Via the Boston Globe
[Adam] Hunter, 22, is a first-year law student at Howard University, a historically black campus with a long record of liberal activism. He has political ambitions of his own -- but not with the Democrats.
Instead, Hunter, who as an undergraduate headed Howard's chapter of College Republicans, sees himself as part of a younger generation of African-Americans. He is ready to cast aside traditional loyalties to the Democratic Party and forge his own political identity.
Hunter is one of a growing number of young African-Americans leaving the party of their parents and grandparents in favor of the GOP -- or choosing not to have a political affiliation at all.
Oh, well. Again, another instance of generations not knowing what occurred before they came adulthood. Remember the Biblical passage in Exodus: "Then came a Pharoah who knew not Joseph."? This time, it's a bunch of Josephs who knew not Pharoah. Says Hunter:
''My father and I are not that different, ideologically, but if you look at the time period we grew up in, that's where we're different," Hunter said. ''My foundation doesn't make me beholden to the Democratic Party. To me there's nothing more undemocratic than the idea that you have to vote for a Democrat or don't vote at all come Election Day."
For some of us, we think of this time as being Reverse Reconstruction II.
Why use the term Reconstruction?
Because when the First Reconstruction ended (after a backroom deal that gave Republican Rutherford B. Hayes the presidency over Democrat Samuel Tilden), whites began to whittle or hack away at black citizenship and self-determination in the South, using lynching and race riots as tools of terrorism.
Blacks clung to being Republicans, even though the party largely turned a blind eye to black concerns in collusion with Democrats, until the Depression, and the administrations of Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy and Johnson broke the traditional stranglehood of Republicans' counting on the black vote. The civil rights era may have begun under the Republicans, but it hit its stride during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. It's also known among blacks as the Second Reconstruction during the Sixties and the Seventies, when blacks gained ground and continued what the First Reconstruction had barely begun.
Dems now find the situation reversed because a perceived inability to offer opportunity and to share power within the Party to blacks--the same thing that Republicans, in their turn, ignored. Barack Obama is only one black Dem. There should be more like him or not like him, and not, lord help us, Harold Ford. As yet, there is little I see Dems doing, except for Howard Dean, willing to do more grassroots organizing, revisioning and promoting.
This generation of blacks typified by Adam Hunter want to make money; there's nothing inherently wrong with this. But compared to Repubs, in my opinion, Dems made more money for everybody. Unfortunately many are refusing to see this, while looking for the next big deal.
No doubt this is a perception borne out by class. Lower/middle class blacks are more willing to see that Bush has been a disaster, since they are the ones directly impacted by his and previous Repub policies and tactics. But they may just sit out 2008. Why? Because certain blacks are beginning to see Dems just as the Repubs and the hate machine have depicted them: as cowardly (for refusing to defend them as well as reconstitute the old alliance), and bankrupt of ideas and strategies other than trying to regain white votes long gone.
''I think there's an extreme danger" of losing black votes to the GOP, said Lamell McMorris, an African-American political consultant who heads the Washington-based Perennial Strategies. Democrats are still relying on their civil rights record and are not pitching new ideas to young, professional blacks seeking to build businesses and personal wealth.
''As time goes on, you're dealing with a generation of individuals who, in their mind, are very far removed from the civil rights movement," said McMorris, who is 32. ''You cannot keep going on this romanticized, ideological civil rights agenda and think you can reach out to African-Americans of my generation.' "
''What the Democrats have not been able to do is to come up with a new vision, a new voice, a new perspective, a way to reach out to younger members of the African-American community," he said. ''In that area, I think the Republicans have done a better job."
Yeah, they are doing a better job at dividing and conquering. Remember, this is the same party of the estranged and disaffected whites who felt threatened by blacks getting 'special' opportunities from Dems, opportunties like the vote, jobs, and housing. This is the same party that gouged out educational and economic programs meant to assist blacks (and others) into joining the mainstream. This is the same party that the DLC wants to emulate at the expense of their traditional constituency, in order to outReagan them and win back whites. Now, after all this damage, Repubs are now glad-handing those same blacks, those, however, with the 'right' idea and promoting Rice, Keyes, Blackwell, Powell and others as GOP 'stars.'
As long as Dems keep footdragging, refusing to take a firm stand on current issues impacting blacks, refusing to step up and challenge old patterns of being and dealing, the old alliance will continue to erode. Caught between the young on one side who'll change sides or will not vote, and the black pastors who'll take a payoff to inveigh against gay marriage--a line of attack that assuages their mostly female parishioners, but divides the community still further--the black vote will be split. 2008 can't come any closer, but will it be time enough for Dems to regroup on this issue?