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Monthly Archives: July 2011

The 2012 Republican Candidates (So Far)

What they’ve said and done on
education in the past, and what they might do about our public schools if
elected

By Allison Sherry

Two months before his 2008 election, Barack Obama addressed a roomful of Ohio
public school teachers, praising their long hours and talking about his
daughters’ starting 2nd and 5th grade. It was a typical Democratic education
speech, with vows of support for early childhood education, for building up
programs that help students from “the day they’re born until the day they
graduate from college.”

Then Obama departed from the usual feel-good talking points. He touted
competition, charter schools, and school choice. “I believe in public schools,
but I also believe in fostering competition within the public schools,” he said.
“And that’s why, as president, I’ll double the funding for responsible charter
schools.”

That wasn’t an applause line, for sure, but it did serve another purpose: to
position the candidate as a different kind of Democrat, one willing to embrace
ideas from across the aisle and push back against his own teachers union base.
It also put Republicans on notice: Obama wouldn’t be bashful about encroaching
on their territory on education.

Two and a half years later, Republicans are still trying to figure out how to
respond to Obama, a Democratic president with education reform bona fides. To
date, the most prominent leaders of the GOP have either been mute on the topic
of education or heaped praise on the president. Indiana governor Mitch Daniels
lauded the Obama administration and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a
speech he made in April 2011: “We need to prepare our young people with the
highest possible preparation wherever they come from, wherever they are headed,”
he said. “[Duncan] is the nation’s champion, along with the president he serves,
of that ideal.”

As the winter primaries get closer, don’t expect much more of that.

The One That Got Away

Republicans began this election season in search of a candidate and a
message. The May withdrawal of Mitch Daniels from the Republican primary race
left the GOP without one of its most visible education leaders. The Midwestern
governor had become a darling among education reformers for making school choice
and quality teaching his top priorities.

In his final State of the State speech in Indianapolis, Daniels said that if
he did nothing else in 2011, he wanted to “hitch his legacy” to education
reform. Watching from the audience that day were students on waiting lists to
get into various charter schools. He urged state lawmakers to create a voucher
program that would allow kids to use public dollars for private school tuition.
He talked for 30 minutes about improving teacher quality. And by the end of the
legislative session, he got just about everything he wanted in a school reform
plan: expansion of charter schools, private school vouchers, and college
scholarships for students who graduate high school early.

But after flirting with a presidential run, Daniels bowed out, leaving to
those still in the running the task of building a GOP education platform.

The Race Is On

After a slow start, the Republican field is finally starting to take shape.
Former governors Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty have announced their election
bids, and former GOP house speaker Newt Gingrich is also running. As of June
2011, Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and former Pennsylvania
senator Rick Santorum had entered the race. Republicans await announcements from
Sarah Palin and Texas governor Rick Perry.

In staking out platforms in the coming months for what will likely be a
feisty GOP primary, Republicans face two quandaries regarding education policy:
They need to distinguish their positions from Obama’s centrist education
reforms, and they need to win over the Republican base, fueled by some Tea Party
energy, that will push for the U.S. Department of Education to be dismantled
altogether.

Former education secretary Margaret Spellings says gaining ground may not be
easy, but it has been done before: by George W. Bush, her former boss.

“I commend President Obama for adopting the GOP playbook and building on the
groundwork that we’ve laid,” said Spellings, currently a consultant in
Washington, D.C. “It’s time for us to develop some new material that pushes even
further.”

If Republicans want an advantage, Spellings argues, they need to push choice
and the hold-schools-accountable platform because “that’s safe territory for
Republicans of all stripes,” she said. “Unite Republicans by talking about the
kind of public policy that ties very closely to accountability.”

One likely Republican target is school spending. Days after entering office,
President Obama signed into law the sweeping stimulus bill, which included a
$100 billion bailout of the K–12 system. A year later, the smaller “edujobs”
bill pumped another $10 billion into the schools. While this money was
ostensibly linked to reform via the Race to the Top, there’s very little to show
for this huge influx of federal funds. Most studies show that it merely saved
teachers’ jobs, or kicked layoffs down the road a year or two. In lots of places
where layoffs were not on the table, it allowed school districts to give
teachers raises, at a time when America suffered through the worst unemployment
crisis in a generation.

By pointing at the fat in the education system, GOP candidates could argue,
as Governor Pawlenty did in 2007, that American schools are “costing us a lot of
money and it’s costing them their future.”

Expect to see the candidates applaud governors in New Jersey, Wisconsin, and
Ohio, who took on collective bargaining rights and insisted that money is best
used to reward good teaching for the children’s sake.

