Sunday, January 20, 2008

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.

15 comments:

Kristina said...

Thank you for saying EXACTLY what I feel.

There are so many ways to help the poor. I can do it myself as an individual much better than the government can.

Dan Trabue said...

We give lots of money to lots of charity programs to help those in need.

Could it be that the poor and minorities don't want charity? They want equitable policy? And that they don't perceive the Republicans being the party of equitable policy?

The Loop Garoo KId said...

Doctor,

Your comment is fraught w/ both good sennse and nonsense.

I would like to make a personal request. Just as I grew to loathe the expression "cut and run," I detest "tax and spend" (usually follwed immediately by the word "liberals" and sometime "Democrats") even more. It is phrase totally devoid of meaning once you examine it. Ever since the early days of our republic, our government has taxed its citizens. What does it do w/ the $ it collects? It spends it of course. By way of example but not limitation, Ronald Reagan was a tax and spend Republican. Under his leasdership, the government taxed us and spent the $ on defense, roads, and many other things, some needed, some not. So "tax and spend" is just another meaningless epithet used as an aspersion. I think the term is unworthy of you.

I defend your right to castigate any group which in your opinion promotes big government b/c I know you do not support big government. Just please don't use the term "tax and spend" b/c that is what the government does. It certainly does not "tax and save" and it certainlyu does tax.

That said, how many GOP legislators since 1994 have taken an active role in attempting to cut government spending? How many have attempted to use government funds for projects in their districts?

Meanwhile, there are a plethora of reasons why black voters do not vote Republican. I think the main reason is that GOP consistantly fails to reach out to black voters many of whom share conservative social values.

I think that perception is reality to a great degree. When the president of the United States turns down an invitation to address the national convention of the NAACP for five years running (2001-2005) it sends a message don't you think?

I am pressed for time and may revisit later but let me leave you w/ the following question. Aren't your points about the dependence of blacks on government really about the dependence of the poor on government, no matter to waht ethnic group those poor belong?

Regards.

John Washburn said...

Loop, absolutely these points apply to the poor, and I don't by any means intend to suggest that all blacks live in poverty. But poverty is a big problem in the black community and the difference in dealing with it has (IMO) turned many blacks off of the GOP.

And I agree that the GOP is guilty of not reaching out to minorities, which is what I meant when I said Dr King would be disappointed with the GOP. Republicans do a poor job of communicating their desire to help people and combat poverty. Instead, they simply oppose gov't entitlements without much of an explanation or outreach and it makes them look cold and heartless.

As far as big spending, you won't get me to defend the GOP in this regard. I'm fed up with them. The gov't has no business spending money like that. But that doesn't mean I'm going to blindly support the Dems either. Somebody needs to step up with promises to cut the gov't and MEAN IT!

I have mixed feelings on Bush and the NAACP. Granted, the POTUS should always be willing to reach out to advocate groups, but the NAACP is not what it used to be. It has become a radical Left organization who has not been very kind to Bush. They've hurled some pretty nasty rhetoric about him and then get upset when he decides not to attend their convention. They can't have it both ways. Their treatment of Bush has been very disrespectful so I think Bush has a legit reason to turn them down. They can disagree with him all they want, but there is a way to do that in a respectful manner. Bush's turning them down doesn't make him anti-black or racist, although I'm sure some would see it that way.

Dan, gov't welfare, food stamps, free health care, HUD housing, affirmative action, etc. Is this not charity? Just because it comes from the gov't doesn't change what it is. The difference is the gov't is ineffective and incompetent when it comes to applying the charity appropriately. So it basically fails it's citizens at great financial cost. Just what has been accomplished since the Great Society programs of the 60s? And how many trillions of dollars have we spent to accomplish those things? Then Gingrich steps in and cuts welfare which, arguably, did more for the poor than all the aforementioned handouts.

Dan, people like yourself I believe have very true intentions. I think you really want to help the poor and believe the gov't is the best way to do it. But I think Leftist politicians don't care and they simply want to push an agenda of gov't dependence among the poor just to secure the votes. How else can they dismiss the historical facts that show gov't entitlements don't work?

Dan Trabue said...

Dan, people like yourself I believe have very true intentions. I think you really want to help the poor and believe the gov't is the best way to do it.

Thanks, but a point of clarification: I don't believe at all that the gov't is the best way to do it. I'd love for churches, families and private agencies to step up and take care of many of these problems.

BUT, they aren't doing so. And, seeing as the problems associated with poverty come with a cost, I'd prefer the gov't step in and do what it can to alleviate those problems because it saves taxpayer dollars in the long run.

In my estimation, private groups could do a better job IF enough resources were directed their way and IF gov't policies were more conducive to assisting people in dire straits. But failing that, by all means, get the gov't involved. IF they can show that they're producing results (albeit flawed not-as-good-as-private-groups results).

Dan Trabue said...

How else can they dismiss the historical facts that show gov't entitlements don't work?

I disagree. Gov't interventions can and have worked. Not every program, though - some programs are/were flawed. Welfare as it was DID encourage some degree of dependency.

But even to the degree that that was true, it also provided some genuine relief for people in genuine need saving taxpayers genuine dollars in the long run.

SNAKE HUNTERS said...

