Friday, July 13, 2012

"Not By the Color of Their Skin"

When GOP candidate Mitt Romney spoke recently at the NAACP convention, the crowd was skeptical (at best), trending to outright hostility.  Some say that Mr. Romney should at least be given credit for going to speak in front of what he had to know going in was a hostile crowd, some wonder why he even bothered to go.  After all, it's not like anyone at this conference was going to be won over by his arguments for lower spending, less government intrusion in people's lives and increased emphasis on personal responsibility.

In fact, the line that brought the most boos was when he said that he was going to eliminate wasteful government programs that were ineffective and/or infringing on people's rights, starting with ObamaCare.  The boos were loud and sustained for several minutes.  It seems that the entitlement culture exists even within the ranks of those who are, by definition and by inclusion in this conference, the elite of African-American activists.  None of these people are struggling just to get by; they've all" made their nut", as it were.  However, it must also be noted that in many cases maintaining "their nut" depends on those less fortunate continuing to rely on them to petition government for "free" goodies and "their fair share" of the economic pie.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s most quoted passage from his "I Have a Dream" speech was his vision of an America where his children were judged fairly, on their individual merits; not pre-judged, based on the color of their skin.  What was on display at the NAACP convention in their response to Gov. Romney was just the opposite.  While there may have been some in attendance who were willing to hold an open mind and listen to the substance of what this man had to say, the majority went in with the pre-judgement that this was just a mandatory political stop by a rich, whitebread, Republican who is only out for himself and his other rich buddies at the expense of the poor.

It's a shame, really.

If they did take the time to actually listen to and consider the impact of the differing claims of the candidates on their lives, they might find Gov. Romney's prescription to be better (although perhaps bitter) medicine for what ails them.

Let's go back to Gov. Romney's statement that he'd eliminate certain inefficient and wasteful government spending programs;  how is that any different from then-candidate Obama's message that he would go through the budget with a "fine toothed comb" and scour it "line by line", eliminating ineffective or wasteful programs, on  his way to "cutting the deficit in half" by the end of his first term?  I know, he never did any of that.  In fact, he's made no effort to rein in federal spending on any level or eliminate any programs (unless it was perceived to be of possible benefit to political rivals).  Nevertheless, we're contrasting the two crowd  reactions.  Mr. Obama was cheered wildly upon his pronouncement, while Gov. Romney was booed.

Gov. Romney wants to expand programs that do work, such as federal support for charter schools and providing vouchers to parents in order to enable them to make the decision of where their children go to school, based on their assessment of which school environment is best suited to the needs of their individual child.  President Obama ended a very successful pilot program that provided some inner-city children in Washington D.C. a chance to escape the notoriously bad public school system and attend the same prestigious private school his own girls go to.  This, in spite of the fact that the parents literally begged that the program be continued and the relatively minuscule amount of money involved.  Since education is widely acknowledged as the key to success in  life, who really has the best long term interests of the public in mind?

Gov. Romney is laying out a relatively precise outline of his governmental spending priorities, based on his evaluation as a businessman of which programs are working, which one's aren't, and which merely provide an avenue for government waste by duplicating the efforts of others.  The President continues to speak in round, pleasant sounding platitudes about "fairness" and "investment in the future", without providing any real specifics such as exactly how much money will be spent, for how long, for what purpose and how the program will be ended, should it prove to be either ineffective or eventually unnecessary.  In fact, the President has made no effort to enforce the Constitutional requirement that Congress  pass an annual budget outlining the government's spending priorities for the coming fiscal year (the House has passed several budget proposals, while the Senate has refused to even debate any proposals, much less hold a vote, for nearly 3 full years), instead relying on an endless series of "continuing resolutions" which serve to keep in place the massive spending increases that were part of his initial stimulus plan, effectively making a "temporary increase in spending" permanent.  All of this spending is either borrowed or coming out of the private sector economy, leaving fewer resources available for expansion and hiring (job creation), aggravating a situation already made worse by uncertainty over the future regulatory environment.  Since private economic activity is the sole source of the tax base that all government spending relies on, who really has the best long term interests of the country in mind?

There are many who will make the claim that any criticism of Pres. Obama is based on nothing more than racism, or a belief that he's a Muslim (I don't think he really has any religion, unless it's the so-called "Black Liberation Theology", which I rank right up there with Scientology and the creation of Kwanzaa), ignoring the substance of the complaint altogether.  These are the same people who will automatically assign various ulterior motives to any legislation authored by a conservative or Republican, and to any proposal to limit the rate of growth in government spending, much less any proposal to actually eliminate programs.  Again, what happened to the creed of MLK, Jr?  Are these people really willing to judge on the "content of their character"?  Or are they too wedded to their preconceptions, unwilling to let go of their victimhood status and the "security" of a government check?

One additional thing for you to consider, when the first of the government assistance programs were really getting in gear, providing assistance for single parents, (food stamps, rent "stabilization", etc). the numbers for the different racial demographics (unemployment percentage, poverty rates, crime, etc) were comparable.  Since then, there's been a remarkable divergence.  Black and Hispanic poverty and unemployment rates have greatly exceeded those of Whites.  The same has happened for the crime and high school dropout rates.  The rate of out of wedlock births for Blacks was comparable to that of Whites, in the teens and low 20's percent.  The most recent rates for out of wedlock births for Whites are higher, in the upper 20's & 30's percent, but the rate for Blacks is in the 70's approaching 80 percent!  Just think about that.  More than 3/4ths of black children are born to single mothers.  These girls are overwhelmingly uneducated and universally poor and the boys fathering these children are in no position to assume the responsibilities of fatherhood, dooming these children to a life of poverty and struggle, often leading to a life of crime and imprisonment as a consequence.  Where now is the evidence of the "benefit" provided by a governmental support program that imposes no requirements for personal responsibility on it's recipients?  It's a vicious, downward spiral that can only be broken by a renewal of personal and civic responsibility and a shedding of the current entitlement mentalities.

Candidate Romney went to speak at the NAACP convention fully cognizant of the reception he was likely to receive, believing that he had an obligation to present his views and Presidential priorities to all the people he is hoping to represent.  President Obama, "the first black President", curiously couldn't find time in his schedule (he sent a recorded video message), sending VP Biden in his stead.  One white guy got booed, the other white guy got a warm reception; one white guy promoted fiscal restraint, the other white guy promised continued unsustainable spending.

On one hand, you have someone proposing a return to what were once considered common sense values; on the other, you have someone proposing a continuance of the status quo.  Which one really has the best long term interests of the country, and it's people, in mind?

1 comment:

  1. I especially like the comment made by Charlette Stoker Manning, of the NAACP, following Gov. Romney's speech: "You can't possibly talk about jobs for black people at the level he's coming from. He's talking about entrepreneurship, savings accounts. Black people can barely find a way to get back and forth from work."

    Really? Did someone from the NAACP, an organization created to advance the cause of black Americans, actually go on record as saying that blacks aren't capable of being entrepreneurs? Obviously, Gov. Romney believes otherwise. Conservatives almost always see the potential in people, where liberals see inability to succeed.

    Wow. Just imagine the uproar if any white conservative had said something similar. Of course, this comment will never see the light of day in the mainstream media, unless Sean Hannity gets wind of it and reports it on his show on FoxNews.