Back in January 2005, the blacks in the Georgia State House of Representatives screamed how they were being shut out of the legislative process and removed from all the committee chairmanships they held. They called it "racist" and wanted something done.
So what happened? Why the outcry? What was going on in the state of Georgia? It's very simple. For the first time since Reconstruction, the Republicans won the State House. All of the black legislators were Democrats. The Republicans decided that party members would get the committee chairmanships. Hence, no blacks were committee chairmen. The GOP again retained control in the 2006 elections. It will be a while before the Democrats take control of either legislative body in Georgia.
Fast forward to Mississippi. Obviously, committee chairmanships are decided by the Lt. Governor and House Speaker. But that could change. Mississippi has never been known for its party divisions in the State Legislature. But a year or so ago, the GOP decided to elect a minority leader and whip. That does not bode well for bipartisanship in the Legislature. Should the Democrats retain control of the House, the Speaker just might appoint all Democrats to committee chairmanships. And blacks will control a lot of those posts.
Odds are the Democrats will control the House next year. But it is only a matter of time before the GOP takes control. It will be a lot more partisan Legislature than it was under Gov. Musgrove and previous governors. If all the black legislators are Democrats, they just might not get any committee chairmanships. They might object, but why should the GOP appoint them to any committee chairmanships? Most of the GOP legislators are conservative. Most of the black legislators are liberal.
Blacks should re-examine their love affair with the Democratic Party. I can understand why the blacks want to stay in the Democratic Party. After all, a solid majority of Democratic primary voters are black. Blacks wield a lot of power in the Democratic Party. And when the Democratic Party is in control, blacks will have a good chunk of power. But what happens when the Democratic Party loses its power. Blacks are shut out of the power process. There is a lot of truth to the old political cliche': Always dance with the ones who brung you. And most blacks do not want to dance with the GOP.
Take Rankin County, which is solidly GOP. How many blacks have any position of power? How much influence does the black community have on the GOP? The answer is "none." You may get a few blacks appointed to some boards and commissions, but that's about it. There is very little power on those boards and commissions.
The GOP has changed quite a bit in the past thirty years. It certainly isn't as conservative as it was thirty years ago--or even twenty. Admittedly, the late Gov. Kirk Fordice was no friend of the black population. One could make a very strong case that he was racist (I personally think he was.). But his breed is the old time 1960s and 1970s Republicans, which did have a racist tinge with some of those Republicans. The new breed can't stand racism. This is especially true among the Christian Right. The CR is reaching out to blacks in volunteer efforts and on the social issues. One very strong reason the CR is not racist because of its very strong religious beliefs--especially that the Lord Jesus Christ died for ALL people.
And just what has the average black got out of the Democratic Party other than power? Billions have been spent on welfare but there is a strong black (and to some degree, white) underclass. The Democrats promote dependency; The GOP promotes opportunity and hope. Maybe the GOP isn't perfect, but shouldn't blacks give an ear to what the GOP has to offer? Shouldn't the black voter be more discriminating in its vote rather than just voting for an individual just because he has a (D) after his name? And to maintain its power status, shouldn't blacks get involved in the Republican Party and vote Republican so they can get the fruits of power should the GOP be in the driver's seat? Black voters shouldn't put their eggs all in the Democratic Party basket.
Hopefully, blacks will wake up and carefully choose both sides. The last thing this state needs is a lily-white Republican Party and a solidly black Democratic Party.