The election of Barack Obama as the first black President was supposed to usher in a post-racial America. We, as a nation, were to enter into a new age without discrimination or prejudice. An age where whites and blacks could simply be Americans. It certainly was a nice sentiment out on the campaign trail in 2008, but seven years later, for all the soaring rhetoric about equality and justice, those words, when squared with reality, fall flat.
This week it was Baltimore that erupted in violent racially motivated protests and rioting. A few weeks earlier, we saw a similar scenario in Charleston, S.C. and how could we forget the violence, looting and destruction in Ferguson, Missouri late last summer.
It’s becoming more and more apparent that America is on the brink of a race war, thanks in part to the lack of leadership by the Obama administration, the class warfare and social justice concocted by black Democrat leadership like Al Sharpton who blames white America for society’s ills. The white man is still keeping the black man down. Meanwhile, Rev. Al rakes in big money through the extortion of private businesses and interest groups.
Inner cities across the country are in danger of descending into chaos and lawlessness. As frightening and disturbing as the reality of this is, it shouldn’t be a complete surprise. City crime and urban decay have been festering for years.
America’s metropolitan areas and urban centers show the failure of big government. High crime, political corruption, high taxes, crumbling infra-structure and failing public schools create economic stagnation and little opportunity.
What people often fail to mention is that this also shows the failure of Democratic policies. Many, if not most of America’s largest cities are governed by Democratic mayors, city council leaders, police, sheriff’s departments, and even school boards are being run by Democratic policies.
Law Street Media, a law and policy think tank based in Washington, D.C. ranked the top ten cities with the highest crime rates earlier this year. These rankings are for cities with a population of over 200,000 people. Those cities were:
- Detroit, MI
- Oakland, CA
- Memphis, TN
- St. Louis, MO
- Cleveland, OH
- Baltimore, MD
- Milwaukee, WI
- Birmingham, AL
- Newark, NJ
- Kansas City, MO
These are some of the most dangerous cities in America. What they have in common is they all have Democrat mayors, and I’d venture a guess, have been run by Democrats for decades. The city of Baltimore has been controlled by Democrats since 1967. The point is these big government policies create dependency, low productivity, little opportunity, and low wages creating a cycle of victimhood that we call the “welfare state.”
American cities show the failure of government as a solution, but also highlight the failure of Democrat controlled government as well. They haven’t solved the inner city problem. They are the problem. For all the talk of progress by leftists, Democratic government has done nothing but essentially replace the southern plantation system of the 1850’s with a DC run plantation. One is demonized the other applauded, but the servitude is much the same.
Getting back to the race riots in Baltimore, Charleston, and Ferguson. We’ve identified a systemic problem with Democrat big government policies. Why would we expect anything different from the Obama administration? If we stopped electing Democrats to city government, a large part of the problem would be resolved.
The more complicated part of the equation is how do we heal a nation? How can we become united as a people – black, white, rich and poor?
Hundreds of interviews with protestors from Baltimore to Ferguson have questioned the reasons for demonstrating. It becomes clear that the issues are complicated. Understanding is needed on both sides of the conflict, but destroying property, blaming police, and “white privilege” solves nothing. This is today’s entitlement society. Sadly, most of the aggrieved individuals have lived their entire lives on government programs.
We’ve heard all the typical responses from protestors about reasons for demonstrating ranging from police brutality, racism, to being completely clueless to the issues at hand, and still others want another government solution. But don’t be too quick to judge. There’s always another side of the story.
Tuesday night, reporter, Monica Villamizar, from Vice News was shooting live coverage from the streets of Baltimore. She was talking to residents of the city, most of whom were black males whose ages ranged from 30 – 55. What impressed me about these men was that they were articulate, and calm despite their anger and concern. Most were employed and wanting to provide a better life for themselves and their families. They talked about how city government had failed. They felt stuck in a no-win situation. They believe that police had unfairly targeted them or people they knew and had, at times, used excessive force. Some spoke of being incarcerated for crimes they didn’t commit. Without fact checking these claims, you at least hear their side of the story and get a sense of genuine frustration. Some expressed embarrassment by the protestors that were destroying property and looting businesses saying they were bringing shame to the black community.
Most residents and demonstrators in Baltimore were trying to be peaceful. Baltimore Police Commissioner Anthony Batts said he believed most of the worst offenders were young people and professional agitators that were from outside the Baltimore area. This certainly sounds reminiscent of what happened during the Ferguson riots. Regardless, lawbreakers should be held accountable and punished for their crimes.
Getting back to my earlier question about how to heal America’s racial divide, it starts with acknowledging we have a problem first. The next step is to create an atmosphere where we can have an open and honest dialogue.
Last week, a number of stories surfaced about Hollywood star, Ben Affleck, who was featured on a PBS documentary, Finding Your Roots. Leaked e-mails were discovered about Affleck’s embarrassment in learning he had slave-owning ancestors. The show aired in October of last year and nothing was mentioned about the revelation. PBS chose to honor Mr. Affleck’s request to censor his connection to Benjamin L. Cole, a slaveholder in Savannah, GA (1850).
Maybe it was a little embarrassing to Mr. Affleck, but this would have been a great opportunity to discuss race in America.
Today’s politically correct culture has created so much fear and shame that we can’t even talk about slavery which was abolished over a hundred and fifty years ago. Slavery was part of America’s past. Many countries have had and still have slaves. Here, in America the Thirteenth Amendment put an end to the intuition of slavery, which was ratified in 1865.
History, whether we’re talking about nations or individuals, reminds us that we all have a past. We can spend our lives stuck in it, running from it, trying to hide it, heal it, or change it. We can rewrite it, ignore it, bulldoze it, or leave it laying under a layer of dust waiting for the next generation to rediscover it. It is way past time to deal with America’s past. From slavery to the Great Society, we have to be honest with ourselves and each other about what is working in government and what isn’t.
Baltimore, Charleston and Ferguson are great opportunities to rebuild. The problem is as much economic as it is educational. It is a chance for entrepreneurs, business and religious leaders to invest in their communities. Republicans and especially black conservatives can lead by example sowing the seeds of personal responsibility and the principals of freedom.
Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.-Victor Hugo
Since government is not the answer to America’s race problem, maybe the idea of personal freedom can return to our inner cities and we can restore the power to where the power should have been in the first place – with the people.