Consider this your Friday evening palate cleanser — and a very welcome one at that.  As the ritual center-right circular firing squad gathers over the very ugly mess in Mississippi, I give you a delightful and clever web ad produced by an African-American conservative running for office in a neighboring state.  Meet Darius Foster, a black Republican from the deep South who will not be pigeonholed:


“Now that you know a little about me, do I really fit in a box?”

The spot startles at the onset (is that her voice?), arresting the viewer’s attention.  The middle section offers a fun, and at times stirring, glimpse into a Foster’s life.  Viewers aren’t bombarded with slogans, campaign pledges, or ideology; they’re meeting a man.  A man with normal interests, relatable quirks, a compelling life story, and a wife he’s crazy about.  The ad closes with the intended upshot: Don’t pre-judge me based on my race or party.  Give me a fair hearing based on who I am, and what I believe. “See you on the campaign trail.”  Light, yet powerful.  As conservatives grapple with the challenge of appealing to non-traditional voting blocs — an existential necessity for the GOP moving forrward — they’d be wise to pay attention to Foster’s approach here.  Show up, be real, knock down unfair barriers to entry erected by self-interested liberals, then stick around and listen.  I dearly hope ads like this, and not like these, represent the future of Republicans’ minority outreach efforts.  If you’re interested in learning more about Mr. Foster, candidate for state representative, click through to his website.  He’s a social conservative who supports school choice and advocates for prison sentencing reform.  Here’s a brief statement of values, simply entitled “what I believe:”

This may be a bit unconventional for a campaign website, but I am going to share a brief story that will hopefully communicate what I believe. Like many others, while growing up, our family fell on tough times. Though my grandmother worked two jobs, and I worked part-time to help, one particular month, we could not make ends meet. My grandmother went to apply for social services, but when they told her that the amount she’d receive was equal to her working a few more hours a week, she declined the support. She decided that we would buckle down at home. She did not like being dependent; still doesn’t. I suppose she felt like there were people who needed the benefits more than us. From what I remember, though, that is not to say we would not have been justified in taking temporary help; we really needed it. Moving forward, my grandmother insisted we take better care of what we did have. She became tougher on me with keeping the inside and outside of the house presentable. That was standard for our block. Although none of us had much, all of the parents and grandparents on the block took care of it. We soon had one of the cleanest, most peaceful blocks in the neighborhood. Through their pride, responsibility, and dignity, my grandmother and the other parents that lived on our block showed me that communities thrive when the people who live there take ownership in them, no matter the economic circumstance. This is not only what I believe; this is what I know to be true.

Foster will face incredible odds in the fall: The unopposed Democratic incumbent (who just lost his primary) carried the district with…98.4 percent of the vote the last time the seat was up.