Gregory V. Boulware
‘What Defines a Republican, a Democrat, a Politician, or a Statesman?’
What is a ‘Republic’ as opposed to a ‘Democracy?’
How many of us have actually met or spoken to a “Black Republican?” Would you know of one who actually represents you and your community? What about the Asians, Latinos, Native Born Indians, and other non-white groups? How about Black Tea Party Members?
Would you believe it if I told you that Dr. Martin Luther King, Frederick Douglas, or George Washington Carver were staunch Republican Members and Supporters of the party?
Maybe you might think that I’m completely ‘crazy’ or ‘off-my-rocker’ to say such a thing. But, I’m here to tell ya – oh yes, it’s true!
However, they also stood up and fought for us – they tried to educate our people on the country / world economics, political clout, held and maintained a strong-ness in our (your) beliefs.
One such portal to education, economical strength building, and political clout was the now gone, ‘Philadelphia Berean Institute!’
“The Jewel In Our Community” would have/has turned One Hundred and Sixteen Years Old. It was founded in 1899 on the original site of 1901 Girard Avenue, in the heart of North Philadelphia. The Rev. Matthew W. Anderson, one of the first Black Graduates of Princeton University developed a school for the economically disenfranchised masses of Southern Blacks who migrated to the North in droves without the education, economical savvy or political clout it took to prosper in the predominantly white power structures of the country’s northern cities.
Back then, students were taught and trained in plumbing, carpentry, dressmaking and tailoring professions.
Today (pre-closing), the school teaches accounting, business administration, electronics, paralegal services, data processing, computer science and repair, secretarial science, cosmetology and barbering, among a host of other available educational programs. The college (post 1900) specialized in Career Certification and Associate Degrees. Students who qualified for the courses either had to possess a high school diploma of G.E.D.
The courses have changed (from past to current) while the mission continued. Dr. Spencer, who was ‘Dean’ when I attended, said:
“The main goal is to keep tuition affordable and create a state-of-the-art campus. We hope to expand our campus by 2005 with the addition of a new building, right across from the existing building on this very site.”
That dream never came to pass.
In a 10 year span, Berean Institute had graduated more than two thousand students. That’s an average of about two hundred graduates per year – with the majority being ‘Black Americans.’
The school, barbering and cosmetology, the two main professions where Blacks could always become successful entrepreneurs, were offered; continued to peer into the future by tackling and taking head-on the premise of a national shortage of computer technicians or technology workers. The Government Educational Grant of $2.8 million federal dollars was received by Berean to offset the danger to the economy. Ney-sayers accused the government of allowing foreigners to come into the country for those American Jobs – the open computer industry tech vacancies.
“We got this grant to try to offset that, so companies can’t keep saying, ‘we’ve got to go overseas.’ We have many needy people (and who are needed) right here in North Philly who can be trained to fill those jobs,” said Dr. Norman K. Spencer.
The Berean Institute facility has also played host to a number of community affairs and a meeting place as well as being a place of educational upgrading. The Million Woman March was germinated here in 1997. Additionally, other Philadelphia chapters of alumni groups, Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) have utilized the facility for their activities and affairs.
Where is this significantly needed institution now? What has happened to this sorely missed and needed Black College? Was its demise simply greed and corruption or some politically motivated ingenuity?
In Philadelphia, republicans (media reporting records) are outnumbered nine to one, and African American Republicans are outnumbered by a ratio that’s too ridiculous to bother mentioning.
That doesn’t mean Black Republicans don’t exist. Here in ‘Philly,’ there is a group called ‘The Philadelphia Republicans of Color (the Philly ROC). Believe it or not, some African American candidates do run for political office in this city – as Republicans.
“Philly’s Black Republicans are often scorned by both political constituencies,” said a weekly Philadelphia newspaper. “Whenever the white republicans wanted to post a Black face in opposition of Our Sitting President – ‘Obama’ – they were always lead around like they were dogs, like puppets on a string. They were portrayed as controllable window dressing.”
