Presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s pilgrimage to the microcosm of the Black community that is the world renown organization known as the NAACP could be described as the booing shot that was heard all around the world, as Romney was formerly introduced to the blatant distrust that many Black voters feel for the Republican Party.
As Mitt Romney stood in front of a crowd of predominately Black, NAACP members and supporters, he tried to outline his plan for the country, and for the most part he did okay. When Romney talked about high levels of debt and how that debt hampers the ability to generate jobs, the audience did applauded him for it. And when he passionately made his case about how spending over a trillion dollars more than the country takes in, the audience continued to clap decently for Romney. And Romney’s best line was probably when he said: “If you want a president who will make things better in the African-American community, you are looking at him. You take a look!”
Not everything was bad for Romney, but when he decided to go after Obamacare, the chorus of boos was hot and heavy—causing conservatives like Rush Limbaugh to assert the race card. Yes, Limbaugh played the race card this time. Now we’ll call him the race hustler, as he hypothesizes that Romney was booed simply because he’s White, despite the number of claps that he received as was previously mentioned.
So here is where the problem comes in. Taking a page out of Limbaugh’s bigoted book, a local conservative asked me today why I don’t have the courage to even consider voting for Romney—seeing as how the racist Blacks at the NAACP convention will never vote against the Black president regardless of anything that Romney could offer them.
Well speaking as an African-American voter, if I believed that Romney would do half of the things that he told the NAACP, I would vote for him—Black president or no Black president. But, my faith in Romney’s political fortitude is diminutive at best, and there are many other African-Americans who obviously feel the same way.
Understand this—the impoverished problems of the Black community, specifically the historically high, double the national average, unemployment rate, are just that—institutionally problematic and these problems certainly did not start with Obamacare and they will not end with the repeal of Obamacare! For Romney to name Obamacare as the one symbol of Black disenfranchisement and job killing waste that he would cut, it only goes to reaffirm any distrust that African-Americans already had about him.
What was Romney trying to say? Does he believe that African-Americans are too stupid to know that they have been the unfortunate, decided victims of this historically high unemployment? Does he believe that African-Americans believe that it is Obamacare that has been holding them back for all of these years? How can the repeal of a neophyte program be put forth as the first or main solution-based endeavor in seriously addressing something as historically dysfunctional as the issue of Black unemployment? If Mitt Romney expects anyone to buy that blind pony, then he should expect to be booed!
And as Romney was quick to point out during his speech that President Obama has failed to successfully address the unemployment issues of the Black community, the real question should be why? Why has the Black community continued to have an unemployment level that is double the national average—an issue that pre-dates President Obama, Obamacare, this most recent recession, and the Great Depression?
It’s the same answer to the question of why Trayvon Martin was profiled, murdered, and then dragged through the posthumous mud as his reputation was then profiled and murdered. It’s the same reason why civil rights activists had to put their lives on the line so people like me can now walk in the front door of a public venue. It’s the same reason why people accuse me of hiring a ‘White ghostwriter’ to make myself appear competent, and it’s the same reason why President Obama’s ability to win the White House and his right to try has shaken this country to its core.
The answer to this question is the historical preservation of the White male-dominated society, which has everything to do with the historically high, Black unemployment, which has everything to do with why African-Americans like me will continue to have serious doubts about Mitt Romney and racial conservatism as a whole.
You cannot successfully serve two masters. One of them will get slighted, and historically it’s been us—African-Americans! Regardless of what Romney likes to say, he cannot, and he will not help build up the Black community at the expense of failing to preserve the White male-dominated society that he and his family have absolutely benefitted from. This is what conservatives mean when they pine about the good old days.
And, the likelihood that minorities in general are sold on the notion that Romney or the Republican Party is going to stand up to the predominately White Tea Party, the predominately White, GOP base, the predominately White, top 1%, or the predominately White Mormon Church is about as slim as the likelihood that repealing Obamacare will provide the economic remedy that America has been looking for, because if the conservatives are as serious about the debt and the spending as they pretend to be, they would have voted for Ron Paul instead of Romney.
In the end, Romney was booed because his Obamacare reference just sounded too politically disingenuous to be a legitimate response to such a major concern, and the NAACP crowd was simply telling Romney: stop wasting our time with your rhetorical, talking points that are geared specifically at your base. You’re here with us, so talk to us! Otherwise, thanks for coming Mr. Romney, but don’t let the doorknob hit you on your way out!
And for the record, President Obama should change his political plans and show up at the NAACP convention, because Romney has left the door wide open for him. Obama should make a surprise appearance and address the charges that Romney made directly. It would be the political adrenaline that his campaign needs. He should get up off of his soapbox, and do it, but he probably won’t, because no one blows an opportunity like the Democrats.