If I were a Republican, I would be deeply concerned about the past. Republicans singlehandedly eradicated slavery in America – which simultaneously ended the systematic kidnapping, rape, murder, and hard labor of black people here even as it preserved this nation’s union during its most tenuous days. Republicans – white ones and black ones – jointly helped to establish the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909. Republicans worked tirelessly in order to fully integrate the United States Armed Forces in the 1940s. Without Republican support, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would not have passed. How is it that this noble, collective tapestry is hidden away like some shameful family secret? You cannot find any of those historical facts mentioned on the Republican National Committee’s website. You will not hear any Republican Senator, Congressman, or Governor speak on the subject. Not a word about this will be uttered by any 2016 Republican presidential candidate. If I were a card-carrying, faithful member of today’s Republican Party, I would want to know why.
If I were a Republican, I would be rather apprehensive about the present. I would have been filled with joy and pride last November when my political party won majorities in the US Senate and in the US House of Representatives. I would have readily believed it when my leaders – most notably Senator Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner – promised the American people that the Republican Party was ready, willing, and able to govern. Consider what Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said last November on MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’: “It’s really important that our leaders in the legislature now set-up real achievable goals that are simple, that we can define for the American people… (do) achievable things, work with the president, get those things done, repeat and repeat and repeat.” That sounded good, but none of that has happened. Here’s what happened instead: Loretta Lynch – a tremendously qualified nominee for Attorney General highly respected by Republicans and Democrats alike – was forced to wait 166 days for a simple up-or-down confirmation vote in the Senate on Thursday. The optics of making the first black woman in American history wait so long to assume her post as AG were far from ideal. What happened to the pledge from my party to put country first over finding new ways to obstruct the president? Culture wars are well and good, but what about the real wars? Why aren’t my conservative elected officials leading the way on long-festering issues like real immigration reform, job creation, infrastructure, and free trade agreements? The Democrats would work with us on those. We could actually get some things accomplished. Then again, if wishes were fishes, we’d all be eating seafood for lunch. If I were a red meat-consuming conservative, I’d wonder how President Obama outthinks my party – “the party of ideas.” As a black Republican, how could/would I recruit other black people to consider joining my party in the backdrop of the GOP’s dog-whistle politics? Talk about friendly fire.
If I were a Republican, I would be very concerned about the future. Since I would seriously consider Hillary Clinton’s first term as President her husband’s unofficial third term, I would want the GOP to quickly identify the candidate best qualified to soundly defeat her. Decisions, decisions. My mother told me to pick the very best one, and you are not it, Bobby Jindal. Neither is Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, or anyone in my party with the first name of Rick. Jeb Bush has the name recognition, but seems to be flailing. Chris Christie isn’t sticking yet. Marco Rubio may peak too soon. We need someone new and energetic who defends our platform issues, but connects with the American people. We need a conservative unafraid to answer the current media question “Would you attend a gay wedding if invited?” We need a presidential candidate in 2016 with the gravitas and charisma to appeal to Democrats and Independents as a viable choice. We need a visionary who realizes our Republican base is rapidly shrinking, and that the sure path to the White House in 2016 (and beyond) is sincere outreach to people of color, women, and young millennials. We’ve surrendered all of those demographics to the Democratic Party for years – and paid a heavy price for doing so. My party’s now regional, not national. Climate change is required, and I ain’t talking about weather.
Of course, I’m not a Republican. Despite the fact the Republican Party desperately needs me, it doesn’t want me. That’s ok. This is America – and here, you have the right to be as wrong as a breakdancing calico cat.
The so-called house of ideas is actually a house of cards. If I were Republican, I’d wake myself up… before it comes crashing down.