Monday, September 13, 2004

Raised Conservative...in a Democrat household

In the mid 1970's, I played “Pop Warner” football and I could not understand why I could not get the same playing time as my little friends. I complained to my mother, telling her how unfair it was that I was not starting defensive end when I was just as good as a friend of mine. I was very upset and as a result, I wanted to quit. My mother would not have any of it. First, she would not permit me then or throughout my formative years to quit anything that I started. Second, my mother emphasized to me that I was black--in a predominately white neighborhood full of Democrats and union workers from the steel industry --and in such an environment to be equal was not good enough. She told me instead that I had to be noticeably better than any white person if I wanted to succeed in sports or, for that matter, most anything in life. As unfair as this seemed, it was the truth at the time; however, what became a key lesson for me is that my mother never told me that I could not accomplish my goal of starting and, despite recognizing some harsh barriers, never set any limits on any of my dreams or desired accomplishments. Instead, she emphasized in this and other situations that I could be whatever I wanted to be as long as I was willing to work hard enough to be better than any of my competitors. Now that I am 39 years old, I've come to realize that life is often not fair, but this lesson has served me well, for it taught me not to be limited by racism, by other's perceptions, or by any "fair" or "unfair" barrier, for my experience with success in this country has taught me that anything is possible if you have a commitment to succeed.

Today, we are debating which political party represents the people and their aspirations and which party will create a government in which the largest numbers of people can success. In my opinion, they both represent the people and various aspirations; the real question to consider is the nature of those competing aspirations, for generations of government interventions have led many toward an approach that is far different from that which my mother espoused for me.

The Democratic Party represents people who want the big hand of government to decide what is "fair" and "unfair" with handouts and set asides such as affirmative action. These are seen as necessary and opponents of such programs are labeled “racists,” a title intended both for its shock value and for the inherently indefensible nature of a charge that assumes knowledge about one’s thought process. Unfortunately, much ignored is the clear message that this approach sends: that people of certain races are unable to accomplish their goals without government handouts. As one who has experienced the challenges that racism presents and yet found success despite hurdles, I deeply resent the Democratic Party’s message, which tells various ethnic minority groups that without the intervention of a “generous” government, we are not smart enough to make the grade in schools, in high tech jobs, or any job that requires merit. Had my mother had the power or the desire to take this approach when I felt that I was unfairly utilized on the ball field, I might have had an opportunity to play more ball that season. However, I would have lost a valuable lesson that had led me to great success in life: the motivation to compete and to prove without a doubt that I was the best. In my case, this competitive motivation led to great success as I competed in high school, far exceeding the abilities of the friend against whom I had felt unfairly treated, and then was highly recruited for top college teams, playing successfully throughout my college career. More importantly, it led to success in other elements of life, where I have learned to be the best and refused to be limited by other's perceptions, whether they are race-based or based on other perceived limitations. The Democratic party's approach denies generations of Black Americans this important lesson, for though their motivations are likely generous - to help the "less fortunate" - it is my experience that they are motivated in a "generous racism" in which handouts mask the belief that some racial groups are inferior and would be unable to make it without such assistance.

On the other hand, the Republican Party practices a philosophy that more precisely mirrors the approach that my mother successfully took. It is the party that encourages the American people to work, dream and soar as high as their dreams permit them without being hampered by government restrictions and regulations and without the handouts that undermine confidence and ultimately lead to generations who have seen declining educational performance, declining job success, and rising social problems. It is no coincidence that Lyndon B. Johnson’s “Great Society,” with its programs of social handouts directed at Black Americans, coincided directly with a decrease in the progress that had been made by the same “disadvantaged” group up to that point in the 20th Century. Government handouts lead to government dependence and worse, a perception that such dependence is required due to unequal abilities. I prefer an approach that challenges all Americans, regardless of race, to succeed and believe that this approach also allows government to focus attention on its appropriate role, that of national defense.

However, though I believe that the Republican Party better practices a philosophy that allows all Americans to succeed, I do not ignore the importance of addressing the evil of racism, which continues to affect America in negative ways. My own personal experiences are such that this is inherently part of my approach, my values, and my priorities. In this area as well, I am a proud Black Conservative Republican, for both personal experience and a review of history shows me that, despite media influences that would have us believe the opposite, the Republican party has a greater practical commitment to ending racism and a more viable perspective about how it should be accomplished. More next time... when I examine, “White Democrats Don’t Let Their Kids Play with N-----s.”


5 Comments:

At September 24, 2004 at 12:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This was great

 
At September 29, 2004 at 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles- I think many people feel just like you. Great article!

 
At September 29, 2004 at 1:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Charles,
Very impactful and strong. I'm delighted to see a fellow african-american who knows who he is and knows where he is going. Thanks for sharing the strength.

 
At September 29, 2004 at 10:21 PM, Blogger Sin said...

Thank you for having the guts to speak your mind. A very insightful and well thought out article.

 
At October 15, 2004 at 5:02 PM, Blogger E. baker said...

Mr Williams your a great American. Great Article. This is what all Americans should hear. Thank you and God bless.

 

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