Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Needed: Character and Competence Not Color and Condemnation

When times are tough, people look for scapegoats. Today the Obama Administration leaders are lambasting the racist elements of the Tea Party Movement and encouraging African-Americans to be more "intense" in their demands for better health care, education and job opportunities. For an Administration billed as "post-racial" we are seeing familiar agitprop and a refusal to condemn the hate speech of racial radicals on the Left. The failure of Attorney General Holder to prosecute the New Black Panther leaders in Philadelphia for voter intimidation is only one example of the preferential politics of this "post-partisan" regime.

There is no place for racism or sexism in American life. Too many have shed blood, sweat and tears to bring us to the current moment of opportunity. Democrats and Republicans have their saints and sinners in our history of moving toward the ideals of our Constitution. When we are at our best, the words of Martin Luther King resound in our hearts, as we long for the day when all are judged by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. Word like "cracker" and "nigger" should never flow from our lips. We can be proud of our ethnic heritage and enjoy the contributions of every culture to the living cathedral of the American community.

Our current crises are solvable, if women and men of character and competence keep the media out of the room, roll up their sleeves and get to work. We can create new private-public partnerships to repair our infrastructure, restore urban war zones and deliver services to the rural poor. Instead of posturing for attention and and lining our pockets with present and future kickbacks, civil and political leaders must exercise integrity and imagination and usher in a new, more humble and more creative era.

Black families are in crisis. The factors are many and structural; however, they are also moral and spiritual. Poverty and redlining are not the immediate causes of illegitimate babies and murder. Fathers must be held responsible for the children they sire. Ministers of religious communities must insist that reverence for God and respect for others are the only antidotes to the rage men and women feel. Educational leaders must step up, remove incompetent administrators and leaders and create a new environment for empowerment.

White America is also in dire straits. Some of the problems are better hidden, but they are just as serious. Narcissistic parents divorcing each other and dividing the loyalties of children cause a huge strain on the legal and social service systems. The rural poor are trapped in their own cycles of domestic violence, ignorance and hopelessness. Two generations of indulgence have produced men and women who grow up too fast in the wrong categories (sexual experimentation) and too slowly in the important ones (hard work and integrity).

"Brown" America struggles with the issue of illegal immigrants draining the economic and social resources of many localities and states. Hispanic leaders cannot pretend to be loyal to the USA and pander to the La Raza crowds. While the Left-leaning African-American and Hispanic groups share a jaded vision of past and future, the majority of folks in their communities just what a safe world for the children to flourish. We need men and women of courage to help us create legal pathways to citizenship and not just amnesty and cheap labor/votes.

We need character and competence, not emotional appeals to color. We have shared challenges and dreams that require more than tolerance - they require love and respect that are the keys to the transformational synergy our nation and world needs. We have structural issues that transcend color-coded politics:

Public employee pension funds must be overhauled. Sloganeering will not preserve jobs or services.

Politicians must have the same health and retirement benefits as the private sector. This is the fastest pathway to real reform and the unleashing of creativity in the public square.

Balanced budgets are no longer optional. If we need more money, we streamline or raise revenues openly. The California Legislature cannot account for billions of misappropriated dollars, scores of commissions and unspeakable waste of the taxpayers' money.

We cannot have a war economy and welfare state at the same time. Our troops need to destroy terrorist locales, protect allied interests and rapidly train host nations' personnel. We must stop being an occupying force in Muslim lands and bring our brave women and men home. We do need excellent technology and we must care for troops and veterans; however, we can do these effectively without the corporate and political largess that misuses our tax dollars.

Government regulation of private industry is needed to ensure ethical standards. Government administration of the same is the quickest road to disaster. Seventy years of USSR-led economic experiments should teach us something about the dangers of bureaucratic collectivism.

I call upon conservatives and progressives, accountants and agitators, engineers, ethics professors and all people of conscience to unite in dialogue that leads to action. There are dangers to real success: We must let go of anger and show compassion. As we solve homelessness, some "advocates" will need to find a private job. Capitalists will have to be accountable to more that their leading shareholders. Read and Yellow, Black and White - we are all precious in His sight. Precious...and accountable for how we live.

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