INDIANAPOLIS, IN (April 13, 2013) — Lenny McAllister at the first annual conference held by the Minority Coalition for Alternatives to Public Policy (MCAPP), held in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Below are his written remarks:
The theme today for MCAPP (the Minority Coalition for Alternatives in Public Policy) is “Truth – Empowerment – Choice.”
We know that one of our goals politically is to bring the message of political choice to more minority voters. We know that we want to be successful at this mission and, moreso, we believe that it is of utmost importance that we must be successful at this mission. America cannot grow into its fullest potential if we continue to leave behind scores of young talents and countless amounts of human capital – undeveloped thought leaders and uncultivated innovators that we let wither on the vine due to our civic and political failures.
We know that we want to facilitate empowerment for our communities, especially many of our minority communities that are hurting, detached, disillusioned, and left behind in the ashes of the aftermath of what some call progress. We know that we cannot empower the United States of America to overcome national debt, civic divisiveness, and political corruption and mistrust until we empower more people to overcome the personal recessions we face during the Great Recession. If more minorities are not empowered through access to a stronger economy or better schools, we know that our advocacy for personal accountability and empowerment is nothing more than a message faulting a slew of go-cart racers for their inability to win in the Indianapolis 500.
This gets us to Truth.
If we are going to bring the joy of personal empowerment and the freedom of empowering political choice, we have to begin speaking truth – amongst ourselves as conservatives, amongst ourselves as minorities, and amongst ourselves as hurting Americans.
We bring a lot of truth in regards to what the Republican Party’s history is. Rand Paul did that just this past week at Howard University. We bring a lot of truth when it comes to the one-off treatment we as minority conservatives get from minority and youth communities throughout America, particularly in the Era of Obama. We bring a lot of truth when it comes to the fiscal numbers, urban violence statistics, and unemployment rates that impact minority communities, particularly those that are under rigid Democratic political control.
We speak a lot of truth at a lot of people already. Yet, it is not enough, as we already know. Speaking truth at people is hardly a model for true success when we fail to truly communicate with people.
What we refuse to do – and what I want to do briefly today – is speak to truth…about the do’s and don’t’s that will enable us to bridge our communities – particularly, our hurting communities in areas where minorities are lagging behind in the pursuit of the American Dream – to a better way of life.
Folks, let me ask a very simple question: are we promoting our political positions as conservatives to minorities in America because we love these communities and because we love America – or are we parading ourselves as Black and minority conservatives because it makes us the flavor of the month in the eyes of the national media?
This is not an attack on any one person in this room. Instead, it is a question that each one of us – including me – must ask every single morning before we open our mouths, tweet our first message, or write our first political blog post of the day.
If we are not on this mission…this mission to bring the conservative message to minority voters as a viable, hope-giving, and life-improving choice that offers a new sense of empowerment and success…if we are not on this mission because you love our communities, then you are truly a traitor to our communities and deserve all of the scorn that you receive from those communities as a Black conservative.
At the same time, if you truly do love our communities – and this love is what drives you to act politically and civically as conservatives – then the only thing that will allow you to strive and have success in our mission past the scorn, name-calling, isolation, and personal threats will be that love of our communities.
Nothing else will do. And that truth must ring true in every message, every tone, and every position that we take as conservatives to the hurting minority communities we engage moving onward from here.
And, out of love of America and for our communities, we must always remember that we are dealing with thousands – in fact, millions – of Americans in pain, folks that have been hurting for years, if not for generations.
Let’s be clear – that is the mission: turning around these realities of pain with a truth that is rooted in love and sprouted with a political choice that will empower them for better lives for themselves, their children and their grandchildren.
For years, we want to talk to people that we call “emotional voters” with facts and figures, only to wonder why they have no connection with us. For the future, it’s time that we talk to those voters with genuine concern and lasting relationships, so that they know we care about them as Americans, not just American voters.
If historical and economic facts and figures are the proverbial roof to keep our communities safe and secure through conservative policies, we must not fail to make the foundation of the building be genuine civic and personal love.
Love speaks in warmth to people that are hurting. Speaking solely with fiery passion or angry tones often only festers the wounds. Speaking in anger about the actions of Democrats during Jim Crow has never made a collection of Black voters forget about Southern Strategy and the Willie Horton and Jeremiah Wright ads. Speaking in anger has never made a person put aside their pain long enough to listen to a new idea or envision a better way of life. Speaking in anger rarely offers the promise of healing that broken people crave. It simply only justifies hurt, not replace it with something more.
We are healers. We are here to replace the pain with prosperity through our principles and subsequent solutions.
Love speaks of vision and direction. It inspires the hopeless to new realities and offers a hand of truth and relationship to those that have been abandoned for years by both parties.
