After hearing all of the hype, mostly in the form of derision, about the revamped website for the Republican National Committee, I thought I would mosey on over and check it out myself. Now, I'd heard about Michael Steele's blog "What Up?" but apparently that title has changed. But it was the page of Republican heroes that really caught my attention.
I believe that every Republican that invokes the black folks who were a part of the party in its past needs to make sure they offer a caveat about the Southern Strategy, as well as the sea change that swept the South, when white Southerners RAN from the Democratic Party, mostly over Civil Rights issues, that they'd controlled for generations (the Democratic Party also needs to remind people of its problematic history as well), Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms are emblematic of the shift. We've now reached a point in time when young white Southern Republicans might be shocked to find that their grandparents or great-grandparents were Democrats who loathed anything associated with Republicans (once known as the party of the dreaded Negro, Carpetbagger and Scalawag).
With that in mind, I am glad that Steele has been pushing to show the former diversity of the GOP. The harder task is trying to get a broader cross section of the country to accept the new tenets of the current GOP, which are essentially the political perspectives of white Southerners and Christianists who really are quite comfortable with big government (when that government serves their purposes), but deride it when big government serves those they do not feel deserve it. That diversity will not be easy to achieve.
I genuinely wish Michael Steele well. It will be a great thing to see a more diverse Republican Party. The current Democratic Party does not need a monopoly on racial, ethnic and sexual minorities. It's not good for the country to have one party be, essentially, the party of Americans of primarily European descent (various classes represented), and the other party the one for everyone else. It's also important for folks in both parties to understand their histories, and how the demographics of their parties changed (and why). It's all about keeping it real.
Hey! Maybe "Keeping it Real" should be the title of Steele's blog instead.