April 15, 2010
NRAAC's National Chair
Dr. Jean Howard-Hill
National Republican African American Caucus [NRAAC] Blog
The National Republican African American Caucus Has It’s
Say!: 18 Day Political Revival
Day 3: Why the Republican Party can afford to ignore us, and why political parity within both major political parties is crucial for all African Americans.
There are two things that get attention in politics. Having sufficient numbers to impact an election, and being able to write the check!
As African Americans some of us have voted closetly as Republicans and have been afraid to tell anyone we were doing so, because of the stereotype and stigma associated with being Black and a Republican. This has cost us.
Believing we have no political capitol to bring to the table, we have been left out of the game. Politics is a poker game and not a game of Uno. So when you sit down at the table you have to more than a good hand of cards.
I must admit, it took a while to understand this. For years the NRAAC had the numbers, but didn’t leverage it. We sort of left it up to our membership to vote individually, but not as a collective voting block. But now as we see those numbers not being recognized as having an electoral impact on election results, we have changed our tune. Now, we vote as one!
We also have failed to deliver the eggs to both political parties.
Perhaps I can better help you to understand what I mean, by borrowing the sermonic style of a dear and most admired pastor, Rev. Dr. Virgil Caldwell, who is well known for using his doctorate in theology from Vanderbilt University to create an ethnic style of his own, for pulpit delivery. I shall never forget his sermon on Jesus feeding the multitude. Until I heard him preach from this scriptural reference, I never heard that along with the fish and loaves, Jesus also performed a miracle of mustard, hot sauce and cole slaw, and turned the feeding of the multitude into a fish fry! You have got to love the man of God who can reinterpret the scriptures like this and get away with it. So borrowing from him, here’s our sermonic delivery on political parity, “Dr. Caldwell” style.
Down South, there was a woman who had a chicken house and made her living selling eggs. She delivered them in two baskets of twelve each on both arms. One day she became ill and asked a neighbor to make the deliveries. Carefully she explained that there should be twelve eggs in each basket, and each basket was to be carried in both the right and left hand. She reiterated how important this was and that there was to be no variation of this.
Off went the neighbor to make the delivery. But as soon as she got down the road a piece, she put all of the eggs in one basket and tossed the empty basket to the side.
“Since the eggs are going to the same person, and I am supposed to deliver only twelve eggs, why do I need two baskets and twenty-four eggs?” She reasoned.
As she got further down the road, a hound dog was sitting in waiting. They called him Ole Omelet because he was known for raiding the chicken house. Ole Omelet saw her coming, and as she approached the porch where he was lying, he decided since she already had eggs, he didn’t need to chance a raid. So off the porch he leaped, knocking the basket out of her hand, he gobbled down six of the eggs and crushed the other eighteen under foot. Having his fill of eggs, he crawled back on the porch, closed his eyes tightly and thanked God for the egg lady passing his way.
The customer she was to deliver the eggs to, saw her and came to her rescue. Seeing that she didn’t have any eggs for her, she asked, “Where’s the other basket of eggs?”
The neighbor delivering the eggs, standing with a puzzled look on her face asked, “How did you know I was supposed to be carrying another basket of eggs?”
She replied, “In order to make sure I get my twelve, the egg lady always does that. She knows Ole Omelet is gonna chased her down, only eat six eggs and crush the other six under his feet. So she always brings another basket on her right arm with twelve more eggs in it for me. And she never puts all of the eggs in one basket, because we all know, every time he’s gonna crush what’s left under his feet, because he only needs six eggs to make his morning omelet. That’s how he got his name – Ole Omelet!”
It wasn’t until then that the neighbor making the egg delivery understood the wisdom employed to her by the egg lady – “never put all of your eggs in one basket”.
Like most African Americans, we have put all of our eggs into the Democratic Party. So when they have enough of us to get elected or to maintain a political grip on the Black community, they need not worry about the others of us who get crushed under foot.
Truth of the matter is that it is NEVER politically healthy for African Americans to be solely devoted to any one party – Republican or Democratic. We do not all think or believe alike and have to understand that we have the freedom to differ.
Unfortunately, we have placed scarlet letters on some who have maintained allegiance to the Republican Party. But if we are to be true political players, we have yet to learn the political wisdom of not putting all of our eggs in the same basket. But instead, here a little, there a little, some to the left and some to the right.
This way, no matter which party is in power, we are still viable players and are assured of a voice and a place at the table!
We also have to build sufficient political capitol that gives us that leverage, and be able to write our “own” check to finance our “own” efforts! Because as has been our experience, if we are waiting on the Republican Party to lay or gather the eggs, it’s a long wait, and if we are waiting for them to contribute to efforts to have more of “us” in the party, (even from checks we have written to them), well that just ain’t gonna happen!
So what we need as African Americans is two baskets of eggs – one on the left and one on the right, both with a dozen eggs each! That way, we are viable within both major political parties. It also wouldn’t hurt if even we had a third basket in the middle, with a few eggs in it, as Independents! Then Ole Omelet won’t be the only one who can enjoy his share of eggs to make his morning omelet!
The moral to the story?
Political parity! Then neither party will afford to take us for granted.
To reach the NRAAC national chair:
423-702-5622 NRAAC office
[Dr. Jean Howard-Hill is the author of Black Eyes Shut, White Lips Sealed. She has serves as the national chair for the National Black Republican Women with her late husband, Attorney Bobby Lee Hill serving as the head of the Black Republican Men for Change from 1987 to his death in 1991. After his death up until 1993, she remained head of the organization, and in 1999 combined the two groups to form the National Republican African American Caucus.
She has taught full time and as an adjunct, American Government, State and Local Government, and International Politics and Culture of Nonwestern Countries at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, and was voted 2006 Outstanding Professor of the year. Additionally, from 1976 to 1979, she designed and directed the "Democracy In Action" Program, which was a civics program taught in the local school systems. Howard-Hill also is a local political commentator and holds a law degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville College of Law. She also is ordained clergy and heads The Healing Place Ministries International, overseeing 47 ministries throughout Africa.
She also is a TN third district congressional candidate. If elected, she would be the first African American Republican and female to be elected from the third district. Her campaign website can be found at: http://ladyjforcongress.com and http://jeanhowardhillforcongress.com; http://jeanhowardhillcampaignnews.blogspot.com; http://blogwithladyjforcongress.blogspot.com; http://jeanhowardhillforcongress.ning.com; http://www.youtube.com/JHHCongress; http://twitter.com/ JHHCongress.]
The National Republican African-American Caucus is an organization that is comprised of Spirit filled people of faith within the African American community, that works in conjunction with local, state and national party efforts to embrace, and offer African-American Republicans opportunities for inclusion and involvement in the Republican Party, and builds bridges between the African-American community and the Republican Party. In doing so, it seeks to carry out the philosophy and mission set before President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas to build a stronger and more inclusive Republican Party, where those guiding principles are more important than politics.
More information on the NRAACcan be found at:
http://www.nraacaucus.org; http://nraacaucus.ning.com [NRAAC] National Republican African American Caucus Social Issue Network (members only); http://nraac.blogspot.com [NRAAC Blog]; http://youthonthehorizons.blogspot.com [NRAAC Youth on the Horizons Blog]; http://the-twig.blogspot.com [NRAAC New Generation-New Direction Blog]; and
http://theblackolivebranch.blogspot.com [NRAAC National Chair's Blog]. Each State Caucus can be accessed by state. See related links at http://www.nraacaucus.org/index_files/Page816.htm. Also can be found on the RNC group page at http://our.gop.com/Groups/National_Republican_African-American_Caucus_NRAAC.