Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Creating A Covenant For Michigan Through Spiritual Renewal by Akindele Akinyemi

If we are serious about transforming Michigan we must think about transforming its spiritual dimensions first. The auto crisis, failing educational system and overspending is due to those who are greedy and have no care for those who are struggling. Furthermore, there will be no transformation process in Michigan until the monopoly of power is broken in our inner cities.

Urban conservatives should fully understand that they are being called to leadership. We must understand that our rights are endowed by God and therefore the individual burden of responsibility borne by each citizen here in the inner city is greater than any other country or area. This is why our new found sense of victimization and entitlement is wrong. It is (1) not the
American spirit and (2) a true disconnection from African values. In this country, the fact that God, not the state of Michigan or the National Government, has empowered us puts an enormous burden on our shoulders.

One of the most important concepts of how I see things as a culture living in Detroit is this weird ideology of an all powerful society-type thinking. What I mean by this is many people living in Detroit or other urban areas across Michigan thinks society is always responsible for everything. For example, if someone gets raped, killed or abandoned its society's fault not the fault of the individual. If children cannot learn in school or a girl gets pregnant it's the fault of society. You see when we have this type of thinking it creates a society if blame not personal responsibility. What people, especially liberals, forget is this....without personal responsibility there is no justice, no freedom and for damn sure no peace.

Urban conservatives must demonstrate vision, energy, ambition, hard work and dreaming of a better future and then making it come true. There is no way around it. Urbanites who know the facts are responsible for changing urban ghettos into Christian communities. Part of that transformation is teaching our children to embrace the spirit of free enterprise. We must tackle our educational system and change our laws to clean out the barriers to starting business and creating new wealth. We need to alter tax codes that punish people for working as independent contractors or starting their own business. Changing both state and federal laws that give huge advantages to unionized employees of corporations.

We must engage in the spirit of invention. We do this every day in our communities. For example, Automation Alley brings technology based jobs to Oakland County all the time. In Detroit, we have the Next Energy Fuel Cell research labs. However, what innovation is taking place in traditional neighborhoods that are ghost towns? Urban conservatives can show and pave the way by creating technology based educational centers, creating adult learning facilities that will help reduce the illiteracy crisis that continues to plague cities such as Detroit and Flint, and investing in green conservatism.

Speaking of green conservatism the City of Grand Rapids has jumped on the green bandwagon. While some paleo-conservatives frown on this idea of going green they never got a chance to crunch the numbers. There are billions of dollars in green anything right now. There are four city parks in Grand Rapids that are slated for green space.

-- Butterworth Landfill, a 180-acre former city dump that was capped by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and has been ready for redevelopment since 2000.

-- Joe Taylor Park, an inner-city park that will be redeveloped after the city builds an underground stormwater facility there in 2010.

-- A 48-acre site on the Northeast Side acquired through a gift from philanthropist Peter Wege. The undeveloped land is being considered a passive recreation area.

-- Extending and connecting the city's network of bicycle and walking paths south of Fulton Street.

Urban conservatives must balance environmental protection against economic development, state power, and middle-class interests. For us, the environment is not a substitute for religion, but a series of interlocking practical problems that must be solved to meet our supreme political priorities: maximizing the power and prosperity of the State of Michigan while responsibility enhancing the well-being of Michigan families.

The flip side of this is that urban conservatives, as well as mainstream Republicans, should oppose government playing investment banker, subsidies, special favors, and other market-distorting and wealth-destroying interference.

Meanwhile, we should take a deeper look investing in nuclear energy. Nationally, the U.S. derives 20 percent of its electricity from nuclear power. Japan gets 33 percent and France gets 80 percent.

I am not in favor of government solving the energy problems in our communities. The free market should be allowed to work to solve our energy and environmental problems.

But he most critical need in urban Michigan is to keep our principles sacred. Spirituality, education, innovation and motivation are sacred for any urban conservative who has a desire to change the hearts of many. Presently, conservatism, once grounded in careful study of the way the world works, has been reduced to grand slogans, to pretty words divorced from reality.

Urban conservatism is a new generation that hungers for concrete answers and solutions. I often ask my Republican colleagues (Black, White, Asian and Hispanic) how do we inspire the next generation of activists and organizers? We understand that liberal taught is limited and that is why we have so many people running for office in Detroit year in and year out saying the same thing.

When we sit down as a unit and begin to emphasize family and work, create tax incentives for work, investment and entrepreneurship, reestablishing savings and property ownership, learning as the focus of education in Michigan, protection against violence and drugs we will begin to create a new class of citizenship that is accountable. We must be able to look at our fellow man and woman here in urban Michigan decide that we, as a community, deserve the same passion and the same commitment that we could show for our children. We must replace the culture of death and poverty in Detroit. We have to replace the welfare bureaucracy. In our country alone welfare generates $305 billion. Liberals complain about the war costing $10 billion and the auto industry needs $25 billion. Instead of a handout let's create a generation of real HOPE and CHANGE as well as opportunities for all of us.

The only way we begin to do this is to embrace a spiritual renewal of ourselves and our future. We cannot even begin to get to the practical needs unless we address the spiritual dimensions and needs of our community.

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