Love facilitates political savvyness. It prompts genuine communication. It forces us to stop talking at people and start speaking with people.
Love is the spark that lights the fire of passion that great political leaders use to illuminate a new path for the disillusioned. It allows us to understand the psyche of pain, the depth of desperation, and the longing for better options that most within our communities face.
And, trust me: they want better options. They want us to succeed.
Therefore, our truth today is: we have to do this better. Our love for our communities is the only thing that shows our genuine desire to be a positive difference in our communities. Right now, that failure to reflect that genuine concern is the flaw that keeps us from connecting with these communities as a viable political option for civic and electoral leadership.
It is imperative that we show enough love for our communities – our people…our fellow Americans. We must begin to engage them and accept them where they are right now. Talking down to the downtrodden only keeps them in the ditch of the side of the road of society. They did not get there overnight, so we have to love them enough to meet them where they are politically right now and be there consistently over time until they get to where we hope they will be – back on the road that pursues the American Dream.
We have to love them enough to have real relationships with the communities, not just have 90-day long political engagements with communities. We must be present in the communities always, not just parachute into key precincts every September. That means fighting for our communities in April and breaking bread with them during Juneteenth celebrations. That means embracing their mistrust of us whole-heartedly until they see us as brothers and sisters, not sellouts and minstrel shows. That means that we must always avoid the slightest bit of condescension, judgment, and haughtiness when we talk, even when we are met initially with ridicule and contempt.
As minority conservatives working with minority voters, we are clearly in the life-or-death business. The power of life and death – politically, civically, and…in many cases…literally – rests in your tongues. Never forget that, for that is a truth that can lead thousands to political empowerment and choice or continue to keep them at arm’s length from us.
Our task is to foster leadership and widespread prosperity, not continue the divide and maintain the despair.
The truth is: we need to foster relationships out of love for these communities that will outlast the media trends and partisan name-calling. And, to be sure: relationships are not 1-directional or are they 1-dimensional. They are not constructs that allow some to speak down to others about history, economy, or partisanship. Relationships – and notably the ones we must create and maintain to change America for the better in minority communities – are ones that are both mutually beneficial and mutually respectful. Until we are consistently capable of showing the benefits of minorities having ongoing relationships with political conservatives, we will never win the benefit of minority voters’ ongoing support at the ballot box, in the mainstream media, and in the daily discussions in our communities. If we don’t really show that we care, they will never really accept any amount of facts and figures from us. Without the foundation of civic and personal love, the historical and economic roof of great facts and figures will simply blow around aimlessly in the political winds.
We can – and we will – change this, though, through the leadership of organizations such as MCAPP.
We can do it. We can – and will – get a new truth out there that will empower minorities with a new choice moving onward.
We will do it through talking about our love for new business growth in urban areas and our desire for better schools of all kinds in our neighborhoods instead of wasting time talking about our hatred for public schools, poverty pimps, and the Democratic Plantation.
We will do it through creating and discussing empowering
solutions for the future that will shine on for the next 150 years instead of wasting our time talking about political history from 150 years ago during this age of Instant Gratification.
We will do it through inspiring people to think, not prodding them to anger. We will bring truth to them through advocacy, humility, and persistence in addition to sharing with them facts and figures.
We will stand for them in love even when some other conservatives stand against them out of politics, showing all that our definition of justice and constitutionality is not tainted by partisan whims, but colored by the principle of liberty and justice for us.
We will do it by loving our communities enough to embrace all of the pain they feel, the separation they have endured, and the nervousness they have to step into the unknown – and we will be there for them, even when they falter on their journey to a new political reality and a better civic way of life.
Political love can heal. Political language will only continue to divide. We must be healers, MCAPP, not mere politicians. Our goal is to be historic for the sake of saving lives, not be trendy for the sake of making a way of life for ourselves.
Being visible out of expediency will make us popular and give us a chance to have talks. Being present in this fight out of love will make us historic and give us a chance for meaningful endeavors based on love, trust, and respect – ones that will turn the course of our communities and our nation with political change, civic advancement, and community empowerment.
But the truth is: there is no chance for true political empowerment or a gateway to new political choices if the truth we offer does not reflect a love for our communities in all that we do. MCAPP, do we love America and our hurting communities to embrace our love for the communities and use politics as a tool to change lives, or do we simply just love politics and hope that communities change their tune?
I believe that each of us is a leader and healer. Therefore, it is time for us to love our communities through politics and be historic with the change in public policies that so many so desperately need.
Thank you for this opportunity to speak with you today. God Bless your efforts as leaders, God Bless the wonderful state of Indiana, and God Bless the United States of America.
Also now available on Kindle