Brandon Tatum is a former black police officer in Tucson, Arizona. He says that he was once a liberal, but became conservative after a personal evolution.
Like most young black men in the United States, I began my life as a liberal, liberal youth. Tatum explains that default is being a Democrat.
I believed the same Democrat positions as most African American men believe today, even though I was not as politically involved as I am today. Over time, I started to see the truth and became more involved in politics. Many of these things happened while I was at college. I began to realize that the country wasn't as racist and tolerant as I believed.
This and other topics are discussed by Tatum on The Daily Signal Podcast. This episode was recorded at Turning Point USA's seventh annual Student Action Summit, Tampa, Florida. Please excuse the background noise. Below is the transcript, which you can listen to or read.
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Rachel del Guidice was joined by Brandon Tatum on The Daily Signal Podcast. He was a former Tucson officer. Brandon, we are grateful for your presence on The Daily Signal.
Brandon Tatum: Thank you, it's an honor.
Del Guidice (So, we were here speaking at a conservative conference. I want to discuss your career as a law enforcement officer and some of the things that you did. But first, I want to talk to you and your journey within the conservative movement. Did you grow up a conservative or did you learn about it over time? What is the secret to your success in conservatism?
Tatum: I was born like many young black men in a country where liberal default is the norm. Default means being a Democrat. I believed all of the Democrat positions you see African American men believe today, even though I was not as politically involved as I am today. However, I started to see the truth and became more involved in politics.
Many of these events took place while I was at college. It was not as racist as I had thought. I am a white student at a predominantly-white university and was seeing things that had been passed on to me as a young man, but were now beginning to unravel. In 2008 I was saved and found Christ. This helped me to see people differently. I no longer judge them by their race, but rather by their character. When I was saved, I embraced the Martin Luther King mantra more.
When I became a policeman, I was still a Liberal. Barack Obama was the one I voted for. Barack Obama, thank you! Barack Obama is what made me leave the Democrat Plantation, which I call the plantation.
For the first time I paid taxes. I had to pay a lot of taxes while I was a cop. I stated that I needed to be more politically involved because I don't like these taxes. Is this what is going on? I thought I would get an apartment and a car. But with these taxes, I didn't have the money to buy anything. I felt like I needed to find out what was happening.
Barack Obama began talking really badly about police and that turned me off. I was able to see the other side through my eyes. Ben Carson and Donald Trump were my inspirations. Donald Trump emerged. It was refreshing to see him being real and authentic. He wasn't a politician or a big-money man. I like him. This made me realize that I am more on the conservative side of things than I was on the liberal.
Del Guidice - You mentioned that President Obama was what made you a conservative. Tell us more about this and how it happened. What was the catalyst that made you think and change?
Tatum: Yes. It's funny, because I believe a lot people are conservative because they have been exposed to liberals. Because I was a police officer then, it was policing. Every day, I was out on patrol in the streets. He made negative comments about police shootings and never corrected the record.
He said that the Cambridge police, I believe they were Cambridge police were acting stupidly. They were correct in his statement. We have come to realize that they were extremely accurate in capturing a person they believed was breaking into a home. He never corrected the statement.
He then talks about Trayvon Martin being like his son. It's almost like you are talking about Trayvon Martin. Your son won't be Trayvon Martin. He would be running down the street, buying Skittles, and getting into fights with other people.
He continued to talk about police in a negative light, which really turned me off. So I replied, "I would never respect anyone who wouldn't support the men or women who wear the uniform. It could even be my mama." People who don't respect police lose my respect, and that was what led me to stop being a Democrat or a Liberal.
Del Guidice: You've had a long career in law enforcement. For six years, you were a Tucson police officer. You were a SWAT operator and field training officer as well as a general instructor and public information officer. We would love to hear about your journey in law enforcement.
Tatum: Yes, I did. I started when I was younger. Growing up, I didn't like police officers. I was taught that they were racist white people. This is what I was taught and what I believed.
When I was eight years old, I was actually arrested for having smoked marijuana in a vacant home. My brother, six of my cousins, and I were all arrested for having smoked marijuana. At the time, we were involved in some very sinister activities.
It was quite traumatic to some degree. Because we were living in a vacant home, they pulled guns on us. We were all put into a patrol car and handcuffed before we were taken to the substation. My dad came and threatened to kill me, but it wasn't the police that was most traumatizing.
This was my most traumatizing experience. This experience was very frightening for me in law enforcement. But I had to find a job.
In 2010, I was in the NFL Draft, but I wasn't drafted. My mentor advised me to change the page. It's okay to say, "Hey, it doesn't work out for me, so do something." You have a child and you have responsibilities. I decided to apply for every job in Tucson. Policing was one of those jobs.
