Runaway Slave is one of the most important movies I think has ever been produced. CL Bryant, the star of the film, takes the watcher on a journey through the past and into the present to understand how the black community has gone full circle and shows how entitlements are the new slavery on the government plantation.
Deneen and I discussed her contribution to the film as well as her role at FreedomWorks and her thoughts on what it will take to solve the crisis we’re facing.
So please listen to this interview and go watch this movie, tell your friends and get the word out!
C4P Interviewer: Hello everyone! My name is Mary Beth House and I am a contributing editor with Conservatives4Palin.com and today I have on the phone with me, Deneen Borelli, who is the Director of Outreach with FreedomWorks and is featured in the movie Runaway Slave, which is set to open nationwide on July 27. Hello, Deneen, how are you?
Deneen Borelli: Hi! How are you? Thanks for having me on.
C4P: Thank you for coming on with me. So Deneen, you know, your resume is very impressive. You were a fellow with Project 21, the national leadership network of black conservatives…you served on the Board of Trustees with the Opportunity Charter School in Harlem, New York…you’re the author of Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation…and many conservatives will recognize you from the interviews you’ve done on Fox News, MSNBC, CNN and so on. I personally remember first really getting to know you in 2009 at the Taxpayer March in DC when you wore that fantastic American flag scarf and gave that barnburner of a speech. You spoke passionately about your commitment to promoting limited government and individual liberty and you really went after the so-called leaders in the black community…the politicians in particular, who all seem to have an affinity for socialism, which…this message all Americans really desperately need to hear.
So first off, what I wanted to do is talk about what you do at FreedomWorks. What do you do as the Director of Outreach? To whom are you trying to reach?
DB: Oh yes…in my role, in my new role as Director of Outreach at FreedomWorks, what I’m trying to do really is reach Americans across the country to let them know that they all have a role to play to help reign in this government that has gone wild. And this is a great opportunity for me because it’s a much bigger platform, I have more resources. And I’ll be promoting FreedomWorks Liberty Agenda of less government, low taxes and more freedom. Because anytime government is too big, our liberties are reduced. And so this is what we’re trying to educate individuals about on the grassroots level. It’s you the individual, not the government, to provide for all of your wants and needs to be successful in America. So that is my plan, that is my goal and I’m very excited about it.
C4P: That is exciting! That is very exciting, as a matter of fact. Now onto the movie, Runaway Slave. Let’s cover a little bit what you discussed in the segment that you did with them. I’m sure everyone knows what the NAACP is generally speaking but I doubt too many folks really understand what it’s all about. What was the purpose originally of the NAACP and what is its purpose now?
DB: Well the NAACP originally was for the advancement of all black individuals. And unfortunately what they have become today is a liberal front group because if you don’t agree with their views and where they stand…you know, you’re not even recognized by them. Regarding the NAACP liberal front group, I am someone who is attacked and criticized verbally on a regular basis because of my views of limited government and personal responsibility; and I have approached the leader, Hilary Shelton, at the NAACP with proof of the vile attacks that I have been under, and my question to him on national television was, "Will you come to my aide and my defense for my views on limited government, personal responsibility and you know freedom of speech? Will you come to my aide, my rescue, from those who are trying to stifle my voice and trying to stifle my views and my principles?" And Mr. Shelton said, "Sure, no problem." And I have yet to hear from Mr. Shelton or anyone else at the NAACP, so I consider them to be a liberal front group. Unless you totally agree with what they stand for and their views, if you are a black conservative…especially a female black conservative, you’re not going to get the backing that they supposedly claim to give to black Americans.
C4P: Yeah I know…I actually see a lot of parity here with the feminist movement, which shuns conservatives and only embraces women who fit the profile and promote the narrative they want promoted. You know, for instance, Governor Palin should be a success story to the feminist movement. She’s a success story…she has a happy family, she’s been successful in government…got a lot accomplished. You know, first GOP Vice Presidential female nominee, commitment to smaller/smarter government, commitment to promoting an agenda that’s for the small business people regardless of background.But because she’s pro-life, because she’s happily married, because she’s got a son with special needs…she’s an outcast. And I kind of see a parity here with what you’re talking about. Do you see it as well?
DB: Well sure…it’s selective support…just like I described with the NAACP. When it comes to Sarah Palin, how she and her family were attacked when she was running for Vice President, and even after she was running for Vice President, when she was not even running, she was…they went through all of her emails trying to dig up dirt on her, of which, the left came up with nothing. No apology or anything from them. So, you know, selective support from groups such as the feminist movement groups and from the NAACP. It’s selective support. Unless you agree with what their views are, and you’re someone who has an independent thought, independent mind and you’re an individual who believes in your core values and beliefs that are opposite of theirs, you’re not going to gain the same support system from these organizations.
