What would Martin Luther King, Jr. say?

By Alan Caruba
web posted January 15, 2001

Of the thirteen Representatives in Congress who rose to object to the counting of Electoral College votes that confirmed George W. Bush as our next President, eleven were Black.

The objections being raised against the selection of John Ashcroft as Bush's choice for Attorney General are based on the false and dastardly assertion he is a racist. Such views were put forth on the January 7th "Meet the Press" show by Democrats, Sen. Biden (D-DEL) and Sen. Kerry (D-MA). Similar slurs are being directed at Gale Norton, the nominee for Secretary of the Interior.

The most visible and vocal representatives outside of Congress are Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the leadership of the NAACP. Indeed, the most vicious and fraudulent political advertisement during the campaign was a NAACP commercial linking Bush to the murder in Texas of a Black man. Nine out of every ten votes cast by Blacks went to the Democrats.

This is not something that can be ignored. The great civil rights struggles of the 1960's were about bringing the Black community into the mainstream of American life.

Martin Luther King, Jr.As someone who actually met Martin Luther King, Jr., I can't help but wonder what would he say today? Like president-elect Bush, Dr. King was distinguished by his passion to unite people. On Monday, his birthday, he might be counseling Americans to recall his famous "I have a dream" speech.

The politics of the Black community in 2001 is fixated on a Civil War fought in the mid-1800's. That is why flags in three states that reflect the former Stars and Bars of the Confederacy are being challenged. Despite the way the Civil War is taught in our schools, it wasn't just about slavery. It was far more about the concept of State's rights. Check the Tenth Amendment; it too is about State's rights.

I do not mean to suggest that these people, elected or self-appointed speak for all Blacks. There are clearly a growing number of Blacks who share conservative values, but the problem is that there are not enough. The Black community is being used by the Democratic Party to attack the incoming Bush administration. Ironically, it's the same party that opposed civil rights legislation until it could do so no longer.

Blacks in America have made remarkable strides in living standards and social conditions. Black incomes, poverty rates, educational status, health, home ownership, and wealth have all shown gains. Contrary to popular belief, Black incomes surged in the last century, particularly from the 1950s onward.

Today, an estimated third of Blacks are in white-collar jobs as opposed to a mere five percent in the 1940's. Today, nearly one-half of all Black families are homeowners. The poverty rate in the 1940's was about eighty percent. Today it is about twenty-five percent.

The great irony of this, of course, are two choices by president-elect Bush; Colin Powell to be our first Black Secretary of State and Condi Rice to be our National Security advisor to the president. If this does not signal opportunity and equality to the Blacks in Congress and the cities of America, what can or will? It is disquieting to hear these two outstanding Americans dismissed by the most vocal members of the Black community.

If this is the political trend, then Blacks are going to be ever more marginalized in a nation in which immigration is transforming our population. The American population grew by more than 13 percent in just the past decade. There are now more than 281 million Americans. Immigration and the high birth rates among recent immigrants are responsible for nearly all the growth.

The political Race Card is not going to work in a nation whose new population has no connection whatever to the Civil War, nor the Jim Crow laws that impacted Blacks for a century thereafter. This new population has come here for the opportunities that life in America offers.

The unique history of America has been that immigration has proved to be a good policy, bringing in new blood to work the economic engine of the nation. The days of the great immigrations from Russia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and other European nations are over. The Civil War is now history.

The complaints of the Black community as voiced by their elected leaders in Congress and their so-called spokespersons outside of Congress will backfire. None of this bodes well for the Black community in America, nor for the nation as a whole. It is the politics of opposition, apartheid and victimization, not integration, participation, and opportunity. ESR

Alan Caruba writes "Warning Signs", a weekly commentary, posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.

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