Black conservatives, like gay conservatives and any other hyphenated conservatives the reactionary know-nothings of identity politics seek to cancel, often have a rough go, to say the least, in their own communities.
Not only that, they are reviled in the media and what passes for polite society in this age of maximum hypocrisy.
They are deemed traitors to their races and/or sexualities by every “woke” idiot in America from adjunct professors of sociology to publicity seeking actors on Twitter.
So it should not be a surprise that a panel with two black conservatives got a standing “O” for ovation at CPAC. That audience, because so many them have been falsely accused of some “ist” or other themselves, recognized and heartily approved of their brave brothers and one white sister (moderator Mary Vought).
The brothers were Rep. Burgess Owen, Jack Brewer, and Leo Terrell.
They are all estimable, in fact extremely so. But I will write of Leo Terrell because I knew him of old, before he became Leo 2.0—a nickname he displays proudly on his MAGA-red hat.
Some years ago, when I ran PJ Media, Leo 1.0, would come in frequently to appear on PJTV as the left-liberal opposition in whatever discussion was going on.
A voluble, militant civil rights lawyer on camera—he was good at commanding the stage—when we were done, he was a surprisingly pleasant easy-going guy who was fun to be around.
I couldn’t help but like him, although his opinions would have fit well on today’s CNN.
Then—SHAZAM!—Leo 2.0 began to appear on television.
It was the same guy—same great camera skills—but with opinions that owed more to Rush Limbaugh than to Don Lemon.
That was the man who took the stage at CPAC on Saturday.
To say that he rocked the house is, if anything, an understatement.
His main topic was education, as it was for the other panelists. School choice, Leo insisted, was the linchpin of change for the black community. It would be the lever to bring more and more of them into the Republican fold.
He attacked the teachers and their retrograde unions for keeping the schools closed.
“Teachers want to stay home and collect a free pay check,” he said. (The man does not pull punches.)
He also had some tough things to say about a supposedly popular group, staring directly into the camera lens for emphasis as he pronounced: “I am against Black Lives Matter because they don’t care about black lives…. They hate the family unit. They are Marxists. We have to protect our country’s values.”
But what of that SHAZAM moment? How does a man of the left, a militant one at that, become a man of the right?
I think the plain-spoken logic of Donald Trump had something to do with it. Terrell’s change mirrors the ascendancy of Trump.
But such things are ineffable. Speaking from my own experience as a political apostate of sorts, such changes do not happen suddenly. They are not Road to Damascus moments. They are the result of the accretion of a number of things and events.
Leo Terrell, a man born in 1955 and who lived most of his life in Los Angeles, graduating from high school in Gardena, attending Cal State, Dominguez Hills and UCLA law school, has seen a lot in his home city.
Many events have occurred but little has changed, particularly in South Central Los Angeles. It’s only gotten worse.
Leo had the courage to switch his approach rather than sticking to the failed methods of the past. Why him and not others is the mystery.
Roger L. Simon is an award-winning novelist, Oscar-nominated screenwriter, co-founder of PJMedia, and now, editor-at-large for The Epoch Times. His most recent books are “The GOAT” (fiction) and “I Know Best: How Moral Narcissism Is Destroying Our Republic, If It Hasn’t Already” (nonfiction). He can be found on Parler as @rogerlsimon.
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.