What Simon Says

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Published on: July 26, 2016

In route to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last week, I took a cab to my hotel from the airport. I was picked up by a gentleman named Simon. Simon had a thick accent so I knew he must be an immigrant. We exchanged pleasantries and then he hit me right between the eyes with a pointed question.

He said, “You are attending the Republican Convention (in his thick African accent)?”

I responded, “Yes, I am.”

Then he said, “What do you think is the percentage of Black Republicans attending the convention who are entrepreneurs?”

I was actually afraid to answer the question because usually when I encounter Blacks that ask about my party affiliation, they are gearing up to lower the boom on me about being a “Sell-out,” an “Uncle Tom,” or worse. Well, I answered his question with a question. I said, “Well, I’m not quite sure. What do you think the percentage is?”

He responded, “I think it’s 75 percent.”

Well, I was shocked because what he was actually doing was feeling me out to see if I was a conservative like him.

It was a seminal moment in our meeting, and we proceeded to talk politics and the Black experience in America the entire 30-minute cab ride to the hotel.  I have to tell you, it was refreshing. As opposed to having to argue and fight for every point justifying a Christian conservative worldview politically, I found myself nodding my head in agreement and saying amen after every point he made about what makes America the great nation it is because of its founding in the Judeo-Christian ethic. He talked about how entitlement programs were hamstringing the Black community and that they didn’t line up with Scripture.

You see, Simon was from Ghana. He has been in America nearly 20 years, and he has tasted the fruit of success by attaining the American Dream. He is an entrepreneur, a husband, and a father. He successfully raised 4 children, with the oldest two becoming college graduates. He even bragged about how one of his children worked abroad in Europe, and the other was a CPA.

Simon is also a man of God who raised his children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. He told me he raised his daughters to not only be successful but also to become great wives to godly men.  Likewise, his sons were raised to be successful, and godly men to their wives.

It really touched my heart to hear him speak on timely topics of the day, including the GOP convention. He understood the political gamesmanship taking place and even expressed his displeasure in Sen. Cruz not endorsing Donald Trump.

Simon shuttled me around Cleveland the entire week I was there. One day, as he brought me back to the hotel, we stopped at a Wendy’s to get a burger. While waiting for our food, he got into a political discussion with two patrons in the restaurant that were watching the GOP Convention on TV. It was a sight to see Simon in discourse with a Black gentleman named Mohammed, who was a Muslim immigrant from Sudan, and a white gentleman who was Mohammed’s friend, who was obviously from the states.  Mohammed assumed Simon was a Democrat, but when Simon corrected him, both Mohammed and his white friend were shocked. They then asked me if I was a Republican, and when I replied yes, their eyes lit up again. So, now you have two Black guys and a White guy, all Republicans, ganging up on the lone Democrat from Sudan. I wish I could have videoed the conversation since popular culture says there’s no way this event would ever happen.

Simon told the Sudanese immigrant, “You are a Republican, you just don’t know it yet.” We all shook hands and then departed for the hotel where he dropped me off. I asked him why he said that. He replied, “He’s from Africa. Africans are entrepreneurs. You cannot be an entrepreneur without being Republican, and you cannot be an entrepreneur without being a Christian,”….or something to that effect.

I told him, Simon, I am going to write an article about you and talk about you on my show. He responded, “Why would you do that? I am honored.” I replied, “Because you are an example of the American ideal, what this nation was created for and what it represents.”

Well, Simon, this article is dedicated to you my new Christian Conservative Republican friend. You are an inspiration to me, and you are an icon of what it truly means to be an American.

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