Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Differences, or the lack thereof

Our Prez-dent made an appearance in front of the NAACP this week for the first time. The organization's president, Bruce Gordon, made a rather short statement about the fact that for the five prior years, the White House had always noted 'scheduling conflicts' as the reason for the CiC's absence: "In other words, they've spent most of their time scheduling conflicts."

My question is this: why does the NAACP care? The open secret is out and doesn't even deserve the latter half of that phrase: the Republican party does not like black people. Oh, sure, they'll have a few token guys who don't happen to be white who've swallowed the current fiscal ideology and figure that going along to get along is the best way to make a difference. But, by and large, Republicans don't appreciate the African-American vote because that vote goes in overwhelming numbers to Democrats. Problem is, Democrats don't really give a shit about black people, either. The NAACP has done a pretty good job of not noticing that little fact, as well.

See, Democrats, just like Republicans, don't care about poor people. The latter are incidental to the conduct of their business, if not a trial to be sloughed off whenever opportunity presents itself. The concept occurs of the average Congressman walking two blocks off of Pennsylvania Avenue and stepping on a homeless person (of which there are many in our capital), which would present one of life's great oddities in that a human being would have been stepped on by vermin...

Poor people are 'not productive'. They're reliant on too many 'entitlement programs'. They're 'not pulling their own weight'. They're also disproportionately non-white in this country, which makes one wonder why organizations that claim to serve them should care about any federal politician currently serving in office.

Both major parties like 'elite voters' because those people can contribute to campaigns and can show up at organized events looking like good old-fashioned AMERICANS. But there's not enough 'elite voters' for either party to claim victory in most instances. They need the poor people. So, Democrats mouth platitudes about serving the interests of the poor, the black, the Hispanic, whatever. And Republicans use bad stories about the latter two to drive a wedge between them and the poor white people so that the latter will vote for them, almost always against their better economic interests.

On the world's list of honest campaign slogans should be the following: "Don't want those lazy black folk to take away your jobs and welfare dollars that you really need? Vote for me and I'll do it!" because it perfectly encapsulates the attitude of most elected Republicans. It's not that they're inherently evil. It's simply that a) they're rich and think like rich people; and b), they've completely swallowed the current economic ideology which has little, if any, empirical value whatsoever.

In most cases, you don't even need to use money issues to demonize the black minority to the white majority. You can just use the media. How often do we hear the suspect of the latest fantastic crime described as a 'black male, in his 20s, approximately six feet tall'? It's virtually guaranteed, witnesses or not. How often do we see events surrounding black or Hispanic youth spammed across the headlines, while similar or worse events that involve white youth are kept to page 11, for fear of convicting someone in the public eye before the family's lawyer can get them into a pre-trial program?

The Center for Disease Control, which tracks drug use, alcohol use, and other kinds of 'destructive behavior' among youth recently tossed out some interesting stats:

- White kids are almost 2.5 times as likely as black kids to drive drunk

- White males are 1/3 more likely to have been carrying a weapon in the past month

- White kids are 3.5 times as likely to have used coke, hallucinogens, or steroids

These are not based on quantity (obviously, there are more white people than black people in the US.) These are based on rate.

BUT they're both equally likely to have smoked a little weed in the past month so make sure that you first demonize the black kids for possession and then screech about the evils of marijuana, sure to make George Hearst chuckle in his grave.

And Democrats, the favored party of the majority of black people in this nation, are frequently noted for their 'tough on crime' attitude. After all, if you're not 'tough on crime', it's a viable question to ask: Willie Horton or will he not get elected? (thank you, Michael Franti) It would, of course, be a violation of the economic scripture to suggest alternatives to the life of misery that turns people toward crime. That, of course, would be completely within the interests of poor people of all colors, but so long as we live within a supposed two-party system (really one party with two right wings), you won't find any relief until you're willing to make a change.


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