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In what I thought was a parody interview, Michael Steele, head the of the Republican National Committee, the same man who failed to challenge a cable show host when he compared white Republicans to Nazis, told GQ magazine this:
Why do you think so few nonwhite Americans support the Republican Party right now?
‘Cause we have offered them nothing! And the impression weâ€™ve created is that we donâ€™t give a damn about them or we just outright donâ€™t like them. And thatâ€™s not a healthy thing for a political party. I think the way weâ€™ve talked about immigration, the way weâ€™ve talked about some of the issues that are important to African-Americans, like affirmative actionâ€¦ I mean, you know, having an absolute holier-than-thou attitude about something thatâ€™s important to a particular community doesnâ€™t engender confidence in your leadership by that communityâ€”or consideration of you for office or other thingsâ€”because youâ€™ve already given off the vibe that you donâ€™t care. What Iâ€™m trying to do now is to say we do give a damn.
Here’s the problem with Steele’s thinking. Forget for a moment that he’s head of the Republican National Committee â€“ a leader, for crying out loud. The offered-them-nothing refrain is why skin color outreach is counterproductive (not to mention useless). To me, it reeks of condescension. Whenever politicians start doing “minority outreach,” they treat people like children. What concerns should black Americans have that are different from everyone else’s? What “black issue” is more important than individual liberty, for instance? What “African American” concern trumps the necessity to uphold traditional values that have served American families and the nation well since its inception? What’s holier-than-thou about stating what you believe and defending your position?
For example, many people believe “affirmative action” (a euphemism for race preferences) is abhorrent, insulting, and immoral. People fought and died to get the government out of the skin color business. That’s what the whole civil rights movement was about! Yet Steele thinks opposing the continued practice of race preferences is to take an “absolute holier-than-thou attitude?” The GOP has got to be regretting Michael Steele’s chairmanship. And I don’t blame them.
But then again, I’m not a Republican, so I don’t have a dog in this fight.
If the “African-American” issues comment weren’t bad enough, Steele’s comments on child killing certainly are. This made me downright queasy:
How much of your pro-life stance, for you, is informed not just by your Catholic faith but by the fact that you were adopted?
Oh, a lot. Absolutely. I see the power of life in thatâ€”I mean, and the power of choice! The thing to keep in mind about itâ€¦ Uh, you know, I think as a country we get off on these misguided conversations that throw around terms that really misrepresent truth.
The choice issue cuts two ways. You can choose life, or you can choose abortion. You know, my mother chose life. So, you know, I think the power of the argument of choice boils down to stating a case for one or the other.
Are you saying you think women have the right to choose abortion?
Yeah. I mean, again, I think thatâ€™s an individual choice.
Michael Steele, Republican, is pro-choice. I didn’t know this. You see, this is why being conservative is more important than being Republican. Being a conservative Christian is even more important. You either believe abortion is wrong, or you don’t. If you think women should be allowed to kill their babies for whatever reason, you’re not pro-life. There is no middle ground.
“I believe abortion is wrong,” some say, “but I support a woman’s right to kill her baby.”
Does that make any sense? It’s a weasel position typically expressed by people who don’t have the guts to call a thing what it is or take the heat for wanting to protect children, regardless of the consequences.
People seem to think it’s enlightened, intelligent, and/or sophisticated to support a woman’s right to choose to kill her baby. To hold the absolute position that child killing, in any case, is always wrong, is to risk being considered ignorant and/or a religious zealot.
Count me among the right-wing religious wackos, then.
The Republican party is in a quandary. You’ve got your first black chairman, but when he talks to mainstream media, he sounds like a liberal…and ashamed to be a “black Republican.” That’s a problem. But you’ve made your proverbial bed. Toss and turn, if you must, but lie in it you will.
Update: According to Politico, Michael Steele backtracked on his child killing stance:
I am pro-life, always have been, always will be.
I tried to present why I am pro life while recognizing that my mother had a “choice” before deciding to put me up for adoption. I thank her every day for supporting life. The strength of the pro life movement lies in choosing life and sharing the wisdom of that choice with those who face difficult circumstances. They did that for my mother and I am here today because they did. In my view Roe vs. Wade was wrongly decided and should be repealed. I realize that there are good people in our party who disagree with me on this issue.
But the Republican Party is and will continue to be the party of life. I support our platform and its call for a Human Life Amendment. It is important that we stand up for the defenseless and that we continue to work to change the hearts and minds of our fellow countrymen so that we can welcome all children and protect them under the law.
Why didn’t Steele say all that to the GQ reporter? It’s possible he said something similar, but the reporter left it out.
When talking to reporters, you’ve got to remember that they have an agenda, which is the story’s angle. If you hold a controversial position, you’ve must speak in black and white terms. Talking to reporter is no time to be wishy-washy. Say what you believe, and don’t allow the reporter to get you to qualify your answer. This attitude probably is why mainstream news reporters conveniently exclude my quotes. I won’t compromise just to see my name in a news story.
Unsolicited advice for Steele: Stay out of the spotlight and get to work!