Republican and Black?
It's been said that "Truth is the first casualty of war." If so, now that both conventions are history, the Republicans are about to unleash Armageddon on the American voting public.
Their convention was so scripted, it had all the drama and suspense of a Barney video. The quintessential Republican standard fare was served up to us on a pu-pu platter that consisted of huge helpings of Inclusion, Diversity, Education, and Campaign Reform. Who knew that the party of the rich, privileged, and well connected was also the party of gays, Hispanics, and Chaka Khan?
The fact that Republicans treated the truth like some telekinetic psychic turned loose in a spoon factory was not a surprise. The big stunner was that this convention was the coming out party for the shameful who walk among us black Americans. The social pariah among their own people. The self-loathers whose very existence causes a nation to question not only their motivation, but also their entire philosophy of life.
No, I'm not talking about the Chicago Cubs. I'm talking about Black Republicans. They're here. They're queer. And they're looking to recruit a few good Negroes.
Thought to be extinct around the late 60's and early '70's, the Black Republican has flourished over the last 10 years. Nurtured in an environment that can only be described as a parallel universe much different from reality as we know it, the Black Republican sees the world not in Black and White, but in subtle shades of Grey.
Many Black Republicans have, like Alan Keyes and the Honorable Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, taken advantage of social programs only to attack them and call for their elimination once they themselves had benefited from their existence. These programs -- which now have been relegated to "four-letter word status" -- were intended to give Blacks and minorities a helping hand in the face of overwhelming discrimination in the workplace and institutional racism. A leveling of the playing field, if you will.
The resurrection of the Black Republican can be traced to the election of Ronald Reagan. They, like so many other disaffected Democrats, were swept up by the entire Reagan Experience -- a slick, pre-packaged, highly glossed, chemically-altered haircut masquerading as an American President. The snake oil he sold to the American public was purchased by the barrel by a whole lot of well-meaning but unsuspecting Black folk -- along with a truckload of their White friends.
Steven Wright, the dry wit comedian from Boston, used to have a joke in his routine about the time he was walking down the street when all of a sudden the medicine wore out of his contact lens. Reagan's policies had that effect on the American public. The single-digit inflation and robust economic indicators wore off instantly when we finally came to grips with a domestic policy that consisted of robbing Peter to pay Paul. This was an economic shell game that gave us the Savings & Loan Scandal, budget deficits in the trillion-dollar range, and attacks on social programs that would have us believe that ketchup was considered a vegetable.
And we're supposed to go back to THAT? As Rochester would say -- "No Sir Mr. Benny!"
Black Republicans will have you believe that now, as we enter a new millennium, these programs have long outlived their usefulness. The America of today, the Black Republican will tell you, is a land that is close to fulfilling the dream of Dr. King. (The debating tactic of the Black Republican is to take the words of our most cherished Black leaders and use them to bolster their own arguments. Malcolm X? Louis Farrakhan? They stressed Black self-reliance, which means they support the elimination of Affirmative Action programs. They must be true Republicans. Martin Luther King? He dreamed a world where all men were measured by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. Surely if he were alive today he would be a Republican. Booker T. Washington? His message was work hard, learn a trade, and divorce yourself from the political process. Well, two out of three ain't bad. But if you're going to vote, vote Republican.)
These Black Bourgeois Elite Republicans hold themselves up as shining examples of pulled-up-from-the bootstraps uber-achievers who, entirely on the strength of their hard work, character, and faith in The System, made themselves a success without any help from anybody else. In other words, they're close to being borderline delusional with periodic bouts of senility.
Nobody -- especially Black folks in America -- can claim to have done it entirely alone. Even Donald Trump used government money to bankroll his business deals. There is no judgement call associated with this. It is merely a statement of fact. But Black Republicans would have us believe that all government programs are nothing more than a yoke around our collective necks. They parrot the cries of White ultra-conservatives who would rather give General Motors billions in loans and tax credits than allow three welfare mothers $400 to feed and cloth their children.
As a species, the Black Republican has the ability of knowing which way the wind blows. And if they don't, their White political friends are only too happy to assist them. Here is the dirty little secret that will very soon be all too clear to the rest of us -- for all of Bill Clinton's survivor skills ... for all the political genius that he obviously has embedded into his DNA ... for all his uncanny ability to continue to get high job approval ratings when lesser men would have crumbled under the weight of the stress like a candy wrapper in a daycare playroom, his appeal is not transferable.
Since he was elected President in 1992, both houses of Congress have actually lost Democratic seats, and Republican governors currently occupy 30 of the 50 governorships. It got so bad in 1996 that powerful Democratic governors like Ann Richards from Texas and Mario Cuomo from New York were reduced to shilling for Doritos Corn Chips.
Quiet as it's kept, all the Republicans need now is for Dubya to win the presidency and the Republicans will have control over every branch of the Federal government. And they'll cement that control for generations to come once Dubya starts to make key Supreme Court appointments. Riddle me this: is that what most Americans want -- a political party that can ramrod legislation based solely on the numerical advantage they enjoy? A juggernaut that can force its political will upon the American public with impunity?
The Black Republicans can almost taste victory, and they want to be at the table when dinner is served. The Republican Party knows that the only avenue to sure victory is to pander to and court the very folks they never really cared for in the first place -- minorities and women -- in order to get the vote. This plan hinges on reeling in as many minorities and women as possible before the November election. That's why they take pains to caste out, like a fishing lure, the likes of Retired General Colin Powell, Roy Innis, National Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Oklahoma Congressman J.C. Watts, and Condoleezza Rice, foreign policy advisor to George W.
This much is clear -- unless Al Gore and the Democratic Party get their acts together, the American Ideal that the Black Republicans think they're fighting for will soon be on all of us. Their dream will be our nightmare -- and their nightmare, too. They just don't know it yet.