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What I like and dislike about Sen. Tim Scott’s vision

Jun 13, 2023

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Presidential candidate Sen/ Tim Scott (R-SC) has an optimistic vision for America that sets him apart from GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, who paints America as a “nation in decline.” Scott calls the 2024 election a choice between candidates preaching “grievance or greatness.” The only Black Republican in the Senate, Scott is even hopeful on the divisive topic of race, calling America a “land of opportunity and not a land of oppression.

Straight Arrow News contributor Ruben Navarrette finds parts of Scott’s message refreshing but worries he’s allowing white voters to gloss over America’s history of discrimination.

What I don’t like is Scott’s candidacy presents itself as some sort of magic elixir that acts as a remedy for white guilt. He is much too quick to let white folks off the hook for keeping their boot on the neck of Black folks, and Brown folks too, for that matter — or at least, benefiting quietly from the subjugation of others. 

In his speech, Scott mentioned his grandfather, who he said advised him that a man could be bitter or better, but not both. Scott said, “Today I’m living proof that America is a land of opportunity and not a land of oppression.” Amen. Amen. The mostly white crowd ate it up, exploding with applause and approval. He was telling them exactly what they wanted to hear from this Black man running for president. Basically: no harm, no foul, bygones, we’re good.

Scott continued, “This isn’t just my story. It’s all of our stories. The circumstances and the situations may be different. The details may change. But every one of us is here because of the American journey. There were obstacles that became opportunities and our pain revealed our purpose.” 

That’s all well and good. But riddle me this. What exactly is the purpose of Scott’s long-shot White House bid? Is it about a Black American seizing the opportunity to make America better? Or is it about making white people feel better about the centuries they spent denying opportunities to Black Americans?

Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, a Black Republican, is seeking the GOP nomination for president in 2020. 

 

Color me intrigued, I have mixed feelings about Scott’s bid. There’s one thing I really like about it. And one thing I really don’t like about it. I’m not talking about Scott, mind you, only his candidacy. From what I’ve seen with him, I like the senator from the Palmetto State just fine. The man is extremely likable. Scott is positive, optimistic and upbeat. He sees the good in people. And he realizes and speaks often of the virtues of America. Announcing his campaign, he said this, “America is the greatest nation on God’s green earth. And our greatness doesn’t come from politicians, doesn’t come from the government. It comes from “We the People.” 

 

In other words, America doesn’t need to be made great again. It’s already great. And it’s always been great and always will be. That’s refreshing to hear against the backdrop of the rest of the Republican Party, aka the Temple of Doom, who seem to think that America is going down the tubes. They keep saying the border is open, and yet they keep their minds closed. 

 

By contrast, it’s obvious that Scott loves this country, his country, even though like most Black Americans, I’m sure there have been times in his life when it appeared that his country did not love him back. Here’s what I like, the central message to other Black Americans. 

 

“Hey, stop playing the victim and quit blaming white people for your misfortunes.” He also wants African Americans to know that white liberals are not their friends, and that the Democratic Party doesn’t respect them or value their support. He believes that while discrimination is real, and while there will always be obstacles in the paths of Black Americans, hard work, faith and perseverance will get them where they want to go. Such is the wonder of America, a place where the People decide their destinies, for better or worse. As Scott said in his remarks, “We live in the land of opportunity. We live in the land where it is absolutely possible for a kid raised in poverty, in a single parent household, in a small apartment, to one day serve in the People’s house, and maybe even the White House.” 

 

So as you can see, there is a lot to like in Scotts candidacy. It is holding itself out as the cure for Black victimhood. That’s great. But just wait until you hear what I don’t like now; it’s a doozy. 

 

What I don’t like is Scott’s candidacy presents itself as some sort of magic elixir that acts as a remedy for white guilt. He is much too quick to let white folks off the hook for keeping their boot on the neck of Black folks, and brown folks too, for that matter — or at least, benefiting quietly from the subjugation of others. 

 

In his speech, Scott mentioned his grandfather, who he said advised him that a man could be bitter or better, but not both. Scott said, “Today I’m living proof that America is a land of opportunity and not a land of oppression.” Amen. Amen. The mostly white crowd ate it up, exploding with applause and approval. He was telling them exactly what they wanted to hear from this Black man running for president. Basically: no harm, no foul, bygones, we’re good. Scott continued, 

 

“This isn’t just my story. It’s all of our stories. The circumstances and the situations may be different. The details may change. But every one of us is here because of the American Journey. There were obstacles that became opportunities and our pain revealed our purpose.” 

 

That’s all well and good. But riddle me this. What exactly is the purpose of Scott’s long shot White House bid? Is it about a Black American seizing the opportunity to make America better? Or is it about making white people feel better about the centuries they spent denying opportunities to Black Americans? Tim Scott is eager to vouch for America. Great. But who will vouch for Tim Scott?

 

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