Paraphrasing my buddy, 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.”
Jesus Christ was unreasonable enough to think that by challenging the social and class norms of his day, he could draw all men unto God; Samuel Cornish and John B. Russwurm, the founding editors of the Freedom’s Journal, were unreasonable enough to fight the vicious stereotypes about freed and enslaved Africans using the Black Press nearly 40 years before the Civil War; Martin Luther King Jr. was unreasonable enough to believe that, through nonviolence, he could melt the hatred in mankind.
Because of their unreasonableness, all four of the aforementioned people had a global impact on the world, with their effects still being felt to this very day.
In a similar manner, President Trump, Steve Bannon and Republican Reps. Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Ken Buck (Colo.) and Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.) will have a similar impact, specifically on the Black community.
Transformative change rarely comes from expected quarters.
Jesus Christ was a lowly carpenter; Cornish and Russwurm were upstart journalists; King was a wannabe preacher plucked out of obscurity. Yet, their lives are still relevant to our world long after their deaths.
Trump’s presidential campaign was all about transformative change and totally upending the status quo and the establishment, globally.
Trump shifted the conversation about the Black vote from, “Will he get any Black votes?” to “How many Black votes will he get?” This type of paradigm shift is a marketer’s dream.
Trump’s recently departed senior adviser, Steve Bannon, is likewise transforming the Republican conversation about engagement with the Black community from “Why bother?” to “Let’s work together on common goals.”
A few weeks ago, I took about 20 very successful Black and Hispanic entrepreneurs, some of them hard-left Democrats, to meet with Bannon, and without exception, they all expressed their willingness to join forces with Bannon to focus on creating a more conducive economic environment for the small- and minority-business community to thrive in. I will have a major announcement in this regard coming soon.
Gosar, Buck, McMorris Rodgers and I have all become fast friends based on a common belief that the Republican Party needs to do a much better job cultivating relationships within the Black community, especially with Black entrepreneurs.
They, along with their respective staffs, went all-in with their support last month of my 527 super PAC’s first annual economic policy forum. Black Americans for a Better Future gathered 100 top Black entrepreneurs from across the country under the theme, “A Republican Vision for Creating Opportunities for Black Entrepreneurs.”
Gosar and Buck’s respective chiefs of staff, Tom Van Flein and Ritika Robertson, were invaluable in making our event a great success. McMorris Rodgers sent her staffer, Rachel Barkley, to announce to our group that she wanted to begin a long-term conversation with these minority entrepreneurs and invited us to work with her, as a member of House leadership, to actively be part of the legislative process on the president’s tax reform bill.
Barkley, along with her office colleagues Molly Drenkard and Nate Hodson, have been such a joy to work with. We will have a major announcement to make with their office by the end of this week.
The fascinating thing about Gosar, Buck and McMorris Rodgers is that even though they don’t have many Blacks in their congressional districts, they recognize that recruiting more Blacks into the Republican Party is incredibly important and the right thing to do — and it’s also good for America.
So, while many are looking for change to come out of Republican institutions like the Republican National Committee (RNC), the transformative change that Blacks are screaming for will more than likely come from the likes of Gosar, Buck and McMorris Rodgers.
The reason they will be at the forefront of this change is because they are unreasonable people. They also encourage their respective staffs to be just as unreasonable as they are.
They are unreasonable enough to ignore people like famed Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who never misses an opportunity to pontificate about the futility of even paying attention to the Black vote.
So, to my readers, don’t believe the hype from the media and “establishment” Republicans about people like Bannon or Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, that they somehow are bad people.
Remember, these same establishment folks said Ronald Reagan would never be president — same for Donald Trump. These same consultants who go from losing campaign to losing campaign never will see any value in the Black voter. Their electoral track record proves it.
So now I have built serious relationships with a group of unreasonable elected Republicans, consultants, staffers and operatives, who are just unreasonable enough to believe that Black voters have value and are worth cultivating relationships with.
They believe that Black voters should have a voice and input into legislation that affects all Americans and are willing to provide that forum and opportunity.
So why am I so optimistic? Because, I am very unreasonable.
Jackson is founder and chairman of Black Americans for a Better Future, a federally registered 527 super PAC established to get more Blacks involved in the Republican Party.