Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Speak The Issues by Akindele Akinyemi

Apparently, I have caused an uproar in some circles due to me pulling out of the Outreach Vice-Chair spot for the Michigan Republicans. I would like to say that I am NOT apologetic for my actions. If we are going to compete in 2010 and beyond we have to change the way we conduct business. Even if it means stepping on some heads and necks.

The GOP was founded as a party of freedom in 1854 as abolitionists freed slaves from the plantation. Now, in 2009, our people are trapped on another plantation called dependency.

I find it interesting that the GOP can criticize urban areas such as Detroit but what are we doing to improve the quality of life? We already know that the Democrats and their failed "socialist" policies do not work so now what? If we are supposed to be a party of freedom then let's free the people from ignorance.

But we have failed in that department. However, there is still time to redeem ourselves.

Within the framework of urban conservatism we need to evaluate how we can effectively shift the paradigm of academic, economic and political power. At least bring about some balance to the equation.

Here are some steps of making urban conservatism work here in Michigan.

First we must understand the needs of the people. The main problem when engaging our community is the fact that we are so disconnected with the urban communities in our state. How many of us realize that poverty stricken people are getting their water shut off, people civil rights are being violated, people are going to jail for no reason or 93-year old men are freezing to in places like Bay City, Michigan?

A friend of mine recently discussed on Facebook how domestic is ravaging our community and this is an issue that we should not be laughing at. That issue alone should stir conversation and SOLUTION STEPS to stop this menace from being passed on generation to generation. We must protect BOTH our men and WOMEN from domestic abuse. Keep in mind this level of abuse is not just physical but mental and emotionally. I, personally, cannot stomach the fact that a man hits a woman for control and vice versa. Urban conservatives must hold the faith based community responsible for not talking more about this issue.

Urban conservatism will work when we talk about things that are facing our community head on.
For example, The National Urban League's State of Black America 2008 reports that Blacks are impacted by higher rates of obesity, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS and diabetes. Specifically:
  • Blacks experience diabetes at twice the rate of whites
  • Blacks are 10 times more likely to be HIV positive than whites
  • Blacks are likely to be more obese than their white counterparts
  • Blacks have an average life expectancy of 72 years versus 78 years for whites
  • Blacks are less likely to have health insurance and likewise receive lower health care benefits throughout their lifetime

Not only is the African American community more susceptible to and less likely to recover from certain illnesses than other groups, there is an alarming lack of affordable health care available to help them do so.

Part of this issue is personal responsibility. Obesity is caused by two factors. One factor is a gland problem in the body. The other problem is eating too much fast foods, processed meats and not enough exercise. These are issues that are affecting everyone but is targeted in Black communities nationally. For real, how come we have a liquor store on every corner in our community. What about McDonalds, a Burger King, a Wendy's or White Castle? Do we have the options of healthy food choices?

Urban conservatives can become engaged in health initiatives by working with such organizations as The Center for Disease Control, the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, and the American Legacy Foundation, among others, to address such health crises as diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's and depression. This affects all Americans but hits the urban community hard.

I am bringing these things up as examples because our community must be free once again. The only way we are going to be free again is through education. The biggest thing I hear from conservatives is how liberal K-16 education has become in our communities. WHO ALLOWED THAT TO HAPPEN? You may have teacher unions but we did not take education seriously. While I am a proponent of educational choice there are some other dimensions to education that we are not talking about. For instance, getting our OWN credentials so we can teach at the community college level, K-12 level or university level (whatever fits you the best). If we build a coalition of urban conservative educators in the K-16 fabric then we will begin to shape the minds of the next generation. We have to break the curse of individualism and work as a group.

We can still discuss how free market approaches can help enhance urban Michigan. However, if we are not speaking life to the immediate issues at hand then we are going to have a hard time in 2010. If we continue to be apologetic to a small group of people in power who simply wants us to walk in a straight line we will eventually fail.

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