They didn't call me back, I thought. I had no idea what it was like to be a police officer. Funny thing is that I was having an argument with my fiance at the time, and I recall the next morning when the Tucson police called me. I was not interested in the application. I believed that she called the police against me.
I was like, "I can't believe she called police on me." They wanted to arrest me for arguing over the phone. And I was like, Okay, okay. We can now talk. I nearly hung up.
I then said, "Well, I need to figure what's going on because I don't know anything about policing." Officer Sean Payne blew me away. Sean Payne was a hero I've never seen before. I replied, "You know what?" I wanted to be a hero. This is how I joined the police force.
Del Guidice - What have you learned from your experience in law enforcement about the perceptions of police officers? What is your opinion on the issue of racism, where some people believe police are racist?
Tatum: People don't know what police officers do. Even those who support police officers don't know what they do. Policing is quite a different beast. It's a different profession than most people realize. You'll see that there is so much more to it than people might realize if they ride-along or were police officers like me.
The majority of people who are anti-police are completely wrong. This is the most outrageous lie I have ever heard about policing as a racist institution. The American police force is the most non-racist institution. You say this, Mr. Tatum. How can you be racist and risk your life for those you hate? It's almost impossible.
You don't get to choose who you serve each day when you go out. You must go out and serve others with your whole life. This isn't a game. You can't just die and then hit "Reset" to come back. It is final when you die. It is final if you are critically injured. It is final when your friends are killed in the line of duty. It is final when you must kill someone.
If you were a Ku Klux Klan officer, racist or white, you wouldn't do that in a black neighborhood. Most of the time, it's not about arresting people or putting them in jail. It's more about protecting and serving people. There are also times when you must put people in jail. It is the most non-racist organization I have ever been part of.
It is a noble profession, I believe. This is something I have learned. I have a tremendous respect for those who wear the badge. It is difficult to describe how hard it is to be police officer, especially right now.
Cops are subject to stress and can see things you cannot unsee. You don't get the chance to blur a person who is driving 80 mph down a public street, or hitting a light pole. That's what it will end up looking like. You can't unsee a guy being run over by three cars while driving on the freeway. A man beating his wife until her eyes swell and blood is coming out. These things are not something you can see.
While being a police officer can be very challenging, it is also incredibly rewarding. This was one of the most important things I learned when I became a police officer.
Del Guidice : I'm glad you shared that. Your dad was the one who stepped in for you when you were all in the vacant house.
Del Guidice: He was the one who showed up and called you to the carpet. What is your opinion on the crisis of fatherhood and how important are dads today? This is a problem that we see in many communities, not only the black community but also other communities. Your advice? Why are dads so important in today's society?
Tatum: Yeah, great question. Men are a tremendous asset to the community and men in general. Fathers are an even greater asset to the family. Without a father, I wouldn't be here.
To be completely honest, my mama is the best. My mama wasn't going to go to the tiny holding cell to do what my dad did. My daddy entered there as if he were in the WWE. It was Hulk Hogan. He threatened to kill us all. My father's healthy fear kept me from many things.
People don't realize how important a man to a young man is. You don't have to see an example of what you could become. It doesn't take an outside source to help you determine who and what your legacy will be. Your father doesn't have to speak to you to see you. Many young men find it so inspiring to see the man who created them.
Men are the ones who have to suffer in our society's woes. Not women, men. The fallout is primarily a men's problem. The recovery is up to the men. If we are to achieve greatness in this country, men must be in the right place.
We need to see change in the lives of young people living in inner cities. This means that we must see changes in marriages and other related issues. It is why it is so important that we talk about these issues.
If you read the Bible, Christ is the head church and the man the head household. To achieve success, there is a certain order we must follow. A father is the ultimate factor in a successful young man.
Del Guidice says: You became famous for your videos on politics and society in 2016. Tell us the story of how you got to where you are today.
Tatum: Yes. Tatum: Yes. I've never been one to pretend that I know everything. I only say what I feel. I'm just me. I had never done videos before and I didn't even think about it. But I went to Donald Trump's rally because I wanted to know if he was a racist or white supremacist. Are these people trying to invent something or do black people get kicked out at his rallies? I would like to experience it for myself. I will find out when he kicks me out.
I was stunned. I thought he was the coolest politician I have ever seen. They are out of control and they're screaming outside. One of them called my a white supremacist and I was like, You guys have lost your mind.
I didn't know anything, and I didn't even know what Fox & Friends were. I had never seen Fox and didn't know anything. After that viral video was made, I woke up thinking, "Oh, I'm going to be fired!" They're going to fire you. I told him he deserved it. I was like, Oh no! Im going to be fired.
Hannity was my friend and I loved her. It just kind of went stale. It was then that I realized I had a voice. I thought, "You know what?" That was it. I will continue to speak the truth and express my feelings. It became a big deal, but it started as me telling the truth.
