I had the opportunity to meet the 41st president, George H. W. Bush, and the Bush family in 1992 when I was asked to be one of the co-chairs of his re-election campaign for the state of Colorado. It was indeed an honor to be on the floor of the Republican National Convention and be interviewed by such notables as Connie Chung of CBS and the late Ed Bradley of CBS.
There were very few black delegates at the convention at the Astrodome in Houston. My mother was so proud to watch me on TV from her home in Hattiesburg, Miss., where I grew up. I could still remember her words from when I was a child: Be the best you can be, and let no one define who you are because of the color of your skin.
In 2009, I returned to Hattiesburg for my 50th high school class reunion. I was one of the speakers, and when I spoke about the elder President Bush, and about being one of the lead speakers at a few rallies for the president, my former classmates - all black - booed. It still occurs even today: When free thinkers decide to leave the plantation, the insults begin to fly!
I am very proud to be an American conservative who happens to be black. I am called a lot of things, though not to my face because the insults usually come from cowards. Regardless, only sticks and stones, not words, bother me.
In 2008, I did not support then-U.S. Sen. Obama and am very proud of that decision. I also was among the 5 percent to 8 percent of black Americans who refused to support his re-election. I remember the statement Obama made before the election: "We are five days away from transforming America." He is the most radical president, in my opinion, in the history of this country.
We still have blacks supporting Obama, of course, but the numbers have fallen from over 90 percent in November 2012 to 61 percent now. And there are other rays of hope.
For example, 100 black ministers in the state of Michigan are circulating petitions to remove Eric Holder from office, the Obama administration's attorney general. That's because Holder and his Justice Department have brought suit against the state of Louisiana, in a New Orleans Federal Court, to block a school voucher program intended to help mostly black kids stuck in public schools that are under federal desegregation orders. The statewide voucher program, officially called The Louisiana Scholarship Program, lets low-income students in public schools earning grades of C, D or F attend private schools with taxpayer support.
State Sen. Elbert Guillory of Louisiana, a black American who switched from a Democrat to a Republican and who I had a chance to hear speak last weekend, said, "Education is the civil rights issue of our time. I cannot understand why this administration would block students from having the opportunity to get a great education."
Black liberals are now insulting Sen. Guillory. He is another black conservative who left the plantation. He is a free thinker. So, his critics are using the old, tired rhetoric - calling him a sellout, Oreo cookie, Uncle Tom. When I still hear the Uncle Tom label used on me, I shake my head in disbelief. It just shows that they never read Harriet Beecher Stove's novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin." The title character actually suffered and died because he refused to give his brutal slave owner the escape plans of other slaves.
A Feb. 25 article in the Washington Examiner reported on a poll in which 71 percent of Obama voters surveyed said they now would vote for someone else if they could do so again. They say they "regret" their vote to re-elect the president.
Meanwhile, former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous stated just a little over a year ago that, "black folks are doing worse under Obama." No surprise there. Black unemployment in places like Washington, D.C., continues to rise. In 2006 it was 5.7 percent; it was 10.3 percent in 2011; it was 11.5 percent in 2013. Black women over 20 years old had an 11.5 percent unemployment rate. The Chicago area had the third highest black unemployment in the nation in 2011, at 22.6 percent. That's the current president's hometown.
Are black Americans finally starting to get the message?
Ed Jones is a former state senator, El Paso County commissioner and a longtime Republican activist in Colorado Springs. Ed's on KVOR-AM 740 radio in Colorado Springs. Learn more about him at www.theedjones.com.