After more than two generations of Democrat control over the votes of black Americans, I believe we're in the midst of a sea change. Oklahoma Republicans know better than most, with a prime example in Speaker T.W. Shannon, that conservatives from all races are beginning to wake up to the realization that the Democrat Party has taken their votes for granted for far too long.
To wit, news comes from our friends in Louisiana that a key Democrat has converted to the Republican Party (watch the video). Louisiana State Senator Elbert Guillory represents scores of black elected leaders all around the country who believe that values, principles and history should trump Party allegiance. Equally they realize that the Republican Party represents these shared values of. And this is something we've trumpeted for years here in Oklahoma. We are not just a Party of the majority; we are a Party of ethnic diversity, which includes all who share our conservative values of family, opportunity, freedom, prosperity and life.
None of this comes as a surprise to us. Frederick Douglass, a former slave and 19th-century outspoken leader among abolitionists, shared these same values. Douglass and so many other black leaders were Republicans precisely because of these values. When Democrats protected slave-holders and after the Civil War, oppressed the black vote in the South, Douglass, Martin Luther King, Jr., and scores of other leaders stood firm on the founding principles that serve as the foundation for our Party.
When the Left attacks us for being racist, we have only to remind them of our Party's history and heritage. We are Frederick Douglass Republicans. This is a message that I will be taking to conservatives all over our state. People deserve a choice; everyone deserves a Party that will respect them for our common values and beliefs. It should not be about the color of skin -- it should wholly be about those values one holds dear: Opportunity. Freedom. Prosperity. Life.
To read more about the black conservative movement, read Star Parker's book Uncle Sam's Plantation: How Big Government Enslaves America's Poor and What We Can Do About It.