by Robert Arvay, Contributing Writer
An often quoted statistic is that about ninety-five percent of the black vote went for Barack Obama. It did. Had the statistic been more like fifty-fifty, Obama would likely not be president today. Does Obama owe his position to black racism?
One way to approach this question is to ask this: had Clarence Thomas been the
Republican nominee, would he have gotten half the black vote? The probable answer is no. Even against a white Democrat, Thomas likely would not have gotten even ten percent of the black vote.
The main factor in getting the black vote, then, is not race. Undoubtedly it plays a role, especially in generating enthusiasm which translates into people going to the voting booth. The main factor, however, is liberal politics.
A little personal background is in order here. While I do not claim that, “some of my best friends are black people,” I did serve twenty years in an integrated military, complete with commanders of all races, and complete with barracks populated by all races. After the military, I went to school in a university where most of the professors were liberal, and which was decidedly integrated racially. I am a libertarian-leaning conservative, a Ronald Reagan admirer, and also a great admirer of Martin Luther King. I am very well accustomed to, and comfortable with, being in close company with black Americans. And to be completely factual, along the way, many of my closest friends were indeed black Americans, even if many white racists claim the same thing.
Despite all this, I usually find it difficult to discuss race and politics, especially racial politics, with black people. I find myself choosing my words carefully, well aware that a casual, thoughtless comment can quickly put up a brick wall instead of a bridge.
This is not, however, because of race. Race adds an element of tension, because the initial suspicion of black people whom I meet is that I am using “code words,” that I am a closet racist, that I have a hidden agenda, and so forth. Even when we get past all this, however, there is still a wide gap between our respective worldviews. That gap is not racial, it is cultural and political.
We agree on many things. Most black people whom I meet these days are opposed to abortion-on-demand, and most are opposed to the mainstreaming of homosexuality into our institutions. We agree that racial discrimination is a poison to society. We even agree that the epidemic of out-of-wedlock births is harmful to the children involved, and that a disproportionately large amount of this occurs among black people.
Where we disagree most strongly is in my contention that the Democrat Party benefits from the poverty of black people, and that therefore, the Democrat Party has a vested interest in perpetuating it.
Or do we? What is most vexing to me is that even among black people who agree (or can be persuaded to agree) that this is a fact, most of them continue to profess loyalty to the Democrat Party. Old habits die hard.
Part of this arises from belief, among liberals, in the myth that Republicans are the party of the rich. I wish we were (grin), because while I am not living on beans and rice, I am most decidedly very far from being rich, or anything like it.
The other myth is that wealthy people accrue their wealth through greed and dishonesty. Very little attention is paid to the fact that a great many liberal politicians are rich, greedy and dishonest, and that these are connected to their politics. Even less attention is paid to the truism that the best social program is a job, and that the best way to lift Americans out of poverty is with an intact, two-parent family. Yet, when people such as the liberal black actor, Bill Cosby, point out the desperate need for such families, they are vilified and shunned by their fellow liberals.
Hand it to the Democrats, their false propaganda has been skillfully deployed for more than a generation now. They have enlisted the invaluable loyalty of celebrities, news outlets, and the teaching profession. The success of this program has been so thorough and so far reaching that, like a sort of societal tattoo, it is deeply embedded in the psyche of many Americans, and just like a tattoo, is exceedingly difficult to remove.
For all these reasons, I am very pessimistic about the near-term prospects for redirecting American society toward more productive policies, and away from the destruction wrought by liberalism. I dread to think that things will get worse before they get better, and I say this as a grandfather fearful for my grandchildren.
As conservatives, we must be extremely careful not to waste our precious few resources in the grim battle to restore America to its vital principles. We must choose our battles carefully. We must not waste our arguments on inconsequential points to be made in the public discussion.
One of those frivolous points is to claim that black Americans support Obama only because of his race. They don’t. Racial politics may animate their loyalty to him, but there will never be a conservative black candidate who can benefit from this imaginary black racism.
The real problem is liberalism. The real difficulty is in persuading people that the so-called “free things” they are getting from the government are not free at all, but are leading them along the path to destruction. An even more difficult problem is that, even when we do persuade people of that, they are loath to exchange the false security of big government for the risky and dangerous way of life called freedom.
I don’t have an answer for that.