Saturday, June 21, 2008
A Republican Under Every Rock
Some of you Black Democrats are pathetic. I love all of the new tools that we have as a society for exchange of information and debates. As I engage different sets of Black people the story is nearly always the same:
When I begin to challenge them, making note that despite the growth in POWER of the Democrats over our local government operations, our communities still have not received the benefits that we were promised. In expanding my argument into a circle of friends that I had never practiced political dialogue with - the chapter brothers in my fraternity - the 'same ole same' was thrown back up in redirection. I can't tell you all have much I appreciate debating on other fronts. It shows me the pattern of thoughts (and excuses) that are present among our people. In hearing it all before it allows my responses to be more compelling for people who have not had their thoughts on the subject stiffly and comprehensively challenged.
So was the case as we debated the state of affairs in Philadelphia. The entire dialogue started out last week when one brother who has always been a "Anti-Conservative/Anti-Republican enforcer among our group sent pictures out of the 'new first family' and then made a smart remark about a 'Republican' in our group. (another brother). I asked this brother if I needed to be a Republican to make note that there are major problems within many Black communities and despite being dominated by Democrats --- the problems still exist and in some cases have gotten worse. This is all some folks needed to hear.
I got a print out of why Bush should be impeached. There were several "Amens" sent in response to Dennis K's list.
The most interesting post, however, came from the brother attempting to put the fate of the 85% Democratic city of Philadelphia squarely in the hands of the Republicans. He stated that the new mayor - Black and Democrat - Nutter was "more favorable to the Republicans for his policies and thus they supported him." I rejected this as foolishness, telling him that he is only displaying his bias toward liberal candidates. Nutter is still a Black Democrat and thus a member of his party, not a Republican.
Then he made the case that the Casey Administration, a Democratic one, conspired with the Republicans in the state to gut the financing of the school system in Philadelphia. They used No Child Left Behind to undermine the local control of the schools and then allowed charter schools as a means of stripping money from the regular public schools. He said that I was "ignorant" of what is going on in the state since I don't live there while he was at the table listening in because he is a campaign manager and then later a government employee.
This litany would have been enough to "shut up" most other critics. The only problem is that IT DOESN'T MAKE ANY SENSE. It is also a common practice that I have heard time and time before. The trick is that they refract the abundant growth in power of the Democrats and the expected ACCOUNTABILITY FOR RESULTS that should come with such control with the notion of the Republican under every rock who stood in the way of the Democrats and who worked against the best interests of Black people. I have to admit - it is a very effective strategy among "Black Democrats" as all it does is play upon their own biases. They want their party to win anyway so by detailing the conspiracy by the Republicans because 'he was at the table' only provides the thread thin justification that the Democrats don't yet have enough power - even in Philadelphia where 4 out of 5 voters is a Democrat.
So here is where we are at:
* The Democratic officials - mayor and governor - were pressured to join in with the Republicans to work against the interests of the city and of Black people in general. As I study this allegation I figure that this is nothing more than the principle of what sounds good in theory on the campaign trail where you are not bound by the responsibility of being in the seat changes when you are in the seat of power and logistics bind you to a more pragmatic set of solutions. I suspect that Mr. Obama, if elected, will have a major set of realities confronting him. Al Queda does not operate to the script of the American campaign trail. Thus, back to my frat brother - his observations only tell of his affinity toward radicalism over pragmatism
* The city of Philadelphia, a chartered city, should not be expected to be self-sufficient in any way. The state and the federal government needs to provide all of the resources that are necessary to allow the city to provide these services to the people. This is a basic perversion of the basic reason why cities are chartered in the first place. Every city in America was originally an "unincorporated" land mass. Over time a collection of people, businesses and associations, realizing that they can provide more value to their community by synergizing into a city has petitioned their state to receive a charter. One essential element of this entire concept that we all have strayed away from is the notion of the self-sufficiency of the chartered city. The unincorporated area used to receive all of their municipal services from the county in which it resides. Upon receiving a charter this independent entity is charged with providing these services. Often the city's formation was an attempt to retain taxes paid more locally and not have it disbursed to people all over the county and thus they receive the procured services back in a diluted manner. Today our mindset is that the state and federal governments should be there to pay any bill for basic government operations that the local city is not able to afford. Don't get me wrong - I am for federal funds for highways that pass through cities and for major infrastructure like airports. They are arguing, however, that more basic services should be paid by the federal government. It must be noted that this is in the spirit of income redistribution and to mask certain wealth and tax digest destroying policies such as "Anti-Gentrification" policies. At the end of the day what we have is a group of people who wish to be abstracted from the ultimate consequences of their policies. The best way to abstract consequences from economic choices is to "RIGHT-ify" these elements so that the federal government pays them in pursuit of the citizen's right to access these resources.
