Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Political Plantation by Akindele Akinyemi

I find it interesting to hear how so many people think the Republican Party is the modern day Ku Klux Klan. Some go as far as saying how white people in the GOP hate Black people. Some go as far as saying that the GOP are irrelevant.

More interesting is the fact that so many people ask me why do I consider myself a Republican as opposed to being a Democrat.

First and foremost, I am not a follower. I am a leader and I intend to stay like this until I depart from this Earth.

Second, as far as the GOP being considered the modern day KKK is outrageous. That does not mean there is no racism in the GOP. In fact, there is racism in both Democratic and Republican Party. Ignorance breeds racism and racism breeds hate and confusion. We can see this on both sides of the aisle.

Third, as a Frederick Douglass Republican and urban conservative I have nothing to prove to anyone that the GOP was founded on the pretense of freeing slaves from bondage. Urban conservatives are still doing the works of freeing people from bondage through education that leads to opportunities.

Black people do not have time for finger pointing, slander or politics. Our mission in this day and age is creating sound public policies that will benefit our communities. We have to think out the box if we are serious about transforming our economy and educational system.

Democratic apologists will conclude that Black people should not be part of the Republican Party. Republican apologists will conclude that Democrats have butchered in the inner cities of America.

Both parties are guilty of keeping us on what I consider a political plantation.

This is a plantation where both parties use the same tactics in different forms. Democrats have a plantation called dependency.

Democrats are under the illusion that minorities need affirmative action to succeed in life and "to level the playing field." Most people who follow this notion do not understand why affirmative action was even created in the first place.

Ever since the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 Black people have always been successful even at the peak of Jim Crow. Black Wall Street in 1921 in Tulsa, Oklahoma to Paradise Valley here in Detroit to Idlewild Blacks have always prospered economically.

Prior to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s there were a rich tradition of Black self-help. Our Historically Black Colleges and Universities used to publish the Journal of Black Business Success. But in order to get the Civil Rights laws to apply to Blacks we had to present ourselves as victims of racism. In order to do that the HBCUs had to stop publishing the accounts of our success.

What most of our Democratic colleagues fail to tell you in areas like Detroit we have over 19,000 Black owned and operated businesses. The problem is not the fact that we cannot get jobs because the so-called playing field is not "leveled" so we still need affirmative action. The main issue is the fact that we do not hire each other in the very community we live in. And if we do get hired we lack the customer service skills to bring in additional clients or customers that will make our businesses grow. We do not need affirmative action per se. We need to affirm our actions when we move into the economic realm of things.

The other thing about the Democratic plantation is the fact that they use social engineering tactics to keep us dependent when we should be following our ancestors lead on development.

The GOP has a plantation also and its called anarchy. Some in our party feel that we do not need government in anything.

The United States has a mixed economy. So there is no qualms about this. You will never have a 100% capitalistic society. Ever. There is not a nation on Earth that is 100% capitalistic.

Some of my GOP and Libertarian colleagues feel that we should take government out of every damn thing and that we should not support government or government sponsored programs. Do you go to the public library? How are roads funded? Is it funded by private dollars by us passing the plate in church to donate to the road? Did you ever use financial aid when you went to college? What about hospitals with a trauma center? Are they actually private? Do we have a private telephone and communication service?

What about large corporations and businesses using government subsidies? What about electricity and other energy services? Very few water systems are privatized but most have what is called a public-private partnership.

There has to be a balance between government, business and technology in both the public and private sector. When we start getting caught up on rhetoric we lose focus on what we need to do.

Both plantations use fear as a means of control. Democrats use fear tactics like we need affirmative action or we will go back to Jim Crow, the GOP is going to look out for the rich and the GOP hate Black people. Republicans use fear tactics by saying Democrats are Godless, hate Black people, and how President Obama is taxing your grandchildren.

Both of these parties will keep us mentally in bondage with useless rhetoric unless we begin to see through the fog.

So let me bring my point home. What we need is a vision for our communities. The Book of Hosea 4:6 says "without a vision the people perish." Right now we are perishing. The issues in our communities are very complex. Neither party has done a good job in trying to resolve the issues. Democratic policies has failed the inner cities and the GOP will not even take the time to even invest in the inner cities to create a solution (not a sound bite). Urban communities need political balance to resurrect the spirit in these broken areas.

Urban conservatives are policymakers not sound biters. What I mean by this is that urban conservatives think for ourselves not follow anyone who do not understand our plight. Some people say we need a stronger national defense. We say we need quicker police response time in our community. Ladies and gentlemen, racism, discrimination and “the white man” even, are not the main threats in our communities anymore. Apathy is, and apathy kills. Love and hate are opposite emotions, but at least they move in a direction. Apathy just lies there, saying nothing. Doing nothing. Love and hate are opposite emotions, but indifference is the death nail of the soul. And while we are on these plantations we have become apathetic to crafting out solutions.

The church has failed our communities. It has failed so bad that the population of the church is dwindling. People are tired of the fear factors, control and mis-interpretation of the scriptures to fit a certain philosophy. That alone is a crisis. Not to mention the lack of economic development that the church can lead us into. I am not saying all churches fall into this category because they don't. But why are we fighting gay marriage when I cannot find a woman to meet, date or marry FROM YOUR OWN CHURCH? Shouldn't we fight to strengthen marriages among men and women since the core problem is trust? And I do not know why people are fighting gay marriage when people in their own church is gay (this includes the pastor, lead choir director, and deacon). I do not support gay marriage at all because I personally do not see any benefit from it but before we protest let's take a look at our OWN sanctuary and see if all the loose ends are tied up.

