The Voice In The Wilderness
By Raynard Jackson
In the week since Congressman Joe Wilson’s display of ignorance, the issue of race, once again, has spun out of control. So, I will try to add some sanity to the debate.
But first, let me lay the foundation for my argument. Without question, you can disagree with President Obama without being a racist. But, what does describing Obama as a Nazi have to do with healthcare? What does calling him a liar during a joint session of Congress have to do with healthcare? How does calling him a socialist, fascist, or communist, further the healthcare debate? So, you would think that if this debate was about healthcare, the signs would read, “how will you pay for your plan, how will it be implemented, or what if I don’t want your plan?”
I expect some in white America and most of those in the Republican Party, to ignore the racial nature of the attacks on the president. They suffer from cognitive dissonance, which is simply the inability to see what you don’t believe.
But, I am furious and will not forgive the spineless, politically tone-deaf, weak Black Republicans for their deafening silence on this issue! Or should I say, their refusal to acknowledge the existence of race as part of the issue.
I am very troubled and disappointed in Michael Steele’s characterization of this issue as “a distraction.” Armstrong Williams says of South Carolina Congressman and Majority Whip, Jim Clyburn, “Some days, I just shake my head at Mr. Clyburn, because the things that come out of his mouth are more entertaining than lucid.” Maybe we are seeing two different people. Clyburn rarely talks, but when he does, he is very measured and thoughtful. Remember, Clyburn is the one who told Bill Clinton to “chill” when he tried to inject race into the South Carolina primary last year.
Why do Black Republicans refuse to speak out and denounce the race baiting emanating from the Republican Party? Saying the Democrats do the same thing is no refutation. We are supposed to be a party of principles and just because our opponents engage in certain behavior does not mean we must reciprocate. We are better than that.
It’s not enough to denounce Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton when they play the race card.. Other than Colin Powell and myself, can you name another prominent Black Republican who has consistently taken principled stands on issues of race within our party?
I am embarrassed by the Black Republicans I see on the talking head shows on TV. Can someone explain to me the sign at last week’s poorly attended rally in D.C.: “Bury Obamacare with Kennedy?” To add insult to injury, the signs were paid for by a Catholic, pro-life group. I guess it’s OK to inflict further pain on the Kennedy family as long as it’s in the name of God.
After Joe Wilson’s outburst, how many Blacks did John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mike Pence, Mitch McConnell, or Jon Kyle meet with to discuss this issue? I can tell you emphatically, NONE!
The Republican Party is totally tone deaf when it comes to issues of race. The Blacks they would reach out to are so out of touch with our community that they are worthless. They are more concerned with being liked and invited to a meeting rather than making the party uncomfortable with the truth.
How can any Black not be offended and infuriated with the language and signs that refer to our president? When protesters say they want to take their country back, who is “their”? Take “their” country back from whom? That’s the biggest problem with the Republican Party—they want to take our country back. We should be looking forward, but it’s difficult to do that when those in the party want to go back(wards)!
Why won’t Black Republicans admit the obvious? These are the whites who are terrified at the changing demographics of this country. They feel like “they” are losing control of “their” country and want to go back(wards) to the good ole days! This is the real issue.
If the issue is ONLY about healthcare, cap and trade, and the size of government, then why the signs of Obama as a witch doctor, him with a Hitler mustache, or with a bone in his nose?
Black Republicans need to stand up and educate the Republican Party on the way these scenes are internalized within our community specifically and the country in general. Most Black Republicans have little connection with our community, therefore they don’t get the benefit of the doubt. When will Black Republicans speak out about the dearth of Blacks on Congressional staffs, at the NRSC, NRCC, the RNC, on campaign staffs?
I would love to be able to write about other issues, but I can’t remain silent in the midst of such vile behavior by Republicans. The Secret Service is having fits about the security of our president and staffers at the White House are on edge every time the president leaves the building.
Now, I know how the Apostle John felt in John 1:23: “I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said Isaiah the prophet.”
I have been at the table in these private meetings when there were just a few Blacks in attendance. I have seen how a lot of Blacks will allow people to say very offensive things without raising any objections. So, if you, as a Black, condone this behavior towards our president or don’t object to it in these meetings, you may get invited to a reception and be told that you are articulate, and a good conservative; but what do you think they really think about you when you are not at the meeting?
I am just the voice of one crying in the wilderness.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a D.C.-based political consulting/government affairs firm. You can listen to his radio show every Saturday evening from 7-9:00 p.m. Go to www.ustalknetwork.com to register and then click on host, and then click on his photo to join his group.