I already knew very well the Republican Philosophy; after all it was because of it that l became a Republican in 1979. But during a recent chat with my good friend and white soul sister, Grace Williams, as we talked about how “our” Party’s core values are the same as many African Americans, she handed me a card from the National Federation of Republican Women listing those core values.
I carefully read each one, as I had done back in 1979 before making my decision to become an African American Republican.
That the right of the individual to achieve the best that is within him, as long as he respects the rights of others, is the source of our nation’s strength.
That government exists to protect the freedom of opportunity in which each individual’s creative ability can flourish.
That government activities should be limited to those things which people cannot do at all, or cannot do so well for themselves.
That the most effective government is government closet to the people.
That those who cannot provide for themselves should be assisted by both government and society, but that every effort should be made to help them become self-supporting, productive citizens with pride in their independence.
That equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity belong to all, regardless of race, creed, age, sex or national origin.
That the preservation of our nation and the security of our citizens depend upon the Constitution, the laws and the courts, and that respect for the, is the responsibility of every individual.
That government is accountable for maintaining sound money and a responsible economy. Individual rights, liberties and properties are continually eroded when citizens are oppressed by excessive taxation, inflation, government waste and over regulation.
That government is responsible for national defense and that only a strong America can remain a free America.
That it is absolutely essential to maintain a strong national defense posture in order that we may at all times negotiate from a position of strength, not weakness, in our continuing efforts toward world peace and friendship.
That these concepts are the foundation of our national strength and that the Republican Party, which is committed to their preservation, is the Party of today, and the Party for the Future.
As I read these core values, I felt a sadness inside for two reasons. Number One: That many African Americans are not aware of those values and Number Two: That our party has failed to properly articulate those values in such a way that not only African Americans, but all Americans can embrace them. Many times they are mixed in with so much mean spirited and unnecessary rhetoric that it has almost buried those core values in political mud.
It is not our core values that have impeded our ability to attract voters, because the values are honorable, good and well grounded in moral and sound principles. But rather, it is our failure to live, govern and serve by those same values that have caused us to error. There are many who believe as we do. However, we have to show that we not only believe, but that we practice these values as well. This is what being a Republican is all about.
It is for this reason that I began a recruitment campaign across America in 1987 to introduce those core values to African Americans from all walks of life. It is for this reason that now in 2010, I find myself weathering many storms to further that recruitment among African Americans and other minorities. Because it goes against the very same values that as Republicans we espouse, “That equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity belong to all, regardless of race, creed, age, sex or national origin”, if we do otherwise.
If the Republican Party can return to and remain true to these same core values, then without a doubt, it again can rise to the level of truly being the “Party of Lincoln” – a party with a tent that can expand to include those who embrace these same core values. …But in order to do that, we first have to go back to the well from which we were drawn, and again quench our thirst for political service with the waters of true Republicanism, so that what flows from our bellies does really come from the rock out of which historically we were hewed.