I am a conservative. I believe in the truth of traditional values, of limited government, and free markets.
And I believe in personal freedom and that it is not possible without all of the above.
Our country has been going in the opposite direction and things, predictably, have not been going well.
The American people spoke Tuesday, and I am happy with what they had to say.
But I am also happy that, once again, we have proof that America is still a free country. That when the American people are not happy, they can vote for change.
This is a great thing.
But best is when we use this precious gift of freedom to learn and to grow.
Freedom means making inevitable mistakes, learning from them, changing and improving.
This points to two watershed events of this election. Election of the first black Republican woman to the U.S. House of Representatives, Mia Love of Utah, and the first black U.S. senator elected from the South since Reconstruction, Tim Scott of South Carolina.
Why should I raise the issue of race when both these newly elected members of congress have made it a point to reject race as an issue in their campaigns?
In a post-election interview on CNN, when the issue of race was raised, Congresswoman-elect Love said, “This has nothing to do with race … I wasn’t elected because of the color of my skin, I wasn’t elected because of my gender. I was elected because of the solutions that I put on the table … .”
In a post-election interview with Glenn Beck, Scott deplored the “race-baiting” of the Democratic Party during the election and said he is proud that “people in South Carolina vote their issues, vote their values, and not their complexion.”
So why do I even bother to bring up the news about two new black Republican members of Congress?
I do so in the hope that black Americans across our nation will look at these two individuals and listen to what they have to say.
And, I do so in the hope that more black Americans will choose to embrace the two elected officials’ message about the importance and beauty of freedom.
As noted above, freedom is about learning from mistakes and growing.
Black Americans have suffered greatly living under the thumb of government and believing it is a good thing. But if it truly is a good thing then, today, a half-century after the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964, huge differences would not persist in average income, wealth, employment and education between black Americans and the rest of the nation.
Black Americans, like all Americans, are free. But blacks must step up and use this freedom to learn. It is time to take a different path. Embrace the freedom, and the personal responsibility that goes with it, that was achieved 50 years ago.
Again, hear the words of Scott, who in response to being told that he was graded “F” by the NAACP, answered, “I believe progress has to be made and the government is not the answer for progress. I was a kid growing up in poverty. I had a mentor who was a Chick-fil-A operator named John Moniz who taught me that the brilliance of the American economy happens through business ownership and entrepreneurial spirit … success is possible if you have a good education and have a strong work ethic.”
Or listen to Mia Love at the 2012 Republican convention, when she said, “My parents immigrated to the U.S. with $10 in their pocket, believing that the America they heard about really did exist. … When the going got tough, they didn’t look to Washington, they looked within.”
This is not a time for pointing fingers, for blame.
This is a time to rejoice in the blessings of freedom that Americans have and to pray that more Americans, and particularly black Americans, embrace it.