The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, July 08, 2016

Lost Opportunity

In the 1950s communism was considered (rightly, I might add) as a scourge that enslaved people, destroyed countries, and represented a significant threat to freedom. Two communist giants, China and the Soviet Union, posed the greatest threat, yet living on the edge of war was a dangerous strategy.

At the end of the following decade, President Richard Nixon, for all of his many faults, recognized an opening with China and took it. Only a staunch conservative, as Nixon was, could negotiate with China, and get away with it politically. Nixon was harshly criticized by his fellow conservatives for the detente he desired, but he rejected the politically safe path and did what was right. Over the years that followed, conflict between China and the U.S. cooled, trade blossomed, and China self-moderated into a form of state sponsored-capitalism that has benefited its people significantly.

When Barack Obama was elected president, many thought that we would enter an era of "racial healing." Only a recognized liberal and black man, as Obama was, could speak frankly with the African-American community, encouraging them to reject the victimization meme and look inward—to emphasize education, work to build stronger family structures, start local businesses (with ubiquitous government assistance) in their communities, move away from government dependency, and double their efforts to reduce crime and violence in their communities. He would undoubtedly have been harshly criticized for speaking frankly by many on the Left and by a significant number of African Americans, but it would have been the right thing to do.

This opportunity was lost when Obama chose to follow the path of virtually every leftist over the past 50 years. Rather than encouraging self-reliance and community improvement with frank discussions of the internal problems endemic within the urban community and culture, he emphasized victimization—that African Americans were not capable of charting their own destiny but rather were victims of the police, white people in general, capitalism and the like. Phrases like "white privilege" and "racism" were thrown around without any consideration of their impact on the country and its people.

This divisive rhetoric encouraged, if not endorsed, by Democrat leadership, worked perfectly as a political strategy—90+ percent of African Americans voted for Dems during Obama's terms in office. But the economic and social plight of people of color grew worse under Democrat rule—unemployment was up, family incomes were down, and dependency grew along with anger.

Over the past few years we have seem (to quote Obama's mentor, the Reverend Wright), the "chickens have come how to roost." The  killings of black men by the police (some justified, others not) gave the Left all it needed to suggest that all police are "racist." In every instance, the police who killed the black men were investigated, some were tried and convicted and sent to prison for their crimes. Yet that was not enough for Obama, the Democrats, and a "Black Lives Matter" movement. Rather than working to achieve "social justice" by looking inward and healing a broken urban culture, they ratcheted up the victimization meme, convincing many black people that they were under siege.

Last night five Dallas police officers were shot dead and and six others were wounded by snipers during a protest march against "racism" by the police. The details are still sketchy, but the end-result is undeniable. When the political leadership of a nation works to divide for political advantage, bad things happen.

Obama had a wonderful, even historic, opportunity to speak frankly in a way that others could not, and as a consequence, improve to lot of the African American community. Instead, he chose a politically expedient path. The result is a lost opportunity and possibly, something, much, much worse.