“The democratic party must be defined by what it stands for,” shouts Brother Al Sharpton. “Too many centrist democrats have moved the party to the right. As demonstrated by the past and recent elections. The base of the democratic party has felt abandoned by the many – so-called minorities, women, progressives, and young people.”
Brother Al was one of nine 2004 presidential candidates who happened to be Black. Another candidate of color was a female. Her name is Sister Carol Moseley Braun. She and Brother Al were some of George Bush Jr.’s harshest critics.
“The Bush Administration has been a disaster – Americans have lost and continue to lose jobs. Many are without healthcare, and the republican president has given massive tax cuts to the richest one percent in our society,” says Braun.
Reparations are likely to be addressed by these two African American Candidates. Carol Moseley Braun states her support for reparations. She says it should not be forty acres and a Lexus, but a program that brings Americans together to resolve the nation’s contradictions between the society’s commitment to equality, opportunity, and how so-called minorities are actually treated.
“Education is the silver bullet; we need to rebuild crumbling schools!”
Brother Al addressed an agenda that was apparently forgotten by the republican lead team – public education. Sharpton proposed a two dollar an hour increase in the country’s minimum wage debacle. He also says America should address the disparities in the criminal justice system, eliminate racial profiling, and to make sure that appointed judges on the bench are not insensitive to women and people of color.
“Too many political figures want to direct public resources to private education via the voucher system. We cannot afford to write off the majority of America’s children. And I would have a foreign policy that recognizes that we, Black People, are part of the global village – whether you want us or not! America should be an international healer not a bully,” says Sharpton.
Carol Moseley Braun’s credentials include a law degree, a term in the US Senate, and was ambassador to New Zealand. She was the only former diplomat in the presidential race that year. Carol’s experience, in addition to the aforementioned, also show that she served as a State Representative and the Cook County Recorder of Deeds – she was the only candidate who proudly served both levels of government; local and state.
Al Sharpton was the only candidate who has never held public office. His contentions are that his leadership skills are far from lacking.
Al’s plan is to connect with the people. The candidate has spent many weeks on the road pushing his agenda. He has gone to college campuses, churches, grass-root communities, and to the streets. He said “That’s where the people are!”
“Do you really think that Black folk would struggle through slavery, carrying bags, talking about ‘we shall overcome’ and all those kinds of things; that a little voter ID issue would have actually stopped us from registering for the vote? Only a fool would think that Black folks wouldn’t go out and do what they need to do when they think their rights have been threatened!” says a Black Philadelphia Republican.
“We (Black Republicans) love President Obama! We, at least I, think it was great that he’s an African American person who has made it to the level of being recognized as being the First Black President.”
Another Black Philadelphia Republican rationalized what Paul Ryan mouthed during an interview while campaigning for vice-president.
“I think it’s cool that we have our first African American Presidential candidate.”
If one can or could believe in that sincerity, ‘Willie Lynch’ would make a great candidate too.
A third Black Republican told of how he caught all kinds of negativity for broadcasting his respect for the then candidate; President Obama!
He said that he had to go off and checkmate just about everybody in the building.
“Did they think that they could actually tell me how to think? We believe in politics and we believe in our platform, but let’s keep in mind that we’re all part of the human race and we’re all Americans, and Obama is our Commander-in-Chief!”
One of the three interviewed Black Republicans thought republicans should do what Malcolm X did. That exercise is to go out into the field and rap to the people. He added, if Malcolm were here today, he’d probably say go out into the field and rap with the people.
“Ya know…we as Republicans have to stop that… We have to speak with the people and not to them or at them. I hear a lot of people in the Tea Party say they don’t understand why (so-called) minorities don’t become republicans. Did anyone question the fact that Martin Luther King was a Republican? No one cares!
Half of em don’t even know about that. I don’t believe they actually care either. Folks are tired of white republicans talking from D. C. and Harrisburg while not even bothering to go to the neighborhoods and speak with the people.