C4P: Right…it’s these examples, just a few of them, but it kind of removes that mask these groups wear and it reveals that their true purpose isn’t what they purport it to be. It isn’t what the general public thinks it is.
DB: That’s right and I’ve also written about the NAACP in my book, Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation. I specifically talk about my experience with the NAACP and with Hilary Shelton on national television, and I’ve also published a reprint of a letter that I sent to them. So you know I call it selective support, that they are a liberal front group. If you don’t stand lockstep with what their views are and you’re a black conservative, you’re not going to get their support, what they claimed they would provide for all black Americans. One thing you need to also recognize is that the NAACP, especially from the top down, they don’t agree with school choice. We had members, individuals from the NAACP, who were marching in the streets with the teachers’ unions…this year or last year…opposing school choice initiatives. So, you know they don’t even stand for the advancement of young children; disadvantaged young children who want or need a quality education. I mean if they’re not even going to stand for this, my goodness! What is it that they stand for?
C4P: Yeah as an aside, I actually recall one of the first things Obama did kill off some charter school project in the DC area where these disadvantaged kids were getting a real chance at a better education and he killed off the program.
DB: That’s right and he stopped the funding for the voucher program in Washington DC. It took John Boehner to resurrect that program because you had children that were thriving. They were doing well in these schools under the school choice initiative. And parents want kids to get a quality education. Parents are fighting hard; unfortunately when we have a charter school for example, there are limited seats because a lot of them share space with public schools. So there are limited seats available and the kids end up going into a lottery system. And I’ve seen this first hand as a former member with the Opportunity Charter School in Harlem, New York, I’ve seen it first hand how these parents are just hoping and praying that their child is able to get into a program where teachers are accountable, the administrators are accountable and also the student knows that they are accountable because it’s going to take their initiative, their effort and their hard work to be a good student and get great grades and be able to graduate so they can get a job and support themselves.
C4P: You know, following up on what you’re saying here and what I saw in the Runaway Slave movie, it’s clear that the left…they need to establish and maintain factions in society that have to stay within their little boundaries that they set. They set the rules as to what the people in that group can and cannot do and individual thinkers, people who want to break outside the box, they are not appreciated. Children who want to have a better future, want to have a different opportunity for education…that’s shunned. They must be kept within the system. They must be herded to what they’re supposed to do.
DB: Right well, one of the things, one of the great messages from Runaway Slave, which by the way, Reverend CL Bryant is the star of the film. He traveled across the country meeting with black conservatives such as myself, Alveda King, Allen West and others. Really the movie is to educate Americans and to liberate Americans from that plantation mentality. Be an individual. Hold on to your true, core beliefs and don’t just follow what other people say or do because it really boils down to you the individual to support yourself to have a great, happy, successful life. And so, I think Runaway Slave has a great message. It’s to liberate people, especially those in the black community where there is a monopoly of the message that blacks are victims and need special treatment. This is one of the messages that Runaway Slave is trying to communicate to people, that you know, those days are gone. Those days are over. And not to blame others for your misfortune if you’re not able to be a success in country that is really, I feel, America is an exceptional country; and there really is no excuse whatsoever for individuals who are not doing well, not succeeding simply because of all of the opportunities that are available in our country. But it’s up to you, the individual, to seek those opportunities and make them work for you.
C4P: So you’re saying, take responsibility for your successes and your failures and don’t blame them on some nebulous cause.
DB: No that’s absolutely right. You know, look in the mirror. Look at the choices that you’ve made throughout your life and, you know, where you could have made a difference and where things could have gone differently but learn from that mistake but move forward. Move ahead and don’t make the same mistakes over and over again.
C4P: Right, right. Well now that we’ve discussed the problem a little bit and we’ve seen how society embraces the message and the messengers of the NAACP and their crowd and we obviously, we know the solution, the broadstrokes, like we were talking about…embracing personal responsibility and limited government. What do you see as the prescription for a group of people who have been basically trained to trade economic freedom in exchange for a government handout? How can we fix this as the conservative movement? What can we do to push back against the progressive socialists who use the race card to move their agenda?
