Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 13 & 14: The National Republican African American Caucus Has It’s

May 11, 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 13 and 14: How money controls the leadership and political outcomes within the party to the political detriment of African Americans within the GOP; and the disparities within the GOP, when it comes to support and financial backing of African American candidates with equal and even superior qualifications to those of white candidates with lesser qualifications and GOP service.

Recently I received the rather unusually gutsy, "Unbought - Unbossed" Award from Girls Inc. Of the many awards I have received, this was right there at the top of the list!

Since the age of 21, I have prided myself on being "neither bought, borrowed, nor sold". This has become not just my motto, but it is how I live my life. I learned the value of not allowing myself to be bought, borrowed or sold especially within ministry and politics.

In ministry, this is important because if you are truly an instrument through which you can be used for divine purposes, you cannot be controlled through human constraints. It makes it really hard to take a stand and do what is right, if you have allegiance to that which is contrary to the call or mandate that is upon your life. It is sort of like the pastor who said that if he preached against adultery, he would lose his entire deacon board! Therefore, because they also were his biggest givers, he avoided any message on the sin of adultery, like it was the plague.

In politics, it is the same way. If you are given monetary support from those who use it to control you, then when it comes time for you to take a stand for what is right, you cannot! No matter how much wrong you see, and how much you wish to change the wrong, you can't. You are muzzled and relegated to a position of non-effectiveness. This is why being anything other than "neither bought, borrowed nor sold", was never an option for me, whether it was ministry or politics.

Going on 32 years now as an African American Republican, I have seen the detrimental effect of being "money controlled". I have seen blacks sell their souls to the devil to get just a few crumbs from the Republican table. Make no mistake about it, what you get are mere crumbs. Yet we have not been wise enough to figure it out; that political power does not come from selling out to what we truly believe and know is right, but it comes from having the numbers and the monetary means to create our own base of political power.

There are two things that matter in GOP politics: Having the numbers to impact the outcome of an election, and being able to write the check! Other than that, nothing else works in procuring political power.

This is true, yet we insist upon isolation and being the only fly in the bowl of buttermilk or in starting our own little pockets of political power, often competing with each other for attention and power. Oh how the leadership of the GOP laughs at us! They know that it seldom amounts to anything, because there is one thing black folks are known for - the crab mentality! You can count on it! We organize our little whatevers, and fail to work together or fail to work with anyone other than those within our own little cliques, and when one seems to be getting ahead or receiving more GOP or media attention, we reach up to pull them back down with the rest.

I have extended olive branches to many African American GOP groups and leaders to become a part of the National Republican African American Caucus, and even have extended our willingness to get behind their efforts. We need not merge and become one organization or all see eye-to-eye on every issue, nor do we have to employ the same method for change. But we do need to be allies and to share the power and strength of membership. Nevertheless, very few have obliged. Fortunately for the NRAAC, we have sought the membership of those who were not previously Republicans or previously involved in politics. Otherwise, if we depended upon our fellow "A-AR ers", we would be void of significant membership and voting power.

Secondly, we truly don't understand what it means to be self-supporting. It troubles me when I see organizations with the "contribute to us" attitude. Granted there are some efforts that have legitimate reasons to ask for support. However, there comes a time when we need to self-support our own efforts! Write the check! Then you don't have to compromise the message.

It is sad to see African American GOP organizations bowing down, compromising truth or bending under pressure, because of those who are behind the contributions they receive.

There is one thing for sure. You cannot effectively call white Republicans out or take them to task for things that are wrong within the Republican Party if you are taking their money! Now how hard is that to understand? You cannot raise hell or cast out political demons, if the devil or his demons are your financial backers! There is no one in their right mind who is going to give you money to fight them and to call them racist or wrong, if this is indeed the case! It just does not work this way. Nevertheless, the GOP has its share of "colored" Republicans who are on the "take".

This also makes them disassociate themselves with those who are not on the take, and are able to freely speak out on less than popular issues. However, when those who are not on the take prevail, then EVERY COLORED REPUBLICAN in the GOP will rush to come abroad. I call this the "coward syndrome". They distance themselves during the thickets of the battle, but as soon as there is a breakthrough, they rush out of hiding where they have enjoyed Republican goodies, while others have taken the hits and have paid the dues.

There are those good white Republicans who give and desire nothing in return, other than to do the right thing. However, this is not the norm. Instead there are those who use money as a stabilizer, controlled substance and as a pacifier. It stabilizes the few of us in the party, to keep us from becoming outspoken. It controls those who are on the take, to keep us in line and to keep us quiet. It pacifies us so that we do not ask or want more than what is being carefully incremented to us.

Money also is used to prevent us from aspiring to elected office. You see this more in an election where blacks are running in Republican primaries against other white opponents. The white opponents can ALWAYS find white Republicans to donate to their campaigns, even if they are first-time candidates with no Republican service history. They need only to say they are Republicans. However if you are black, you have to prove your Republican ties and pass the litmus test or get beyond the third tier requirement.

Also, if you are black, regardless of your qualifications, which often are superior or at the least equal, giving to us is seen as a risk. What's the risk? It is a preconceived notion that whites are not going to vote for even a qualified black candidate. This of itself is a form of racism. But it is often a fact.

Even where there are no white Republican opponents, most black GOP candidates find it extremely hard to raise enough to get their message out! Again, there is a different standard for determining if financial support should be given.

All of this goes back to the original theme of "us" being able to write the check!

If money controls the outcome of elections and even our ability to be a force to be reckoned with in the Republican Party, then we had better wise up and understand that in order to have true political freedom, we have to be "neither bought, borrowed or sold". This means instead of coming looking for something, come with something in your hand - in both hands!

Just like the preacher who refused to preach about adultery because of his deacons who all were committing adultery, we need to think twice about who is going to support our efforts to expose their secret sins, if they are the same ones who are financing us?

Also, just like there are no free lunches, there is nothing "free" about having political freedom. There is a price that is attached to being and staying free, and until we as a race realize that, and stop begging and depending upon handouts from the same GOP we say is oppressing us, we will always be bound by those who write "us" the check and give "us" the GOP goodies.

Simple solution? Write your "own" check. Even if it is only for a dollar or two, at least you can say, I gave what I could and what I had to remain untangled by the financial strongholds of party politics! Then you can enjoy the freedom of speaking out when it is necessary and when things are wrong.

...And to my fellow GOP African American clergy brothers and sisters, we ought to be the first to lead the way! If not, then we need to change places, and try following the lead of others who know the power of the unity of the masses and the power of giving out of their own pocket, to support our own cause!

"Ouch!" But Amen.

To reach the NRAAC national chair:

Jean Howard-Hill

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.

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