Ever heard of Michael Steele? Had you heard of him before Friday's news cycle? If you are a political news junkie or live in Maryland you may have. For most everyone else, Michael Steele is the former Lt. Governor of Maryland who came out of oblivion to be elected the new chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Steele, an attorney, made an unsuccessful run at a senate seat in 2006 and is not a member of the RNC. It took six rounds of voting, but Steele ultimately prevailed over republican heavyweights to become the party's first black chair.
Is the RNC embracing change? Or is it putting new dark paint on an old house? Call me skeptical, but I cannot swallow Steele's election at a time when the United States is still swooning at its election of the first black president as a coincidence. I am going out on a limb and suggest that the Republican Party believes it would be advantageous for the party to put on a black face at this time. Steele is the party's answer to their devastating loss in November. A loss they have tragically simplified to be racial.
The party of the good old boys has shown itself committed to racism and racial ignorance. Are voters supposed to confuse one black face for another and 'swap black dog fi monkey?' Are the thousands of voters who abandoned the Grand Old Party and its long held positions and ideals in November supposed to return now because its public face is now a dark one?
If I were hopeful I would view Mr. Steele's election as the RNC's indication that they are opening up the party and their minds to more inclusive actions and policies. But my inclination is to believe that the RNC hopes to pull off an optical illusion, instead of making substantive changes to its policies. They are hoping all black men look alike, instead of aligning more with its public to respect human rights, preserve quality of life for citizens in every economic bracket, and enforce checks and balance for businesses. More than anything, Steele's election shows it is business as usual at the old RNC house.