On Thurday afternoon, after being in meetings all day and not being able to keep up with the latest news on the political front, I did a quick check of my favorite websites, my demeanor crashed, and started my one hour drive home in a frustrated state.
“How could he be so stupid?” I asked myself referring to Mitt Romney. “How could he say over and over that his father marched with Martin Luther King, Jr, but yet it never occurred? Didn’t he know that those are the kinds of things that ruined campaigns? This will be his ‘brainwashed’ moment that destroyed his father’s Presidential aspirations.” These are things that were going on in my head after seeing headlines and skimming through various posts that claimed that Mitt was lying.
Fortunately, as a result of the claims in these articles, Anne Marie Curling of CoMITTed to Romney!, did some research and discovered CONCRETE evidence of Mitt Romney’s claims and my soul has been soothed:
- Detroit Free Press: “With Gov. Romney a surprise arrival and marching in the front row, more than 500 Negroes and whites staged a peaceful anti-discrimination parade up Grosse Pointe’s Kercheval Avenue Saturday. … ‘the elimination of human inequalities and injustices is our urgent and critical domestic problem,’ the governor said. … [Detroit NAACP President Edward M.] Turner told reporters, ‘I think it is very significant that Governor Romney is here. We are very surprised.’ Romney said, ‘If they want me to lead the parade, I’ll be glad to.’” (”Romney Joins Protest March Of 500 In Grosse Pointe,” Detroit Free Press, 6/29/63)
- In Their 1967 Book, Stephen Hess And David Broder Wrote That George Romney “Marched With Martin Luther King Through The Exclusive Grosse Point Suburb Of Detroit.” “He has marched with Martin Luther King through the exclusive Grosse Pointe suburb of Detroit and he is on record in support of full-coverage Federal open-housing legislation.” (Stephen Hess And David Broder, The Republican Establishment: The Present And Future Of The G.O.P., 1967, p. 107)
There are other evidences of such claims that Anne Marie shares as well and I encourage you to go to her post (linked above) and read the whole thing, but this leads me to send some free advice to Mitt Romney: go after the Black vote.
George Romney was a huge proponent of civil rights and was quite popular in the Black community. He regularly attended civil rights events, lead marches, and met with and supported civil rights leaders. Curling adds the following regarding George Romney:
In 1967, George Romney Was Praised At A National Civil Rights Rally For His Leadership. “Michigan Gov. George Romney walked into a Negro Civil Rights rally in the heart of Atlanta to the chants of ‘We Want Romney’ and to hear protests from Negroes about city schools. ‘They had invited me to come and I was interested in hearing things that would give me an insight into Atlanta,’ the Michigan Republican said. Led by Hosea Williams, a top aide to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the all-Negro rally broke into shouts and song when Romney arrived. ‘We’re tired of Lyndon Baines Johnson,’ Williams said from a pulpit in the Flipper Temple AME Church as Romney sat in a front row pew. ‘Johnson is sending black boys to Vietnam to die for a freedom that never existed,’ Williams said. Pointing to Romney, Williams brought the crowd of 200 to its feet when he said, ‘He may be the fella with a little backbone.’ Williams said Romney could be ‘the next President if he acts right.’ The potential GOP presidential nominee left the rally before it ended.” (”Romney Praised At Civil Rights Rally In Atlanta,” The Chicago Defender, 9/30/67)
Mitt Romney needs to run with these stories. Continue to explain how his father is his hero and is whom he has tried to emulate. Explain that he has the same passionate feelings for civil rights as his father did. Then he needs to campaign in Black communities; go to Baltimore, Atlanta, Detroit, etc and ask for their vote. Explain that the Black community has given unconditional support to the Democratic party and that while things have changed, they have not necessarily improved. Then proceed to unmap a vision of how to help the black community improve their plight. He should even meet with activists like Bill Cosby and seek their support.
Granted such efforts may not increase the amount of votes he gets from the Black community substantially, especially considering he will be running against either the wife of the “first Black President” or a Black man. However, he may be able to consolidate the independent vote and even a good portion of the moderate Democratic vote into his camp. If Mitt can use his spirit of optimism and incorporate that into improving the Black community, he can win and effectively revolutionize the Republican party.
It has long been my belief that the GOP needs to more inclusive, not more exclusive. It seems that since the party has been hijacked by the South and the religious right, we have closed ourselves off to expanding our support to minority groups. Granted, this is not entirely the case, but the perception is there and often perception is more important than reality.
This inclusiveness is not only important for the strength of the party, but it is simply the right thing to do. The best way for a person of any situation to improve their plight is self-responsibility and discipline. There is no better person to compassionately incorporate this principle into social policies than Mitt Romney.