DB: Well, it’s up to individuals to hold the progressive mindset and individuals accountable and push back on their message of big government and redistribution of wealth. If you look at what President Obama has done, you know unemployment should not be as high as it is today, 8.2 percent, over 14 percent in the black community, over 39 percent among black youth. It is time for freedom-loving Americans to push back on the massive growth of government. We need lower taxes, we need reduced regulation. That is what will grow our economy and create jobs. But unfortunately, President Obama has taken our country in the wrong direction; and he said he wanted to fundamentally transform America and he is doing exactly that. If you look at his energy policy, for example, it’s absolutely deplorable. You have coal miners who are losing their jobs in different parts of the country. Coal provides us with a wealth of electricity across the country and unfortunately we have coal-fire utilities going out of business. That means a loss of jobs. That means energy coming offline and that also means higher energy prices. And that means these higher energy costs are going to affect those who are least able to afford them. So it’s a matter of something like that…energy. That is something that I talk to people about on a regular basis because energy affects everyone whether you’re a business owner or you have your monthly utility bill to pay…what is the government doing? What is President Obama doing that is making you suffer from reduced living standards?
So that is one way we at FreedomWorks, and myself, we’re looking to empower and educate people with knowledge. What the decisions are being made in Washington, how they are having an affect on you and your family. So it’s about educating people, it’s about empowering people. And it’s up to the individuals to have that fire and desire to reignite liberty to help reign in government gone wild because government answers to us. We don’t work for government, they work for us. They have it backwards in Washington. So that is the message, that is the goal and this is what I am really excited to be involved in when it comes to being Director of Outreach with FreedomWorks, to spread the message of liberty and that people have a role to play.
C4P: That’s excellent and it’s great that you hit on energy. Governor Palin has consistently made the case that energy development is tied to national security. It’s tied to economic freedom. It’s tied to pretty much every facet of our lives. And when we are strangling, and by "we" I mean our government, puts a stranglehold on our domestic energy development, it affects the cost of living, it affects jobs, it affects, again, national security. So I’m very thrilled to hear that FreedomWorks is also focusing on that issue especially. Is there any, I guess, demographic as to how energy affects…does it affect the poor and the urban communities more than, I mean I imagine it does…
DB: Well absolutely because high energy prices are regressive. So it’s harming those who are least able to afford higher energy costs and you have elites who can afford energy at any costs because they have their resources to do so. But you also have elites imposing rules and regulations that will be harmful are unable to afford it. You know, President Obama has a war on fossil fuels; and as a result of this war, he is harming those he claims he wants to help the most.
C4P: Yeah and in fact it’s kind of amazing that if people are really paying attention, why is it that these leaders, instead of lifting everyone up, seek to tear down those who are successful and not necessarily boosting up those who are hurting. I mean I just read today that there’s yet another program working to help promote food stamps!
DB: Well, it’s all about control, when you think about it. It’s all about control. When it comes to food stamps, you know that’s absolutely deplorable how our government is advertising for more and more people to go on food stamps instead of people being self-sufficient and independent. It’s an entitlement program and another expanded program that we cannot afford. Our country is broke. We should be really championing people to get a job so that they can support themselves and their family, not glorifying foodstamps.
C4P: Right. Well, I’ve really enjoyed talking to you. Before I let you go, though, is there anything you’d like to add? Do you have any last thoughts you’d like to share with the listeners? Something that we didn’t get to cover in this interview?
DB: Well, just the fact that liberty isn’t free and it’s going to take all freedom-loving Americans to come together and take a stand. Play your role, because we all have a role to play to hold our elected representatives accountable. Arm yourselves with the facts…and…you know, you can’t dispute the facts and that’s when the namecalling comes in so be prepared for pushback from the progressives to try to stifle your voice and stifle your message. But you gotta hold the line for liberty, have your facts and, you know feel free to reach out at anyone here at FreedomWorks because we are always here willing to help and support anyone who wants to get involved in the fight for liberty.
C4P: That’s beautiful. Excellent! I’m speaking today with Deneen Borelli, the author of Blacklash: How Obama and the Left are Driving Americans to the Government Plantation and the director of Outreach with FreedomWorks. Deneen is featured in the new movie, Runaway Slave which will be opening nationwide on July 27. So please mark that down in your calendars, share the information on your social networks…tell your friends and family about this movie and of course please do go plan and see this very informative, very timely …and very needed film. Deneen, thank you so much for fighting on behalf of the principles of our founding and for all the work you do for the cause of liberty. And thank you very much for speaking with me today.
DB: Mary Beth, it’s my pleasure.