Friday, November 9, 2012

A Sobering Painful Moment

First, out of courtesy, I congratulate President Barack Obama and his supporters, many of whom are my friends, on his re-election.
However, I feel less than joyous.  In fact, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan’s loss is downright painful to me.
It is painful not because two personalities failed to carry the day. It is painful for two primary reasons. 
First, it’s painful because conservatives lost their ideal for America and I am not entirely sure if it is ever coming back.  In a time of rising poverty, high unemployment, anemic economic growth for more than 2 years, significant loss of net household income, and massive unsustainable national debt, Americans signed on for more of the same.  The era of big government just received a second curtain call and she’s coming back bigger and better than ever.   Our ideal for America is liberty.  Liberty is the freedom of the individual to create a destiny of his own design; liberty only flourishes when government is limited and plays its proper role.  What we have now is bigger government as Obamacare takes hold and as the administration makes good on its promise to incur even more national debt and deficits. This is out of control government spending. This is what Europe did under its Euro-Socialist agenda and it is now broken.  This just doesn’t work folks and the United States now approaches the point of fiscal collapse.
Second, it’s painful because the conservative message, while shared by more than the 58,163,977 people on Election Day (48%) who voted for Governor Romney, fails to resonate far enough beyond the Republican’s core group of whites to win elections in the future.  President Obama won support from 80% of the black, Latino, and other nonwhite voters while Governor Romney received support from 57% of the white vote. It is equally worth noting that President Obama won 63% of total voters aged 18 to 34.  He received 61,170,405 votes or 50.5% of the popular vote. The president’s share of the nonwhite vote is staggering and portends a real extinction problem for the GOP as these nonwhite and youthful segments grow and as the US becomes a minority-majority nation.
How can the GOP ensure a future for the Party and for conservatism?  It’s not that Republicans must gravitate toward the center and compromise their values; we must not change our message or pander to blacks or Latinos, young or old, for votes to win elections-that wouldn’t work anyway.  Republicans must not and cannot accept the Left’s platform on issues such as same-sex marriage, amnesty or abortion to get votes.  The GOP did something similar once before in the 19th Century (Lily-White Movement) where they compromised to get more southern votes into the Party.  That was the first major blow to the post-Reconstruction Negro and the Party has yet to recover.    
Republicans must “relate” and connect to the electorate beyond its core base with innovative outreach.  Relating and connecting means presenting the message in ways that are familiar, in ways that identify with those you are attempting to inspire.  Specifically, the faces and the language the GOP uses must evolve. Traditional campaigning is a dinosaur.  No one wants to buy a Pinto today no matter how good the seller says the engine is.  The GOP’s messengers are typically white men who perpetuate the awful GOP stereotype and fail to relate or connect to the electorate which is ever growing and changing.  It’s a new world out there folks; keep up.  The new political world has swag (like Obama) and the Republican Party comes up short. 
Let’s face it, the presidential election is a popularity contest and not a competition of substantive ideas.  Remember, Hope and Change?  It sold because of the packaging and not because of the substance.  There was none. Sad but true.
Moreover, Governor Romney received approx. 800,000 fewer votes than Sen. John McCain in 2008. The president received 8 million less than he did in 2008 and he still won.  In one of the worse economies in recent history and the assumption that conservatives would turn out in record numbers for the Republican ticket, how could the president still win with 8 million less voters?  Nonwhites.  If you’re going to win elections, you now have to win a competing share of Latinos, nonwhites, and blacks to a lesser degree.
Republicans have to embrace and elect true and uncompromising conservatives; Republicans must stick to their principles while rebranding and repackaging the message in order to relate to the growing and changing electorate.  Example: funding national Spanish Talk Radio and otherwise expanding conservative media choices.
The American dream and the future of our great nation will only survive if the GOP gets its act together. We have a short time to avoid extinction.  There is no time to waste.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Pulpit Bigotry

On November 4, 2012, during my weekly ritual of listening to the local gospel music experience on Stevie Wonder’s KJLH radio station, the senior pastor emeritus of Holman United Methodist Church here in Los Angeles took the opportunity to discuss the upcoming presidential election.  I must say, my time of worship plummeted quickly to a time of great despair.
Rev. Lawson, a Methodist minister for 50 years and known to be a civil rights icon, wasted no time telling the listening audience not only to vote for President Obama, but also said without equivocation that there was NO OTHER choice for people of color. 
He went on to excoriate the Republican Party and blamed it for the Jim Crow South.  Rev. Lawson’s rewriting of the cause and effect of Jim Crow notwithstanding, his remarks were bigoted, misleading, nonfactual, and with a complete disregard for the truth. His behavior is consistent with many black preachers across our nation.  He is not the only one holding up the flag of bigotry from the pulpit.
I quickly called the station with the goal of providing a balanced view on the choice for all Americans.  Unfortunately, the host would not allow an on air retort.  Had I had the chance, here is what I would have said:
1.       There is a clear choice between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney.  Black Americans are not and should not be considered monolithic and to say there is no choice is simply a lie intended to mislead the uninformed.  To tell any group of people who they better vote for en masse is ignorant and simply un-American.
2.       To suggest there is no choice ignores the significant black population that honors the sanctity of human life and abhors the murder of the unborn.  The choice to support Pro-Life is Governor Mitt Romney.
3.       To suggest there is no choice ignores the significant black population here in the state of California that repeatedly votes against same-sex marriage.  The choice to support traditional marriage is Governor Mitt Romney.
4.       To suggest there is no choice ignores the 15% black unemployed and 42.3% black teenage unemployed in this country that may just want a president who has at least had a job in the private sector and who has a track record of being successful in the private sector.  The choice that best responds to creating economic growth based on experience, in my opinion, is clearly Governor Mitt Romney.
5.       Finally, voting against the Republican Party is not the argument that Rev. Lawson and others should be making.  As pastors, they should be encouraging their congregants and radio listeners (as in this case) to seek God’s position on the issue and then allow that discovery to guide their vote whether it leads Democrat or Republican.
It is troubling that many black pastors give secular and meaningless guidance when it comes to the voting issue.  Instead of voting color, which Rev. Lawson clearly suggests, a Christian should be voting based on biblical principles.  Sadly, the world has infiltrated some pulpits.

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