In one of my recent columns, I talked about the value of being unreasonable.
The premise of that column was based on a quote from British playwright George Bernard Shaw: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable man adapts the world to himself; therefore, all progress is dependent upon the unreasonable man.”
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of organizing a small roundtable with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.). She is the chair of the House Republican Conference, which makes her the fourth-ranking member in House leadership.
We invited about 25 very successful Black, Asian, and Hispanic business owners to have a private conversation with her about the soon-to-be written tax bill that President Trump wants to sign before the end of the year.
During this meeting, we highlighted three individual entrepreneurs: Kenya Pierce, co-president and COO of Voulez Beaute, Gerald B. Boyd Jr., the CEO of DB Consulting Group, Inc., and Robert L. Wallace, president and CEO of Bithenergy, Inc.
Each of these business owners gave a very compelling about their respective journeys into entrepreneurship and made the case for tax reform.
In the spirit of Shaw’s quote above, Rep. McMorris Rodgers was unreasonable enough to see value in creating a dialogue with the minority business community to get their input into a tax bill that had yet to be written.
The NNPA Newswire was one of the few Black-owned media outlets to cover this historic event. The NNPA Newswire operates BlackPressUSA.com, the public news website of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), which consists of over 200 Black-owned media companies operating in the United States. The NNPA Newswire also syndicates my weekly newspaper column.
What I find amazing is that many Black journalists, especially the ones that work for Black media outlets, constantly complain about how the mainstream media only covers negative aspects of the Black community, yet, they are doing the same thing by ignoring positive stories, especially when they come from Blacks in the Republican Party.
To my Black, liberal Democratic journalist friends who refused to cover this event because it didn’t fit into their partisan, political narratives: you are a bunch of hypocrites. Your job as a journalist is to report the news, even when it goes against your liberal biases. Quasi-journalists like Roland Martin (News One Now), Joy Reid (MSNBC), Don Lemon (CNN), Jason Johnson (The Root), Amy Barnett (The Grio) and Amber Payne (NBCBLK) do more damage to our community than anyone with a white sheet over their head could ever do.
Their hypocritical biases notwithstanding, we received a tremendous amount of press from our event.
Leading up to our event, we received so much buzz that the White House reached out to me and asked if they could participate in the event. They sent Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, and Jovita Carranza, the Treasurer of the United States, to represent President Donald J. Trump. I challenge anyone to recall a similar event that President Barack Obama supported on Capitol Hill which prominently featured minority business owners, especially Black entrepreneurs.
This is the first time in my memory that small and minority business-owners have been seen as so valuable that they have been invited to give input into a yet-to-be written tax bill. This is not only historic, but also a transformative, tectonic shift in the political landscape.
The mere fact that Congressman McMorris Rodgers and President Trump invited us to participate in the shaping of this proposed legislation makes them two of the most unreasonable people I have ever encountered.
For McMorris Rodgers to spend time with minority business owners on Capitol Hill was extremely unusual by any standard. Remember, she is No. 4 in House leadership and her time is very limited, but she was unreasonable enough to see value in listening to us.
President Trump couldn’t make our event himself, but he was so unreasonable that he sent two of his top aides, Conway — who is also a longtime friend of mine — and his U.S. Treasurer.
This is the type of unreasonable behavior that our president and our party need more of.
If President Trump continues to be unreasonable enough to see value in the minority business community, especially Black entrepreneurs, I can guarantee that they will be more than willing to work with the White House.
If Trump continues to be unreasonable enough to work with us on issues like access to capital, making sure we get our fair share of government contracts and keeping open a pipeline of direct communications between us and the White House, we will not only work with the president, but we will advocate on behalf of the policies that we know will make America great again.
So, to President Trump and Congressman McMorris Rodgers, please continue to encourage those around you to be unreasonable knowing that only unreasonable people are able to make transformative change in our world.
Jackson is founder and chairman of Black Americans for a Better Future (BAFBF), a federally registered 527 super PAC established to get more Blacks involved in the Republican Party.