This past Thursday evening at the University of Buffalo (UB) I was invited by the Young America's Foundation Chapter at UB to deliver a presentation on “Race and American Exceptionalism.” Before I even arrived, the nature of my visit was made controversial when students on the campus ripped down flyers and even conducted a campus walking protest. Therefore, I knew this would be quite the hostile environment.
The question I have is, why?
Why is it controversial for a 61-year-old black man who was born in a blacks only hospital in the South to discuss said topic? After all, I have had quite the incredible experience of enjoying the blessings of liberty, freedom, and individual rights in this Nation. I grew up in the same neighborhood that produced Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and attended a small black Catholic elementary school that was located across the street from his final resting place, near the intersection of Boulevard and Auburn Avenue, in the Old Fourth Ward.
What is controversial and upsetting about a black man who rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army and commanded hundreds of troops in combat? Especially knowing that his Dad, born in 1920, was a World War II Army Corporal who served in a segregated Army. One would think that to be a story of American exceptionalism.
Or, how about the same kid, born in 1961 in a blacks only hospital, becoming a member of the US House of Representatives for a congressional district that was 92% white. And by the way, in 1961 when I was born, blacks could not go onto the South Florida beaches and onto Palm Beach Island which at the age of 50 I humbly represented in Congress. I was the Chairman of the largest state Republican Party in the country, the Republican Party of Texas...which was founded on July 4, 1867 in Houston Texas by 150 black men.
Yes, the kid born in a blacks only hospital went on to earn a Bachelors and two Masters degrees. And even married a magnificent woman, a legal immigrant from Jamaica who herself has attained a Bachelors, MBA, and PhD, and her Dad served 24 years in the US Army and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Thursday evening at the University of Buffalo I spoke of Crispus Attucks, Frederick Douglass, the 54th Massachusetts Regiment, and Booker T. Washington, but for some in the audience, it did not matter.
One young lady who stepped forward during what was supposed to be a question and answer session sought to disparage, denigrate, and demean me. She introduced herself as being the President of the UB Black Student Union and referred to me as an embarrassment. As she went on her uninformed and rather incompetent rant, I pondered what has so "triggered" these young black students, or should I say radical, militant little wannabe Marxists?
The answer was simple, a hatred within themselves, for themselves. They seek to be embraced as perpetual victims, never to be a victor. They cast aside the achievements of those who do not gladly welcome their delusion. If I had come before them and spoke against America they would have been pleased. Unfortunately for them, I took an oath to the embodiment of our Constitutional Republic, the US Constitution. Sadly for them, I am not seeking to surrender myself to a creed of ignorance and a philosophy of failure.
America has had its dark moments in history; then again show me any country that has not? And there are many countries, some of them on the UN Human Rights Council, who are far worse than our Nation. However, in 246 years, this Nation has sought to do what it says in the preamble of our Constitution..."in order to form a more perfect Union". The exceptionalism of America is the target of the progressive socialist left. And these mini Karl Marx's truly do not want anyone, but especially men and women of color, to profess anything that is contrary to their destructive narrative.
I will continue to speak about America, what it means to me, and what it has afforded me and my Family. I will recognize the negative, but accentuate the positive--its exceptionalism. Unlike Michelle Obama who stated that she had never been proud of America until her socialist husband became president, I have and will always be a proud American. I will stand and fight to ensure we Live Free in this Nation and enjoy its equality of opportunity.
I will not surrender this Nation to the abhorrent behavior that I saw at the University of Buffalo last Thursday...join me in that stand to preserve the last best hope for mankind, these United States of America.