As the Republican Party struggles to reinvent itself, they have created something called the "National Council for a New America." Part of the mission of the NCNA being to reach out to Black and Hispanic America.
Strange. As one who is married to a Hispanic-American, speaks Spanish, and has written and spoken extensively on this subject for the last two decades, I was not invited. Nor were others I know who care deeply about the GOP reaching out to minorities. The inaugural event proclaimed it had a "national panel of experts" headlined by former Governor Jeb Bush, former Governor Mitt Romney, Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Senator John McCain of Arizona. Older white wealthy guys who are going to attract America's minority youth to the GOP. Okay. My only question then being, why haven't they done it over the course of the last twenty years?
My other question for the "leadership" of the GOP being, what has really changed for the better in the Republican Party since I wrote the column below for USA Today in July of 1993? Other than continuing to exclude those who actually know this issue.
USA TODAY, Wednesday, July 21, 1993
GOP Must Reach Out To Blacks
By Douglas MacKinnon
If the Republican Party hopes to recapture the White House in 1996, we had better snap out of the ether in a big hurry and get back to our roots.
The first and best way I can think of doing that is for the Republican leadership of Senator Robert Dole, Chairman Haley Barbour, et al, to carve in granite (today, if possible) that we will never, ever let those country-club elitists who infested our last presidential campaign anywhere near the playing field in 1996.
For in my humble opinion, it was those "types" (as they fought over who would get the best furniture and office view, instead of against candidate Clinton) who went a long way toward undermining the re-election bid of a good man and a very good president in George Bush.
I guess at this point I should state that I am about as far removed from the stereotypical image of a Republican as you can get.
Even though I'm white, I grew up on welfare in various parts of Boston and New England. A number of times my family was homeless and destitute. But as bad as things were, there was a bright side for me. That bright side was that I often lived in mostly black neighborhoods and learned at an early age what all Americans should know.
I learned that Black America is a great America. That my Black friends were no different from me inasmuch as we were all struggling to survive and rise above the poverty that was sucking the life out of all of us.
I believe that if the Republican Party hopes to rise above the defeat of 1992, we must turn to Black America with open arms and say: "Join us. Help us build a country that will serve all of its citizens."
We must say this -- and as Republicans, we must mean it.
Let's face it: In 1993 there are still members of the GOP who only want and expect to see black men and women if they're holding trays of drinks.
To Black America, I would only say, give the Republican Party a chance. Don't blindly turn your back on a party that can, with the right leadership, help lift you out of a lifetime of despair.
I am here to tell you that there are many Republicans who care deeply about the plight of Black Americans and all minorities. Republicans like the late Lee Atwater, George Bush, Jack Kemp and Governor Carroll Campbell of South Carolina.
Four years after the fact, I am still saddened to think that the students of Howard University, a Black University in Washington, forced Atwater off their board of trustees because of a knee-jerk reaction triggered by the lies the Democrat Party told about Lee and the Willie Horton incident.
To those students and faculty who forced Lee out, I would only tell you how wrong you were. Lee Atwater sincerely cared about the problems faced by Black Americans and would have done great things for you and your university.
He believed, as do I and many other Republicans, that Black Americas have been shortchanged and taken for granted by a Democrat Party that considers their votes in the bag.
As one who grew up in abject poverty, I believe that many of the policies of the Democrat Party are harmful to those below the poverty line and must be changed.
For that reason, while we are far from perfect, in my heart I believe the Republican Party has more to offer to Black Americans and all those striving to make a better life for themselves.
I realize full well that by writing this column, I possibly am cutting my own throat within the Republican Party. So be it. I can't control the insecurities of others; I can only be true to myself.
The party of Abraham Lincoln is not the party of country-club elitists. It was, and must be again, the party of those who believe in the dream called America.
To survive and prosper, we must truly become a party of inclusion.