In this space last week, I pontificated on the hypocrisy of the Republican Party’s slapping Iowa Rep. Steve King on the wrist (fairly hard) for his overt racism without ever uttering a murmur about the 800 pound gorilla of racism, His Petulance King Donald The Last. Well, there was at least one other response to this story, and it appeared last week in the newspaper U.S.A. Today.
The piece was written by Congressman Will Hurd, Republican from Texas’s 23rd District. Rep. Hurd is something of an endangered species: he is the only black Republican in the House of Representatives. There have been only six others since the onset of the Great Depression; the fact that there’s only one such representative in 2019 does not inure to the benefit of his party’s image.
Rep. Hurd is the leading black voice in Washington in support of the “pull yourselves up by the bootstraps” philosophy. Physics majors might tell you this is virtually an impossibility. American historians will tell you that, as a sociological concept, it is a literal impossibility. It’s been used since 1834 as a means of promoting the concept that blacks would achieve equality with whites if they got off their asses and put their shoulders to the wheel.
Right. Black folk are a bunch of lazy – let’s say “slobs” – who are completely responsible for their own degradation. Blame the victim much?
Rep. Herd might respond “but I never said ‘pull yourself up by your bootstraps” and he would be right about that. What he did write in his op-ed was “(My father) told us, ‘Always have a P.M.A — a positive mental attitude… I think this is a lesson (Doctor Martin Luther King Jr.) would want us to follow while we celebrate his life and his impact on America.”
Good grief. I’m so tired of people speaking for renown dead people, appending famous names to philosophies that said dead people never uttered. But I digress. Rep. Hurd continued:
“As a Republican, I believe it’s unfortunate that a perception still exists in the minds of some Americans that the GOP condones racism… My P.M.A. forces me to believe we can change this perception through actions.”
There’s a reason why that perception remains so pervasive, Congressman. It’s called “reality.” The GOP condones racism. You did not censure Steve King. You do not even mention the Republican President’s extreme, constant, unending and blatant racism. If this were an earlier era, Trump would be wearing one of those big white pointy hats, just like his Democratic predecessor, Harry Truman.
Positive Mental Attitude was a philosophy fostered by Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone in 1937 in their book Think and Grow Rich. Undoubtedly, the success of this philosophy is the reason why each and every one of us is wealthy today.
So, according to the concept of P.M.A., success in bringing about righteous change does not come from hard work, sacrifice and courage. Screw you, Representative John Lewis. All you need do to achieve equality is keep a pleasant thought. “When you wish upon a star…”
Hurd concluded his U.S.A. Today op-ed with “I believe if we all take my father’s advice and have a P.M.A., we will be able to rebuild this trust faster.” Absolutely. You bet, pal.
And the Republican Party is not really racist. Just really stupid.