While the Republican Party may seem disinterested in minorities and their needs, the president has recently tried to close the gaping chasm that exists between the right and African Americans by speaking to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in an attempt to generate more discussion between Republicans and their constituents, soften the harsh, corporate-minded image many people have of the party and, ultimately, get more votes.
While many skeptics and cynics argue that this move is merely a political ploy to gain more support for the Republican Party, this action is a much-needed way for politicians currently serving in office to get in touch with their constituents and open up areas of discussion between incumbents and the people they are serving.
Political ploy or not, there simply isn’t much of an understanding between serving representatives and the citizens of the United States, especially between the president and the people. This kind of communication and understanding is absolutely necessary in effectively governing the country, which is (or at least should be) the goal of all political representatives.
The Republican Party once represented the interests of African Americans, serving as the party of Abraham Lincoln. Yet in the ’60s during the Presidential campaign of Richard Nixon, Nixon implemented his “Southern Strategy,” a method of acquiring voters who were against civil rights by being lax and complacent about existing civil rights laws and halting the creation of new ones. This severed any lingering ties with minority communities and even welcomed unabashed racists.
It is utterly pitiful that the party once representing freedom and acceptance for many disenfranchised people has become tied to the ideals of eliminating or under- funding social programs, dismissing the need for a new welfare system, leaving many African Americans stranded without resources in the wake of a devastating storm and otherwise turning a blind eye to the most basic needs of a significant number of people.
According to a New York Times article, before his speech last Thursday, July 20, President George W. Bush was the first president to refuse to address the NAACP since Herbert Hoover, serving as a very realistic representation of the lack of communication between the organization and its members and the current administration.
Like it or not, Bush will be serving as president for another year and a half. Rather than complain, drag our heels or wait for decent representatives to run for office in the midterm elections or even the distant presidential election and let’s grab the olive branch the president is extending with both hands and bridge the void between right and left ideals.
No doubt the president is not going to abandon his fervent devotion to big business or suddenly adopt a new plan or organization in favor of people suffering in poverty, but communication between Republicans and Democrats is the first step in creating necessary compromises and incorporating the interests of overlooked constituents into new legislation.