A funny thing happened on the way to Houston for GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The former Massachusetts Governor found himself addressing the NAACP Convention. Yeah, you read that right. Mitt Romney, the stormin' Mormon hoping to wrest the White House keys away from Barack Obama (who, according to the internet, is our first African American President). So, if you're a conservative like me, you really didn't know what to expect. I mean, Mitt Romney and the NAACP go together like, well the Republican Party and the NAACP.
Still --- a funny thing happened on the way to Houston. Mitt Romney did Republicans proud, conservatives proud and --- dare I say --- political America proud, by making the attempt to bridge a gap that many believe is more like a chasm. Of course, not even the most naive of political pundits believe Mitt Romney's speech to the NAACP Convention would be a game changer for 2012. It's no secret that Black America overwhelmingly votes Democratic, and when it comes to Barack Obama, it's a pretty safe bet that the 44th President has the Black vote pretty much in tow.
Which is why Romney chose to begin his speech (met with a tepid reception) thus:
“With 90 percent of African-Americans voting for Democrats, some of you may wonder why a Republican would bother to campaign in the African American community, and to address the NAACP,” Romney told the convention. “Of course, one reason is that I hope to represent all Americans, of every race, creed or sexual orientation, from the poorest to the richest and everyone in between.”
Mitt Romney isn't running to be President of White America, or Black America, or Gay or Straight America. He's running to be President of the United States of America - the same reason once seemingly embraced by Barack Obama - before the days of punishing enemies and mocking folks with "teabags".
Romney took his message of prosperity, job creation, and personal economic freedom to a gathering of folks who represent a sect of America who desperately need to hear it.
He even stood stoic and resolved amidst a chorus of boos when he promised to repeal the popular Obamacare law recently upheld by the Supreme Court. Not only did he stand on his word, he brought the message back to job creation (by many accounts - Obamacare is a job killer), stood poignant, pragmatic, and - dare I say - Presidential in the face of his critics.
I miss that in our Commander in Chief, don't you?
There's no doubt exists a stark contrast about 2012’s vision of America between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, the merits of both visions can easily be debated in the theater of politics. But what America needs now are more attempts to bridge the cultural, racial, and ideological divide that keep us separate - not united.
Mitt Romney took a large step forward in my eyes - and I'm hoping that the rest of the nation - Black and White America - can acknowledge and respect the steps Mitt Romney took on his way to Houston.
Editor’s Note: Spears is a political blogger, commentator and businessman from Florida. Visit his website at www.torreyspears.com.