* Good ole, reliable "No Child Left Behind"!!! Aside from the Iraq War spending I know of no other whipping boy that has been used by certain people to justify their own claims of "woulda coulda shoulda". For a federal program that was at the same time - "Underfunded" as it is "Not Comprehensive Enough" - it has been used as a key component in leftist attacks despite the dismissiveness applied to it. Jonathan Kozol would be proud of my frat brother. This one program is a cruel trick by George W. Bush to destroy the public school system. Despite the fact that the federal government has paid between 7 and 9% of the public school budget - this one program has had the power to turn an otherwise good school system into a wasteland......if you allow them to tell it that is. I apply my new conspiracy theory evaluation upon hearing such an attack. Since NCLB is a purposeful attack - what were our schools like prior to NCLB? Philadelphia schools were on a downward skid for a long period of time, surely prior to 2001 when evil Bush got into office. None of this matters though. NCLB has become shorthand in the minds of some and upon hearing the word they "understand" and join in.
* Closely related to NCLB is the debate over Charter schools. This brother assailed the state for agreeing to fund charter schools. They take money away from the mainline public schools he said. It is a deliberate attempt to cripple these schools. I fired back that I have first hand experience in seeing and then doing research of a charter school near my parents house in the city. I let my frat brother know that these charter schools are often founded by BLACK PARENTS who are TIRED OF WAITING for the government operated schools to get their act together. How dare he attempt to thwart there efforts at insuring that the one chance their own children have toward receiving a K through 12 education are making major sacrifices to insure that their kids are not victims and placed into the cycle of failure. It is clear that my frat brother cared about the SCHOOL SYSTEM more than he thought about the STUDENTS within them. This might not be a deliberate intention but surely this is the functional result. "No you can't exit your failing school and pursue your own interests of a quality education. Just wait while we fight on your behalf and then the schools will be fixed to your liking." Indeed when the ocean reaches the boiling point - everything will be set. If their children are 42 years old when this finally happens, this is of no consequence.
If some of you have not HEARD ME before you had better listen. The various techniques as seen from my frat brother are the very tactics used to undercut any INSPECTION and MANAGEMENT of what the political operatives who CLAIM to be working in your best interests are doing. These people are POLITICIANS. What better position to be in when you are given an expanding base of power and you get to BLAME THE OTHER GUY for all of your problems? In fact by having such a mental framework cast upon the people - the harder they try to ESCAPE from the clutches of 'the Republican under every rock' the more they are going to 'put more money into the collection plate' as they TRY HARDER to break free from this grasp. I realize that many of you are biased in favor of the Democrats. I have no problem with this on its face. It is just SHAMEFUL how you have tucked away your own BEST INTERESTS in pursuit of your biases.
Let me be clear - if the city of Philadelphia and elsewhere were running like a well oiled engine - good schools, safe streets, jobs for our people - I would be effectively MUTED. In fact - I would be a Democrat along with you. I would have the biggest pompoms as I lead the cheer. Unfortunately - the REVERSE IS TRUE. The more victories that you have, the more displaced the 'adversary' of yours is but sadly no more evidence of benefit is seen in support of the common goals that we all share.
One is then lead to ask - WHAT ARE YOUR REAL OBJECTIVES if you are not receiving them but you KEEP TRYING HARDER?
I realize that it is not popular for a person to accept that he is in a "sold out condition". This indeed is a slanderous label. As you step back and make measure of your actions - what other label is more appropriate?
If anything you had better find your voice against those who CLAIM to be working in your best interests. Your silence is your complicty.
Oh yeah - that was another point my frat brother made. He stated that it is critically important that the Black vote remain unified. A fractured Black vote is diluted. I told him that I strongly disagreed with him. The call for UNITY is also the call for SILENCE. Don't criticize the status quo within our community because in doing so the UNITY might be fractured. I told him that we need to UNIFY behind the acquisition of our common goals and that the METHODOLOGY - which is our respective ideologies and party membership should be subject to there being PROOF that they are indeed advancing us toward our common goals. They CANNOT be pursuits in and of themselves. You just might get the circular reference that you have set out upon as we have today - More Democrats than ever before as the Republicans have been chased out of our midst YET more "chasing" after Republicans despite the power that has been amassed by the Democrats.
The Black community is the only force that can change this around and push the DEMOCRATIC (and Republican) operatives out from our collective body and out to the periphery of our consciousness where these forces belong.