Friday, September 16, 2005

My name is Charles, and apparently, I don't care about black people

According to the media, environmentalists, 'civil rights leaders', peace activists, women's groups and Kayne West, President Bush is a right wing extremist, earth plundering, minority hating, war-mongering chauvinist that doesn't care about black people.

I'll deal with the right-wing extremist, earth plundering, war-mongering chauvinist charges some other time, however. Right now, I'd rather deal with the 'minority hating, not caring about black people' bit.

For whatever reason, conventional wisdom says that Republicans are more racist than Democrats. This has always confused me, first of all because it was Lincoln, a Republican, that freed the slaves. It was the Democrat majority congress that enforced and upheld segregation in the South. There is a former member of the Klu Klux Klan currently serving in the senate, and he's a Democrat from West Virginia.

But despite what otherwise might be common sense, Republicans still tend to get branded as racists.

Maybe this is because of the difference between what I refer to as 'hard bigotry' and 'soft bigotry.' I don't have any hard data for this claim, let's say that the majority of 'hard bigots' in the United States — that is, people who are outwardly racist, more likely to use racial slurs, etc — are Republicans. I would venture a guess these people make up less than 5% of the party, but they are what they are.

But it seems that Democrats are more likely to be 'soft bigots.' While they might not use racial slurs (anymore), they seem to be the ones more likely to think 'Oh, that poor [ethnic minority], he needs my help to succeed because he obviously can't do it on his own.' Thus, they proceed to patronize said ethnic minority until they too believe that they cannot succeed without the help of the government, especially when they've been victimized by years of institutional racism at the hands of the evil, racist Republicans (that freed the slaves and had no power to stop segregation).

I've been told all my life that I can't understand what it's like to be a black man, but I'm going to try anyway. It seems that I would be less offended by being called a 'cracker' or a 'honkey' than I would for someone to tell me that I needed help to succeed because I couldn't do it otherwise. Maybe it's pride or stubbornness, but the second I'm told I can't do something or that I have to do something, the more likely I am to do the exact opposite, if nothing else than out of spite. But I'm getting off topic.

If the liberal claim that Republicans, specifically George Bush, are racists, logic would follow that he would cut funding on poverty entitlement programs, as most poor Americans are black and live in the inner city.

But a quick perusal of what we in the media business like to call 'the facts' tells us that this is entirely not the case.

The 'First Black President,' Bill Clinton, allotted $191 billion in his 1996 budget for poverty entitlements. Whereas racist, elitist, only-cares-about-rich-white-men George Bush only allotted a paltry $368 billion dollars in his 2006 budget for poverty entitlements.

Wait what? You mean to tell me that President Bush has spent nearly TWICE the money on poverty entitlements than Bill Clinton? But everybody loved Bill Clinton!

'Now Charles,' I'm sure you're thinking, 'I'm sure that Bill Clinton's $191 billion actually made up a higher percentage of the Federal Budget at the time. George Bush might have allotted more money, but it probably takes up less of the budget.'

LIAR!

At the time, President Clinton's $191 billion accounted for about 12.2% of the federal budget. President Bush's paltry allotment is a mere 14.6%, that stingy bastard.

Now, you might expect me to be all excited about this and to be touting how President Bush is helping to end poverty, but I'm not going to. Because he's not helping to end poverty. He's helping to prolong it.

Everybody knows that old cliche 'give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime.' Well, all President Bush is doing is giving away 368 billion fish.

I don't deny that poverty is an issue in this country. It is. Some 12.7% of Americans currently live below the poverty line. This is unacceptable, especially for the wealthiest nation in the history of civilization.

However, this poverty doesn't come from institutional racism as so many would like to believe. Rather, it comes from a culture of poverty that is characterized by laziness, lawlessness, and immorality. There is a disdain for education, no sense of responsibility, and no drive for improvement.

This culture is then compounded by politicians and pundits that celebrate this behavior and instill a blind, albeit passionate, sense of pride for a culture that should otherwise have none.

What is there to be proud about about a 70% illegitimacy rate? What pride is there in a 56% high school graduation rate? Why should an unemployment rate that is more than double the national average be celebrated? Not only that, but why are these things even tolerated?

The billions of dollars given every year to poverty entitlements do not work towards ending poverty. President Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty in the 1960's. 40 years and more than a trillion dollars later, we've made little or no progress.

Money is not the problem. We've got plenty on money. The problem is how it's spent.

Able-bodied and able-minded men should have no access to entitlement funds whatsoever. If you're able to work, you have no excuse not to. The same should be true for women without children. Women with children should be required to put their children in school, regularly take drug tests, and work. If they fail at these, they have no business being a mother, and their children should be placed in protective custody until the mother can get her act together.

Is this harsh? Of course it is. But it is not cruel or uncaring. Which is more cruel? Resigning the poor in this nation to a destiny of poverty, or helping them break the vicious cycle that continues to engulf generation after generation? Which is more uncaring? Putting children in protective custody, or leaving them in the care of demonstrably unfit parents?

Then again, what do I know? Apparently I'm a racist.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Kimnberly said...

And you ignore the issue-at-hand that promted this comment against Bush: a great percentaged of the worst hit by the hurricane were minorities and/or people below the poverty line and Bush didn't care about these people when they needed his help the most. At least that's the racist argument I'm hearing.

3:45 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

The fact that the majority of people affected were poor/minorities was a matter of chance.

If the hurricane had blown through the Upper West Side of Manhattan or Beverly Hills, it would've been different, but it didn't, and it wasn't.

And what was Bush supposed to do? It's not his fault the Mayor of New Orleans totally blew the evacuation effort. It's not Bush's fault that the Governor of Louisiana waited 24 hours too long before asking for Federal help.

FEMA didn't show up in Florida for 5 days after Hurricane Andrew hit, which incidentally was the worst hurricane to hit the US before this one. The fact that FEMA was there in 3 days, as sad as it might sound, is actually an improvement.

FEMA isn't designed for immediate response. The local authories are responsible for immediate relief. FEMA is designed to show up 72-96 hours after and suppliment the existing relief effort. It just happened to be that in this case, there was no existing relief effort.

I fail to see how local authorities not doing their jobs translates into 'Bush didn't care about poor people'.

Could it be that the people making these arguments ALREADY had a political ax to grind with the President, and just use this as fodder against him? No way...

You'd be amazed how much you'd learn if you didn't just regurgitate what you hear on the news or from political hacks. Other than me, of course.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

We're talking about the government here. They aren't exactly the fastest at responding to anything. I speak from experience given that my husband and I are both government employees. I'm amazed that the government stepped in as quickly and efficiently as they did in response to the disasters. The government is not the most able entity to aide people in achieving anything except perhaps winning wars and the printing of money. People are so dependent on the government these days that they've forgotten how to take care of themselves. There should have been more personal preparations on the part of individuals. While the government's response certainly was not as expedient or as ideal as it might have been, they did fairly well given that they were the wrong entity to respond in the first place.

7:34 PM  

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