By Raynard Jackson
Despite all the infighting going on within my Republican Party, I am seeing reason for great hope as we go forward, especially with regards to the minority community.
Many minority Republicans have become extremely frustrated with the constant lip service coming from party leaders over the years; they say, “we’ve heard all this before.” They are absolutely right; it has been said all before.
So, what makes me so optimistic now? Two people. Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) and Congressman Eric Canton, [R-Va.] Majority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Priebus has been recently reelected to another two-year term as chairman of the RNC. Some question why he was reelected coming off of a string of losses during the presidential race last year; I will leave that question for the voting members of the RNC.
Like Mordecai said to Ester in the Bible, “could it be that you were born for such a time like this?” The entire verse in Ester 4:14 is: “For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
As a result of Ester challenging some of the king’s policies, she saved the Jews from total destruction. In a similar manner, I have seen Priebus challenge those in the party that don’t see the value in engaging with the minority community, especially the Black community.
Two weeks ago, I worked with Priebus to put together a luncheon to honor Black Republican trailblazers. We had a standing room only crowd. We paid homage to Civil Rights legend and former Secretary of Transportation, William T. Coleman and to Robert J. Brown, adviser to former president Richard Nixon.
Nothing like this had ever happened before and Priebus was so elated that he has decided to make this an annual event.
Congressman Cantor recently returned from a trip to Selma, Ala. to celebrate the anniversary of “Bloody Sunday.” This was an event where Blacks were marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge to fight for Civil Rights and were savagely beaten by the police. This anniversary is one of the milestone events in the Civil Rights movement.
I have known Cantor for many years and he has always understood that our party must embrace diversity if we are to remain a viable party. He is a strong supporter of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, is working on legislation in support of school choice and vouchers, especially for those trapped in nonperforming schools, has indicated to me that he wants to find ways to have more of a dialogue with those in the Black community.
I have told both Priebus and Cantor that I am committed to working with them to help make the party truly reflective of America.
To my naysayer friends both within and without the Republican Party, I know these words might ring hollow to you now; but by September of this year, I can guarantee that, with leaders like Priebus and Cantor, the public will see some tangible fruit from their commitments.
They are fully aware that this is a long term proposition, but the initial fruit will be manifest sooner, rather than later.
As Ester saved the Jews from annihilation, Priebus and Cantor will be credited with being part of the reason the Republican Party was revived. By September, you too will see the handwriting on the wall.
Raynard Jackson is president & CEO of Raynard Jackson & Associates, LLC., a Washington, D.C.-based public relations/government affairs firm. He can be reached through his Web site, www.raynardjackson.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at @raynard1223.