This week the District of Columbia celebrated Emancipation Day. Not only should April 16 be special to every African-American in this country, it should be special to every Republican. Why? Let us not forget, it was President Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, who signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, which ended slavery in the Washington, D.C. for more than 3,000 of our ancestors. Black people and those who belong to the Republican Party should be celebrating and rejoicing together every April 16. It was a great victory, a celebration and a unique connection.
After hundreds of years of a shameful legal system that brought about the most vile and degrading treatment that one human can put upon another, Republican Abraham Lincoln worked with colleagues and fellow Republicans like Frederick Douglass to find a way to end slavery. Douglass was so pleased, supportive and connected to the GOP that he was reported to have said: "I am a Republican, a black, dyed in the wool Republican, and I never intend to belong to any other party than the party of freedom and progress."
But if we are allowed to jump from Republican President Abraham Lincoln in 1862 to presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012, the victory, the celebration and the unique connection between Republicans and black people, and seemingly, all people of color have ended. One need only watch the evening news on any given day and one would be hard-pressed to find black people or people of color with Romney or, as one reporter put it, "Romney's orbit." Go online or pick up a newspaper and the similar images bereft of "color" come across loud and clear. It is almost as if the Romney and the GOP are saying: Black people have no place in our world.
We could be wrong—Herman Cain would probably think so —but our eyes and our gut instincts beg the question: Where are black people when it comes to Mitt Romney and the Republican Party? Where is the unique connection we once had?