“We have built a system…that cares more about the feelings of adults than the
future of children,” said New Jersey Republican governor Chris Christie, widely
expected to run for president in 2016, at the American Enterprise Institute
earlier this year. “Tell me, where else is there a profession with no reward for
excellence and no penalty for failure?”

In a 2011 speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference, Romney
berated Obama for failed economic policies, saying afterward that he’s “seen the
failure of liberal answers before…liberal education policies fail our children
today because they put pensions and privileges for the union bosses above our
kids.”

Defining the Federal Role

A candidate like Romney or Pawlenty is still going to have to explain to the
Republican base why they’re not going to shutter the U.S. Department of
Education. During the 2010 midterm elections, Tea Party Senate and House
candidates across the country promised on the campaign trail that they would
shut down the U.S. Department of Education and hand control over to state
governments. Many of them are now members of Congress.

A related issue is where to land on the “Common Core” standards, a set of
expectations in reading and math developed by the nation’s governors and state
superintendents, but viewed by many conservatives as a federal plot to take over
the schools.

“Post-Obamacare, post–Dodd-Frank, in the Tea Party world, Republicans aren’t
interested anymore in a robust federal role in education,” said a senior GOP
Capitol Hill staffer, who could not be named because he is not authorized to
talk to the media. “Bush liked it and talked about it, fine. Now that he’s not
there hitting us over the head with it, we’ll move to empower and trust state
and local officials to make decisions.”

The Candidates

No matter who else enters the race, it is unlikely a newcomer will have a
ready-made education platform. Romney, Bachmann, Pawlenty, Perry, and Gingrich
have all, in their careers, been outspoken on key issues of education policy.
It’s worth considering what each of these (potential) candidates might do, were
he or she to become the nation’s 45th president.

MITT ROMNEY, like many Republican leaders in the 1990s, called for abolishing
the U.S. Department of Education.

Once he became governor of Massachusetts, Romney plotted out a more
sophisticated education platform. He pushed school choice when a
Democratic-controlled state legislature was moving away from it, and extolled
the virtues of No Child Left Behind.

“I’ve taken a position where, once upon a time, I said I wanted to eliminate
the Department of Education…. That’s very popular with the base,” Romney said at
a 2007 Republican debate in South Carolina. “As I’ve been a governor and seen
the impact that the federal government can have holding down the interest of the
teachers unions and instead putting the interests of the kids and the parents
and the teachers first, I see that the Department of Education can actually make
a difference.”

As governor, Romney proposed education reform measures that lifted the state
cap on charter schools and gave principals more power to get rid of ineffective
teachers.

In his book No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, he darkly
warns about American students’ low achievement in reading and writing. He writes
that money does not play a pivotal role in education quality and achievement,
perhaps a harbinger that Romney’s education-reform platform wouldn’t include new
money, as Obama’s plan did.

“The average amount spent per pupil, adjusted for inflation, rose by 73
percent between 1980 and 2005, and the average class size was reduced by 18
percent,” he wrote. “But during that same period, the educational performance of
our children has hardly budged. Why not?”

In Massachusetts, Romney defended statewide graduation requirement tests,
which started during his first year as governor in 2003. When one mayor declared
he would dole out diplomas even to students who didn’t pass the tests, Romney
threatened to withhold state dollars.

He also defended English immersion after visiting a Boston school where many
students enrolled in bilingual classes had actually been born in the United
States.

If Romney talks education in the next year, he will blend the importance of
accountability and of governing with a stick if needed. He is widely credited
for raising test scores. In his third year as governor, 4th and 8th graders
scored first in the country in math and English (see Figure 1).

It was in education that MICHELE BACHMANN got her political sea legs.
Disappointed in the school work brought home by her foster kids attending public
school, the now Minnesota congresswoman decided to get involved because the
school system didn’t have an “academic foundation,” according to Bloomberg
News
.

She started a charter school in the early 1990s, but abruptly resigned from
its board—along with other board members—after the school district accused the
charter of teaching religion in its classrooms.

In 1999, Bachmann ran for Stillwater school board with a platform to dump
Minnesota’s “Profile of Learning,” the state’s graduation standards. It is the
only race the three-term congresswoman has ever lost.

Under a Bachmann presidency, expect the U.S. Department of Education to be
all but shuttered. In 2004, she authored legislation that would remove Minnesota
from the requirements of No Child Left Behind. (It didn’t pass.) In a 2009
letter to constituents posted on her website, Bachmann wrote, “I entered
politics because I want to give my children the incredible educational
experience I received from public schools as a student. No Child Left Behind
must be repealed and control of our education returned to the local level.”