M.L. King: "I Have A Dream!" (1960's)

In the 21st Century An Old Blogger
says: "I Dare To Dream!"

(Loop Only~See S/H, Comment #3) reb

The Loop Garoo Kid said...

reb,

I saw it and I think that Dr. King's dream will come true b/f your's does. Not that that is a good thing.

Meanwhile, Doctor, the relationship between the president of the NAACP is what I meant about perception is reality. I think that the perception among a majority of black voters is that the GOP is the party of rich white people. The GOP, particularly between 1994 and 2006, seems to have done little, if anything, to reach out to black voters and say: "We share many common values. We know your concerns and can address them. There is room for you under our tent."

Instead, it seems as if the GOP strategists thought. "Let's look for more fertile ground and reach out to voters who are more likely to buy into our policies."

I am not saying the Democrats are not as guilty of the following in there own way as the GOP, but it is certainly apparent since Karl Rove brought the George W. Bush to power, that the rule of the day has been the politics of division.

There are more reasons why congress is dysfunctional than this strategy, which reasons predate this Bush administration and include relatively inexpensive and convenient airline travel which allows legislators to spend more time w/ their constituents and less w/ their fellow legislators, particularly on weekends. The lack of amity between legislators on the opposite sides of the aisle is an impediment to getting things done. Tip O'Neill used to battle his opponents and then have cocktails w/ them. I don't think that happens much now.

Somewhere or at sometime, one's political opponents went from being one's adversaries to one's enemies.

Polarization in the political process is counterproductive and the lack of amity is in part due to the aging, death, and retirement of the WW II generation all of whom, when they were young, had been united by a commonality of purpose.

Regards.

John Washburn said...

Dan, I'm not familiar with any entitlement program that has been a resounding success. Sure, there are probably some anecdotal stories of people who wouldn't have made it without the gov't help, but the overall statistics aren't impressive. What is the poverty and unemployment rate now compared to 1960 before the Great Society was implemented?

The gov't has not displayed much ability to solve these problems compared to the private sector. And the cost to the taxpayer has been extraordinary. So, if the private sector is better, I wonder why the gov't wouldn't do more to help strengthen these programs, ie Bush's faith-based initiatives. Seems like it would be better use of taxpayer dollars.

At any rate, I don't like the idea of supporting gov't intervention. There's too much corruption to do any good.

Dan Trabue said...

I've seen studies (unable to locate them at the moment) that suggest that welfare type programs save taxpayer dollars. For instance, during the Reagan years with his cutbacks on welfare, homelessness increased, more folk with mental illness were on the streets and in dire straits, prison rates increased.

All of this has a cost. I'm not sure that the purpose of welfare programs is to End Poverty (or, as King said, "we spend only fifty-three dollars a year for every person characterized as poverty-stricken in the so-called poverty program, which is not even a good skirmish against poverty..."). One major purpose of welfare programs is fiscal responsibility.

It simply costs less to help people up front than it does to pay for the prisons, crime, broken homes and undereducation AFTER the fact.

It's a fiscal responsibilty issue.

I apologize for not having time to find studies supporting my contention at the moment. But then, you've only offered your opinion, as well, that "there's too much corruption to do any good."

How about this: IF I were to produce the studies that show welfare programs SAVE taxpayers money, would you call that a "success," or at least a valid reason to continue them?

Here's one source for some related stats:

http://prorev.com/extreme.htm

Dan Trabue said...

I also have to always question those who think gov't is too inately corrupt to manage ~$30 billion worth of assistance programs, but who trust that same gov't with nearly $1 trillion/year of WMDs and militarism.

Why do you not trust gov't with helping folk but you do with deadly WMDs and nuclear bombs? If a gov't is corrupt, then the LAST thing I want them to have are nuclear weapons and a the largest military-industrial machine in the history of the world!

The Loop Garoo Kid said...

Two questions:

Doctor, who do you now support following Fred Thompson's w/drawal?

Has everyone read the article about the Center for Public Integrity study regarding the 935 falsehoods made by the president and senior memebers of his adminstration regarding Iraq's possewssion of WMD's and the Iraq-al Qaeda link? Disheartening stuff.

Regards.

SNAKE HUNTERS said...

Wouldn't you know, the Loop Garoo
would attempt to entice the reader
into another rock-throwing rag of
discontent. Check out his Left-Wing
Hate Group, "Center For Public Integrity"
and see for yourself!

Loop Garoo, Shame on You! reb
_________________________________
www.lazyonebenn.blogspot.com

The Loop Garoo Kid said...

Doctor,

No word from you in 10 days. Everything alright?

SNAKE HUNTERS said...

Gingrich Is Right, as usual.

A Hand-up for the needy, Improves.

The Hand-out, when analysed, creates a Permanent Dependancy,
and boosts the illusion of being
helpful. It's an old, and quite
subtle technique. Those old rascals
stay in power, the G.O.P. frustration is inevitable. The youthful vote is a windfall; they
don't understand it; easily excited
with the hoopla, and the Con.

The PAC's and Big Unions vs the
National Association of Mfg plays
the game, keeps the Leadership in
their Driver's seats. The CEO's love that Retirement Package!

Roll Out The Barrel; Nothing New.
reb
__________________________________
www.lazyonebenn.blogspot.com