Political civility is dead. We know: that’s not news to anyone. We were reminded by Felice Pete of just how uncivil – and uncivilized, to some extent – folks are these days.
The Wake County Republican Party leader came to town last week to speak at a gathering of the Forsyth County Republican Women. Her stated mission was to preach self-reliance, God-fearing family values and other GOP planks, but she found ample time to engage in the GOP’s favorite sport: President Obama-bashing.
While calling the president “a guy who kind of has no religion … (who) likes to kill babies,” Pete also tried to make the point that the nation’s first black president is anti-African American and anti-woman.
Pete was preaching to the choir at the GOP event, but her appearance didn’t do squat to win over African Americans with conservative-inclinations. She pushed blacks and other minorities further away with her sanctimonious hate speech.
It is unfortunate that Pete and other black Republicans (e.g. Herman Cain, Allen West, Clarence Thomas, Vernon Robinson) feel that they have to prove that they are just as conservative as their white GOP counterparts by making the most extreme and unfounded statements. While this rhetoric may earn them pats on the back and cheers from the Republican masses, the rest of us – including those of us who want to give black Republicans the benefit of the doubt – see them as carnival sideshow acts.
If Pete believes the Republican Party is a better fit for the church-loving black community, why not simply say that without taking cheap shots at President Obama’s faith? Stating how a GOP policy would lower the black unemployment rate, which has always been higher than that of whites, doesn’t require personal, nasty digs either.
We simply don’t understand why seemingly intelligent people like Pete can’t simply present points and arguments without veering into crazy talk. This sort of Big Top politics may grab headlines and provide red meat for conservative die-hards, but is it helping a political party that is quickly falling out of favor? If Pete is the kind of goodwill ambassador the party hopes to use to increase its numbers among people of color, then we fear the GOP’s death is closer than anticipated.