Tuesday, January 11, 2011

An Open Letter to The Honorable Tim Scott

Reps. Allen West (R-FL) and Tim Scott (R-SC)


To: The Honorable Tim Scott
Member
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC

Dear Rep. Scott:

This correspondence is in regards to your new tenure in the United States Congress. First, and foremost, congratulations on being elected. Your election in South Carolina, as well as the election of The Honorable Allen West in Florida, has written a new chapter in American politics. Being the first African-American Republicans elected in the Deep South since Reconstruction speaks volumes as to how far we all have come as a nation. Your election is as important to the African-American political diaspora as the election of President Barack Obama, because it shows that the Black electorate is not a monolithic one.

That last thought leads me to the second point of this correspondence. Recently you said this to Politico about joining the Congressional Black Caucus:

"I haven't really decided. I'm probably leaning against it at this point...My experience has been the whole notion of one nation - so I really shy away from things that create some kind of boundaries...It highlights the divisions I've been pushing forward to erase."

I understand why you feel that way. I acknowledge that you were a member of the South Carolina Legislative Black Caucus but you left because of the diverging viewpoints. I speak to you as someone who twice resigned from the Mississippi Legislative Black Caucus because I felt that selfish gains were being rewarded and the uplifting of the 1.3 million African-American citizens of Mississippi were being ignored.

The lesson I learned that drew me back to the caucus was this: Change can more easily be gained inside the room rather than outside the door. As a Black man who is a Republican, you can bring a perspective that has not been heard in the CBC since 1996. Rep. West has made the decision to join the CBC. He should not be the lone voice of conservatism in the room.

Many of us who follow politics realize that there were many African-American voices in the Tea Party movement. You and Rep. West now have a chance to express their concerns, not just in the halls of Congress, but in one of the most respected organizations in American politics. To exclude yourself from that organization plays into the divisiveness that you seek to avoid.

Now grant it, I am a Democrat and I have a belief that American government should be a progressive government. However, I have never been adverse to a great idea, regardless of what party or individual comes up with it. The CBC does not need to be monolithic, it needs to be innovative. If any organization has one viewpoint expressed, it will become stagnant and irrelevant. The CBC is too valuable to become that way.

Therefore, I humbly ask you to reconsider your decision, or at least lean toward joining at some time during your tenure. Your voice will be welcomed and your principles will be upheld, because the last time I checked, the CBC seeks the goal of one nation, prosperous and secure, as well.

May God continue to bless you, be with you and keep you in His favor always...and again, congratulations being given the opportunity to serve our great nation.