As his eight years as Minnesota’s governor wore on, TIM PAWLENTY’s push
against the teachers union grew stronger and more publicly divisive.

Shortly after his election in 2002, in an impromptu speech to business
leaders, Pawlenty called for tying teacher pay to performance and bringing up
the state’s standards. He also urged state lawmakers to authorize the use of a
transparent growth model to see how well schools are really doing to improve
student achievement. Yet, maybe because teachers union officials were in the
audience, Pawlenty carefully parsed tenure, saying, “Seniority can remain a big
factor, maybe even the main factor, in setting pay scales,” according to news
reports.

The speech underscored Pawlenty’s sometimes mixed message to unions
throughout his tenure: I’ll try to work with you. That is until you don’t work
with me.

In 2005, Pawlenty passed a Minnesota-wide teacher pay-for-performance plan
called “Q Comp,” which rewards teachers based on evaluations. Though passed by
the state legislature, the plan gave school districts and charter schools the
choice of whether to participate and allows a district to collectively bargain a
pay agreement that looks at professional development, teacher evaluation, and an
alternative salary schedule.

When federal Race to the Top dollars became available, Pawlenty launched a
statewide charter school initiative and moved to hone math and science
instruction in schools. Still, Minnesota lost out, most notably because the
application lacked support from the teachers union. Like all states, Minnesota
had an opportunity to go for the second round of grants, but Pawlenty drew a
line in the sand, saying he would only apply again if the union, and Democrats
in the state legislature, agreed to more reforms.

At the time, Pawlenty also dialed up the rhetoric. The timing may have been
personally fortuitous: He had declared he wasn’t seeking another gubernatorial
term in Minnesota and was flirting with a presidential run. It was good press:
He was out there staking pitch-perfect positions on education reform.

“If they [the teachers unions] don’t buy in and aren’t partners in change,
it’s not going to work,” Pawlenty said at a United Negro College Fund event in
February of 2010. “We have to constructively and gently, or maybe not so gently,
nudge them toward change.”

Texas Governor RICK PERRY, if he runs,  is likely to use his own state’s
successes to argue that the federal government should dramatically downsize in
education.

While Perry has been outspoken against the Common Core, he and his education
commissioner have pulled the quality of Texas tests up to a level respected
among education reformers. Test scores among kids of all racial and ethnic
backgrounds are higher in Texas than in Wisconsin, for example, which has fewer
students qualifying for free- and reduced-price lunch.

Though Perry will probably make this point on the campaign trail, he’s not
likely to promise to take over the nation’s schools.  On the contrary, he’ll
likely pick up on his recent call to repeal No Child Left Behind and let states
take charge of their education systems. In his book released last year, Fed
Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington
, Perry argues that Washington
has taken power away from states. At a speech in November in Washington, Perry
took aim at two of former President Bush’s signature accomplishments, No Child
Left Behind and the Medicare drug benefit program, saying they were examples of
areas in which Washington need not be.

“Those are both big government but more importantly, they were
Washington-centric,” he told the Dallas Morning News. “One size does
not fit all, unless you’re talking tube socks.”

Since the start of his career teaching college in Georgia, former GOP House
Speaker NEWT GINGRICH has cast education among the nation’s most important
domestic policy problems.

His views have developed through the years: In 1983, when the hallmark “A
Nation at Risk” was released, Gingrich, a member of Congress at the time,
traveled the country holding town hall meetings. He criticized American schools
as “no more than holding pens for our children.” In the 1990s, he called for the
abolition of the U.S. Department of Education and opposed direct government
loans to students.

In 2001, he authored a report that called the failure of math and science
education among the greatest threats to national security, “greater than any
conceivable war,” he said.

Then in 2008 and 2009, his political ambitions on hiatus, Gingrich joined
some odd bedfellows, among them civil rights activist Al Sharpton and former
Democratic Colorado governor and Los Angeles schools chancellor Roy Romer, in a
yearlong initiative to push education reform nationwide.

“I’m prepared to work side by side with every American who is committing to
putting children first,” he said in 2009 in a White House press conference,
before praising President Obama for “showing courage” in pushing unions against
charter school caps. “Not talking about it for 26 more years…. We could
literally have the finest learning in the world if we were to systematically
apply the things that work.”

He continued, “I think we need to move forward from No Child Left Behind
towards getting every American ahead.”

