|Democratic and Republican Political Hustlers|
(TriceEdneyWire.com) - Back in 1980, after Ronald Reagan’s election as President of The United States, a cynical colleague told me that I should join her in becoming a member of the Republican Party.
“That’s where the money is going to be,” she explained, “I know it will be crumbs distributed to Black Republican but they will go further because there are so few Black Republicans. There are just too many Black Democrats so the crumbs distributed by that party have to be spread too thinly.” Within a year after making the switch, my colleague had a six-figure position as a thank you gift from her new Republican pals.
That scenario came to mind when reading about the defection of former Democratic Alabama Congressman Artur Davis to the Republican Party. This is a man who helped put then Sen. Obama’s name in nomination for the presidency in 2008. Now, according to the Washington Post, he is considering running for elective office in Virginia as a Republican. Davis, who was the only member of the Congressional Black Caucus who voted against the Democratic health-care bill, reportedly “decried what he described as the Democratic embrace of identity politics….”
Actually, what Davis is doing is exactly what other ambitious, self-centered, hustling African-Americans did in the 1960s and 1970s. Only they joined the Democratic Party since during those years that was the quickest way to hustle up some money. Today, the biggest hustle in town is to call oneself a Black Republican or even more lucrative, a Black Conservative.
For Malcolmites and others who strongly believe in the necessity for our people to organize an independent political, economic and cultural movement in this country, Artur Davis and his cohorts in the Republicans and Democratic parties are, to paraphrase a colorful statement made by Herman Cain about one of his White supporters, Brothers (and sisters) from another mother. They are one of the biggest distractions to the serious mission of empowering our people so we can effectively promote our individual and group interests in a society where such interests are, more often than not, ignored or marginalized or dismissed by the two major political parties.
We should all pay close attention to a slogan of Black postal workers which declares “United We Stand. Divided We Beg.”
Journalist/Lecturer A. Peter Bailey, a former associate editor of Ebony, is currently editor of Vital Issues: The Journal of African American Speeches. He can be reached at 202-716-4560.