In a Daily Wire exclusive interview, Lt. Col. Allen West sat down with Ben Shapiro to discuss how to push back on the identity politics and “victim culture” dominating American discourse and what it’ll take to keep the red states from turning blue.
Allen West grew up in the same neighborhood as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., an area more commonly known as the “Old Fourth Ward Neighborhood.” Despite being born a generation later, former U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel, former U.S. Representative and now Texas Republican Party Chairman, Allen West continues to echo the same transformative message of Dr. King — content of character and not the color of your skin.
But in a January 2019 “Sunday Special Interview” with Daily Wire Editor Emeritus Ben Shapiro, Allen West stated that the narrative has since shifted.
“For whatever reason, America has reversed and we’ve gone back to talking more so about the color of skin issues instead of the character of people,” West explained.
With a family history of service to the country, West acknowledged that his value system is distinct from the rest of society. From a young age his father instructed him, “Son, when you go into the military, it ain’t about the color of your skin, it is all about what you can do out there on the battlefield.”
“And that’s how it should be,” West argued.
As a college campus speaker who tours the country with Young America’s Foundation, West has witnessed a different perspective sweeping the halls of higher education, one that promotes victimhood and “dependency on the Left.”
After one night speaking on the Obama-era Iranian nuclear deal and American foreign policy, West was shocked by the first question he received from a young black female. “Do you identify as black?” she asked.
Such thinking, West told Shapiro, is the product of the Left pushing people into an ideological box based upon their ethnicity or gender. There is an “effort on college campuses to say that if you’re Jewish, you’re supposed to think a certain way. If you’re black, you’re supposed to think of a certain way,” commented West.
And if you have any opinions that run contrary to the Left’s, then “you’re bad or you’re confused or, you know, maybe you’re mentally disturbed,” he remarked.
West said the Left’s message is clear: “No matter where you come from, we need more people to be victims.”
“Why? Because the Left needs more people to be dependent upon them,” he explained.
According to the retired congressman, the way to counter this thinking is two-fold. First, “start to fight that culture war.” And second, “stop allowing the Left to define everything.”
West is confident there is more to the story than the Left’s dominant societal narrative. “Everybody wants to be a part of an American dream,” he asserted.
“I don’t believe that people wake up every day in life and say, ‘I want to stay here in Section 8 housing and get a check from the government.’ But if that’s the only message that they hear, if that’s the only people that are going into those communities and talking to them about being victims and not victors, then the Republicans are always chasing their tails.”
Victors look like West’s wife. She is the daughter of immigrant parents from Jamaica and her father fought in the U.S Military for 24 years. They laid a foundation for her to earn her PhD, MBA, and go on to teach as a business professor.
“But those aren’t the stories that the other side wants to have,” West pointed out.
Rising above victimhood includes shaking off what West views is equally as repulsive as racism — “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”
To be told by someone, “Well, you probably can’t achieve it, so we’re going to lower the standards so you can get out there and play.” To this West responded bluntly, “That’s racist.”
Counteracting low expectations with high expectations is key. “You know, you find out what the standard is, what it means to get to the A, and then you get an A-plus,” asserted West. “And that’s what I’m driven to do.”
For West, this means even if he has to brave the hate.
“You know if you’re not willing to sit down, have that intellectual debate, then you’re irrelevant. I don’t hear names. I’ve been shot at. Okay. Names don’t bother me,” West told Shapiro.
This level of perseverance is evident by his recent mid-July win for Texas Republican Party Chairman.
West is the author of, “Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory Or Death” and its pages point to Texas as the crux of future conservative election victories.
West said that Texas is following the same path that Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada went down, a path that leads to red states becoming blue. One of the causes, he told Shapiro, is California residents moving to red states because of their own state’s “failed tax and regulatory policies.”
“And what is happening is that the greatest export that comes out of California is not avocados, wine, or walnuts — it’s progressive socialism.” West is sure that “they’re flipping them because they’re, once again, holding onto these same failed policies.”
The looming danger is that Texas, along with California, which the Left already dominates, are the two largest electoral states. “And the Left without a doubt have their sights on Texas. As a matter of fact their mantra is ‘Turn Texas Blue,’” West said.
“And if the Left is successful in turning Texas, the national-level elections, they’re done. You’re never gonna be able to reverse that cycle,” he warned.
West believes this calls for serious action by the Republican Party to intentionally fight for voters in large urban cities and present them with the rationale of conservative policies and values.
“And so we need to challenge the status quo,” he urged, “and we need to have a whole-hearted effort to go into these communities and show ourselves and show these policies.”
But for some reason, this seems to come easier to the Left than the Right, West noted. And he respects them for it.
“One of the things that I admire about the Left and the Democrat Party — they’re tenacious, even in the minority. They’re tenacious because they’re true believers in what they believe in, even if it’s wrong,” he said. “But for us, we don’t show that we’re true believers. And I think at some point in time we have to have those elected representatives in the Republican Party that are true believers. I don’t know if we’re going to get there within the next four years, but this is my real vision that I think will happen.”
West’s confidence in the party stems from his larger positive vision for the country. “I’m always optimistic, man, because if you’re pessimistic why wake up,” he told Shapiro.
After all, West stated, “we didn’t fight for America to look like a Venezuela.”
Lt. Col. West believes that fighting for America is a privilege and passionately seeks to make the next generation better than the last. To that generation, he said, “stand on a mountain.”
“Sometimes you’re going to be down in the valley — but always keep your eyes on the mountain.”
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