But how we move toward providing each child with an appropriate education is
the question.  The Republican candidates all stress accountability and favor
school choice, though they prefer leaving the federal government out of
education policy decisions.  Most of them emphasize reforms to enhance teacher
quality, and they question the influence of teachers unions.  They support high
standards, if delegated to the states to devise and enforce.  What they all have
in common is a belief that education needs deep reform that goes beyond anything
Democrats have proposed.

Allison Sherry is Washington, D.C., bureau chief for the Denver
Post.

 
 

Testimonial of a Black Republican

by Providence Crowder (providencecrowder@gmail.com)

GROWING UP

Ok, here’s the story.  I was born and raised a Democrat.  As odd as “being born a Democrat” may sound, that statement is as true as it is tragic.  Both my parents were, my aunts and uncles were, and every influential adult in my life proclaimed to be . . . a Democrat.  I hadn’t considered questioning why because politics didn’t interest me much.  I inherently knew that I was one, and when I became of voting age, the fundamental rule was that I must vote the party line all the way down the voting ticket.  Why Democrat, you may ask?  Because all black people, as far as I was told, voted Democrat.  And since I was black, that made me Democrat.  So when I turned 18 years of age, I registered to vote and voted as any good black American would. I followed the example of those around me and saddled that Democrat donkey every election Tuesday without understanding the issues, without learning the party platforms, and without a thorough assessment of the candidates.  Heck, I didn’t even care to know such things; I just wanted the Democrats to win the election against those “racist” Republicans that I had been taught were against black people.  I wanted the rich to pay their fair share like we, the poor and working class Americans, were.  I didn’t even mind a little redistribution of wealth when it came to someone else’s fortune, as long as mine was left alone.

MY CHRISTIAN ROOTS

Moreover, my Christian roots ran deeper than my Democratic ones.  I was raised in a strongly conservative Christian home, and even though for a time I had strayed, I eventually grew to know and love Christ on my own as an adult.  Christianity became no longer my parent’s religion, but MY faith, MY conviction, MY choice.  I eventually began to seek godliness in all areas of my life; work, home, recreation . . . in everything.  My Christian worldview even caused me to, for the first time, examine my politics.

Upon a closer examination of my party, I learned that most of the Democratic Party’s platform stood against many biblical moral standards.  Generally, they rejected the biblical definition of marriage and they overwhelmingly supported abortion.  I learned that more often than not, when I voted for a Democratic candidate, I was voting against my family values.   That troubled me greatly and I began to question my loyalty to the party; and after I began to make my way through college and learn a little about economics, I discovered that the Democratic Party’s economic policies were detrimental for not only black Americans, but all Americans! 

Their socialist policies have managed to create a permanent underclass of poor blacks dependent on government programs and entitlements for survival.  Their policies have done what 400 years of slavery couldn’t do; destroy the black family.  The government has replaced the father in many poor black households by promising young mothers that they would provide for her and her children and pay her bills, as long as the father was not in the home.  Their policies have discouraged work by providing greater benefits and incentives for staying home.  Their policies have supported the genocide of black babies through the public funding of “murder on demand” corporations such as Planned Parenthood.  Their policies have turned affirmative action into an unfair quota system that discriminates against white men and at the same time puts into question the qualifications and merit of accomplished blacks.  After learning all this, I remembered on several occasions telling my husband, “You know I’m a Republican on paper.  I like the party but not the people.  They are spot on point and I agree with most of what they’re saying, but I will not vote for any of those racists.”

I was almost free, but the great escape didn’t come without challenge.  After all that I had learned, I still wanted a reason to vote Democrat because I subconsciously feared going against my cultural norm. I had just the reason.  Republicans were racist and did NOT want me to be a part of their party!  Though I had seen those black Republican weirdo sell-outs on TV (through sound bites played on MSNBC), it wasn’t until my first personal encounter with a black Republican, a friend and co-worker, that I would finally break the Democratic stronghold, break free from the groupthink politics that have left blacks politically inept; escape the mental slavery that the modern day plantation of “free entitlements” and “government help” have used to entice many into laziness, dependency, and unproductivity.  Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann were starting to lose their grip on me.

HELP FROM A FRIEND

My dear conservative friend introduced me to some historical facts about the Democratic Party that helped push me to research for myself whether or not the claims he made were true.  What I learned crushed my beliefs that the Republican Party was full of racists who were trying to hold the black man down.  What I learned left me with no affinity for my inherited party; I was left, finally, with NO good reason to vote Democrat. 

