Harvard University, circa 1988
The party, as the kids say today, “was on and poppin’.” My friend, Leon Betchett, a second-year law student, and I were so pumped-up and excited. We could feel the pulse of the music from the speakers as we walked up the stairs to the house party; my first party before graduate classes would soon begin.
Sensing the caldron we were about to enter, my wise friend gave me a gentle warning that I would soon foolishly ignore to my own detriment – “Ellis, please don’t talk about politics!”
As the party ensued, Leon and I met many beautiful, bold, confident and exceedingly intelligent young women from all over the world. Seemingly with each breath I took, I felt my worldview expanding to even higher heights and deeper depths – until a conversation I was having with several young ladies veered off into politics, particularly the subject of black feminism.
In the sprit of a rigorous exchange of ideas, I told the women I thought the feminist movement was a white woman’s movement and totally irrelevant to black women because of it’s central presuppositions – that before the feminist movement of the early 1970s, women were locked up in the house, excluded from the job market and involuntarily shackled with kids. This view simply did not fit the social or historical paradigm of virtually any black woman in America I knew of, including my mother, my grandmothers and my great aunts.
Well, well, well, after that last statement the conversation took a precipitous downturn to hell as the spirit of Sistergirl entered the room.
These three erudite, classy, intelligent black Harvard graduate students surrounded me and suddenly transformed themselves into Lady Macbeth, Nurse Ratchet and Hillary Rodham Clinton as they in unison went nuclear on me. They read me the riot act and essentially characterized me as a crazy, uninformed idiot.
From another room, my buddy Leon heard all of the commotion and rushed in to my aid, but his altruism and intervention was all to no avail. I and I alone had committed the unpardonable sin of liberalism – Thou shalt not have an independent thought (apart from liberal dogma).
After the party, I knew that my political and intellectual life would never be the same again. Like Caesar, who with his Roman Legions boldly marched onto Rome in 49 B.C., I had now crossed the Rubicon and had forsaken liberalism forever.
This night I became a conservative.
In despair but with resolve, I sat down at my dorm desk, took out a sheet of paper, drew a line down the middle and wrote at the top of the paper: “Liberal Democrat” and “Conservative Republican.” I then wrote down the basic core tenets of these two political ideologies, and at the end I was surprised to realize that the majority of my ideas and ideals lay with the conservative movement.
Could a black man in America be accepted into the party of Ronald Reagan as a full-fledged member?
The year 1988 was a time of great angst for the largely liberal faculty and student body at Harvard because (in their view) America had greatly suffered for eight years under a Ronald Reagan administration. Many of my own people to this day consider Reagan the Antichrist. Why? Because the number of letters in his name, Ronald Wilson Reagan, amount to the number of the Antichrist of the Book of Revelation – 666.
Like any new convert I set upon the task of educating myself regarding the tenets of classical conservatism. I got a subscription to the National Review and the Conservative Chronicle and read every book I could find in the used bookstores by Bill Buckley, Gertrude Himmelfarb, Walter Williams, Thomas Sowell, Antonin Scalia, Robert Bork and others. I also studied the political speeches of President Reagan.
But deep down in my soul, the desire I had most was to “convert” my fellow black brothers and sisters who have voted for liberal Democrats at over 90 percent since FDR’s first term in 1933 – for over three quarters of a century. But how could I achieve such a feat?
In a recent letter to Republican leaders in Georgia, I wrote about my strategy of affecting a Black Republican majority:
My main intent is to help the Republican Party return to being the party of Lincoln, the party of the disenfranchised, not by government largess no matter how well-intentioned, but by helping black people to help themselves. In my weekly column on WorldNetDaily, I delineate many strategies that can help the Republican Party recapture the majority black vote they once enjoyed from 1870-1932, after which time blacks left the party en masse in the early 1930s at the urging of W.E.B. Dubois and the NAACP to vote for FDR.
Black people have voted Democrat at over 90 percent ever since that time. With your help, I want change that tragic scenario that has so decimated the real and vested interests of black people all over America.
To this end I have started writing a new Thursday column for WorldNetDaily exclusively on the tragic crisis of leadership plaguing black people in Detroit due to the multiple scandals, corruption, perjury, fraud allegations and failed liberal policies of Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick – using the paradigm of Detroit, a once great city which now has the ignominious epitaph by Forbes Magazine: “The most miserable city in America.” With your help, I want to change that.
It’s been 20 years of giving lectures to students from grades 4-12, as well as to college and law schools students; 20 years of writing books, publishing scholarly articles on law, politics, political philosophy, critical race theory, feminism, education and other subjects, which the powers that be in the Republican Party have largely ignored. A few have offered words of encouragement, but no one has offered me the resources I need to further this most defensible and worthy cause of substantive political coalition building.
Thank God for WorldNetDaily founder Joseph Farah, who a little over a year ago gave me a voice to present consistently my intellectual ideas and share them with the vast and intelligent readership of the WorldNetDaily audience, a readership I believe to be one of the most sophisticated audiences in the world.
Twenty years of offering my intellectual, strategic and tactical abilities in vain to the Republican Party to utilize my skills to build new and more substantive coalitions, has not dimmed my resolve nor provoked me to lash out in anger at their missed opportunity. Nevertheless, I do hope that readers of this column will circulate this article to the Republican National Committee and to GOP branches in all 50 states as a urgent plea for genuine coalition building.
The RNC must ask itself why my fellow black Americans would sign up to join a party that has long ago forsaken the conservatism of Ronald Reagan and seems more interested in mimicking slogans of Obama – “consensus,” “change,” “bringing America together.” Ignore the black vote at your own doom. Remember the last couple of elections have been virtually 50/50.
What attractiveness to black people is there to a political party dominated by legions of gray-haired white men in dark suits who seem more interested in securing a better tee time at their local country club than in doing the down and dirty work of substantive coalition building? I cannot answer these questions, but be answered they must!
Nevertheless, the heroic and transcendent ideas and ideals of conservatism and the Constitution’s Framers mean infinitely more to me, to my worldview and to my life as a Christian, as a black man struggling to support his family in America than all the power, position and privilege of mere men.
And that’s why I became a conservative.
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