This weekend America celebrates the life of one of our all-time greatest citizens. Martin Luther King Jr was a man whose actions and influence were immeasurable and invaluable. He was a man of courage. A man of God. A man of the Constitution. His convictions were solid, and he made the ultimate sacrifice for his cause. Amen.
It’s hard to think of Dr. King without a deep sense of warmth overcoming you. He made America a better country. He made us all better people. He gave us hope and vision. If I had the opportunity to meet anyone in history, Dr King would no doubt be in my top 5 and probably more like top 3. Rarely does such a man come along and I look forward to someday shaking his hand in the afterlife.
As a conservative, my deep admiration of Dr King sometimes surprises people. Usually those people are liberals who hold the belief that conservatives are generally racists. I’m not sure exactly why they think that but I have my theories, and I think much of it has to do with comments like the ones I will make today. We’ll see. At any rate, when my mind turns to Dr King I often reflect on what he did, what he died for, and if his dream has truly been realized. That is today’s post.
What is not disputed about Dr King is what he fought and died for. Dr King believed in equality. He often quoted the Declaration of Independence along with many of the scriptures as he forwarded his cause that all men are created equal and all human life has value. In short, Dr King was a man who believed in liberty, and he died fighting for liberty. He joined the hundreds of thousands of Americans throughout history who made the ultimate sacrifice for the one thing that we have demonstrated amazing courage in defending…liberty. He may not have died in uniform, but that doesn’t make his sacrifice any less significant. Martin Luther King gave his life so that others can be free. There is nothing more American than that.
However, as I look back over the past few decades I wonder how much his sacrifice helped, and how much it has been exploited. For one, black leadership has been severely lacking. I’ve posted on this before so I’ll just hit the highpoints. Since Dr King’s death, we’ve seen men like Malcolm X, Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton step forward as leaders of the black community. The problem is they all failed to carry on Dr King’s cause and message. Instead, they fostered divisiveness, contempt and resentment. Their message was one of entitlement. Their message was one of class warfare. Dr King preached that we are all in this together, while these men preached more of an “us against them” message, and I think the black community has suffered because of it. No doubt these men achieved a lot of personal gain both financially and politically because of their message, but they have overall done very little to further King’s cause and to benefit America’s black population and America as a whole.
Our national political leaders haven’t done much better, and I think Dr King would be incredibly disappointed in both political parties if he were alive today. The Democrats have carried the same tired message since the 60s, a message of governmental intervention. “We’re the government, and we’re here to help.” It sounds good on the surface, but history has taught that it’s not the answer to our problems. They feel the government has a responsibility to take care of the problems of the poor (often considered the same problems in the black community) and they teach that the private sector can’t be trusted to address these problems. They carry out their plan with a tax-and-spend agenda that seeks to redistribute income from the haves to the have nots, while along the way spewing a lot of rhetoric that often propagates resentment and class warfare amongst the people. This fosters a sense of entitlement in the black and impoverished community that the Democrats are all too eager to reinforce. They feel it’s the government’s job to provide for its citizens. In the process, they campaign on promises of giving. They are the party of the government entitlement. They are the party of the government handout. Someone on this site recently asked me why blacks and minorities favor the Democrats so overwhelmingly, and I think that the above explanation is responsible for a lot of that. Minorities (many of whom live in poverty) hear the message of handouts and, naturally, support the party providing those handouts. But there’s a big problem with that.
My last comment will no doubt bring charges of racism from skeptics. So be it. I’ve been called many names, most of them don’t stick. I am not a racist in that I believe in equal rights for all law-abiding human beings, and I don’t believe one’s race should change that or that any one race is superior to the other. But I do believe that the black community has been misled by the Democrat party in the sense that they’ve been convinced that the government must provide for them rather than the individual providing for themselves. This breeds complete dependence on the government amongst a large segment of the population, and since only one party champions this agenda it essentially leads to dependence on that one party, assuring that they have the votes to gain and stay in power. But what good does it do for the individual. Dr King died for liberty. I ask: What liberty does one have when they depend on the government for housing, education, healthcare, employment, and sometimes food and living expenses? Is this the liberty that King gave his life for? Of course not.
