Politics? I knew everything I needed to know upon casting my very first vote for Bill Clinton in 1996. I didn’t know much about economics but I knew Democrats cared for the poor. I didn’t know much about history but I knew Democrats looked out for us black folks. From a young child, I was conditioned to believe that Republicans were mostly racist white men that only cared for the rich. My conventional wisdom was derived from many sources (television, Hollywood movies, the public school system, my family, etc.). For example, people such as Clarence Thomas were often ridiculed and referred to as an Uncle Tom or a sell-out on television. So quite naturally, I identified as a Democrat and conformed to my environment.
There were no black Republicans in my home town of Gary, Indiana (at least none that I knew of). Local politicians overwhelmingly ran on the Democratic ticket for city, municipal and county offices. Being that my city is nestled in Northwest Indiana, it falls within the greater Chicago-land region. It is just 20+ miles away from the city of Barack Obama, Jesse Jackson, Oprah Winfrey, Louis Farrakhan, Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers. Needless to say, my worldview was heavily influenced by liberals from my youth. In 1998, my worldview began to change as my appetite for reading my King James Bible increased. I noticed that liberals introduced legislation for churches to lose their tax exempt status and felt that this was an attack on the founding principle derived from Ezra 7:24. I also noticed that the Democrats stood for abortion, which Scripture is emphatically against. It was also quite disturbing to find out that liberals historically fought against voluntary prayer in schools. These new-found facts bothered me but I dared not tell anyone so I kept my criticism to myself. I began to have problems being able to reconcile my faith to my political association. For the first time in my life, I took a look at both political platforms and studied them. Once again, I was disturbed to see that the Republican platform fought for traditional marriage, to maintain a tax exempt status for the Church, was against abortion, for voluntary school prayer and against the legalization of drugs. Learning this opened my eyes to the fact that I had been bamboozled.
Based on these principles alone, I made a secret conversion from a liberal Democrat to a conservative Republican. My conversion was so private that I dared not tell even my mother or anyone close to me. There was no way I was going to allow myself to be ridiculed with the likes of Clarence Thomas and others. Over time my sense of faith and political awareness increased. Economically, I noticed that although our communities were riddled with government programs, they seemed to have an adverse affects on us. More and more I saw the government replacing the father in the household. The nucleus of the black family was broken. The family is the foundation of the community and as the psalmist writes in Psalms 11:3, “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Being raised by a single mother myself, I saw how welfare gave my father and “easy out”.
By no means would I ever advocate that Republicans are perfect but they were not the ones pushing for these big-government welfare programs. In fact, Conservatives don’t run any urban areas but I noticed that Liberals do. Year after year Black leaders would come to our communities around voting time and blame the conditions of our city on so-called rich white Republicans. My eyes were opened to two powerful tactics that Democrats use to keep my people in blindness: race baiting and class warfare. Their elections thrived on agitating race relations and stirring up “rich vs. poor” wars. Shortly thereafter, I could no longer remain silent as I began to open up to my family and close friends. To my surprise, some also made a political conversion, but many did not. Looking back, I have no regrets and I thank God for His Word shaping my worldview. I am no longer ashamed to tell the world that I am an advocate of ‘conserving’ God’s principles. Any critic reading this testimony would ask, “Why in the world would you put your faith in Republicans?” I would have to respond by saying that my faith rests in God and His principles alone.