Editor's Note: Lenny McAllister shares his insight on the political issues at http://www.lennymcallister.com and is a member of the North Carolina Republican Party Executive Committee.
Last night, my Young Republican Meeting was abuzz about Michael Steele's historic victory as the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee.
In Charlotte, our 70 member group of 18-40 year-olds is like the hundreds of other YR groups around the country. Unlike traditional Republicans, we tend to view race issues very differently. Unfortunately, we are not as diverse as we would like to be - at least not yet. We know that we have to change that , and we want to change that.
We are weary of the imagery of being the party that is exclusively rich, old, and White. We see that the election of Steele as a great opportunity for Republicans to create a new legacy, and show our link between ourselves and everyday America. We are ready for a new leader that can give a new image.
Chairman Steele is a media-savvy, eloquent politician that can present the Republican Party's positions regularly with a presence that was unmatched by his predecessor. Younger Republicans are excited to have a leader that exudes energy, affability, and strength without seeming exclusive and divisive.
The Obama campaign changed the way political races are run in America by incorporating non-traditional voters. These are traits that President Obama used to win, and we need those traits to strengthen the GOP.
The RNC could not have picked a better leader as they seek to become more relevant to a more diverse voting population. The very things that are criticized about the GOP --e.g., concern for minorities–are issues Steele knows about from his own life. Those experiences will enable him to attract new members and change the way the GOP is viewed by voters.
For now Steele may stand in the shadow of our country's first African-American president, but with a closer look, people will see that America has changed and, thus, the Republican Party is changing as well.
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