Memo to the New Black Republicans in Congress
There's a lot to celebrate in the election of Reps. Allen West and Tim Scott. Even though they represent predominantly white constituencies, they have an opportunity to play historic roles on behalf of black America.
Even if the CBC remains unabashedly liberal, you should work actively to change it for the benefit of black America. You have already shaken up the political world with your victories; shaking up a small group of comfortable politicians -- many who have overstayed their welcome in Washington through gerrymandered districts -- should be easier in comparison. Either way, we need political balance and intellectual competition throughout America, and as long as the Democratic political monopoly within black America exists without challenge, America will continue to lag along socially. You made history on election night, but you cannot truly be historic in this endeavor without changing the dynamic that strangles us.
I am sure that you probably think you don't have much in common with the current Caucus members or even with President Obama. One thing that we do have in common, though, is our disgust with the death and destruction that black people commonly experience today in America.
Lead the effort to come together during Black History Month to create a public service announcement featuring the two of you, Rep. Maxine Waters, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and President Obama pleading for a change in our communities for a better America. You won on the strength of the Tea Party and its mantra of smaller government. However, you will never be successful in the mission that got you to Washington if the big problems facing people in urban America are not addressed -- issues that disproportionately affect black folks and, perhaps, drive the need for big government. This PSA would be historic and could be a symbolic step in the right direction.
There are other things that you can affect as a conscientious black Republican. You can improve the outlook, possibilities and realities for black America -- not only for your constituents at home but collectively. You can serve your congressional constituents with honor while also remembering that someone will stand on your shoulders in a unique way because of election night 2010.
We need advocates on both sides of the aisle in order to solve the crises we face today in America. Furthermore, I believe that your conservative perspectives can be refreshing for black America after the dominant liberalism of the past several decades. Welcome to the battle.
Many new school Black Republicans are rooting for you and many African-Americans are watching you – whether they say it or not - as they look to see if this is truly a new reality in American politics or just a sentiment that is only skin deep.
Lenny McAllister is a syndicated political commentator and the host of the morning radio show Launching Chicago With Lenny McAllister on WVON, The Talk of Chicago 1690 AM. He is the author of an upcoming edition of the book The Obama Era, Part I (2008-2010): Diary of a Mad Black PYC (Proud Young Conservative), due out in the fall. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.