What I found out in my quest for political clarity was that  the Republican party passed EVERY civil rights legislation in regard to black Americans, including the 1964 civil rights act and 1965 voting rights act, which was signed by a Democrat president but only passed because of a Republican congress’ overwhelming support.  Most Democrats in congress opposed it.  Republicans passed the 13th amendment, freeing black slaves; the 14th amendment, giving blacks their citizenship; the 15th amendment, granting blacks the right to vote.  Even still, whenever Democrats would take back control of the white house and congress, they would prevent blacks from buying land, they denied them fair wages for their work, and they undid many of the civil rights advancements of the Republicans.

Republicans were largely responsible for promoting and defending the civil rights of blacks while Democrats fought to lynch us, enslave us, and keep us as second-class citizens.  I discovered that even civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was Republican and so was abolitionist Frederick Douglass.  Other abolitionists, both black and white, were Republican.  In fact, I learned that the Republican Party (initially comprised of Democrats, Whigs, and Free Soil party members) was established in 1854 as the anti-slavery party; they opposed the spreading of slavery into free states.

I had always been told that white people were the ones who upheld slavery and fought to keep black people down.  I had never heard the political aspect of the civil rights controversy.  White people who identified themselves as Republican (most also identified themselves as Protestant Christians or Evangelicals) fought to free black slaves.  They clearly identified their enemy as Democrat, or Southern Democrat, the ones who wanted to maintain and spread slavery.  John Mark Reynolds once said of the Republican Party, “When it came time to confront the original sin of the nation—slavery—the Republican Party was on the Lord’s side.” Once they were granted the right to vote, blacks voted Republican and worked alongside white Republicans to advance our freedom in this country.

THE DEMOCRAT PARTY’S SHAMEFUL PAST

To my great surprise, I found out that it was the Southern Democrats who fought to keep blacks in slavery.  As Francis Rice has said,  “They were the ones who passed the discriminatory Black Codes and Jim Crow laws. They started the Ku Klux Klan (the terrorist wing of the Democrat party) to lynch and terrorize blacks. They fought against the passage of every single civil rights law from the 1800’s through the 1960’s.” 

I began watching other news outlets, those besides CNN and MSNBC, to get other perspectives on current events.  I discovered that there was such a thing as a “liberal media” and it had an agenda; when the facts were not on their side, they changed the subject and called Republicans racist.  Their strategy was very effective.  I was bamboozled for years!  I have since read the party platforms for myself, starting from their inceptions to the present day for both the Democrat and Republican parties.  In the platforms, the facts speak for themselves.  I even observed, within the platforms, the exact time period when the Democrats jumped on the civil rights bandwagon, something the Republicans had been pushing for over 100 years.  Beginning in the 1950’s, the Democrats proposed to throw tons of government money into poor inner-city communities and offer other government “helps.”  By the 1960’s they offered to provide welfare to young mothers and their children, requiring no work, as long as the father was not in the home.  

The civil rights agenda met harsh resistance from most Democrats and the party struggled on whether or not they should include civil rights as part of their platform goals.  They eventually agreed to do so, but with all of the wrong motivation.  Blacks were gaining number and political power (able to provide a candidate with enough votes to win the presidency), and the civil rights agenda was not going away but instead gaining popularity; Democrats had to give blacks something.  Not that they wanted blacks to be equal, but they wanted to give them enough to get them to voting Democrat so that Democrats could stay in power.  When Republicans were unwilling to be frivolous with taxpayer dollars by robbing one group of people to pay for, by another group of people, a host of government funded programs, Democrats were dishonest and said to blacks, Republicans don’t want to help you.  They don’t want to help poor people.  Republicans proposed other ideas to help combat poverty; most involved hard work, education, business ownership, and minimal aid from the government. Those ideas were overshadowed by the powerful attraction that free money had over people that were struggling to make ends meet.  Despite the pleading of the Republican Party, which at the time still held the black vote, poor blacks took the bait.  They were above all glad that Democrats were no longer interested in terrorizing and lynching them, and almost equally as ecstatic that they would be getting “help” from the government. 

Eventually the message became, “Republicans are racist.”  That message has stuck and resonated within black communities for the past 40 plus years.

It’s important for not only black Americans, but all Americans to know the political history of this nation.   Why?  Because as Woodrow Wilson wisely stated, “A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.” I thank God for freedom to think for myself, freedom to vote my values, freedom to truly participate in democracy and government.  I thank God that I no longer vote out of tradition but because of conviction. 

