Sunday, May 12, 2013
I was at my first BlogCon in Denver in 2011 when I first heard Deneen Borelli speak - and I was inspired! I immediately ordered her book, "Blacklash: How Obama and the Left Are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation".
Sadly, being a Kindle version, when I saw her again at BlogCon2012, she couldn't sign it for me. But it is one of the few books I return to again and again for inspiration.
She spoke to BlogCon2013 yesterday and began, as she usually does, proclaiming "America is an exceptional country."
"I am living proof that America is an exceptional country where anyone can succeed," she said. And her story is definitely one of living the American Dream.
But it wasn't easy. She said she lived for a while on Ramen noodles because that's all she could afford. In the end, she got an education, wrote a book, is a Fox News contributor and the Director of Outreach for FreedomWorks, sponsor of BlogCon.
"When can someone like that end up as a Fox News contributor, author … you can’t tell me that America is not an exceptional country because it is," she emphasized.
She promotes herself as a living example of how the principles of freedom and liberty can appeal to everyone, especially minorities. She grew up in a Democratic household, but found that the messages of that political party didn't reflect what she learned and came to believe.
"If I can adopt these principles, anybody can - and boy do we need more Americans to adopt the principles of freedom."
Building on the theme of her book, she said that our tax dollars are being used to create a dependent class who will always vote for their masters. She contrasts that with the conservative view:
"We’re not telling people what to do. We want them to be empowered and be the boss of themselves."
She explained that President Barack Obama believes in the power of the government - not in the power of the individual. She advised to use his own words against him and show how his policies are hitting minorities and the poor disproportionately - especially his energy policies which unnecessarily raise the costs of gasoline, heating and cooling and his opposition to school choice which traps primarily minority children in low-performing schools.
He - and others - promote victimhood, she said.
"Blacks are victims who need special help to get by…this message is coming from black media, preachers, liberals, ... and that (message is) Blacks are victims of the white guy with the only hope being government."
Borelli has a powerful message: " The liberty message is about empowering individuals – especially those in the Black community who are under the cloud of the Black liberal establishment," she said. "There are some you won’t be able to reach…but if I can do it and understand it and come to my own conclusion and not be told, anyone can."
"It’s liberty, not government, that allows us to pursue our dreams," she emphasized.
But in order to reach others and spread the message, it takes a relationship. We can't just reach out to people at election time and expect them to pay attention to us, much less hear and understand the message.
While she said the common message of liberty is appealing regardless of what color you are, there are challenges in outreach to minority communities. "In a perfect world, it shouldn’t matter who the messenger is – this isn’t a perfect world," she said.
She gave us some tools to help start the conversation, telling us we can ask questions like "Why does Obama oppose school choice, trapping your kids in failing schools while sending his own to an elite, private school?" and "Why is Al Sharpton rich and you're not?"
She also encouraged everyone to support conservatives who are also minorities in their efforts and to welcome into our groups and tea party organizations the Black conservatives who "come out of the closet." We need to engage them and incorporate them into our regular activities and work with them to spread the message that:
"America is an exceptional country – an exceptional country - and our country does not guarantee you success, but it is liberty that guarantees you the opportunity to succeed."
Deneen Borelli, and her husband Tom, will be in Toledo on May 21st for a dinner event sponsored by the Northwest Ohio Conservative Coalition. Information and tickets are available here.