In the past, whenever I met a fellow African American conservative, it was always a bitter sweet moment for me. On the one hand, I was elated to meet another African American who shared my same cultural values and view of the role of government in our lives, but that elation subsided rather quickly when the realization set in that there wasn’t an efficient mechanism to connect them with my conservative African American friends from around the country, and vice versa. There are literally millions of us out here!
Sen. John McCain only received 4% of the African American vote, out of 16 million votes cast in 2008, but that translates into over 800,000 African Americans who voted for Senator John McCain – even with the first major party African American on the presidential ballot! Former President George W. Bush received 11% of the African American vote in 2000 and 9% in 2004. That’s 1-1.5 million African American conservatives! That was the initial purpose of organizing the Move-On-Up.org social network; to have a centralized meeting place for African Americans to network, share ideas, and let the closet conservatives among us know that they are NOT ALONE. In two years, the network has grown to over six hundred and fifty members in forty states and three countries!
Move-On-Up.org stands on these five principles:
Renewing our Economy– Our goal is to empower the African American people by expanding employment and entrepreneurial opportunities.
Health Care Reform – Health care is a personal issue, and informed individuals can make better decisions about their own care than government.
Securing our borders – We need to gain control of our borders and enforce our immigration laws while encouraging legal immigrants who come seeking the American Dream.
Education – Education, while a national priority, is a local responsibility. We believe that parents, teachers, and local school boards are the key to true education reform — not big government. We support school choice initiatives such as vouchers, charters schools and homeschooling.
Strengthening our families – We uphold and respect traditional institutions such as marriage between a man and a woman. We are committed to protecting the life of innocents from conception through the infirmities of age. This value must be nurtured in both our culture and our laws.
The second purpose for Move-On-Up.org is to grow a true grassroots, un-bureaucratic organization that will be a needed force on the national scene to advance our agenda within the national debate. Many of us will attest that past outreach efforts by have been pretty anemic at best over the years. And past history tells us that they’re probably not going to improve much in the future, especially now that an African American is president, and Hispanics now comprise the largest minority group in the country.
To be candid, there is somewhat of a justification in ignoring us because we bring nothing to the table; no organized numbers, no ability to raise large sums of money. In politics, numbers and money are the grease that gets the squeaky wheels (your cause) attention, not any past loyalties. We have a clear choice. We can either continue to complain and keep experiencing neglect during and after the campaign season, or, we can begin right now to build a grassroots organization that has hundreds of thousands of members that will advance our agenda due to its sheer size and influence.
A third purpose for Move-On-Up.org is to find tomorrow’s future leaders and candidates for elected office at the local, state and federal levels. Move-On-Up.org’s 527 PAC will provide the infrastructure for the moral and financial support necessary so that these candidates can wage credible, winning campaigns. Our task will not be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is. I am excited about the possibilities. Join us as we embark upon this journey!
Christopher R. Arps