Last week I wrote about the abusive relationship Democrats have with black voters and the reaction of members of the black elite when people attempt to escape. Several people asked me whether I was making a blanket endorsement of the Republican Party. I certainly was not. Part of the problem in America right now is the degree to which citizens across the political spectrum look to elected officials to solve our problems and fix our lives. Much like relationships, if black voters leave one party for another without asking why we stayed in such a toxic environment for so long, we will end up repeating the same behavior. Here are seven guiding principles to ensure that doesn't happen.
1. Do not worship false idols. You know you have made politics an idol if you think a politician is going to "save" the country, that bureaucrats will supply all of your needs, or that you should love a political party with all your heart, mind, and soul. Voting and political engagement are critically important in a system of self-government, but politics must be put in their proper place. Politicians are not gods. Their powers — from both a legal and practical perspective — are limited. Families, churches, community institutions, and individuals all have responsibilities in a society, but they all shrink when citizens act as if the government is both omniscient and omnipotent.
2. Break the chains. The link between black identity and Democratic Party affiliation must be broken. I'm not saying that black people can't or shouldn't vote for Democrats. I'm saying that the choice to do so shouldn't be seen as what "real black people" do. Nor should the choice to vote Republican be seen as what "sellouts" do. The two parties have different views of human nature, the role of government, and visions for the country. Voting is how people express their values and political interests, and there is no reason to expect 90% of the people in any group to see the broader philosophical issues or more specific policy choices the same way.
3. Know your worldview. Like all voters, black people must know what we believe and why we believe it. A worldview is both an anchor that shows you the areas in which your principles are unmovable and a compass that provides direction as you travel. For many people, the crowd is their only compass, and what is fashionable at the moment is their only anchor. Consider the issue of gender identity. In the span of 20 years, society went from thinking someone like Caitlyn Jenner is a man dressed as a woman, to a man who thinks he is a woman, to a man who is a woman — with all the rights, privileges, and protections the law guarantees. Even though many people don't believe it, without a worldview rooted in something other than what is popular, you will feel powerless to resist it.
4. Quit lying. One hallmark of the left is saying things that you don't actually believe to look like a good and decent person. The only way to test whether you believe something is to apply it to what you hold most dear. Do you publicly agree with Teen Vogue and Cori Bush that "sex work is work," but get lightheaded at the thought of your own daughter performing sex acts with men in cars for money? That's a sign you're lying. Do you claim that men wearing dresses are a perfectly acceptable expression of masculinity, but know that you would call a divorce lawyer if you ever caught your husband in your pencil skirt and halter top? That's a sign you're lying. Many people on the left engage in this behavior, but only black people have racial injustices of the past used to bully us into endorsing whatever new cause is being pushed in the name of freedom and liberation.
5. Grow some thicker skin. Black media personalities and outlets regularly post content with targeted racial critiques, with titles like "Whiteness Is a Pandemic." These same people act as if racism, sexism, and homophobia are the only reasons people criticize artists like Cardi B and Lil Nas X. That is the epitome of fragility. In life you can be the type of person who is insensitive with the words you say and unfazed by what people say in return. You can also be gentle with your words and sensitive to how people talk to you. What you can't be is insensitive with your words while demanding other people be sensitive with theirs. Thick skin also makes you impervious to emotional manipulation from the people who will call you a "coon," "sellout," or "Uncle Tom" because they don't actually have anything of substance to say.
6. Do it for the kids. So much of how the Democratic Party communicates with black voters is about the past. Often, it is used to scare black voters about terrors that await us if we don't get out and vote. To the left, Selma will always be the city in black and white video footage that was the site of "Bloody Sunday." Focusing on the past means they don't ever have to acknowledge the fact that Selma's poverty rate is close to 40%, making it one of the poorest cities in Alabama today. That is why it is a mistake to prioritize rhetoric about the society your ancestors endured over policy that will impact the society your descendants will inherit
7. Don't be an Alien American. Resist all attempts to alienate you from your country. That means we should be on guard against leftist politicians and activists who are quick to talk about tearing down this country's history, symbols, and values in pursuit of utopia. Families, organizations, and teams are always more vulnerable to fracturing from within than threats from an external enemy. That is why we should be leery of opportunistic politicians and activists who believe July Fourth and the "Star Spangled Banner" are celebrations of white supremacy and use genuinely good things like the Juneteenth holiday and "Lift Every Voice and Sing" (aka the black national anthem) in a way that undermines national unity.
These principles are not an exhaustive list of policy issues, nor are they an endorsement of specific candidates. They are simply a guide on how to have a healthier relationship with our political process.The truth of the matter is that in today's America, the only people whose economic prospects are guaranteed though our votes are the people we elect to office. They make six-figure salaries, sign book deals, get inside stock tips, hobnob with Hollywood actors, and make shallow political statements at public events. Worse yet, they often vote in direct opposition to our stated interests because on issues like school choice, their actual constituents are teachers' unions. There is no reason we owe them loyalty when all they give us is lip service.