Welcome to Black and Red
I am Joseph Hunter, the creator of Black and Red. I welcome you and hope that you become a regular participant in this blog. As you do, please visit and support Black and Red on Facebook, follow Black and Red on Twitter, and share these posts with everyone you know. I welcome feedback and conversation. Thanks!
A Bit about Me
I haven’t always been a conservative Republican, but I am now, and have been for a long time.
My political journey has taught me the truth in the axiom–there’s no greater zealot than a convert.
Since childhood, politics has fascinated me. Political discussion presented the vehicle to adulthood, to being taken seriously. It meant that one matured from simple conversation about familiar people and thought more about others in an abstract sense. It meant thinking about duty, rights, fairness and morality. Every kid wanting to graduate from the kiddie table to the adult table must learn to listen, learn, develop an opinion and eventually present his case to the august diet of adults. That’s at least how things worked in my family.
When my moment came, my voiced squeaked, attracting every set of adult eyes to me. Was I going to say something that made sense? Did I fully understand the issue? Would I understand the response? I was apprehensive. But with no choice I dove in. Faces were stoic, attentive. Nobody smiled patronizingly as I asked my question or made my statement. A place for me was thereafter set at the table.
Once you make it into the “big leagues” you must keep playing “big league ball.” I read political magazines whenever I could get my hands on them. I rarely understood the controversies or the nuances of the issues about which the articles were written, but I learned more every time I read. Then, I regurgitated what I read with conviction, attributing the author and magazine in which I read it. I judged its quality by how the adult table dealt with the information I put up for discussion–and learned that I needed to learn even more. This continues: I hear points of view and bring those points of view to my friends’ parents and to teachers and to strangers at the barber shop, focus-grouping these ideas and shaping my own. In shaping my own ideas, I was forced to internalize and stand for what I had come to believe.
One day, I had to take all that I learned to the polls.
In 2000, I cast my first vote, but it wasn’t an easy one. I was torn between voting for Al Gore and voting for Ralph Nader. Yes, I was a liberal–a leftist. Gore’s narrow defeat made me bitter, and I vowed to learn everything I could about the people I had learned to regard as the enemy (Republicans).
I read the paper regularly, but did not have much of a problem with what George W. Bush was doing. On the other hand, my liberal friends railed about him until I asked them what he did that they disliked so much. Their answers revealed vitriol, but no substance. Bush was going to usher in an era of Jim Crow. He was going to throw old people out onto the street and ruin the environment. I didn’t see how he was going to do all of this, nor did I understand how 50% of America voted for someone with these aims.
Whenever I defended Bush, in the frequent event that they misquoted him, they assailed me–calling me a “Republican,” a “right-winger,” even a “fascist.” I’d usually back down and continue seeing for myself what was so bad about Republicans.
To that end, I purchased what I had expected to be the most inflammatory book on the subject. Rush Limbaugh’s “The Way Things Ought to Be” was going to reveal the ugly conservative values, straight from the source, that would finally explain to me what was wrong with the right. I read the book, always with a highlighter in hand, shaking my head and scoffing. My friends and coworkers made fun of me and made fun of him. “You still have ink in that highlighter?” I’d try to feed them passages dripping with hate to show them the enemy I’ve found. “Look at what he says about racism,” I’d say. They’d gather around while I read a highlighted section, first to myself. “Wait,” I’d say after reading a selection, “this isn’t the one. Wait, I’ll find it.” What I found, instead, was that upon a second look, what Limbaugh said wasn’t that inflammatory at all. In fact, I quite agreed with it.
Moreover, I internalized the conservative message of self-determination, duty, and tradition.
The 9-11 Attacks, and liberal responses to the attacks did even more to pull me rightward. I believed that deposing the Taliban in Afghanistan was the right course of action, as I also believed that declaring war on any nation that supported or sponsored Islamic terrorists was justified. I supported (and still support) the Iraq War in 2003. Being on the right, though, does not make me immune to the challenges facing the Republican Party.
As I see it, the GOP faces a problem with messaging, tone and image. I believe that the Party’s solutions to the country’s problems are better than the Democrats’ and do more to empower the individual and protect the nation’s interests. The conservative message liberates. For that reason, I want to spread it to as many people as I can–in the best way I know how. I criticize the Party’s follies (from a place of love)–love for the Party that has embraced me, love for the ideas it stands for and disseminates, and love for the people I wish to be freed from the Democrat’s notion that identity is destiny.
Black and Red is my vehicle.
About Black and Red
Black and Red began on September 4th in 2007 as a place where I could discuss politics with my co-workers. It originally ran on a Google Blogspot format and grew from a spartan text-driven site to one adorned with colors and photographs. Aesthetically, the site was dark, but sharp, playing into its name with a black background, white lettering, and red dividing lines separating posts from links.
Originally, I posted new essays weekly (on Sunday), and Free Exchange articles on Wednesday. While the schedule allowed for a great deal of predictability, the form harmed the function as news stories passed by without my comment. At some point, I may return to a set schedule. For now, I plan on simply writing when I see something interesting (which is all the time).
Black and Red’s tone changed dramatically from its beginning, primarily because its purpose changed. The site, meant to encourage passion, began with a confrontational, yet playful and respectful, tone. That changed when the site gained a broader readership. My sense was, the internet is awash in conservative arguing, but is lacking in conservative conversation. The mission, then, focused on presenting a conservative perspective on political events, providing data and perspectives to other conservatives, and engaging with people on the right, left and center who concur or completely dissent from my view. To a great extent that makes up much of what Black and Red does today.
With that in mind, I welcome you. I hope that you enjoy the original content, participate in the discussions, share this site and visit often.