By Bill Fletcher, Jr.
NNPA News Wire Columnist
I have to confess that in light of the history of what has happened to African Americans, I am regularly shocked when I hear the voices of Black conservatives. I find myself asking, “How can they actually believe that?” An example is when I try listening to Dr. Ben Carson.
The recent meeting between presidential candidate Donald Trump and over one hundred Black pastors raised this question to an even higher level. I asked myself, what is there to discuss with Trump? I meant that. In light of his various pronouncements, distortions and demagoguery, much of which is racially inflammatory, what is there to discuss?
Yet, when I was watching CNN at a restaurant and seeing pictures of some of the participants in the meeting—and recognizing one—a few thoughts clicked. I saw him only for a moment, but it was the face of a minister I met at least a decade ago. I had never actually known his political leanings until I ran into him at an airport a few years back. He began an energized attack on President Obama, sounding very much like a Tea Party Republican. He was homophobic, anti-immigrant, and anti-worker. I quickly realized that we shared little in common except our African heritage.
Seeing that particular minister reminded me that in the recesses of Black America there are some very conservative individuals, some of whom claim religious inspiration. This hit me in the 1980s when there was a right-wing, pro-Ronald Reagan, Black ministerial turnout in support of a United States tour of the notorious Angolan rebel leader, the late Jonas Savimbi. Savimbi, who allied himself with the racist Apartheid regime of pre-1994 South Africa, carried out a murderous campaign against the internationally recognized government of Angola. Seemingly out of thin air, right-wing Black ministers came forward to give this butcher their endorsement and to support Reagan’s efforts to prop up this insurgent.
In seeing the face of the pastor that I knew on CNN, I remembered this tendency. Nevertheless, I felt like someone needs to ask those who wish to speak with Donald Trump a few questions, such as:
• What is there to discuss with someone who repeatedly propped up Birther allegations regarding the legitimacy of President Obama as a citizen of the U.S.?
• What is there to say to someone who suggests that Mexican immigrants bring crime, but is silent on the criminal gangs long associated with European immigrants?
• What is there to say to someone who insists that he has seen something that did not happen, i.e., Arabs and Muslims IN THE U.S. dancing after 9/11 in New Jersey?
• What is there to say to someone who promotes the lie that blacks are the perpetrators of most of the killings of whites?
• Add it up yourself and ask what is there to be gained from such a discussion, even if you happen to be someone of the conservative persuasion?
Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the host of The Global African on Telesur-English. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and at www.billfletcherjr.com.