Why the Republican Party, conservative values are dying
By Rev. Wayne Perryman
Special to USAfricaonline.com, CLASSmagazine, and The Black Business Journal, Houston
After returning from a recent Republican Conference where I was the keynote speaker, I couldn’t help but to notice that the average age of most of the attendees was 60 plus. When I went to the College Republican website to look at the future of the party, I was disheartened to learn that of 20 million college students in America only 200,000 claimed that they were affiliated with the College Republicans.
Today, we have more liberal college professors teaching our young people than we have membership in the College Republicans. This problem is further exacerbated by the fact that many conservative parents and grandparents confess that their children and grandchildren are liberal and want nothing to do with the party of their parents.
Given the fact that the future strength of any organization can be determined by the number of young people committed to it causes grave concern for the future of the Republican Party.
Why aren’t young people attracted to the Republican Party, and what must the Party do to attract more young people? The problem is two-fold.
- Conservative baby-boomers (as a whole) no longer feel the need to invest and train future generations to follow in their footsteps. Unlike past generations of parents, far too many baby-boomers (as they were as teens) are only interested in themselves and their current welfare which now consist of retirement and comfortable living in their remaining years. Understandingly so, most of the people that they associate with are elderly and most of the people they vote for are older candidates. Their investments are not in young people – but in IRA’s and other retirement plans.
- Unlike liberals, conservatives seldom ever talk about caring for the poor or improving race relations; two things that appeal to the modern-day college student. When it comes to conservatism, the perception that most young people have of Republicans is that they are a group of old white people who lost their capacity to care for others, particularly for the poor and people of color. In short, young people believe Republicans are insensitive, selfish and racist.
Are their perceptions true? No. But Republicans are doing very little to destroy these stereotypes, stereotypes that are being taught by college professors and re-enforced by the Republican’s own silence.
Behind closed doors, Republicans will often say, “we have done a lot for minorities and the poor, but unlike the Democrats, we just don’t brag about it.” This is also true, but their unwillingness to talk about it openly leaves the door open to speculation and their contributions in helping others, becomes the best kept secret in our society. In order to attract the other 18,800,000 liberal college students, Republicans must do the follo wing:
- They must convince young people that they always have – an d always will be the party of compassion, a party that cares about all Americans, particularly for the poor and the outcast.
- They must educate an uninformed generation of young people of the Republican’s impressive Civil Rights History and the social programs that the Party developed to assure equality for all.
- And they must invest hundreds of millions of dollars to train and develop conservative young leaders to prepare them for elective office while using books, films and other educational materials to challenge the liberal lies taught by liberal college professors.
This is a do or die mission. If they fail to do this, the Republican Party will eventually die along with their current aging baby-boomer population and that would be a tragedy.
•Rev. Perryman, Minister in Charge of Church Administration for Mt. Calvary Christian Center Church of God in Christ, is a former newspaper publisher, radio talk-show host, and corporate employment relations consultant. This is his first commentary for USAfricaonline.com and CLASSmagazine, Houston. October 8, 2009
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