It should be very important that republicans focus on recruiting and speaking with our neighbors and getting the word out. The other thing is the need to show up at the community meetings. They don’t see us in the neighborhoods, we don’t exist there.
And we as African Americans need to understand that we’re dominant in many of the world’s major sporting competitions and the music industry. What is not understood is why we have an open door opportunity in this city to take over a political party – we just sit and cuss and fuss to deaf ears.
The Republican Party needs to understand that the demographic sands are shifting very quickly right under our feet. And it is highly possible this party will cease to exist by 2016.
Republicans need to become more sophisticated. We are no longer working on a local, state, or national platform. We are working now toward a global economy.
The Party has by-passed the Black Community and gone straight to Latino’s, knowing the Hispanic Population has increased drastically and continues to grow.
Republicans feel that Blacks are so indoctrinated with the Democratic Party for so many years, they’re a lost cause and they’d have a better chance with the Spanish population because they are not so ingrained.”
Another spin from Republicans is the worry concerning Blacks in the Democratic Party using a famous named person on the ballot, while a bad incumbent who hasn’t done anything outside or from inside an official political position, hides behind the so-called famous person on the ballot. The premise is that we’re going to go in and vote for everyone on this list because our so-called famous person is on here as well.
These are some of the reasons that we as Black Entrepreneurs have become Republicans. We tell people to stop hitting the one lever; the straight lever, voting for the entire list. We don’t want our people to be duped of hoodwinked either by Democrats of Republicans.
“An excellent opportunity has presented itself for the Republican Party. However, they have not taken advantage of it because we are Black,” said another Philly Party member of color.
“We are not acknowledged as much as we should be – we’re put on the side until needed – and that needs to stop.”
Many Black Philadelphians have never met a Republican in the first place, let alone a Black one. Republicans have traditionally been demonized in many Black households. One of the Black Republicans related his first experience in South Philly’s Wharton Street Center. He painted a vivid picture of his first contact while chairing a community based board at the center.
The Wharton Street Community Center has an historic and proudly rich history relating to Abolition, Quakers, and Slavery – according to the chairman, back in 1982 a lady came up to him and asked if he’d like to make history. She said they wanted to hold a meeting of Black Republicans at the center for the first time. The chairman, then a Democrat, was set aback.
“A Black Republican” I had never seen or heard of a Black Republican!
He itched with the curiosity and enthusiasm of seeing and meeting a one. He did not even ask them for rent money. He just wanted to see if these particular human beings existed. He said that he was surprised at how many actually showed up.
“I was stunned and flabbergasted! I sat in the back of the room because I was a Democrat. The gentlemen who entered the hall were very well dressed, mannerly, and neat. They were not drunkards or ‘Uncle-Tom-ish’ either. They just appeared to be well-to-do regular Black Men preparing for a community Town Hall Meeting.
Then, in walks this tall light-skinned Black Man. He was very well dressed in a bright yellow satin shirt, silk tie of gold, and a beautiful maroon colored semi-pin-striped suit. He was followed by neatly dressed happy faced rotund white guy. They stepped right in front of the group and announced the disbanding of this meeting.” The Chairman continued his story.
“The two men were local Republican Party Officials. They said to everyone present ‘you’re not having a meeting her tonight’ – I was shocked – ‘you all don’t have the proper permission to do so.’ The next thing I knew, the group got up and left the building without comment or complaint.
That’s when I said to myself, they need someone like me in there. That was my first contact with the Republican Party – on the Black side.”
The third Black Philly Republican expressed his first-hand experience.
“We had to go to the state party on three different occasions. It started for me then. It was 2010 when I ran for governor. My position was:
“If you have a complete compliment of other candidates listed on the Republican Website, we, the Black Candidates ought to be listed there as well!” expressed the Philadelphian.
“After the first 2010 episode, I switched from being a Republican to an Independent. The following year, I converted back to Republican because it was where I felt comfortable. Becoming an Independent has proven to be a very lonely experience.