NO POLITICAL PARTY IS A SAVIOR

As a Christian, I know that the Republican Party is not a savior.  It can’t save us.  Government can’t save us.  There is no such thing as perfect politics or perfect political parties because political parties are made up of imperfect and sinful people.  The Republican Party is not without its faults and flaws for sure.  And as a Christian, I don’t put my trust in a political party, whose doctrines and philosophies may change with the people, but I put my trust in God who is unchanging.  With that being said, I have not yet attained paradise so I must continue living until I’m called home or Christ returns, loosely holding to the doctrines of my imperfect political philosophy (for God is neither Republican nor Democrat), all the while hoping my political inclinations are on the Lord’s side.  I don’t believe for one minute that God sides with either Democrats or Republicans, but it is up to Democrats and Republicans to side with God and stand against sin, much in the way the Republicans did when they stood against slavery. 

Some issues are debatable; who has the best ideas to combat poverty, who has the best views on foreign affairs, etc., but other issues are not –the murdering of innocent preborn children is always wrong.   

BLACKS IN AMERICA

Concerning blacks in this nation; they have been used for political expediency, sometimes by friends and sometimes by foes.  Blacks, among other minorities have been and still are discriminated against; however, blacks need not continue blaming the sin of racism for their failures.  We don’t need a racist to do anything for us but stay out of our way and allow us the same opportunity as everyone else to obtain success.  We should readily embrace the freedom that we have in this country to both fail and succeed; freedom that was fought long and hard for.  Some of us will have great success and others will struggle. 

The beauty of Democracy is; we are all free.  One who is born into poverty has an opportunity to become rich, and yet a rich man may also one day find himself impoverished.  Nothing is guaranteed.  Only in socialist and communist countries is equality of outcome promised.  For many reasons that I won’t discuss here, socialism and communism don’t work.  Government is not our provider; we as a people have a responsibility to ourselves, our families, and our neighbors.  Even Christ taught personal responsibility and didn’t require anything of the government, not even charity!  That’s OUR individual responsibility towards our brothers and sisters, and fellow man.  Christ didn’t teach covetousness or redistribution of wealth.  

THE ROLE OF GOVERNMENT

Government does have its proper place.  Biblically speaking, government was instituted by God to punish evil (1 Peter 2:13-15) and administer justice (Romans 13).  Our U.S. constitution grants government the authority to protect individual freedoms and promote the general well-being of society.  The government wasn’t designed to provide for people, but to allow people to provide for themselves.  The legislative branch, for example, was given certain powers by the people to collect taxes, pay debts, borrow money, establish post offices and roads, appoint lower courts, declare war, raise armies, navies, militias, and legislate over Washington D.C., to name a few.  We must keep the role of government in perspective, lest we the people give government so much power that we all end up slaves.

That is why Republicans opposed big government and government control.  They knew, as well as this nation’s founding fathers– a government with too much power could oppress certain groups of people and strip away their individual freedoms.  The Republicans of old wanted government to stay out of their lives because the government was the one who would strip their freedom and legislate through congress their demise.  They just wanted to be left alone and have equality of opportunity, not equality of outcome. 

Those racist men and women who sought to terrorize and oppress blacks did not uphold the principle in the Declaration of Independence that stated that all men were created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights.  That’s what the civil rights fight was about—equality.  People fought and died to preserve and defend it. Numerous black slaves left plantations with nothing more than the clothes on their backs yet they did not let discrimination or racism define them.  Instead, they pursued freedom and the responsibility that came with it; they sought to make themselves valuable to society and wanted government to get out of their way and stop preventing their forward momentum.  That’s what the civil rights fight was all about—equality of opportunity.

Many ex-slaves taught themselves how to read and write, became congressmen and legislators, doctors, lawyers, farmers, and businessmen.  Many were writers, teachers, and various professionals.  With the help of countless others, they fought to advance freedom for not only blacks but all groups of people in this country.  Blacks would often make progress but would have that progress undermined when certain racists gained control of congress and the white house.

WHERE BLACK AMERICANS ARE TODAY

Ever since we as a people switched loyalty from the party that fought to get us and keep us free, we are no better off, and in many ways we are more depraved.  Today we have more black on black crime, black men and women in prison, teen pregnancies, fatherless homes, high black unemployment (over 16% today under a black president).  Black and White Republicans in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s, which at the time nearly all blacks were Republican, warned of this very day.  They warned that the Democrats proposed government-run housing projects which are currently inner-city slums and the abuse of government assistance programs (in which Republicans pushed for long and hard for welfare reform) would create a permanent underclass of minorities; dependent, unproductive, and impoverished.    

Today many poor blacks look to the government to provide for them.  Some look to our first black president to fix all of their economic woes.  What they have failed to realize is that President Obama and his policies are exasperating their economic troubles.  The facts speak for themselves. 

