Why the Congressional Black Caucus shouldn't alienate GOP members.
Atop a recent Washington Informer article, the headline “The Late Great Congressional Black Caucus” was alarming enough to get my attention.
For the past few months, I’ve been conducting interviews with members of the Congressional Black Caucus for an upcoming BET.com feature called “Congressional Confidential.” Through this project, I’ve learned about the CBC’s value and the impact its members have made in Congress.
For this reason, the prospect of seeing a possible end to the CBC was disturbing. The article is actually a commentary about the potential inclusion of three Black Republicans to the CBC’s membership ranks. The article asserts that should the CBC include the viewpoints of right-wing conservatives, somehow its purpose is diminished and its standing as the “conscience of the Congress” is jeopardized.
My question is, how can the CBC be weakened if the overwhelmingly progressive, liberal body includes more diversity in its membership? African-Americans are not monolithic. Although a vast majority of Blacks align with the Democratic Party, a segment has found a home with the GOP. The inclusion of Republicans within the CBC would not only be more reflective of a group of people, it would also strengthen the organization in the process.
The fear of an opposing viewpoint is just pointless. If “progress” is truly the root of the progressive movement, then there is no need to be afraid of ideological stances that don’t exactly sing from the same songbook. To alienate Republican members of Congress is to miss out on an opportunity to expand and to influence others. So when it comes to embracing Republicans within the CBC, I say, the more the merrier.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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Photo: Courtesy of the CBC