Friday, September 11, 2015

Why America Needs Strong Black Conservatives

I've argued many times that the two party system, as it currently exists, lacks the ability and will to structurally change the lives of everyday people. Much of my critique revolves around the grotesque amount of money in politics, and the corporate media's failure to accurately report on economic, political, and social events. The democratic component of our republic has been circumvented, and we (as a nation) need an intellectual awakening (or reawakening) to recover it.

Since it would be virtually impossible to remove money from politics or make the corporate media do it's job; I'm led to believe a few moderate changes could lead us down the road to higher political discourse. One of these ideas is to promote "authentic" black conservatives. The "authentic" is an appropriation of a thesis offered by Chidike Okeem (a writer and conservative commentator). Chidike calls for authentic black conservatives to push back against the "artificial" black conservatives who parrot the talking points of the conservative media noise machine.

As simple as it may seem, promoting strong black conservatives could have the dual effect of breaking the 50 year monopoly the Democratic party has on the black vote, while somewhat negating the media's role in interpreting and disseminating political arguments to the black community. Although blacks only make up 13% of the country we vote 90% of the time with Democratic candidates. Here's a quote from Chidike:

  It is an analytical mistake to confuse blacks’ rejection of mainstream conservatism as a wholesale rejection of conservative thought. Rather, it is simply a rejection of artificial black conservatism. Manifestly, the most visible form of black conservatism in American society is the artificial strain. That is to say, many prominent black conservatives use their blackness as a convenient cosmetic feature, but blackness is truly foreign to their ideology. They use the problems in the black community as an opportunity to deride black people—as opposed to persuading blacks about the superiority of conservative solutions.

While I don't agree with his contention that conservative solutions are superior, I do think they are vital for pushing forth politically realistic solutions to our economic and societal woes. Having black conservatives, who aren't beholden to any political or economic power structure, in a more prominent role could cause African Americans to give the Republican party a second look.

The negativity many blacks feel towards the Republican party can be traced to the use of  "artificial" black conservatives to validate some of the worst stereotypes about black life in America. Whether it's O.J. Simpson, Trayvon Martin, or Ferguson, Missouri "artificial" black conservatives are trotted out in mass to diagnose the problem[s] with black people instead of the underlying failures of society that produce the problems of black people. 

Sadly, it's the black conservatives who show a proficiency in sociology, economic theory, and political know how who are relegated to the backbench, while the useful idiots are front and center. The Reverends Daniel Manning and Jesse Lee Peterson are much more useful to the conservative media complex because their brand of vitriol create ratings. The genius of the conservative media is that they aren't tasked with winning elections. They only have to win ratings. The failure is that this strategy isolates many blacks who may have conservative leanings .

I'm not a conservative or a liberal, but I recognize the need to dialectically work through 21st century problems. America needs strong political parties. For many libertarians and conservatives the idea of economic solutions coming from Washington or out of a state house is anathema. I warn the anti government crowd: living out an ideological fantasy based on what government "should" be doesn't deal with what government is. We're never going to shrink government down small enough to drown it in a bathtub, but we can make it work better. By focusing on subtle fixes we may surprise ourselves and solve the big issues. Black conservatives could provide the pendulum swing needed to break the partisan deadlock.