herman cain, black conservatism, and the ideological buffet

i must admit, i never paid much attention to herman cain.  aside from the very obvious black-man-running-for-the-republican-party-presidential-nomination factor, i didn’t find him or his political ideology very interesting.  sure, he was deliberately provocative and had some george-bush-worthy moments–e.g., his incoherent response to a question concerning president obama’s handling of the libyan uprising–but like bush jr., his southern drawl and underplayed intelligence was seemingly part of his appeal to “common” folk.

although a black man run for the republican party presidential nomination may be shocking to some, the republican party has a long history of black involvement.  in fact, the national black republican association is an active organization that recently caused a stir with its “martin luther king jr. was a republican” campaign.  further, the republican party heavily recruits among black church leadership and the black middle class–i’ve experienced the latter personally.

while i’ve been very critical of this country’s two-party political system, what’s most interesting about herman cain and black republicans is not their political affiliation, but the social conservatism many black folks in america espouse.  the republican party line largely surrounds values and morality–a paradigm that resonates with church-going-upwardly-mobile blacks who tend to have a drastically different perspective on social issues, such as homosexual marriage and abortion, than white liberals.   however, the aforementioned blacks often support a broad social safety net and affirmative action policies, historically democratic party principles. 

socially conservative, politically liberal, it seems many blacks pick and chose between omnipresent american ideologies.  but why?

our decades long allegiance to the democrat party hasn’t translated into any real socioeconomic change; i seriously doubt an affinity towards the republican party will be much different.  facing the 2012 elections, i challenge us to envision the world drastically different.  envision one where we set our own agenda–get out of line at the ideological buffet, and instead prepare our own meals.

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