As some of you are already aware, I was interviewed by Valerie Bauman from Associated Press for an article on black conservatives and the Tea Party. The article can be found here.
In order to provide more opinions, AP obviously did not use all of my answers. So I would like to use this post to flesh out my opinion.
I guess I should start by stating why I participate in the Tea Parties. I attended my first Tea Party last year on April 15 in New York City. I went because I felt spending in Washington had gone from bad to insane. I remember toward the end of the Bush administration, I called, faxed and email my representatives to tell them not to vote for TARP. Yet it passed anyway. When Obama came into office, the big bailouts and wild spending only seemed to have accelerated. Again, I called my representatives and found nothing but a deaf ear.
Faced with even more spending and Congress members who ignore their constituents, I felt something more than just phone calls, faxes and emails were needed. The Tea Party tax day protests seemed like the next logical step. So, I went to a Tea Party.
Being black and opposing the first black president’s policies was obviously not a popular thing to do in the black community. However, as I stated in the article, I did not believe in throwing away my beliefs just to be popular.
"You have to be honest and true to yourself. What am I supposed to do, vote Democratic just to be popular? Just to fit in?" asked Clifton Bazar, a 45-year-old New Jersey freelance photographer and conservative blogger.
My belief is that the current policy of "spending our way out of debt" is a disaster in the making. As a nation we are well beyond the point where we can reasonably pay off our debt. Should I completely ignore the obvious hardship we are buying ourselves so that I can maintain racial solidarity with Obama or should I stand up for what I truly believe to be right?
The issue of racial solidarity is becoming a major issue for black conservative Tea Party goers, because of the media’s hyper focus on racism in the Tea Party. The media has focused its attention on the tiny number of crackpots at the Tea parties and have tried to portray them as an example of the whole tea party movement. As a result many in the black community believe that the Tea Parties sole purpose for opposing Obama is because he is black. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I have attended three Tea Parties thus far and will attend my fourth on April 15. What I have observed first hand is that the vast majority of people at the Tea Parties are basically everyday folk who are concerned about a disconnected Congress and a president whose policies are a recipe for disaster. Many of them, like myself, have never ever been politically active before. These people are basically your neighbors, coworkers, friends or family. There really isn’t anything special about them.
Now I need to make something perfectly clear, because I am sure some lefty will take me out of context, I am not saying that there are absolutely no racists or kooks at the tea parties. Every political protest has its nuts. Just look at this recent leftwing anti war rally in California. Are we to believe just because there were anti Semites and 9/11 Truthers there, that everyone at the anti war rally is a Jew hating conspiracy theorist? Of course not, and the same goes for Tea Parties.
Finally there is an aspect of the Tea Parties I wish the black community would explore. It is the concept of coming together around our issues rather than around political parties. Currently, the black community has no true political voice because we have been placed in a Catch 22. On one hand we are told not to vote for Republicans because they are all racists, on the other hand the Democrats repeatedly fail to solve any of our issues.
It be far better to unite on our issues and only support those individual candidates that have a proven record of solving our problems, regardless of which party they may come from. Think about it black America, isn’t it time we effected our own change?