The NAACP convention’s welcome of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney Wednesday wafted between respectful, cordial and hostile.
That’s to be expected, one supposes. The organization and the candidate reside mostly on opposite ends of the ideological divide.
But it’s heartbreaking to see how intolerant and dismissive the organization’s leaders remain toward views and ideas that stray from Democratic orthodoxy.
In truth, that dogmatism doesn’t hurt Mr. Romney so much as it stifles debate in the overall society and denies African-Americans the diversity of thought that could very well help uplift them and others. And it’s fair to ponder whether such Democratic orthodoxy is in large part responsible for deteriorating conditions in many American cities today.
As Justice Clarence Thomas noted in Augusta just over a year ago, “Though the libraries and schools are no longer off-limits based on race, certain ideas available there are off-limits for those reasons.”
It’s time that ideas were no longer declared off-limits because of race.
And it’s time we realized that ideas aren’t white or black or anything in-between.
One great example: Between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, it’s Mr. Obama that has opposed and tried to kill a voucher program that helps disadvantaged students in Washington, D.C., attend private schools. And the program survived only because of support among Republicans in the U.S. House.
Moreover, it must be asked: After nearly four years under Mr. Obama’s leadership – the first two of which his party had commanding majorities in both houses of Congress – how have African-Americans fared? Unemployment is high for the country as a whole, but over 14 percent among African-Americans.
It doesn’t come down to skin color. It comes down to ideas, which are color-blind.
Lower taxes help the private economy create jobs; Mr. Obama wants to raise taxes on those earning $250,000 – and the new health law will be a new tax on anyone who doesn’t buy health insurance.
Abundant, affordable energy helps everyone; Mr. Obama’s policies have discouraged oil exploration and coal, and he killed the Keystone pipeline project.
Federal spending threatens everyone, particularly future generations, with crushing debt and high taxes; Mr. Obama has spent more than any president in history.
On these and other issues, a case can be made that Mr. Romney’s plans would do far more for African-Americans than Mr. Obama’s policies have.
What a shame if that possibility is simply dismissed out of hand.