The national spotlight is quickly focusing on what has customarily been an ignored ... and often "unappreciated" constituent base: Black Republicans. With Senator Barack Obama's foot literally on the doorstep of the White House, some Black Republicans find themselves betwixt and between in this election cycle.
In a nutshell, here is the complexity of the situation: How do Black Republicans reconcile supporting the liberal Obama/Democratic platforms that basically go against every long standing, deep-rooted, typical "Black Church", social value of Black conservatism, i.e.: don't kill your babies just because you become pregnant; general opposition to gay marriages (remember what the preacher said, "God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve"); and an overall toughness on crime: (if you do the crime you do the time... and even your mama will turn you in!)
Long term GOP talk radio host, Armstrong Williams, articulated the present Black Republican conundrum in regards to Obama in this manner, “I don’t necessarily like his policies; I don’t like much that he advocates, but for the first time in my life, history thrusts me to really seriously think about it,” Williams explains. He adds: “I can honestly say I have no idea who I’m going to pull that [lever] for in November. And to me, that’s incredible.” (digitaljournal.com)
The angst so many Black Republicans now face is: 1) not wanting to be on the wrong side of history by not casting their vote for someone who looks like them and whose very cultural roots are entwined... and, 2) not wanting to be viewed––––any worse than already labeled by Black Democrats–– as "Uncle Toms".
Colin Powell, former Secretary of State, and one of the highest ranking Black Republicans in the world, issued a 'tease' over the weekend, stating that he had not ruled out voting for Senator Obama in November. Powell, who served in both President Bush 41 and 43's administrations quickly clarified that IF he votes for the Black senator from Illinois, it would not be simply because both are Black. "I will vote for the individual I think that brings the best set of tools to the problems of 21st century America and the 21st century world, regardless of party," Colin Powell said.
Well, that is a noble statement by Secretary Powell... but most Black Republicans–– while torn between what Obama's liberal positions will do "to" and/or "for" this country–– still face the question of whether to support this brother-- primarily because he is Black. PERIOD.
The flip side of this complex issue for Black Republicans... and which may make the decision easier, as they toy with the possibility of voting for Obama... is that many feel this Republican administration has not, and did not, share the financial spoils, such as major contracts, subcontracts, and grants to African Americans (Democrat or Republican) in an equitable manner. Consequently, would they fare better by putting their "hope"/vote with Obama? Indeed, President Bush appointed some key cabinet posts to "individual" African Americans. But overall, Black Republicans, who worked hard and voted in big numbers in 2000 and 2004 to deliver the highest African American voting percentage ever to a Republican candidate, admit being chafed over the past seven years, as their support, by and large, went ignored.
So, with that in mind, maybe... just maybe, as Black conservatives ponder who to give their votes to over the next few months, a Black Obama maybe an option that remains on the table. The GOP may need to be worried....