A young Republican knocks on a house door.
“Hello, I’m a volunteer with Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign, and I’d like to talk to you about his vision for the country, if you have a few minutes…”
The black lady who answers replies, “Didn’t he say he didn’t want to help black people? Why would I vote for him?”
“Well, ma’am, he didn’t actually…”
“And why are you working for him? And not getting paid? You know how many of our people died because of this racist nonsense?”
“Ma’am, if I could…”
“Hell no, you can’t. Don’t come back around here. All Republicans do is use confused young people like you to spread their filth.”
This, my friends, is usually the end result of discussions about statements like these:
After suggesting that an expansion of Medicare is really just a plot to make voters more “dependent” on Washington, Santorum added: ”I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them other people’s money.”
Four years ago, I wrote a piece here called, “Future Conservatism: A Counterinsurgency Strategy for 2009 and Beyond.” In that, working under the assumption of a McCain/Palin loss, I looked at three things I felt the GOP needed to do to, as I put it, “evolve and maintain their relevance.”
Well, let’s see how we did. Here’s the three things, and a progress report.
I was hoping that, on the first day of the new year, I’d wake up and all the foolishness that was going on within RPV would just be a really bad joke. You know, the whole ‘new year, new start” thing…or maybe someone was trying to make a very long “New Year’s Fool” joke.
As it stands right now, Rick Perry-joined by Newt, Bachmann, Santorum and Huntsman-are all suing to join Romney and Ron Paul on the Virginia primary ballot. AG Cuccinelli has stepped in, saying that he will introduce emergency legislation to make that so. Meanwhile, RPV might (more on that “might” later) require everyone who votes in the primary to sign a loyalty oath, declaring that they WILL support the Republican nominee for president this fall, whoever that person may be.
Let’s tackle these in order, shall we?
Can I say this is the first year where I actually have very little to complain about?
Seriously, 2011 was pretty much a great year. My self-proclaimed sabbatical from the political world largely worked (General Assembly races are so low key that it didn’t take much!). Things are great on the home front. Managed to get a job at my college this year…and then another one. Speaking of college, still plugging away.
And, of course, the small matter of my election as SGA president at my campus. Proving that a black Republican Tea Partier can get elected in Norfolk.
So what’s coming in 2012? Several interesting things.
First, at some point in the year, I will graduate with my Associates in Social Science from TCC (no, I’m really not in grad school!). I say “at some point” because there are some professional things at work brewing that will determine if that graduation will happen in the spring (as it’s supposed to) or over the summer. Either way, from that point, I’ll head over to Regent University for my bachelor’s in Government. Gonna be under a time crunch (I have a little over a year of my GI Bill remaining), so…
2) …there, again, may not be a lot of time for things political. I’m committed to helping my congressman (Scott Rigell) get reelected, and to helping my friend Marcus Calabrese get elected to City Council. I’ve voiced my support for George Allen in our Senate race here (to the chagrin of many friends and associates, and people who don’t even know me!). For the presidential race, my choices are (as of today, because there’s lawsuits all over the place), Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.
Two years ago, I had planned to be working on a presidential campaign. Obviously, that ain’t gonna happen. Paul’s not an option for me under any circumstances, and Romney…well, I’m not quite sold on him yet. Besides, see #1 above.
3. I do, however, plan to keep writing. This blog has severely fallen off over the last year, but I’ll be changing that. Also, I’ve been writing some opinion pieces for a local black-owned newspaper, the New Journal and Guide. The paper is online, but if you’re local to Hampton Roads, you should consider a subscription.
One last thing I want to address: my political future.
I’ve been asked about running for everything from the US Senate (no, seriously, someone did ask me that!) to Norfolk City Council. That last one almost happened; thankfully, Marcus decided to run…and frankly, his knowledge of local issues and community involvement exceeds mine (I’ve always been more interested in national-level stuff). Given my job at TCC (which I really enjoy) and that I won’t be done with my bachelor’s until 2014 at the latest, it’s very unlikely that a run for office is in the cards in the near future (read: the next three years or so). If it happens, it will happen on a timeline that isn’t mine.
I remain, however, very opinionated. I’m not giving up on involvement in politics now, though that time may also come in the near future. I’ve grown extremely frustrated with both the Republican Party in Virginia (which I’m convinced absolutely refuses to take my community seriously) and with the Tea Party here as well (which is sadly become less of a political force and more cannibalistic). I’m tired of fighting one, the other, or-on really good days-both, on the occasions where my beliefs don’t toe the respective lines. It seems very hard for people to understand that, at the end of the day, I’m still my own person…and while I support those people and organizations that I respect, it’s because they’ve done something to earn that respect that they receive it from me. Blind obedience isn’t a good look; at the end of the day, you’re still blind.
I think that if I’ve taken anything from this year on the sidelines, it’s that I don’t need the stresses of politics as much as I thought I once did or would. I now understand, more than ever, why good people stay out of this game. There’s a season for everything (as I wrote earlier this year); maybe this one’s approaching its end.
But…it’s not here yet. I’ve got at least a couple more years left in me (considering there’s a governor’s race coming up in 2013).
With that, 2011 ends…and a new year begins.
Bring on whatever’s next.
While I don’t necessarily feel compelled to “explain” my endorsement, I’m going to…if for no other reason than people should hear from me-and not from people who I rarely speak to or, worse, don’t know me at all-how I came to the conclusions I did. So, here’s the why, and the “what’s gonna happen from here”.
I first met you in 2009 at the RPV Convention in Richmond in one of the welcoming suites. This was before you got elected, and I asked you-as well as your opponent-what your plans would be for minority outreach in the age of Obama. Of everything you told me, what struck me the most was your acknowledgement that the party needed to be more inclusive. It was good hearing that.
In early 2010, after you had been on the job for a few months, I asked you the same question at one of the Virginia Beach Republican breakfasts. While you gave me the same answer you did at the convention, you also said that your first focus in the lead-up to the elections that fall was increasing RPV’s new media presence. I didn’t like that…but the strategist in me saw sense in that. A few months later, you, Dave Rexrode, myself and a couple other black Republicans sat down in Richmond to try to create a strategy for RPV on minority outreach.
And then, bad things started to happen.
Tea party activists on Thursday accused officials in at least four cities of giving preferential treatment to anti-Wall Street protesters, and one group in Richmond is asking the city to repay $8,000 spent for permits and other needs.
In addition to Richmond and Charlottesville, Va., tea party groups in Washington and Atlanta said Occupy protesters have openly defied police and local officials without consequence.
Are they right? Of course they are. Are they making their point in a way that’s rather whiny, and is going to end up hurting their organizations in the long run? Yep. Walk with me.