Op-EdBill Fletcher Jr.ColumnistsOpinion

The Question Black Conservatives Always Avoid

Bill Fletcher

By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
NNPA Columnist

Like everyone else, I am processing the November election results. I will write more about that later, but there was a radio exchange that I heard the night prior to the election that really got me thinking.

On my way home from Baltimore, where I had been doing some electoral work, I found myself listening to a radio program that was addressing the upcoming election.  The focus of the program was the Maryland governor’s race, which pitted African American, Democrat Lt. Gov.  Anthony Brown against Larry Hogan, a White Republican who eventually won  the race.

This program appeared to be oriented towards African Americans.  A good deal of the air time was consumed with criticisms of the Brown campaign; mainly correct criticisms I might add.  Yet, on the program there was an African American who had served in the administration of former Maryland Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich.  She was making the case for voting for Hogan and dismissing anything positive that had taken place under current Gov. Martin  O’Malley and his Lt. Gov. Brown.

At one point in the discussion, this Hogan supporter did something very interesting.  She quickly made reference to mistakes that Republicans had committed around the country (she did not say what mistakes); made reference to racism existing in both parties (of course!); and then went on to say that all politics is local and that people should give Hogan a look.

I was amazed that no one else on this radio program, at least while I was listening, pursued this issue.  No one asked the obvious question:  “Why should African Americans support someone from a political party that has carried out an orchestrated strategy to deny African Americans the vote?”

I have yet to hear a Black conservative address this and I ask myself, “Why?”  How can someone who is Black ignore the fact that race is central in the Republican Party’s messages?  How can someone ignore the fact that in Republican dominated state legislatures, statutes have been advanced that make it more difficult rather than less difficult for minorities, youth and senior citizens to vote?

No one asked this sister anything like that.  They acted as if now governor-elect Hogan exists in some sort of bubble and does not have to address the well-planned, and orchestrated efforts to narrow the electorate rather than expand it.

So, to my Black conservative friends, would you please take a moment and respond to this simple question:  How can you remain silent on voter suppression and, worse, endorse a party that has made that part of their strategy?

Thanks in advance.

Bill Fletcher. Jr. is the host of The Global African on Telesur-English. He is a racial justice, labor and global justice activist and writer. Follow him on Facebook and www.billfletcherjr.com

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Bill Fletcher Jr.

Bill Fletcher Jr has been an activist since his teen years. Upon graduating from college he went to work as a welder in a shipyard, thereby entering the labor movement. Over the years he has been active in workplace and community struggles as well as electoral campaigns. He has worked for several labor unions in addition to serving as a senior staffperson in the national AFL-CIO. Fletcher is the former president of TransAfrica Forum; a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies; an editorial board member of BlackCommentator.com; and in the leadership of several other projects. Fletcher is the co-author (with Peter Agard) of “The Indispensable Ally: Black Workers and the Formation of the Congress of Industrial Organizations, 1934-1941”; the co-author (with Dr. Fernando Gapasin) of “Solidarity Divided: The crisis in organized labor and a new path toward social justice“; and the author of “‘They’re Bankrupting Us’ – And Twenty other myths about unions.” Fletcher is a syndicated columnist and a regular media commentator on television, radio and the Web.

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