Until the 1930s, the majority of blacks were proud to be in the party of Lincoln. The NAACP’s anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," was written by a black Republican.
Later, on Lincoln's 100-year birthday, the NAACP was formed, with a number of founders being white Republicans.
Fast forward to 2000.
George Bush captured just 8 percent of the black vote. How did that happen, and how can the GOP reconnect with its natural constituency?
On the first, a lack of foresight and FDR's New Deal. And the second: bold leadership that ignores political correctness, aggressively challenging all who label real solutions “racist" or "bigoted.”
But the GOP has made little progress.
It’s been ages since the party ran a presidential candidate who could heal the wounds and be a uniter, and 2012 looks to be more of the same.
In 2008, four GOP front-runners — McCain, Romney, Thompson, and Giuliani — cited lame excuses for skipping an important debate on race relations.
Truth is, they looked at how many blacks vote Republican, and stayed away.
Any Republican who believes the status quo is acceptable, and a deliberate absence at such an event makes that their position, doesn't deserve to lead our nation. Running for president should not just be about cozy fundraisers and scripted speeches to friendly audiences.
It must be about tackling the most pressing issues, even if it means walking into the lion's den, standing your ground, and outlining your vision for success.
John McCain epitomized the status quo, and not coincidentally, lost big.
Republicans are in desperate need of a leader willing to embrace Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., someone who can remind blacks about their former alliance with the GOP. Most of all, a leader who can explain to blacks that they are still Republican in their values, and to show them the way home.
Dr. King espoused Republican ideals more eloquently than most: “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Is there anything more Republican than that?
True Republicans strive to live in a color-blind society, where people are judged by deeds, not skin pigment.
A guiding principle of the GOP is personal responsibility, and no one epitomized that more than Dr. King. He never ran from the law during a protest, nor did he label his arrests and imprisonment as persecution. Unlike so many leaders in both political parties, he never engaged in the blame game.
Dr. King never complained about the consequences of his actions. He took full responsibility for those actions, understanding that the only way to achieve freedom was to work within the American system, changing it by winning the hearts and minds of the people.
Most blacks are in the same position as rank-and-file union members. Both share the core beliefs of the Republican Party, but suffer because their leaders sold them out long ago in favor of personal agendas and Democratic sweetheart deals.
Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, congressional leaders . . . the list is long. Yet God forbid a black person speaks truthfully on sacred-cow “black” issues! That just isn’t permitted, so when it occurs, personal insults and vicious attacks follow. Look at the heat Bill Cosby took after scolding the black community for making excuses and not improving themselves through personal responsibility. He was demonized by black leaders nationwide.
But he was right.
Who is most affected by violent crime? Who is most impacted by outrageous taxes and ever-increasing public transportation fees? Who, more than anyone, strives for a solid family unit, knowing the catastrophic results of children growing up without a father?
As a group, who opposes same-sex marriages more than any other? And who better understands the reality that many of our failed public schools, especially those in the inner city, have become literal battle zones, and that the only way to achieve a quality education, and with it one's dreams, is through parental choice in education?
Bold leadership isn't going to garner the Republicans a huge vote swing in the next election — you don't reverse 80 years of thinking overnight. But if the GOP does the right thing, for the right reasons, the votes will follow.
And on the race relations issue, doing the right thing is as simple as black and white.
Chris Freind is an independent columnist, television commentator, and investigative reporter who operates his own news bureau, FreindlyFireZone.com He can be reached at CF@FreindlyFireZone.com
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