“What do I say when they (other black students) ask me why I am a Republican?” Bruce George, College Republican and student at Valdosta State College
“I’d say ask them the same question a different way. Why are you a Democrat?” Michael Steele, Chairman, RNC
Last weekend, Chairman Michael Steele continued his tour of the grassroots by going to the Georgia GOP convention in Savannah. The theme was diversity, and while the mainstream media portrayed the meeting as “mostly white and trending older,” they missed the impact that young Republicans are making on the party in Georgia.
Steele spoke to the group first, and his message was reinforced by former Congressman J. C. Watts and former U. S. Senate candidate and talk host Herman Cain. By choosing three black Republicans to headline this event, Georgia was sending a message that even in the “Red State” hills of Georgia, diversity and conservatism go hand in hand.
Another conservative black Republican, Bruce George, a College Republican from Valdosta State College, comes from a Republican family. After Steele spoke on Saturday, Bruce waited for his turn to talk to Steele in person. He wanted to know how to deal with people assuming he is a Democrat just because he is black. Steele answered his question by telling him to pose a question. He told George to ask his detractors why they are Democrats and why they are being “enslaved” by the mainstream media view on what black people should think.
Bruce is a political science student and is in Air Force ROTC. He plans to follow in his father’s footsteps as an Air Force officer. Hard work is all he’s ever known, and Steele’s message of hard work resonated with him. “I wanted to know how Mr. Steele got to where he is,” George said.
There was no disappointment in the fiery messages given by Steele, Watts and Cain on Saturday in Savannah. Steele drove home the point that the Republican Party is not dead, contrary to the headlines in the mainstream media. He spoke about the sanctity of life and the protection of marriage. But, he warned, “We are watching a wholesale undermining of what your mother and father built in this nation, and they are being cute about it by using flowery language and Teleprompters.”
He went on to say, “The Republican Party’s credibility as the reliably conservative choice has been damaged, and it’s up to us to fix it. Faith, freedom, personal responsibility, respect for life and prosperity” Then he added, “Like a bad diet, liberalism will kill you. It’s a drug we don’t need to be hooked on. We are what stand between an America of prosperity or dependency. Which one do you want?” For that crowd, they wanted the Republican values of Michael Steele.
J. C Watts followed Steele, and he did not disappoint. Watts believes the leadership in Washington is disconnected from the grassroots. He told the story of a football team who lost a game 177-0. There was nothing they did right and nothing good to say about a loss like that. They had to go back to basics. “In the locker room after the game, the coach held up a football and said, ‘This is a football.’ That is where the Republican Party is today. They need to get back to basics.”
Watts continued by saying, “We will fight to make sure the working families and single moms they can keep as much money as they can…we don’t need more taxes, we need more taxpayers. We will encourage people to go to the market place and create wealth the right way. Profits are not a bad word. Profits are how jobs are created.”
This Republican gathering is not what you would expect if you only read Newsweek or Time. This bunch weree optimistic, diverse and noisy. There were people with tea bags affixed to their hats and stickers on their clothes. The most popular was “Real Conservatives Don’t Veto Tax Cuts,” a not-so-veiled reference to Gov. Sonny Perdue’s veto of a tax cut bill last week before declaring that “supply-side economics isn’t always the answer.” But even Gov. Perdue was welcomed with “standing O’s” coming and going from this event.
So what about Bruce George? He is back at school with a new view of how to approach his fellow students about conservative values. He said Steele pointed out to him hard work never stops. You reach a goal, and you have to reset it and work hard to get off the plateau and move to the next goal.
That’s what the Republican Party is doing in Georgia. Georgia Republicans are building on their majority in a state that has a long uncut string of Republican dominance. They learned from Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ runoff of 2008 and want to ensure Sen. Isakson’s reelection in 2010 does not go down the same road. All of this is bundled with Steele spreading the enthusiasm around the country as he goes from meeting to meeting, town to town.
Randy Evans, outgoing General Counsel to the Georgia GOP and lawyer to Newt Gingrich and J. C. Watts, said, “We had a good convention. It was a legitimate criticism in the past to say ‘where’s anybody that looks like me?’ But that’s not true today. With Sue Everhart, Michael Steele, J. C. Watts and Herman Cain, as well as people of color and women up and down the ballot running as Republicans, we’ve got women, minorities — the whole nine yards.”
The mainstream media reports that Republicans are moving too far to the right in light of President Obama’s win. Steele argues that when the country is being jerked so far to the left so quickly, we are standing firm, and the left is the one moving.
Conservatives are the anchor in this storm, and if they don’t believe in what they are doing, who will? But more importantly, if we continue to fail, what will it cost the nation? Georgia Republicans are ready to fight that battle. Are you?
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