If Planned Parenthood is a problem then we should OPEN OUR OWN CLINICS to take care of our women and children. Detroit alone has 90 square miles that is vacant. 1 out of 3 buildings down a major street in Detroit is vacant. If Black Republicans are so serious about protecting life then here is a way to resurrect life in a dead community. Planned Parenthood is going to continue doing their thing. Therefore, the best way to eliminate the problem is to (1) create a counterculture and (2) compete. If we INVEST in our own clinics then Planned Parenthood would not be a factor. Support pro-life programs like the Alpha Teen Center in Grand Rapids, MI.

We have got to get our lives together, our spirits back in intact, our respective rear-ends engaged in positive, productive activities, and our MINDS FOCUSED ON THINKING FOR OURSELVES. Not because I believe discrimination doesn't exist anymore or is no longer a factor. But because no one else cares. We must become for ourselves the change we want to see in the world. Period.

No one is going to save us, but us.

I do not care what you call yourself. If you are a Black Democrat then I highly suggest you STOP thinking like these old civil rights leaders and hardcore liberals and craft a new reality. If you are a Black Republican then I highly recommend you stop hating and eating on your own and help build a silver rights movement. The RNC under Michael Steele is NOT going to give any money for Black GOP causes so let's stop wishing and handle our business. If the RNC gives any money to Black Republicans it will have strings attached. The same with the DNC giving money to Black Democratic candidates. It's all a game and with 90% of Black people giving their damn vote to the Democratic Party we still have not even learned how to play the game.

Black folk are the only race of people in America that only talks to one political party, and it doesn't seem to me to make much sense. Latinos, Asians, Indians, and of course our White friends, all talk to everyone, particularly when it speaks to their interests, ...but not us. We often get hung up on emotions, about whether we like someone or not, when in reality business, economics and interests (both private and societal in nature) run this nation. It simply makes no logical sense, but we keep doing it. Even the definition of insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, yet expecting a different outcome.

We are also the only ones that created a political powerbase, before we created an economic powerbase. Furthermore, public policy in America is principally designed around America’s first priority; economics and ownership. Individual property rights. Think about it – from tax breaks and other protections for homeowners, to incentives for the working class, to incentives for small businesses and major corporations alike.. it’s all about owners and producers. If we are wasting our time on JUST social issues then we are missing the bigger picture.

Tax cuts or tax breaks are a foreign language to some people in the community. As a result we have effectively tied one hand behind the collective back of our political leadership; forcing them to pursue a doomed public policy strategy not of proactively protecting, enhancing and growing our own individual property rights, but rather a reactive, defensive “strategy” of trying to protect and preserve an ever decreasing pool of mostly entitlements and public subsidies.

Somewhere along the line we confused producing in the private-sector with mandating in the public sector.

Urban conservatives in a silver rights movement must take the lead in creating a stakeholder class in America. This way we will no longer see homeowners as Black, White or Brown, but green. We will see our urban, inner city communities not as wastelands, but emerging markets in vastly under-served, and the last bastion of lost capitalism. A place of future riches.

This is why I always have a vision for places like Flint, Saginaw, Pontiac, Detroit, Inkster, River Rouge, Benton Harbor, Ypsilanti Township and Muskegon. We need to invest in the aerotropolis, global education, green initiatives, fuel cell research and high speed rail. The Japanese have invested $45 billion in the design and construction of a new 'very high speed rail transit system' that will travel at 660 mph. Why? The logic is simple - give their citizens a guaranteed greater geographic range of economic opportunities. For anyone to fight against high speed rail in the 21st century is delusional as hell and lives in a cave.

If Detroit becomes the central hub of a high speed rail transit system for the tri-state region (Michigan, Indiana, Ohio)with speeds being greater than 660 mph it can create economic opportunities. Our thinking must be out the box.

I keep saying we have bigger fish to fry. Start discussing policies and kill the politics.

Black people are leading every negative indicator you could imagine - from poverty, to illiteracy and financial illiteracy, to lack of ownership and too much obesity, to diabetes, to high school dropouts, to Black men in jail, to you name it.

That as a community we are effectively rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic, and increasingly the community as a whole are in no mood for political gamesmanship and selfish power plays. They want results, not rhetoric.

We can disagree without being disagreeable. Dr. King marched with Jews, and they had a disagreement about a man named Christ, but they agreed on most everything else. Nelson Mandela did the same thing in South Africa, negotiating with then President DeKlerk, when those in his own party were calling him a sellout for doing it. I think Republicans like Newt Gingrich, Michael Steele and Colin Powell are just as important as President Obama for the Democrats. All are needed at the table to move America forward.

People will always debate and disagree but the end result is how do we move forward off these traditional political plantations called dependency and anarchy and stay focused on the task at hand?


Ken said...

Even if I don't agree with every single word of the column, I agree with the main theme: People need to take the initiative to do for themselves what needs to be done. And indeed, we ALL should agree with this theme!

The "political plantation" symbolism is rich in meaning. I like your writing style--to the point, and blunt without being offensive.

theCL said...

I think you hit upon a lot of important lessons, for everyone and anyone!

And while I may not agree with 100% of everything you said either, those differences can be set aside. They're basically irrelevant, because you and me my friend, are on the same side!

Thanks for writing such a terrific post!

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maidintheus said...

Keep up the great work, Mr. A.