'Not by the color of their skin'

To the Editor:

When GOP candidate Mitt Romney spoke recently at the NAACP convention, the crowd was skeptical at best, trending towards outright hostility. Some say that Gov. Romney should at least be given credit for going to speak in front of what he had to know going in was a hostile crowd, while some wonder why he even bothered to go. After all, it's not like anyone at this conference was going to be won over by his arguments for lower spending, less government and an increased emphasis on personal responsibility.

In fact, the line that brought the most boos was when he said that he was going to eliminate wasteful government programs that were ineffective and/or infringing on people's rights, starting with ObamaCare. The boos were loud and sustained. It seems that the entitlement culture exists even within the ranks of those who are, by definition and by inclusion in this conference, the elite of African-American activists. None of these people are struggling just to get by; they've all "made their nut", as it were. However, it must also be noted that in many cases maintaining "their nut" depends on those less fortunate continuing to rely on them to petition government for "free" healthcare and "their fair share" of the economic pie.

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s most quoted passage from his "I Have a Dream" speech was his vision of an America where his children were judged fairly, on their individual merits; not pre-judged, based on the color of their skin. What was on display at the NAACP convention in their response to Gov. Romney was just the opposite. While there may have been some in attendance willing to hold an open mind and listen to the substance of what this man had to say, the majority went in with the pre-judgement that this was just a mandatory political stop by a rich, white-bread, Republican who is only out for himself and his other rich buddies at the expense of the poor.

It's a shame, really.

If they did take the time to actually listen to and consider the impact of the differing proposals of the candidates on their lives, they might find Gov. Romney's prescription to be better, although perhaps bitter, medicine for what ails them.

There are many who will make the claim that any criticism of Pres. Obama is based on nothing more than racism, or a belief that he's a Muslim, ignoring the substance of the complaints altogether. These are the same people who will automatically assign various ulterior motives to any legislation authored by a conservative or Republican, and to any proposal to limit the rate of growth in government spending, much less any proposal to actually eliminate programs. Again, what happened to the creed of MLK, Jr? Are these people really willing to judge on the "content of their character"? Or are they too wedded to their preconceptions, unwilling to let go of their victimhood status and the "security" of a government check?

One additional thing to consider, when the first government assistance programs were really getting in gear, expanding to provide assistance for single parents (food stamps, rent "stabilization", etc), the numbers for the different racial demographics (unemployment percentage, poverty rates, crime, etc) were comparable. Since then, there's been a remarkable divergence.

Black and Hispanic poverty and unemployment rates have greatly exceeded those of Whites. The same has happened for crime and high school dropout rates. The rate of out-of-wedlock births, for example, for Blacks was comparable to that of Whites, in the teens and low 20s percent. The most recent rates for out of wedlock births for Whites are higher, in the upper 20s & 30s percent, but the rate for Blacks is in the 70s approaching 80 percent!

Just think about that. More than 3/4ths of black children are born to single mothers. These girls are overwhelmingly uneducated and universally poor and the boys fathering these children are in no position to assume the responsibilities of fatherhood, dooming these children to a life of poverty and struggle, often leading to a life of crime and imprisonment as a consequence. Where now is the evidence of the "benefit" provided by a governmental support program that imposes no requirements for personal responsibility on it's recipients? It's a vicious downward spiral that can only be broken by a renewed commitment to personal and civic responsibility and a shedding of the current entitlement mentalities.

Candidate Romney went to speak at the NAACP convention fully aware of the reception he was likely to receive, believing that he had an obligation to present his views and Presidential priorities to all the people he is hoping to represent. President Obama, "the first black President", curiously couldn't find time in his schedule for the NAACP (he sent a recorded video message), sending VP Biden in his stead. One white guy got booed, the other white guy got a warm reception; one white guy guy promoted fiscal restraint, the other white guy promised continued unsustainable spending.

On one hand, you have someone proposing a return to what were once considered common sense values; on the other, you have someone proposing a continuance of the status quo. Which one really has the best long term interests of the country, and it's people, in mind?

Lawrence Black

Danville, Vt.


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