Allen West -- Guardian of the Republic
Col. Allen West is a man the left loves to hate -- a conservative who happens to be a black man. Is he a traitor to the black community, or a man with the mission of freeing all Americans from the yoke of victimization and government dependency?
While very much autobiographical (why I love this country and why I shall fight wholeheartedly and fearlessly for the future of our republic), Guardian of the Republic, An American Ronin's Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom (written with Michelle Hickford) is also an introduction to conservatism in general and an explanation of the purported enigma of the black conservative.
While West was campaigning for re-election in a redrawn Florida Congressional District in 2012, a black woman screamed at him, “How could you do this? How could you be one of them? Your parents are ashamed of you. You are not a real black person.” In fact, West reflects that he was fortunate to have parents who put him on the path that took him to where he is today. West credits his parents with instilling in him American values, including “a sense of faith, family and God.” They taught him to appreciate service to one’s country, fiscal responsibility, the value of a good education, and a sense of self-responsibility.
Decades before America elected its first black president, West’s parents knew that a good education was the key to success. His parents understood that they, not the government, were responsible for their son’s education. Therefore, young Allen attended a private Catholic school at his parent’s expense.
A pivotal moment in his young life occurred when he was in ninth grade, one of seven black kids in a private Catholic school of 700 students. West found it difficult to relate to his friends in the neighborhood and wanted to transfer to the local public school. His mother would have none of it. Young Allen conceived a well thought- out plan (including the fiscal requirements!) and ran away to his Aunt’s house in Washington, D.C. Upon his return to Atlanta, his father told Allen how proud he was of Allen standing up for himself. “However, if you ever do something like that again, I will kill you.” Tough love, Atlanta style! The lesson for young Allen: there are times when one must make a principled stand regardless of what others think.
His formal training to be a “Guardian of the Republic” began in his public high school Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. His leadership potential was already evident when he was appointed the program’s battalion commander as a junior, a privilege normally reserved for seniors. Young Allen West was well on his way to becoming the man he is today.
In the course of his military career, West saw the reality of communism and socialism on the faces of East Germans. Standing on the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ) he witnessed the danger posed by the totalitarian Stalinist state. In Iraq, he saw the evil of Islamic fundamentalism in the face of a woman raped by the Iraqi soldiers after they killed her husband and brother. To say that West’s military experience shapes his world view is an understatement.
West notes, appropriately enough, the trauma of September 11, 2001, “the Pearl Harbor of my generation.” The attack eventually took him to Iraq. In August 2003, West made a decision that effectively ended his military career. While conducting an interrogation of an Iraqi policeman, West used “psychological intimidation.” The Iraqi was providing information to the enemy for use in launching ambushes against American soldiers. West does not shy away from detailing the action he took that led to accusations of “war crimes” from the left. West himself reported the incident that ended his military career with an honorable discharge.
As he did what had to be done in that interrogation, in Guardian West does not shy away from tackling the issues of conservatism in the black community as well as the challenges facing the future of the American Republic. West laments the disintegration of the American electoral process into an “American Idol” competition aided and abetted by the mainstream media.
In the end, as he harshly critiques what America has become, West contends that the conservative movement embodies the ideals that can salvage this American Republic. West explains with clarity why he is a conservative and exactly how he became “one of them.” His parents are surely proud of him.