In 2012, I was asked to run for the second Congressional Seat. After I relinquished the run, and agreed with them to do so for the US Senate Race. In reality, I understood that I didn’t stand a chance in hell of winning.
In order to help the Party, the best thing that I could do for the Black Republicans was to run for the seat and raise the profile of the party – even in the face of the United States President.
My campaign allowed a strategic decision to oppose the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. When that was done…all hell broke loose and everybody went ape-shit crazy. All of the Republicans, the Tea Party, etc., were going behind our back, saying that I’ve decided to drop out of the race; they recruited another candidate. I was called “RINO” by the Tea Party. They said that I was un-American, I was anti-American, and pro Obama.
Back in the 1970’s, I was asked to join ’The Junior Police’ by a back-in-the-day politician. He suggested that if we, my ‘Homies’ and me, supported his campaign; would be able to go into the police academy; and when we graduated we could look forward to sitting and working behind a desk until we turn twenty-one.
In Pennsylvania, back then, you weren’t allowed a gun until age twenty-one.
The bastard, after the election, turned right around, and every Black person who helped him by running him around in and throughout the neighborhoods, introducing him, bringing him into the Black Churches and all…screwed us in every way possible! I could not, for the life of me, understand why. I wasn’t particularly politically savvy back then. But I finally did figure it all out and finally got it. Someone was decent enough to ‘Hep’ me to what it was he did. He threw us to the side; under the bus; out onto the street; in the garbage – we had suddenly become a load of shit; taboo, refuse, the discarded shredding. This is the problem I had with the Republican Party!
They wanted to use, and use us again, and again. And once they did that and got what they needed from us, it was to hell with you and your kind – not caring or thinking about tomorrow or the future for that matter.”
The Eldest participant in this discussion stood up and walked over to a nearby window. The glazed look upon his face brought an abrupt, yet insidious disposition when he espoused a bitter memory.
“We all have to remember, up until the 1940’s; African Americans weren’t allowed into a general hospital in any given city, town, or borough in the country. We had to go strictly to a Black only hospital or get delivered by a midwife. If the midwife didn’t keep any treatment, birth, or death records, you didn’t have a record of birth. Fifty percent of Black Senior Citizens living today do not have a real or original certificate of birth. Many simply didn’t know where their birth certificates were. Republicans counted on that when they proposed the ‘Voter ID Act. If you can remember, in 1956, the Hall of Records in Philly caught fire and was burned to the ground. Of course, the fire destroyed a whole bunch of people’s birth records. So how is the Voter ID law supposed to be fair to those people?”
The second of the three interviewed Black Republicans stated if the Republicans had come to us, any of us – and said:
“We want you to help us defeat this Democratic President. The color of his skin doesn’t matter.” He stood up from his chair with a smirking smile upon his face and continued speaking.
“We’d have responded – ‘At this particular time, going against President Obama, a Black Man – I think you’d better think again.’” He continued speaking after re-seating. “What they did was not include us or anybody in their decision making – to not even ask us what we think or thought!
When it came to pass, we…I laughed. I laughed at what they’d done with the Voter ID Law because in knew that Black Folk are primarily moved by emotion. But, when you think you’re going to take something from Black Folk, that’s when we become your worst nightmare. I knew we were going to be a nightmare to Republicans because only a fool would think that Black Folks wouldn’t go out and do what they needed to do when they think their rights and liberties are being threatened – that was surely the dumbest of moves.”
All three interviewees agreed. The second Black Republican Party Member chimed, “That’s one of the reason’s I try not to disrespect the Commander-In-Chief by referring to the ‘Affordable Care Act’ as “Obamacare!” It is not Obama Care! Republicans have told me ‘we’re not voting for you because you don’t stand for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act!’
Well, don’t vote me – idiot!
