Regarding ideals, we cannot lose perspective that we are all works in progress. History did not end in 1776 or in 1789, but rather, for Americans, including black Americans, these were starting points.
When Jefferson penned, "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal," he defined an eternal ideal for which we strive, including that for the slave owner who wrote the very words.
Conservatism, including black conservatism, conserves the timeless moral truths and ideals in which this nation is rooted and toward which we must strive every day. It may have taken 41 years to convict Edgar Ray Killen. But this week justice was done.
Two of the three civil rights workers that were murdered were white. They understood that the ideals for which they fought, and for which they ultimately died, are both timeless and true for everyone, of every background and history.
The second vital element is historical perspective.
The great accomplishment of the civil rights movement under Dr. King's leadership was means as well as ends. His insistence and success in leading a movement defined by Christian principles and non-violence is an achievement as great as what the movement accomplished. It is no small challenge, in the midst of suffering, to focus on moral ideals rather than hate and violence. But such perspective is vital.
It has been a challenge for African Americans to look at their own history, and all too often, at their own personal experience, and not see our country in negative terms. It is this rocky road that has defined the black experience in America that continues to feed negatively into black feelings and emotions.
However, blacks must remember that all suffering comes to uniquely show us that part of the world for which we are responsible for fixing.
Adversity must raise us up. We cannot be locked in the past, nor can we forget our history.
By insisting that timeless moral principles be the lens through which African Americans relate both to our past and to our future, black conservatism delivers the means through which blacks can provide leadership toward a freer, more just, and more prosperous future for ourselves and all Americans.