Taken from “Tennessee Voices,” The Tennessean by Darrell S. Freeman
As a member of the Republican Party, I refuse to remain silent on the recurring instances of hatred and divisiveness that have arisen from other Republicans. Why does my party continue to tolerate racial insensitivity that does nothing but alienate minorities?
The election of our first African-American president should have inspired all citizens, regardless of political party affiliation, to celebrate the ideals on which America was built: With hard work and opportunity, anyone can fulfill his or her dream.
Instead, we’ve seen appalling and highly offensive mockeries of the president emerge from members of the Republican Party. Most recently, a Tennessee Republican state senator’s aide circulated an e-mail depiction of our president as a spook. This insult joins a list of other blunders, such as a GOP official distributing the song “Barack the Magic Negro” to his colleagues. Where is the accountability? Where is the shame?
I’m a member of the GOP because many of my views align nicely with the party’s; i.e. small government, lower taxes, traditional marriages and other conservative values. But these ideals are being drowned out by the louder voices of the party that are constantly spewing tactless and shameful messages. While we talk about expanding the GOP tent to become more diverse and inclusive, our actions counter our talk.
Are we so callous and numb that we can’t feel the pain that is inflicted by off-color and inappropriate remarks? Not only are these actions hurtful to African-Americans, but it is simply un-American to direct derogatory statements or gestures to the person serving in the highest position in our land. Our efforts should be focused on finding common ground among all U.S. citizens and building upon the similarities that bind us. We must remind ourselves of the honorable and good qualities of America instead of constantly reviving the disgraceful issues that will forever divide us. We need to teach our children that the ugly biases and injustices that once crippled our nation’s potential won’t be allowed again.
If the Republican Party hopes to enjoy any future success, we must eradicate the party of divisive, offensive and racist behavior. We must focus on sound policy ideals, not ignorant racial ideology. It’s the responsibility of the party leaders to demand this change. And if they fail to do so, we’ll find that we’re the ones who’ve been isolated, left behind and excluded from the richness that this country’s diversity has to offer.