Black conservatism is not a new phenomenon. Americans of African descent are culturally conservative having been raised from traditional Christian values. What is new is the realization, definition and articulation of that position. When a person doesn’t stand up for what they believe they are pushed like a piece of driftwood in an angry sea. There are a lot of sticks of wood floating around. They are caught up in the din of popularity contest. They are lost in economic waves of lack. They are collectively painted as liberals, while trying to catch their breath. And most don’t know what they believe. It is hard to philosophize when you are drowning.
I am not confused. I am also the “Invisible Man.” I am not invisible in the scientific way that makes great fiction but in the socially acceptable way that means I am too positive to stereotype with effectiveness. I am too politically correct to be used for a news headline. I am not controversial once you get passed my alias, as the “Black Man With A Gun”. I am not radical. I do not support the demagoguery of the infamous so-called leaders of Black America. I have met them all and I am not impressed. Black America doesn’t need a leader. I can say that because I am what a free man looks like.
I have been in the public eye since 1992 when I testified for concealed carry reform in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It was a testimony so poignant that it wasn’t rebutted. It launched a short career as a speaker across the country in other states that systematically withheld the right to keep and bear arms for personal defense for only the elite. I am invisible because as a Christian leader I am on record in print by declaring that the system known as tithing has been used inappropriately in too many New Testament churches. Gaining the ire of my peers that cautioned me that I was “cutting my own throat financially” as a pastor to say that. I responded back that don’t we serve a wealthy, all powerful God? I am not seen at pastor conventions.
I am gun owner. I have been since I served in the U.S. Marines. Being a veteran also changed my perspective and appreciation for this country not actively shared by many in my “position.” I have been a law enforcement officer. I have seen people at their worst and been there to bring them out. You can’t get me to protest cops, veterans or my country when I have risked my life on more than one occasion to protect that right to disagree. I am conservative but respectful of all. I am no where near perfection and don’t pretend to have it all together either but I do know who I am and Whose I am.
After the Second Amendment March in DC, where I was the only visible person of color speaking, some one called me the token speaker for the event. It was a calculated and carefully selected word to disparage me and the message. I could take offense to it or take the opportunity to elaborate that I was a token or symbol of freedom that day. I am the embodiment of what America has accomplished. I am the direct descendents of a people that have overcome institutionalized slavery in America. My ancestors risked serious bodily harm, imprisonment or death for learning how to read or owning a firearm. I chose to do it all because in this country, we still can. Yes, I can.
I am a conservative because the tradition that made this country the most sought after place on the planet is good enough for me still, even if my beliefs make me socially invisible.