This article is adapted from a speech given Aug. 28 by Congress of Racial Equality spokesman Niger Innis at the Convention of the Republican Party of Florida.
“These are the times that try men’s souls.” Those words were written nearly 230 years ago by Thomas Paine in “The Crisis” and used to inspire and pick up a nation struggling to be born in liberty.
Those words could be uttered today on a number of fronts: Our feeble economic recovery that is not lifting all boats; the super regulatory state, taxes and regulations that stifle economic mobility for those in the middle class and small businesses; the slow march of our country away from our traditions and onto the path of being yet another radically secular, big social welfare western European styled state; a foreign policy that punishes our friends and encourages our enemies.
What I speak of today as the crisis is our crisis of race relations and our Republican Party’s opportunity to help our party and save our country.
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We are a nation in crisis.
But what I speak of today as the crisis is our crisis of race relations and our Republican Party’s opportunity to help our party and save our country.
Fifty-two years ago, Martin Luther King uttered his brilliant “I Have a Dream” speech and his theme, “Be judged not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” It is now among the pantheon of America’s greatest speeches.
Fifty-two years later, it is the best of times racially in reality, as our country has more opportunity available for those who have the will and the ability to grasp it than we ever have had in our history. The reality is that we have a country that has elected and re-elected a president, in part to demonstrate how much we have turned away from our past discriminations.
Yet, you have a major political party, aided by the establishment media and academia, that preaches to blacks, minorities and women that we are a terribly racist, sexist, homophobic, hateful nation full of paranoid, angry white people. This is an illusion. But illusion, when promoted in isolation without a compelling counter-narrative, can in fact become reality in the minds of too many. We saw this last month in the vicious cold-blooded double murder of two white journalists by a black gay man trapped in victimization, and the cold-blooded assassination of a white police officer in Texas, by another black man.
Our political imperative of broadening our base of supporters, competing for every vote, in every city, ghetto and barrio is a moral imperative as well.
That is why our political imperative of broadening our base of supporters, competing for every vote, in every city, ghetto and barrio is a moral imperative as well.
And what does that mean? Does it mean that you meet privately with the Black Lives Matter campaign as the establishment’s favorite presidential candidate did; and elevate them by doing so? Is it meeting with Al Sharpton in the U.S. Senate dining room for all to see, as another Republican presidential candidate and Libertarian favorite did? Or go on a pro-charter school campaign with that very same Al Sharpton and end the campaign at Barak Obama’s White House paying tribute to the biggest opponent of school choice?
No, ladies and gentlemen, that is NOT what you do. Yet all these items I mentioned were done by two Republican presidential candidates of 2016 and one of 2012. That is pandering to the worst elements of the minority community. We need not pander to the Sharptons and the Black Lives Matter anarchists. We need to build a common bond with the silent black majority.
According to a recent Gallup Poll, a combined 89 percent of black Americans are either content with the number of police in their community or WANT MORE. Only 10 percent believe there is too much of a police presence in their community. That number is dwarfed by the nearly four times as many (38 percent) who want more cops in their community.
The Black Lives Matter campaign is a fraud. It is part of a radical Occupy Wall Street-like network of anarchists. If the Black Lives Matter movement were serious it would confront simple math. It is estimated that 200 to 300 blacks are killed by police every year. If that police-kill number were doubled it would pale in comparison to the several thousands of blacks killed by other blacks every year. An inflated 600 number would look statistically irrelevant in comparison to the number of black lives (or to be politically correct: “potential” black lives) taken in the womb: More than 120,000 per year. Do all black lives really matter?
I am convening a coalition of the nation’s most influential black Republicans and conservatives to discuss holding the first black Republican convention in history.
The “hands up don’t shoot” movement was inspired by a lie, as proven by Barack Obama and Eric Holder’s Justice Department. Appealing to groups like these is not the way to build a black Republican constituency.
Instead, you focus on military families, the growing Caribbean community, church going and believing black Americans. You focus on small businessmen and women who are being crushed by the regulatory state.
This month, I am convening a coalition of the nation’s most influential black Republicans and conservatives to discuss holding the first black Republican convention in history.
We need to remind our countrymen that the Republican Party was founded, like our nation, in liberty. It was founded to expand liberty to its black American brethren.
The 13th, 14th and 15th amendments (called the Civil War Amendments) were established specifically by Republicans to prevent Democrats from undermining the hard–won new citizenship of black Americans after hundreds of thousands gave their lives, not for foreigners that purposely break our laws.
It is time for us Republicans to tell African-Americans and all Americans to come home. Come home to the party that was founded in your ancestors’ liberty.
That is why Republican Parties throughout the old confederacy would be founded by a coalition of white and many black Republicans. Why the first blacks elected to local, state and national political office, including Congress and the Senate, would all be Republicans. It is time for us Republicans to tell African-Americans and all Americans to come home. Come home to the party that was founded in your ancestors liberty.
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And it is us Republicans today that are the heirs of black and white Republicans from more than a century ago who were the liberators of a people and a nation.
And our cause, as Republicans, has not changed. We are still fighting for liberty. We are still fighting to liberate inner-city ghetto and barrio dwellers from the serfdom of big government, the artificial misery of eternally seeing oneself as a victim. Freeing our fellow Americans from a life of government dependency. That was our charge then; it is our charge now.
I will end my remarks today by referring to again to Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech:
“We, Negro Americans, sing with all loyal Americans:
‘My country ’tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty,
Of thee I sing.
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the Pilgrims’ pride,
From every mountainside,
Let freedom ring!'”
That’s exactly what we mean — from every mountain side, let freedom ring.
Only there is one problem. Because those words were not spoken first by MLK 52 years ago, but by the Rev. Rev. Archibald Carey Jr., 11 years before King, when this black Republican addressed the Republican Convention of 1952. Rev. Carey ended his speech this way:
“Not only from the Green Mountains and White Mountains of Vermont and New Hampshire; not only from the Catskills of New York; but from the Ozarks in Arkansas, from the Stone Mountain in Georgia, from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia — let it ring not only for the minorities of the United States, but for the persecuted of Europe, for the rejected of Asia, disfranchised of South Africa and for the disinherited of all the earth — may the Republican Party, under God, from every mountainside, “LET FREEDOM RING.”