By Representative Allan Farley
Do you have to wear khaki pants, a blue blazer, and penny loafers with no socks to qualify as a “Republican”? Lord I hope not. But, that seems to be the mental dress code a lot of people have for Republican men. What about Republican women? That’s easy; a tennis skirt, pony tail, and an expensive SUV. (Stop laughing, you have the image).
Some of the most conservative men I know don’t own a blue blazer. And, wouldn’t be caught dead wearing penny loafers. The Conservative women I know are the backbone of the political party. They may drive an SUV, but you better not stand in front of it. They are highly motivated, get-r-done individuals. So, why the stereotypes? We watch too much television.
Now don’t get me wrong. I totally respect the group that has acquired the resources to belong to the Country Clubs. They are able to take off and go to Montgomery for 30 days each year and not worry about losing their job. I had to retire to get that opportunity. So, after 37 years in Law Enforcement, the people I best relate to are the “blue collar” guys. And that group has the mental image of the “Country Club” group running the Alabama Statehouse. Now there are a lot of successful people in politics. But the “Country Club” stereotype really overshadows the quality of these people, and the hard work they perform. We too often negatively label, and verbally discredit, those in a different socio-economic class. We need to change that. We need to applaud success, and respect diversity.
As a society we are quick to label people who are different. We sometimes label different kids as “gangs”. We sometimes label different churches as “cults”. And, we label rival sports fans as “fanatics”. In Montgomery, and Washington, we’re critically referred to as “politicians”. (Yes, my hand is up.)
Recently I sat in a hospital lobby for a few hours. No group identifiers there. Worry, concern, fear, and prayer. Everyone was sitting together in one area. The same thoughts running through everyone’s mind. What’s going to happen? I’ve often compared a hospital waiting room to the waiting room at the county jail. Both are filled with individuals worried, concerned, afraid, and praying for someone they love. (Maybe that’s why we close our eyes to pray? We all look alike in the dark.)
How much importance do we place on being identified with a particular group? Obviously quiet a lot. Look at College football programs, mega churches, and the music business. But, how important are the political views of the average working class man and woman? In today’s complex diversified society, they are extremely important. So, what if I told you that, if you care about your family, your God, your job, and drive a pickup truck; you may be a “Redneck Republican”???
Since we currently don’t have any Republican African Americans in the Alabama Legislature, we can’t have a “Black Republican Caucus”. Maybe I should start a “Redneck Republican Caucus”? Boy that would be a small group. However, we could meet for breakfast and eat some grits and bacon. (No bagels and yogurt for this group.)
Better yet, what if we started a “Working Class Republican Club” at home? Everyone would be welcomed. We could have a monthly early morning breakfast meeting before work. If you have conservative values, love your God, your family, and your country, (and grits & bacon), you would fit right in. (The more diversity, the better the results).
I pray that our upcoming presidential election will lead us to a stronger, more diverse, Republican Party. If voters will prayerfully see Governor Romney as the most qualified candidate, and not simply a white man attempting to defeat a black man, I truly believe this great nation will move forward. The famous speech by Dr. King is still true: we must “Judge a man by the content of his character, and not the color of his skin.”
Colossians 2:(2-3) My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
God Bless America.