Apparently, presidential nominee Newt Gingrich found himself at an odd place Saturday night, as he was at a South Carolina church full of African-Americans in what is considered by conventional wisdom to be the traditional Black church—possibly very similar to the church that Reverend Jeremiah Wright presides over in Chicago, Illinois. Now maybe Gingrich deserves some credit for having the guts to even show up in an environment that is clearly foreign to his scripted, White audiences; but nevertheless the African-Americans in attendance reportedly wasted no time in grilling Gingrich like the do-nothing U.S. Congress likes to grill baseball players, auto execs, and other bailout seekers.
It’s no secret that Gingrich has a lengthy history of making more than his fair share of racially insensitive comments about a community that he probably knows very little about—outside of the stereotypical characterizations he’s probably picked up from television shows like ‘Cops’ or the local, 6 O’clock news. So Gingrich should have expected everything that he apparently got from his trip into the Black community, as he vowed to go where most Republicans have happily never gone before.
We have to try to understand the mindset of the typical, conservative, White Republican base that Gingrich and his cohorts have to play to. Once the covers have been pulled back from the anti-ethnic narrative of the basic, White-male-dominated-society rhetoric of the Republican Party, it’s easy to see where Republicans like Gingrich are coming from when they make statements about President Obama being a ‘food stamp president’ or the Democratic Party being the party of welfare checks and even more food stamps. This is why Gingrich can trumpet his famed Welfare Reform Act that was passed during the 1990’s by President Clinton as a momentous triumph, because to the conservative bandstands that he consistently plays to—it is!
If you don’t believe me, just take a look for yourself. Look at all of these Republican campaign rallies and campaign stops. Look at all of these Republican debates. Look at all of these Republican, town hall meetings. Look at the Republican National Convention—like the last one back in 2008 featuring John McCain and Sarah Palin. For that matter, just look at the thematic color scheme of Fox News. Each time after one of these big, caucus victories and after one of these big, primary victories—like Iowa and New Hampshire most recently, all of the candidates come out after the results have been tabulated to address their supporters, and if you’ve ever taken the time to not only look at the audience members in the crowd, but especially the audience members standing behind the candidate as that candidate makes a thank you speech, you would see one prominent theme throughout all of this, and that theme is a predominantly, White constituency base—predominant almost to the point of 100%. And that one aspect alone causes many minorities to feel as if their acceptance into that country club would be awkwardly perceived, awkwardly accepted, and awkwardly experienced at best.
And ironically, that awkwardness is the same awkwardness that Gingrich probably felt as soon as he stepped inside of that Black church, not to mention how he must have felt once he began elaborating on his views about African-Americans and their welfare checks, their bottom of the scale economic and educational statuses, and their beloved, Black, food stamp president, but what Gingrich has to realize is that the Black church is not Mayberry. Like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Gingrich has to realize that he’s not in conservative Kansas anymore, and the food stamp rhetoric that he uses to whip his Rush Limbaugh constituents into a good-old-days/good-old-boys frenzy will not work well in the Black church. This is Black apples and White oranges, and it’s consistently humorous how conservatives consistently fail to grasp it.
This is why, in my opinion, all of the Republican candidates should be forced to make multiple pilgrimages into the non-White communities in each state that they campaign in, so they can look the minority populations right in the eye and say to them what former presidential nominee Herman Cain said to the 99%, as he told them to blame themselves! Let’s see Mitt Romney address a town hall meeting in the Hispanic American community and explain to them how he’s going to round them all up and throw them all out—starting with the ones in the front row who cannot produce their citizenship papers at the drop of the ICE agent’s hat, who’s standing right behind them with a Fox News camera crew and a deportation wagon parked right outside!
Then let’s see Rick Santorum hold a town hall meeting in the gay community, so he can better explain to them exactly how he feels about their sexuality and their ethically diminished humanity. In a room full of gay people or people who support the rights of gay people to be treated fairly in this country, I’m sure his previous ‘man on child, man on dog’ comment that he used to try to characterize the gay narrative will go over like the Hindenburg on fire after a drone attack.
So hopefully Gingrich enjoyed getting grilled like barbecue ribs that were paid for with food stamps on the 4th of July in the poorest, Black community in the nation during his political, fishing expedition into the Black church, because it’s one thing for politicians to talk condescendingly about people, but it’s something totally different when they are forced to talk to and with the people. Seeing as how Republicans have accused minorities of systematically over-worshipping at the liberal, Democratic alter, now would be a good time for them to try spending more of their political time outside of Mayberry in the numerous Black churches of Reverend Wrightville, because a GOP picnic at Herman Cain’s house does very little to change African-American based perceptions of the Republican weltanschauung.
Excerpts from the book The Fear of Being Challenged; I Am the Realacrat
“Growing up in the African-American community taught me exactly what to think about Republicans. The general rules about them were very straightforward. Republicans are for the rich, especially rich White people! Republicans are against the poor! Republicans are against African-Americans—rich or poor! Republicans are against all minorities! Republicans pollute the environment with their filthy factory waste just to get richer. Republicans are war mongers! Republicans are religious zealots. Republicans believe God is White! Republicans believe only Whites will get into the White heaven. Republicans have secret alliances with skinheads, the Ku Klux Klan, and the racist law enforcement! Republicans hate gay marriage! Republicans especially hate interracial marriage! Republicans are out to destroy the middle class, because there are far too many African-Americans finding their way into it. Republicans want to cut welfare to help keep poor African-Americans and other minorities stuck in poverty. Republicans hate to see African-American athletes who manage to accumulate enormous amounts of money playing sports. Republicans believe White culture is the only culture. Republicans hate Darwin’s theory of evolution, because it makes all of humanity a porch monkey, not just the African-Americans. Republicans had a secret pact with Hitler. Republicans hold a secret legislation once every 25 years to try and resurrect slavery! Republicans secretly finance the drug trade and funnel it into poor minority neighborhoods, and Republicans are against universal healthcare, because they don’t want poor African-Americans and other minorities to have it financed on the rich, White man’s dime.”
Now whether these feelings are well-founded is not the point, because in all likelihood most of these impressions about the Republicans are trumped-up more by myth than fact, but the issue remains the same. The GOP brand has been socially and racially tarnished almost entirely by its own hands, and it will prove to be painstakingly difficult to rehabilitate, because despite the fact that there is no way that every Republican, if any Republican, is completely guilty of that laundry list of charges, still most of those charges cannot be totally and consciously ruled out either on some level.
In other words, the Republican brand cannot be tied to all of the charges, but they also cannot be freed from all of the charges, and the Republicans are just as responsible for trying to change that perception as they expect and demand that African-Americans and other minorities be responsible for changing it. But as long as the Democratic Party can manage to appear more inclusive, the Republicans will remain out of luck with the Black vote regardless of how many Black churches the Newt Gingrich’s of the conservative world decide to pay a blue-moon visit to.