A wise man once said that this democracy will fail the moment the people realize they have the power to vote themselves rewards from the treasury. When that happens, the people give up their liberty to gain those rewards. I dare say that we are seeing much of that today, and the latest campaign verifies that thought every day. How many people base their vote on what the candidate promises to give them from the treasury? Again, this is not the liberty that King died for. In a way, I’m accusing many in the black community of selling out Dr King and his dream of liberty and equality so they can have their piece of the government pie.
We have to look no further than Hurricane Katrina to see the implications of what I’m talking about. Despite the claims of many, especially among the black and democrat leadership, that disaster was not about race. The charges that Bush ignored things, or doesn’t care about black people are beyond ludicrous. Many people of all races suffered terribly from that storm. Many people, of all socioeconomic background and status, lost their homes. But who was left stranded in the city, neck deep in the putrid water? It was the poorest citizens. Why? Because the poorest of citizens depend on the government for security. They have no means to care for themselves, so when times are bad they rely on the bureaucracy to care for them, which will ultimately leave you wading through neck deep filth fighting for your life. Meanwhile, those who are self-dependent were able to escape the storm’s path. They lost property, but saved themselves. Katrina was a tragic metaphor for how we have failed in helping the poor amongst us. More government is not the answer. Yet, the promises continue and the Democrat leaders keep with their game of class warfare and race baiting. They’ve made Katrina a race issue, and many in the black population have bought off on it without realizing that depending on the government is ultimately self-destructive.
This is not to say that all liberals have ill intentions. I think many have genuine desires to help the needy and truly feel the government is the best way to do so. It’s the political leadership that I criticize because they exploit those feelings for political and partisan gain.
The Republicans hold some blame as well. The black community simply doesn’t vote for Republicans. I’ve offered a partial explanation for that above, but I also think there is more to it. It’s a common misconception that conservatives don’t care about blacks or the poor. This is, of course, absolutely asinine. Conservatives are very generous people. We give lots of money to lots of charity programs to help those in need. Look at the statistics and you’ll see how generous conservatives truly are. If we didn’t care, we simply wouldn’t give. The difference is that we don’t think the government is fit to handle such a task, whereas our charity of choice specializes in doing these things. We see money in the hands of the bureaucrats as money that is wasted or inappropriately spent. Here’s a simple analogy: If I pull up to a stoplight and see a homeless person holding a “will work for food” sign, I won’t give that person money because, chances are, he will spend it on booze or drugs. However, I will most certainly give money to a homeless shelter or soup kitchen without reservation. Why? Because then I know my money is used properly, to actually help people who need help. Therein lies the difference. I equate giving money to the government as giving money to the homeless guy on the street. Chances are it will not be used properly. There is simply too much bureaucracy for the government to be able to effectively provide so much to so many without screwing it up like we saw during Katrina. Many conservatives feel the same way and are considered cold and heartless because of it. Over the years, this has been manipulated to paint conservatives as people who don’t care. Since we oppose government entitlements and handouts, we are made to look as though we oppose helping the poor. It’s a blatant misrepresentation of our core principles.
The problem is that conservatives have done very little to defend themselves. We should be echoing the above paragraph at every opportunity. Instead, we allow others to paint us as cold-hearted and anti-black without answering the charge. As a result, blacks and the poor have become anti-conservative and anti-Republican. This is where the GOP has failed. And now, many of the GOP politicians have migrated to the Left on government spending and advocate big government in a lame attempt to help their image and gain votes. It really is quite nauseating to see Republican leaders sell out their conservative principles to pander to the poor. This is not the way to attract the minority vote because it looks phony. The right way is to echo the message that conservatives DO care, that we very much want all people to prosper and be wealthy and the way to do this is with less goverment.
So, in many ways, Dr King's dream has been realized, but we still have a long way to go and it starts with putting an end to the politics and class warfare. I will keep up the fight because I believe we CAN achieve his vision. We owe it to him, to our country, and to ourselves.