Saturday, April 26, 2008
A Message to The Emerging Leaders In Detroit: Follow Urban Conservatism by Akindele Akinyemi
I was part of the Emerging Leaders panel for the Freedom Institute this weekend. The topic was Which Way Young America, Democrat, Republican or Independent. While this panel was made up with the brightest and the best emerging leaders in our state there was only two Republicans on the panel. Stuart Foster, who is the chair of the Michigan Young Republicans, and myself.
Two Republicans who shook up the panel and audience? While Stuart Foster shook up grounds on asking people about affirmative action I was shocked how no one discussed the family. If you want to bring back America or even Detroit in that manner then you better start discussing the family.
Young emerging leaders in our community have to get back to basics. Most people in the audience realized that I am not your typical playbook Republican. Urban conservatism is what driving me by utilizing family values through educational choice to generate wealth creation in our community. I am not just interested in helping people here in Detroit and other urban areas where failing schools are present but also connecting our young people all across the Diaspora.
Because I do not walk lockstep with traditional Republicans I find myself on the outside sometimes. This works for me as I try to reform urban conservative thoughts to help people understand what it really means to be a Republican.
Emerging leaders must be involved in educational choice such as charter schools and homeschooling. Too many times I hear in these panel discussions and within the audiences how we have to save Detroit Public Schools. First, I am no fan of DPS and second, we should allow DPS to just die off like a old person who is breathing their last breath. This system produced only 24% graduates while the drop out rate is 76%. So when I hear all these groups talking about saving DPS I feel that is a waste of time within itself. We have to take DPS off life support.
If you want to deal with educational reform you have to deal with it from a urban conservative perspective. First, DPS should have a funeral. Second, embrace educational options for our children. State lawmakers are not in the fold of reforming education because of the lobbyists in Lansing and special interest groups. Unless we find policymakers to take up our cause then we are a sitting duck unless we develop leaders who are pro-educational choice in our community who are willing and able to take things to the next level.
Republicans fit the urban conservative value system better than Democrats. As an educational activist most urban conservatives embrace educational options. They also support family issues that I feel can benefit our community. From a racial perspective, I find it interesting how grassroots White Republicans support pro-life, pro-family (shared equal parenting rights, reforming the Friends of Courts, etc), educational options, lower taxes, promote work over welfare, personal retirement accounts. It is rare that I find Black Democrats fighting for these issues.
In fact, these issues in our community are looked upon as "not important" because the NAACP has outlined what we need to fight for in the Black community (insurance redlining, foreclosures, voting and saving a dying school system called the Detroit Public Schools). To me this is called plantation politics. Anyone stepping off the plantation is called a sellout or Uncle Tom. Well, you might as well call me a sellout because my work platform is not about begging the government for anything but following the trend of other Africans and other immigrants who come into this country and work hard that will eventually pay off. Americans are extremely lazy and we are lazier in the Black community.
I still ask Blacks in Detroit why are we still supporting the Democratic Party when our conditions have gotten worse?
The political leadership in Detroit forced me to do something about re-cycled leaders that are everywhere in this city. Detroit needs to come of age and shy away from archaic and re-cycled leaders. Who are these? All leaders above 50 are. All leaders under 60 who have been in power over two terms or eight to ten years are. How many does Detroit have? Several!
The present leadership in Detroit are controlled by re-cycled constitutions within their congressional party guidelines. At some point changes must be made to increase the number of fresh, young leaders to flourish.
When I look at injustices and insanity going on in Detroit, I sometimes feel worried. Tell me. What proves that leaders who have been in power for over two terms can contribute as in-puts to the making of our city they have already ruined? What can they add up to Detroit with their frozen and backward looking ideas? To know what I mean, consider names like Conyers, Cheeks, Kilpatrick, Lemmons, and even Leland. These are people with name recognition and that is how people vote. This is one core reason why our city need emerging leaders.
The other day I was reading several bills from our state lawmakers from Detroit and other urban areas in Michigan have re-cycled the same old liberal policies that has failed the inner-city. I discovered that Detroit suffers more from corruption and tawdry politics than natural calamities.
This is where emerging leaders need to come into play here in Detroit. Even though most of the panel lean or vote Democratic we need to embrace urban conservatism as a tool of progress if we want to transform our city. While most of the people on the panel will vote for Sen. BarackObama (I will not vote for him) we have to be mindful that he is not our savior and that he is for America not just African Americans. All politics are local so we have to transform our city here first.
If any Republicans are reading this they Detroit hear our calling. They want more Black Republicans to take an active role. People want change and the time is now for that change. What political activist who is a Black Republican is in the trenches in Detroit?
Without Detroit doing away with re-cycled ideas and leaders, indeed, the city will remain doomed. Something needs to be done to do away with these ballyhoos.