Economically, blacks are hit harder than whites.  Unemployment is higher, life expectancy is lower, yet our black socialist president gets a free pass. Democrats for the past 40 years have run nearly every inner-city in America, many with black police chiefs, mayors, legislators, etc. yet we are no better off.  No complaints from the black community.    Black leaders blame the rich (who by the way are the job creators) for not paying enough.  They expect the rich to create jobs, keep prices low, endure the demands of unions and government regulations, pay high wages, and pay high taxes!  Alas, when some are fortunate enough to start their own business, they cry foul because the demands that they voted for are unreasonable!  

Yet at every election cycle, you can be sure to see black Democratic leaders promising minorities free or low cost housing, free health insurance, jobs and everything else in exchange for a vote. They fail to tell the poor that none of that stuff is free, somebody is paying.  Secondly, they fail to mention that businesses create jobs, not government.  If they supported small business development through incentives like low taxes, more jobs would be available to them.  Many poor blacks and other minority groups depend too heavily on government for survival and many truly believe that they are owed something, that someone has to give them something, that they don’t have to endure the responsibility that is conjoined with freedom.

I do agree that many government programs, such as those to help the homeless and orphans, the sick and the elderly, are good and necessary humanitarian aids for the good of society.  Republican presidents such as President Bush have done more than most to responsibly aid the most impoverished people, black and white, in this nation.  But like Republicans have argued, perpetual dependency on government aid drains societal resources and places an undue burden on taxpayers.  It is not good for a progressive people and it is counterintuitive to productivity and self-reliance.

REFLECTION

Reflecting, I can clearly see that fear played a part in preventing me from voting my values; every black I knew who didn’t drink the Democrat Kool-Aid and DARED to identify themselves with another party, or even worse, the Republican party, was labeled by other black Democrats as an Uncle Tom (even though Uncle Tom, a fictional character, was a hero in his story), a sellout, or a house negro.  Additionally, I simply didn’t have enough information.  Politics was a puzzle that I did not have enough pieces to.  Not saying I have all the pieces now; like so many things in life, politics is not simply black and white.  There are gray areas; many ways to combat our nation’s problems and no one party has all the answers or even the right answers.  No one political party has a claim on morality, no one political party has all the right solutions for poverty, crime, and foreign relations.  And despite the Democrat party’s shameful racist past, no one party is free of racism.  Racism exists within all political parties because some of the people who make up the parties suffer the disease of racism.   We live in a democracy and racists are allowed a vote too. 

Today, I feel I am a much more informed voter today than I ever was.  Knowledge is power; its freedom.  Yet, heartbreaking to me is that many of my black peers look upon my freedom of political choice with disdain.     

It disturbs me that many of blacks who vote Democrat do so out of tradition.  I was one of them.  It bothers me that the Democratic Party takes our vote for granted in many of the same ways (and to their failure) that the Republican Party did in times past.  Democrats are allowed to be openly racist without consequence or reprisal from blacks.  Successful black Republicans such as retired four-star general and former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice have been disrespected, their names have been slandered, and their characters have assassinated by both black and white Democrats.  They have been called Uncle Toms, Aunt Mamie, and house niggers.  Blacks would be totally offended if these same names were directed at black Americans who were not Republican.  

MY CONCLUSIONS

I have learned a lot about both political parties and enough to know that when given the choice between Democrat and Republican, I choose the latter.  There are many myths out there—and many reasons blacks say they don’t vote Republican—Nixon’s so-called Southern Strategy, the old Republicans are the new Democrats, Republicans are racists. . . I could go on and on.  Whatever their reason, so be it.  But as I have concluded, the values of the Republican Party of old have never changed.  From their beginning they have stood for small government, personal responsibility, low taxes, religious freedom, free enterprise, and adherence to the constitution. 

I will end by saying this.  Though I was born and raised a Democrat, I am proud to say that today I am a free thinking American who chooses to vote her values.  And though I may not agree with every Republican, or every Republican idea, as of now, the Republican Party is my home.

Suggested Readings:

America’s God and Country, Encyclopedia of Quotations by William J. Federer

Back to Basics for the Republican Party by Michael Zak

Bamboozled: How Americans are being Exploited by the Lies of the Liberal Agenda by Angela McGlowan

Capitol Men, the Epic Story of Reconstruction Through the Lives of the First Black Congressmen by Philip Dray

Politics According to the Bible by Wayne Grudem

Liberating Black Theology, The Bible and the Black Experience in America by Anthony B. Bradley

Lives of the Signers of the Declaration of Independence (a reprint of an 1848 original) by Wallbuilders Press

Reconstruction, America’s Unfinished Revolution 1863-1877 by Eric Foner

The Big Black Lie, How I Learned the Truth About the Democrat Party by Kevin Jackson

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Wrong on Race, The Democratic Party’s Buried Past by Bruce Bartlett

Suggested Websites:

Republican Review of America, www.republicanreviewofamerica.com

The Frederick Douglass Foundation of New York, www.fdfny.org

National Black Republicans Association, www.nbra.info

 

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Democrats Should Know Jim Crow, They Created Him

Jerome Hudson by Jerome Hudson (7-10-11)

With a bit of Chicago-machine swagger about him, Bill Clinton, a “war room” veteran, is back in the spotlight and stumping for Obama.

