Dr. Alveda King referred to me as a "very radical" messenger of the Urban Conservative narrative at the Freedom Journal Institute's (FJI) Black Conservative Summit at the Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC, July 15 - 17, 2017. Among progressives, the term warrants a sense of concern as its interpretation is "a person who holds or follows strong convictions or extreme principles; extremist." Unfortunately, many modern urban conservatives have also held to this perception and eschew individuals, like me, from their "network" because of the great risk one may incur having any or such an association. Imagine urban conservative notables making such analysis: "I might lose what I have in terms of resources, funding, engagements, or--'Heavens to Murgatroyd'--Facebook likes." This thinking glares when Movement leaders for the past two decades have fought against personality politics on the Left but rewarded for maintaining personality politics on the Right for the sake of survival. For those that misunderstand, Dr. King was referred to me as "a person who advocates fundamental political, economic, and social reforms by direct and often uncompromising methods." She knows me, in the political sense, as a "reformist". By etymology, the Late Latin radicalis means "of or having roots," defined as "going to the origin, essential". I am one that believes that we should pursue truth, without prejudice of Party, to protect the freedoms of and liberate the oppressed in Urban America. Yet, we will never accomplish these great tasks less we openly admit that we have problems and that we agree to unite, urban radical and moderate, alike, to solve them.
I have two responses.
One is more radical than the other. I will start with the more conventional one in three parts. We can blame "fake news organizations". What often is the lack of attention is the result of a less than interested media, limited publicity outlets, and the acceptance of mediocre attendance results. Where can Freedom Journal Institute (FJI) go to announce to the world this great event, promote it within a reasonable budget, and get in the front of people that make kitchen table decisions? Let me first advise that the network that was once known to be "fair and balanced" until they dropped that last week was completely disinterested and TVOne and BET could care less. So where can they go to reach large audiences that would be interested in their message? Is there a conservative news network that is interested in urban issues as a niche? Can't think of one? Many moderates would prefer that you not think of one either. They want you focused on the "curvy couch" because it would be impossible to build a conservative media network that would have the reach necessary to profit such summits, conferences, and events. At least not an urban one!!! This is the problem with the acceptance of "personality politics" within the conservative movement. So much focus on the visibility of a few and little development of a focus that builds the many. The few available Big City progressive media options have little interest in presenting urban conservative solutions either because their major city audiences lack political support for them or their advertisers do not want to risk economic retaliation.
Secondly, there are limited publicity outlets. Where are the urban conservative publicists out there? Most are on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. However, events with a great magnitude like the FJI Black Conservative Summit or The Exceptional Conservative Network's® Internet Television Debut at Freedom Fest X in Las Vegas, NV in July 2017 require a tremendous effort by specialists and the grassroots within the Movement. Publicity requires advertising as well as direct marketing. The adherence to "personality politics" makes us believe that if we announce that someone will be there, that the world will come. That season has passed away unless you are President Trump and, even he sends messengers ahead of his arrival to plan it, announce it, promote it, and assure its success, including attendance. Three themes are keys to modern publicity: birth, love, and death. The FJI Black Conservative Summit focused on economic success, marriage, and abortion. Where was the publicity? The Exceptional Conservative Network's® Internet Television Debut at Freedom Fest X in Las Vegas, NV will focus on economic success, political liberty, and tyranny. Each of these reveals deficits in Urban America. Yet, many of us will not mention it to others because we know that "there are not many of us to mention it to". No word of mouth, no publicity. No text, no publicity. No advertisement, no publicity. If we truly believe in liberty then, we must put choices in front of others that they may choose. If we do not then, our silence is pure tyranny. Whom will buy into our philosophies if we do not sell them in the marketplaces. We must unite to make certain that events like the aforementioned not only get publicity but, get attended.
Thirdly, we have an acceptance of mediocre attendance results. Going into America's inner cities, President Trump radically campaigned on the promise of rebuilding. Upon Trump's meeting with Steve Harvey, CNN’s Marc Lamont Hill referred to Harvey and blacks like him as "A bunch of mediocre negroes being dragged in front of TV as a photo-op for Donald Trump’s exploitative (sic) campaign against black people”. Righteously, Sherrif David Clarke responded,"I am tired of this jigaboo telling black people who they should be, what they should do. He’s a lackey for Democrats." Political and social extremist like Professor Hill exemplify the analysis of 19th century Civil Rights Leader Booker T. Washington: “There is a certain class of race-problem solvers who don’t want the patient to get well … because as long as the disease holds out they have an easy means of making a living and an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public.” As Urban Conservatives, we know that Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians will avoid our events based, not on the color of their skin but, on the content of their political ideology. Our expectations are skewed by our beliefs that, while statistics show that more black men voted for Trump than for any other Republican for the Presidency since 1972, Blacks just do not agree with the ideology. Past experience has become the guarantee of future success. We must no longer accept the excuse that people will not attend our events. We must aggressively pursue men and women that we have believed "uninterested" by sake of ideology to come and listen. Especially those that have voted for President Trump. We must become the bridge by which people cross to make a change of life rather than a change of vote. We have a story that is worthy to be told. We must recruit the audience to hear it.
This is my second response.
Urban Conservative, you can not face the culture war using the same methodologies of the Establishment Right and Left. You have been dropped in for Special Operations in the Urban Marketplace of America's Largest Metropolitans. Let's Be Real! As far as the Black Vote, the Republican Party has learned to win without it and the Democrat Party has learned to lose with it. The Black Vote is no longer an interest. There is only one thing that matters to the political world--Winning! Victory brings money, power, and a riveted audience. We have proven that "personality politics" will not help us cross the finish line. Is that noticeable? Heck yes!
The victory puts you on center stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). The victory demands US Senators and Congressmen attend your events not as a favor to you but, as a favor to them. The victory puts you on the "Curvy Couch" and even the progressive hard chair. The victory makes people put money where their mouth refuses to be. The victory does not come from isolated efforts by a talented few. Nor does it occur by those seeking the success of the old models. What's the old model? Urban Non-Profits and Faith-Based Groups reach out to the Top 50 Conservative Think Tanks to provide essential resources for events. The response is, "We have limited resources, we will see what we can do." Having turned to the old model, where do we go from here? We pray.
With tremendous assurance, many will shun me for being so real!
"How dare you, Ken!"
"You have not been through what we have been through. You have not been to certain meetings or attended certain GOP calls. You demand perfection and that's the enemy of getting something done."
Really? President Trump won with the largest number of black voters since President Richard Nixon. Every other group has presented President Trump with an agenda. Where ours be at? Yes, I assure you that "radical" Ken will not be invited to the local "cocktail" circuit because he's not trying to be "a team player". "Radical" Ken will not be sharing lunch with Republican Faith leaders because "he may mess up our network. We got a good thing and don't want to mess it up."
Kenneth McClenton, Chairman of The Exceptional Conservative Network®, is an Urban Conservative Whose Mission Is to Spread the Good News of Christianity, Conservatism, Capitalism and Constitutionalism throughout the World. Devoted to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, He Believes that in Order to Save the United States, We Must Mutually Pledge Our Lives, Our Fortunes, and Our Sacred Honor to Save Urban America.