Republicans often claim that African-American voters should dump their allegiance to the Democratic Party and give them a fair hearing. One pastor in Chicago wants to give them that opportunity. Corey Brooks says that a half-century of lockstep support for Democrats has left them locked in the same problems and the same lack of hope. It’s time to try something different — but will Republicans take advantage of the invitation? The Daily Beast’s Justin Glawe reports on the O Block Opening:
“African-Americans have been loyal to the Democratic Party,” Pastor Corey Brooks said. “But there is a group of African-Americans that feel like the Democratic Party has not been loyal to us.”
Not far from O Block — named for a fallen gang member killed by a female assassin — is New Beginnings Church of Chicago, where Brooks sat in his office Wednesday morning laying out the case for Republican presidential candidates to visit the area.
So far, only Rand Paul already has taken him up on his offer – extended to all candidates of each party. The two walked through Parkway Gardens, an apartment complex along O Block, after Paul’s speech to his congregation. …
“We have a large, disproportionate number of people who are impoverished. We have a disproportionate number of people who are incarcerated, we have a disproportionate number of people who are unemployed, the educational system has totally failed, and all of this primarily has been under Democratic regimes in our neighborhoods.” Brooks said from the office of New Beginnings Church of Chicago, his own, Wednesday morning. “So, the question for me becomes, how can our neighborhoods be doing so awful and so bad when we’re so loyal to this party who is in power? It’s a matter of them taking complete advantage of our vote.”
Brooks is a Republican, one who has been outspoken about the results of Democratic machine politics for quite some time. Now, though, Brooks believes that his community and others like it are ready to look for a change. Looking, however, requires options to be available. Other than Rand Paul, Brooks hasn’t had any luck getting Republican presidential hopefuls to come by, although Scott Walker and Ted Cruz are discussing it with the pastor.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve done some traveling and interacting with people on this issue. Reince Priebus made a point of the need to engage outside Republican comfort zones to expand the party’s reach, but the people to whom I spoke have not seen much evidence that Republicans have learned this lesson. Black and Hispanic conservatives in traditionally Democratic areas insist that their friends and neighbors are willing to hear alternatives, even if they don’t immediately choose them. But just opening up an office isn’t enough, nor is data collection going to solve this problem. We have to become their neighbors, show them we are more interested in solving their problems than solving our own. Until that happens, all we’re doing is talking at them rather than talking with them.
A month ago, Breitbart’s Sonnie Johnson gave a tremendous speech about the need to “love” people in order to reach them — not lecture them, not condescend to them, but to know them as they are and engage them. At the end, Sonnie exhorts those disgusted with Democratic policies to “come and eat with us,” but that’s a message that has to work both ways. We have to sit down and eat with them, live with them, and show that Republicans value them. Until that happens, we will leave those communities stuck in a one-party monopoly that diminishes us all.
Let’s hope that Republican presidential contenders start putting Pastor Corey Brooks on speed dial.