Speaking to Campus Progress last Wednesday, Clinton asked the crowd of young progressives, “Are you fighting?”  Taking talking points almost directly from the mouth of DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz (D.-Fla.), the former President asserted, “There has never been in my lifetime, since we got rid of the poll tax and all the voter Jim Crow burdens on voting, the determined effort to limit a franchise that we see today.”

Likening Republican policies aimed at preserving voter integrity in states from Florida to California to poll taxes and literacy tests of the Jim Crow era proves Democrats are desperate.  Obama’s tax-and-spend agenda stinks on ice.  So his segregation mudslingers—in this case, Clinton—must rely on shopworn clichés that stir racial animus to fire up his left-wing base.

Are Clinton and Shultz insinuating that minorities, college students and the elderly are all born Democrats, that they are more likely to vote for Democratic candidates than Republican candidates?  Is this what Democratic elites think of their constituents?  Do Democrats believe blacks and Latinos, old people and youngsters, are too stupid to acquire a photo I.D. by next November?

Moreover, decrying all Republicans as racists is a Democrat article of faith.  But why dredge up Jim Crow?

In 1832, the phrase “Jim Crow” was born.  By 1900, every former Confederate state (including Wyoming, Missouri, Ohio, Utah, Kentucky, Kansas and Oklahoma) had enacted “Jim Crow” laws prohibiting everything from interracial marriage to racially integrated public school systems.  These state laws served to place blacks back on a virtual plantation.  Similar to the “Black Codes” that came before them, Jim Crow laws were numerous.  However, one denominator codified their sound support in Southern states:  They all resulted from Democratic legislators of the “Solid South.”

When Bill Clinton was 18, his future vice president’s father, Sen. Al Gore Sr., was locked arm-in-arm with other segregationist Democrats to kill the Civil Rights act of 1964.  Clinton’s “mentor” and “friend,” klansman J. William Fulbright, joined the Dixiecrats, an ultra-segregationist wing of Democratic lawmakers, in filibustering the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and in killing the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

Clinton, now 64, in his dotage, probably forgot (or was too embarrassed) to mention to the far-Left crowd of youngsters that his party is the party of segregation.  Or as Congressman Jessie Jackson Jr. (D.-Ill.) explained in an interview with Fox News contributor Angela McGlowan in her book Bamboozled:

“There is no doubt that the Democratic Party is the party of the Confederacy, historically, that the Democratic Party’s flag is the Confederate flag.  It was our party’s flag.  That Jefferson Davis was a Democrat, that Stonewall Jackson strongly identified with the Democratic Party, that secessionists in the South saw themselves as Democrats and were Democrats.  That so much of the Democratic Party’s history, since it is our nation’s oldest political party, has its roots in slavery.”

How did the same Jim Crow Democrats who fought tooth-and-nail with segregationists to keep blacks on a virtual plantation become the party that now wins 95% of the black vote?  Republicans passed Civil Rights laws, Democrats wrote revisionist history.

Nevertheless, deception—what all warfare is based on, according to ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu, won’t work with independents.  Obama’s reelection strategy of slander and defaming all conservatives and Republicans as racists won’t win him that all-important center.

With a “recovery” missing 8.5 million jobs, unemployment going in the wrong direction and no perceived end to our economic misery in sight, Obama obviously doesn’t see winning a second term without getting down in the gutter to inspire his bulwark leftists.

This latest attempt to stir up Obama’s base by former President Clinton is just the beginning.  Digging up the ghost of Jim Crow Past may have worked before, but the political landscape has changed.  And Americans are seemingly ready to vote their wallets in 2012.

This contest will be a battle between the Democrat Party of higher taxes, more spending and backbiting, and the Republican Party of lower taxes, job creation and solving America’s problems.


Jerome Hudson is a member of Project 21 a sponsorship of the National Center for Public Policy Research. He is the editor of OurLastStand.com and can be reached at Jeromehudsonspeaks.com.

 

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