As I continue my swing through Eastern Europe, I had every intention of writing about my conversations with the all the political and business leaders that I was spending time with. I wanted to write about how the U.S. is viewed by those in Eastern Europe and the relevance of this part of the world to the U.S.
But, I have received so many phone calls and e-mails asking me about the continued firings of the few black staffers at the Republican National Committee (RNC) that I have decided to share my thoughts on this issue and deal with Eastern Europe at a later time.
First of all, these staffers deserved to be fired and it should have happened a long time ago. They were in way over their heads and their level of arrogance was just astonishing. But in fairness to them, they were set up for failure by the party from the very beginning. Many in the party felt the need to hire blacks, not because they really wanted to diversify the party, but in some of the party’s thinking, they can’t be called “racist” because they hired a few blacks. I am not joking. This really is the thinking of many in the party.
Let me be perfectly clear: you can’t have engagement with the black community without the active participation of our congressional leadership.
The RNC is not, let me repeat, is not a policy making body in regards to legislation. But it is political malpractice to claim to want more blacks in our party without equipping staff to go into the black community with specific pieces of legislation that deal with issues relevant to our community.
You can’t go into the black community and not address the issue of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. The U.S. Supreme Court told Congress that they needed to update the formula used to determine how section 5 is enforced.
Republicans have controlled both houses of Congress since the court’s decision, but have done absolutely nothing to address this issue. Republican Congressman from Wisconsin, Jim Sensenbrenner has tried to work on a bipartisan solution to this issue and the house leadership has refused to let his proposed legislation come to the floor.
The Black unemployment rate is still teetering near 10 percent and yet the Republican controlled Congress has made no targeted policy proposals that would address this issue. Some in leadership have made stupid statements like, “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Message to leadership: everyone does not have a boat. Therefore, a rising tide would drown them.
These fired staffers had absolutely no engagement with our congressional leaders, rank and file members, or their staffers. So, to this extent they were set up for failure.
So, you have staffers going into the black community with no specific solutions to the problems that are important to them—voting rights, access to capital, education reform, etc. Blacks are being told that the Republican Party is the party of Abraham Lincoln, the party of lower taxes, the party of more individual freedom—yada, yada, yada.
This is where the rising tide theory becomes insulting to blacks. Don’t tell me that your solutions for other people’s problems will “trickle down” to me and my community as a byproduct of your legislative priorities.
They go into the Hispanic community offering amnesty; they go into the homosexual community offering protective class status; but they come to the Black community with trickle down legislation.