The Kid From the Old Fourth Ward

Posted on Feb 28, 2022

Well, decision week is upon us. Tomorrow is the primary election in the Lone Star State. It has been an incredible journey since July 4th of last year when we announced our candidacy for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. There have been so many awesome experiences as we traveled all across the boundless beauty of Texas. However, this past Friday gave me a moment of reflection on this noble endeavor. 


I was sitting at the terminal in Addison awaiting a flight to Midland. A young Black man who worked in the terminal car rental service approached me. He introduced himself and said how proud he was to see me there and asked me which plane I was flying. Obviously, he saw the wings on my lapel and thought I was a pilot. I explained that I was not a pilot but that I had served 22 years in the US Army and was a paratrooper. I then handed him my business card. He read it and saw that I was running for Governor of Texas. He did not know who I was, but he looked up at me with tears welling up in his eyes and gave me a hug. He stated that he was truly proud of me and that he was so happy to see someone he could look up to.  


I was truly struck and humbled. We chatted for a few moments more, and then he had to get back to his work. I sat there continuing to wait for a private plane -- belonging to a man who exudes the American Dream -- to transport me to Midland. 


Then, it hit me. The kid from the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia, born 61-years-ago in a Blacks-only hospital and raised in the historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood, was living the American dream. 


The Old Fourth Ward neighborhood is renowned because it is the home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ebenezer Baptist Church, and the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement. The famed "Sweet Auburn Avenue" runs through the Old Fourth Ward. And, it -- along with Boulevard Avenue -- is home to some of the most famous Black churches in Atlanta and the South. But, the testimony to the impeccable greatness of our America is that a kid, born six decades ago, in a Blacks-only hospital, could grow up to be a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Army when his dad was only a Corporal in a segregated Army. His son would command an Artillery Battalion in combat when his pops was only a supply soldier. The kid from the Old Fourth Ward would go on to be a US Congressman, Chairman of the largest state Republican Party in the country, and be a candidate for Governor of the same state. 


We are being bombarded by cultural Marxism, Critical Race Theory, with tales of how awful, racist, and white-privileged America is. We must all stand against that lie! Truly, the Party of systemic racism is the Party that is calling everyone else racist for disagreeing with their insidious ideological agenda of equality of outcomes, equity, and inclusion. 


America -- Texas -- affords us all the equality of opportunity. One only needs to be inspired to reach for that golden ring. It is the reason why so many still flock to our shores, fleeing tyranny and oppression, legally, seeking the blessings of individual liberty and freedom. 


When my dad, the ol' Corporal Herman "Buck" West, challenged me to be the first commissioned officer in our family, he taught me the lesson that skin color could not deter me from my dreams and aspirations, unless I saw myself as a victim. He gave me a great directive when he said, "find what the standard is and exceed it." 


If there are those who are bothered because of my determination and commitment to excellence, blame my dad. I have heard that my boldness upsets some. Well, blame that on my mom, Elizabeth "Snooks" West, who explained to me that, "a man must stand for something, or else he will fall for anything." And, you can ask any of our family members who knew Mom, she was a bold Southern woman who commanded respect. 


So, whatever the result of Tuesday evening, I have already won. I am an American, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a veteran, a Christian, and a Texan obedient to the call to run for Governor of our great state.  Within my veins flows the spirit of triumph, resolve, victory, and it is why I could be born in a segregated hospital but rise above that circumstance. And, it is the legacy of predecessors such as early Republican Party of Texas Chairman Norris Wright Cuney, Texas State Senator Matthew Gaines, and Texas State Representative G.T. Ruby who were all once slaves, yet rose above their circumstances. 


This spirit is why my ideological mentor is Booker T. Washington, whose autobiography is titled, "Up From Slavery." For him, it was physical slavery and bondage. Today, we must rise above the chains of economic enslavement, along with the collective agenda, that seeks to relegate us to stations of serfdom. 


Paul writes in Romans 8:37 that we are all more than conquerors. Texans, may we ever live that charge, and, let our votes on Tuesday, March 1st reflect that attitude.