Tatum: I'll tell you the story, since most people don't understand it. As I was getting into the subject, I remembered that I had mentioned Colin Kaepernick in 2016 and it became viral. In 2016, Colin Kaepernick was a fool.
But, I was having a heated argument with a friend who plays football with me, and who was also in the NFL. He was a poor man. I messaged him and he said, You're just mad that you're not in the NFL. So I replied, "You guys are playing a video game." You are not real in real life. If you lose the game, your home is yours. I was a police officer and if you lose the match, you don't go home.
Let me tell you this: A video that one of my friends had made had been viewed 14 million times. I thought, "I don't need to make a video."
A friend from Australia called me and said, Hey man, make a video on this. You have a unique viewpoint. I thought, Oh, I'm going to say it all. Screw Colin Kaepernick. Screw all the people out there pushing this false agenda and who hate this country without any reason.
This was my inspiration. That video was viewed 70 million times. It was insane.
Del Guidice: Brandon, big picture. What is your view of the conservative movement in general right now?
Tatum: We need to improve. I believe we are doing well. I am in the conservative movement with Candace [Owens] as well as many others who were not in the conservative movements in 2016. There are many conservatives who are helping young people become leaders in the movement. We must improve. We must be conservatives.
Sometimes, I was a bit lackluster. Some conservatives talk about Abortion as a viable option, a woman's choice. It is the dumbest thing that I have ever heard. This is the position we need to take. We shouldn't support people like Bruce Jenner or Caitlyn Jenner. The person is trans, and not just because he or she is. The person is not a conservative.
Conservatives will overtake our party and our movement if they give more. Conservatives should be more strict about these things. You don't have to expel people, but you can speak up and keep it 100. Tell the truth. Are you a believer? Are you not a believer in God? Are you a believer in the sanctity and dignity of marriage? Are you a believer in the sanctity of marriage or are you against it?
It is the fundamental principles that I see us slowly moving away from. Just like the liberals, we were going to go as far as to make conservatives unrecognizable. I don't mean to be cruel, but we need to be more rigid in our conservatism.
Del Guidice There are many abortion clinics in the black community, especially in regards to black people. What would you like to say about this situation? And how Planned Parenthood, and other abortion groups are racist?
Tatum: I'm going to tell you that you have options. Manipulation of people in poverty is the beginning. If you look at communities generally, Planned Parenthoods can be found in poor communities. They are not in wealthy communities. Many African Americans live in poor communities. They fall prey to the disease because they lack the knowledge or are not exposed.
If you look at Margaret Sanger, and their plans, it is clear that Planned Parenthood was founded to eliminate people they don't want to be around.
Let me now tell you how this has been achieved. The number of African Americans in the country is still around 13%, but Hispanics are growing rapidly. They believe that eventually, people of color will run the country. It won't be black people.
We are putting ourselves at risk by continuing to have abortions.
What is 13%? It is important to have 40%, 50%, or more of the population. Voting makes a huge difference at both the local and federal levels. If our numbers decrease, or we become 10% of population, 8%, then our votes will be somewhat meaningless, since so many people have worked so hard to ensure that we have a stake. These things are affecting our communities.
Another perspective is that it allows men to not take responsibility for their creations, while women are not held responsible for their actions.
Why would you want to protect yourself if you can go on a whim and have an abortion? You don't need to wait until you are married to have sex, or at the very least protect your self. You can have an abortion. Why would you want to do that? What makes a man care enough about a woman to make it a success?
These things can have a lasting effect that is really affecting communities across the country. I wish people would realize that they have other options.
Many colleges are educating students about communism and promoting it as an acceptable solution. What would you tell them when they are overwhelmed by all the information being presented to them?
Tatum: You have to be firm in your beliefs. Tatum: What you believe must be based on facts and evidence, not emotions.
If you can prove that facts support your beliefs, such as that communism doesn't work, even the press secretary claimed it was delusional. If you dont, we lose. If you do, you win. It will flow and ebb.
It seems that they are winning right now. Like any other sporting event you can lose, but it doesn't mean the game is over until the fat lady sings. Although this isn't politically correct, it means that the game will continue until the fat lady sings. You need to keep fighting until the clock runs out. You only need a Hail Mary to win the game. You win the game if you keep your feet on the ground and kick the field goal. Do not give up.
So conservatives, stay strong. Be true to what you believe. These people shouldn't make you feel like a racist or bully you. Screw these people. You know you are not racist. Tell them straight. I'm not a racist. You are a racist. You will win the end if you are strong and firm.
Del Guidice : Brandon, thanks for being with us at The Daily Signal. It was great to have you here.
Tatum: Amazing interview, thank you.
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