They are contradicting themselves by chastising Chairman Harris for making a comment about respecting the ‘First African American President of The United States.’ First of all, you need to understand, most of my heroes do not appear on a damn stamp. If you really want to know – in reality, W.E.B. Dubois and Frederick Douglas were the ultimate Republicans!
Now what is a Republican?
If I had to distinguish myself between a Frederick Douglas Republican and a Reagan Republican, one could firmly believe the choice would be a Frederick Douglas Republican!”
My way or the highway?
It’s okay to be a Republican or a Democrat without compromises. But you need to come to the table – the art of legislation is about compromise – not the ability of receiving rewards for contempt and complete stupidity. Will you not exercise your right of choice and vote for the best candidate that you see fit?
We shall see…
What is a Democrat, a Republican, or a Statesman?
The art and science of the government of a state – public affairs of public life as they relate to this – the opinions, principles, or policies by which a person orders his participation in such affairs – scheming and maneuvering within a group.
A person engaged in politics and in the techniques of civil government – in a derogatory sense – a person engaged in politics (is) merely for personal gain.
a) A Republic is a form of government in which the head of state is an elected president rather than a monarch; a form of government in which the sovereign power is widely vested in the people either directly or through elected representatives; a state with either of these forms a government; a society whose members are equally engaged in the same activity, the republic or letters. (publicus; public)
b) A Republican is pertaining to, characteristics of or having the nature of a republic; favoring a republic – republican of or belonging to the Republican Party; a person who supports the form of government of a Republic Republican, a member of the Republican Party.
The Republican Party:
One of the two main political parties of the U.S.A. (cf. Democratic Party). It was formed (1854) by anti-slavery groups to oppose the Kansas-Nebraska Act, and attracted many ‘Whigs,’ ‘Free-Soilers’ and those ‘Know-nothings’ who opposed slavery.
It rapidly gained power in the north and held its first National Convention in 1856. Lincoln became the first Republican President in 1861. The Republicans held the presidency from then until 1913, with the exception of the administrations of 1885-89 and 1893-97 of Cleveland.
They were weakened by the secession of the Liberal Republicans 1872 and the ‘Mugwumps’ in 1884.
In the late 19th century the Republican Party favored ‘Protective Tariffs’ and the ‘Gold Standard.’ After the administrations of Theodore Roosevelt and Taft (Taft-Hartley Act), the secession of the ‘Progressive Party’ split the Republicans 1912. They returned to power in 1921-23 under Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, but were blamed for the economic crisis of 1929 and were out of office until the administration of Eisenhower, 1953-61.
a) Democracy is a form of government by the people, usually through elected representatives; a state so governed; social equality democracy, the principles of the Democratic Party.
b) A Democrat is someone who believes in Democracy; Democrat – a member of the Democratic Party; Democratic pertaining to, characterized by, believing in, or practicing the principles of, political Democracy – Egalitarian – Democratic of or belonging to the Democratic Party.
The Democratic Party:
One of the two main political parties of the U.S.A. (cf. Republican Party). Its origins are traditionally linked with Jefferson’s Anti-Federalists who supported state’s rights and the interests of workers and small farmers.
The party too it’s present name and developed its organization during the presidency of 1829-37 of Jackson.
The Democrats won all presidential elections except three in the period of 1800-1860. They were split in 1854 over slavery, became associated with the ‘Slave-owning South,’ and were out of office after the Civil War.
Campaigning for lower Tariffs, they were again in power 1885-89 and 1893-97 under Cleveland, and 1913-21 under Woodrow Wilson. Under Franklin D. Roosevelt 1933-45, the Democrats were identified as the ‘Reform Party’ with the new deal. They remained in office until 1953, and regained the presidency in 1961, but lost in again in 1968.
A person having a large degree of responsibility in the government of state. Such a person when characterized by wisdom and broadmindedness – Statesmanlike; The characteristics of “A WISE STATESMAN!”
Til Next Time…
Reference(s) and Acknowledgements:
Black Enterprise Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Weekly, Dictionary.com, and BoulwareEnterprises
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