As shameful as it is, though, we conservatives and Republicans need to face the fact that we have allowed a situation to fester in which these lies are believed many people. We’ve chosen not to fight the use of this tactic in the past out of fear that the mere rebuttal would repeat the lie and reinforce it. Instead, we’ve too often avoided the subject by avoiding the target audience, which has reinforced the audience’s belief that we don’t care about them and that the allegations must be true.
For much of the last two years, I along with others like my friend, Apostle Claver, have been encouraging my fellow conservatives and Republicans to go into neighborhoods we have long ignored and show our neighbors that we share their values and concerns, and that we care about them. Through this effort we need to communicate to these neighbors that our principles, if used, will improve their lives and communities. Consistent with this approach, I am proud of the new programs:
- that our Republican Juvenile Court judges and our Republican District Attorney are implementing in an effort to save young people in these communities from a life of prison, under-education, and under-employment that destroys families and neighborhoods; and
- that the HCRP has initiated by opening a permanent office on the Eastside of Harris County, and by helping in community activities, like the restoration of the historically African-American Olivewood Cemetery, which is the last resting place for many former slaves and their descendents.
I also am proud of the work being done by candidates like John Faulk and Fernando Herrera, and activists like Terrence Boggs, Natalie Arceneaux, Lisa Sowles, and Elizabeth Perez, and many others, who are working to increase our presence in African-American and Latino communities. In the long run, this type of effort is the only effective rebuttal that will stop the lies spewing from the “progressive” organizations from having their intended effect.
In this spirit I encourage our GOP candidates, elected officials and activists to attend and participate in a townhall meeting this Thursday night, October 14, at 6 p.m., on the topic, “The State of the Black Houston Now”, which is being sponsored by the Texas Southern University School of Law, the Mickey Leland Center, and the Houston chapters of the NAACP and the Urban League. The townhall meeting will be held at the Barbara Jordan-Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs at TSU. Our neighbors who will be in this audience need to see us, and hear our shared concerns, as well as our different approach to address those concerns—and they need to see that we no longer will be intimidated by the slanders of the progressive elites in the media and Democratic party operatives from working with them to improve their neighborhoods.
I know that some of you will dismiss this proposal by saying that this is really just a meeting of Democrats to discuss Democratic issues, or to organize Democratic voters on the eve of the election, so we have no reason to attend. But isn’t that the point? We have conditioned ourselves because of these slanders to believe that everyone who lives in predominantly African-American or Latino communities are Democrats and the issues that concern them are Democratic issues, so we cede their mobilization and their votes to the Democrats. We have it in our power to break this cycle, if only we will muster the courage to do so. We won’t win their hearts and minds overnight—but we need to start sometime, somewhere. Why not Thursday night? At the very least, isn’t possible that our presence will inhibit the Democratic activists in the crowd from using the occasion as an overt mobilization for the election, and actually force the event organizers to use the forum to discuss the issues facing these neighbors?
I could go to this meeting, but my attendance—or Claver’s or Natalie’s, or the other usual voices in our party on this issue—won’t make near the difference that attendance by our candidates and elected officials will make. So, to our party leaders, please consider attending this event and show these neighbors that the email that circulated was not only wrong, but that we refuse to be intimidated by such slander from engaging with all our neighbors to find solutions to our common problems based on our shared, universal principles.