It never fails. Every time I appear on the Fox News Network or as a guest on Sean Hannity’s show, I can count on receiving a good deal of angry e-mails from black folk. The e-mails are never directed at what I say. They are furious rants directed at me for going on the so-called “racist network” or for daring to sit in the same studio with that “racist, Obama hating” Sean Hannity.
Never mind that my commentary on the issues may have been on point; never mind that
I am a moderate Republican who has never been dubbed conservative; never mind that I have a lifetime of solid roots in serving my community; and never mind that I supported Obama’s campaign, voted for him and worked on his legal response team on Election Day in Virginia.
No matter what I do or say, when I “represent” on FOX, black folk cannot seem to get past their bias to take in the substance of our discussion.
Here’s the problem with that, folks.
First, it was the late, great Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm who told me once (when I was 23 and I asked her was it OK for me to be a Republican), “You change an organization from the inside out, not from the outside in Sophia.” The problem with black people’s allegiance to liberal ideology, liberal media and Democratic Party politics is that is forces us into a scary kind of “group think” that blinds us to other viable policies, options and points of view that may be of some benefit to us as a whole.
Especially in these tough times, listening closely to a range of viewpoints is essential. Even if the views make our blood boil. No other ethnic group in America is as predictable as black folk when it comes to our politics. And it has rarely served us well in the long run.
President Obama, contrary to popular opinion, is not the Messiah, and he alone will not be able to lead this nation out of its current crisis without a broad coalition of support from conservatives, independents, blacks, whites, women, Republicans and Democrats. He gets it. Why can’t we?
For the record, Sean Hannity is a pretty good guy. He loves his country, just as all of us do. He is passionate about his conservative ideology. But so what?! Bill Maher is equally offensive to tens of millions of Americans in the heartland with his very passionate liberal ideology and points of view. This is America—we are allowed to disagree.
My point is this: Hating on Sean Hannity will not advance the cause of policies that are important to this nation. President Obama seems to understand this. According to press reports, the new president and Mr. Hannity are planning to meet for a beer soon.
If the president can have a beer with a conservative, certainly I should be able to appear on Fox News without being called everything but a child of God.
Sophia A. Nelson is a regular contributor to The Root.