Dear conservatives running for president in 2016,
Two weeks ago, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) had an opportunity to set the tone for what it means to be a Christian conservative. He missed it. When I watched his first campaign ad, I noticed his faith was front and center, and as a Christian, that made me glad. The next thing I noticed, however, was the lack of diversity in his ad. I was left wondering, as I often am when it comes to conservatism, “Where is the diversity?” As Christians we should lead the world in celebrating diversity. It shouldn’t be an afterthought, or even a political tactic. And yet even as a political tactic, we conservatives are failing.
I’ve heard the debates, and I understand the truth found in them. Black people prove cycle after cycle that for many of us we have one political requirement: Democrat. How can a Republican compete with that? I submit that it can be done very easily — by showing that you care about black people, whether they vote for you or not. Contrary to what you might think, black people are looking at the campaign videos and listening to the conversation, and it’s not just “in the bag” for Hillary Clinton. Among other things, we are upset about the comparison of our skin color to homosexuality. We are also fed up with how our communities fare decade after decade.
Rand Paul (R-KY) did better in his campaign ad. Paul’s ad says to me that he sees black people and that he’s not shy when it comes to caring about them publicly. I saw a brown face in the first 30 seconds of his ad, and in the first minute and a half I saw a clear acknowledgement that liberal policies have destroyed minority communities for generations. When a political candidate mentions this, not under duress but as a clear plank in his campaign, it appears genuine and is quite frankly impressive.
As expected, Hilary Clinton outpaces both Cruz and Paul when it comes to having an ad that acknowledges every ethnic corner of the country. From babies to business owners, Clinton’s ad appears to include everyone. And while the argument can be made that she actually cares very little about the people she represents in her ad, again from babies to business owners, no one will deny she left no stone unturned in her search for constituent representation.
But the question is did she really capture everyone? She didn’t. The dust is settling from the “first-black-president” phenomenon that is Barak Obama, and black, God-fearing Christians can see clearly the wolf in sheep’s clothing he’s actually been. Black people who fear God reject homosexuality. We reject the murder of innocent babies. And we take note of those who treat Israel with disdain. If Hilary Clinton thinks black people will overlook anymore affronts to our faith, she should really think again.
Republicans have an incredible opportunity to speak to a group of people they have dismissed for years, but that conversation cannot even start if conservatives won’t so much as feature us in their ads. Republicans who have and will throw their hats in the race for president will serve themselves and our country well by not dismissing the Christian black conservative. Don’t assume that in the present political climate black Christians will ignore the attempts to redefine marriage, family, and the church. Don’t assume we don’t care. Don’t assume we don’t matter. It’s insulting. Don’t let the election of Hilary Clinton be a self-fulfilling prophecy because Christian conservatives were dismissive. It’s time for Christian conservatives to show what we are valued. A love and acknowledgement of all people should be high on the list.