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Pepperdine College Republicans
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Arizona Teenage Republicans
Blog For Arizona: 08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004
One of the delegates to the GOP Convention from AZ is a young man by the name of Paris Dennard.Paris is keeping a delegate diary of his experience.You can certainly note the fine Public Relations training at Pepperdine in his writing and in the various interviews he has done.This isn't young Paris' first convention, despite his youth.He actually was the blackface and had a speaker's slot at the 2000 convention, when he was only 17 years old.At the time, he was the Chairman of the Arizona Teenage Republicans.Later he became the President of the Pepperdine College Republicans.In fact, the extent of Paris' political involvement and public advocacy of his chosen party's principles make him a budding political professional.In Paris, we can see the birth of the next generation of black Republican leadership and its role in the GOP.Paris' life story and his choices can tell us a lot about the future of African-Americans, and minorities in general, in the GOP.Paris grew up in modest circumstances with a single mom and dedicated grandparents.Despite their struggles, Paris is proud to claim that his mother never went on welfare, as if that were a mark of shame.But all is not ideologically harmonious with young Paris.Despite his undoubted convictions about self-reliance and the evils of government-sponsored support programs, and his party's position on racial preferences, Paris accepted a racially exclusionary merit scholarship which Republicans are trying to eliminate.So why, despite the bigotry and intolerance flowing just below the GOP's surface, and despite the undeniable impact of its economic and social policies on people of his race, does Paris support W and the GOP?Paris said:As Paris put it, minority Republicans are encouraged to go to war against "the soft bigotry of low expectation."So too, perhaps, might young men like Paris, possibly even Paris himself, turn away from the GOP.Minority adherents to the GOP like Paris are soldiers in a very ugly and cynical cultural war.We cannot assume they will realize for themselves that they are on the wrong team, even the brightest peoples' judgement can be impaired when they perceive themselves to be the focus of bigotry.The attitudes of Paris and other minority conservatives are a barometer for how well we are doing in communicating with minority voters and in recognizing and following our own minority leaders. Paris could be an anomaly - blackface for the GOP - or he could be the vanguard of a movement.With demographic trends as they are, the GOP clearly understands that they must make inroads into minority communities or face becoming a permanent minority party.Social conservatives are a growing segment of a shrinking population.The cultural war which has brought the GOP the spoils it now enjoying must open a new front to sustain the power of the wealthy and privileged: Paris is that new battlefield.There is no doubt that the African-Americans who are attracted to the Republican party are very capable and idealistic people.Paris seems like the sort of hard-working and ambitious young man who would get ahead and thrive in any milieu.Paris is a natural leader and, no doubt, a persuasive and passionate advocate for his views.
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