Answering some FAQs I get


It has been my honor to write articles that appear in The Citizen for the past year and a half. This paper does a great service to our community by providing this forum for us to engage and dialog on issues of the day. Many people within the community have graciously expressed their appreciation for this column, and for that I am truly grateful.

This week I thought I would share with you some interesting questions that have come up over the past few months as I have been writing this column. The answers to some of these questions, I think, you might find surprising. And some of my answers may be a little revealing, but I hope the conversation below helps to draw us closer together as neighbors and friends.

Question: Do you work for The Citizen?

Answer: No. I don’t work for The Citizen, nor am I compensated for the articles that I write. I am honored to write about things that weigh on my heart and submit them for publication. Often times, I find the topics speak to pertinent issues of the day and/or reflect the beliefs of many within our community.

Q. So, what do you do?

A. I have a small business as a learning and development consultant. I get contracts typically for three to six months in order to help companies either develop or implement new systems training or employee development programs.

Q. Aren’t you employed by the Republican Party?

A. No. While I am the secretary of our local Fayette County Republican Party (FCRP), it is a voluntary position. In fact, I have never received any financial benefit or favors from my work with FCRP. Nor have I carried any political favors for candidates in exchange for my involvement.

Q. This next one came from my daughter. “Mommy, why are you a Republican?”

A. Explaining politics to an 11-year-old can be tricky, but I explained it to her this way:

In politics, people tend to look at government in two ways. One way says the role of government is to provide for the needs of its citizens by taking taxes from other citizens and distributing funds and services to those who have less. However, such a view assumes the government knows what is best for us than we ourselves.

In contrast, it has been the historical position of the Republican Party that government is there to protect the people’s freedoms and provide for services that we cannot provide for ourselves (like national defense). In so doing, we would be able to meet our own needs and help those who are truly needy in the process.

For me, it just doesn’t make much sense to send over $2.5 trillion each year to a federal government so they can figure out how to best redistribute it (and keep a large chunk in the process.) I’d much rather give my money to organizations I know and trust to serve the needs of the less fortunate.

Q. How can any black person be a conservative/Tea Partier?

A. While I do tend to be one of the few persons of color at conservative/Tea Party events, I do not judge conservatives/Tea Partiers as being racists because there aren’t more people who look like me.

Rather than pre-judge these individuals based on their lack of color, I stand with those whose values coincide with mine, which includes limited/constitutional government, fiscal responsibility, and free market systems (versus government controlled systems).

In line with these values are some of my American heroes like Frederick Douglass, Martin Luther King Jr., and Bill Cosby, for they emphasize self-respect, self-determination and personal responsibility.

I think if more African-Americans (and Americans in general) would consider conservative principles, they would find that there is more upon which we agree than disagree.

It is a shame the media has been so successful in belittling a group of ordinary Americans, many of whom I find to be decent people who are simply trying to advance the very principles that have made America great — life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Q. How do you find time to do it all?

A. This is probably the most frequently asked question. Many of you know that I am a wife and mother of five children and everything I do is with the support of my family. In fact, my husband edits all the articles I write.

At times my volunteer activities can put a strain on our time and finances. But we love this community and our country, and we recognize that in giving of our time, talents, and treasures God blesses us in the process.

Well, those are some of the FAQs I get! I hope they provided you with greater insight to my perspective. Ultimately, I hope this article draws us a little closer together, particularly those with differing perspectives.

[Bonnie B. Willis is co-founder of The Willis Group, LLC, a Learning, Development, and Life Coaching company here in Fayette County and lives in Fayetteville along with her husband and their five children.]