RNC many of those who are considered a pariah in their communities find commonality here. They gathered at the Museum of the of City New York Sunday night in the heart of Black New York, Harlem. Roy Innis, Congress of Racial Equality, played host to those who were looking for others who champion Republican themes. Nearly three hundred filled an auditorium to here from speakers. The gathering was charged up by Maryland Lieutenant Governor Michael Steele. “The Republican Party may have left us, but we never left it and now we’re repairing that relationship.” Joanne Fisher of Prince Georges County, Maryland was there with her daughter who took time off from serving in the military to see the GOP Convention. “I think if the Republicans would just go into Black communities and talk about what they have done, it could change attitudes.” That message has fallen on deaf ears because of rigid stances on affirmative action and a GOP dislike of civil rights issues. “They got to come and listen if they (Republicans) want to be taken seriously,” according to Fisher.Lieutenant Governor Steele says the party needs to tell its own story and not have it told by Democrats. That may be fine, but many gathered in the room needed to get one item correct before they start preaching to the masses. During this event the assembled were asked to sing the “Negro National Anthem” (Life E’vry Voice). There was difficulty remembering the words and despite a comment by Niger Innis, the son of Roy Innis, that white folks in the audience would get crib sheet the next time… Black Republicans need to learn the words also.There was also a bit of star watching at the event with Boxing Promoter Don King in attendance. King has been a vocal supporter of the president. But the true star of the night appears to be Lt. Governor Steele. Just as Barack Obama emerged from the Democratic Convention in Boston with high hopes; so took are the expectations for Steele. In the next Blog, more on the Lieutenant Governor, and a preview of his speech on Tuesday night. Extra Special Donnie McClurkin’s conversion to heterosexuality and the “gay curse.” Why he’s sing before President Bush speaks.