Crystal Wright is an occasional contributor to The Root DC and is the editor of the political site “Conservative Black Chick”.
As Mitt Romney prepares for perhaps what will be his most critical moment on this election at Wednesday night’s debate, I hope he can communicate to all Americans- and especially black Americans of which I am one- his vision for how he will fix a hobbled nation. His ability to communicate these ideas will make or break his campaign for president.
For me it boils down to three things: individual freedom, taxation and the size of government. When I was growing up, my parents never put boundaries on us because we were black. Sure, they told us racism exists, slavery was beyond awful, bad things would happen to us in life but we were in control of our lives and had to always move forward.
They never said we couldn’t do something but instead encouraged us to reach for the moon and do our best. But if we made a commitment to do something, my parents made us follow through on it. That’s the message of the Republican party that individuals control their destiny and with hard work and commitment anything is possible. Romney has to make this point crystal clear tonight. He must stand and deliver.
This is American exceptionalism, what sets us apart as a country “that it doesn’t matter where you came from but where you are going,” as Condolezza Rice said in Tampa. Watching the birth of America, Alex de Toqueville wrote our founding fathers were in the process of creating a “distinct species of mankind.”
Toqueville also said in our democratic system, “Natural inequality will soon make way for itself and wealth will spontaneously pass into the hands of the most capable.” Here is where my passion for the Republican party’s tax policies come into play: Like Toqueville, Republicans believe the harder a person works and more money he makes, the more he should keep.
Having watched my father build a business and work long hours as did my maternal grandfather, when I became a small business owner, I became incensed by the amount of taxes I had to pay the harder I worked. The idea that those who work harder to earn more money should be taxed more than those who don’t to “redistribute the wealth” and even things out seems to fly in the face of what America is about. If Romney can hammer this message, he has a chance to win.
But what Romney must do tonight more than anything is communicate this central GOP pillar: the failure of big government. When I moved to DC over a decade ago, I got the opportunity to visit nearly every government agency as a news producer. I was stunned by the mammoth waste of employees, 20 people doing the job that one or two people could easily do. When I walked the halls of the Department of State, Education, Agriculture, Energy, HUD, etc, I thought what are all these people doing. Not only can we get things done with less government but we can achieve more with less government in our lives.
When I compare these conservative values with those of Democrats and how their policies have impacted blacks, I don’t understand why blacks today choose to be Democrats. African Americans, in my view, have faired miserably under traditional policies of that party that are have resulted in blacks disproportionately living off the government - all under the guise of lifting blacks up in society.
Over the past 50 years, the opposite has occurred. The vestiges of Democrat President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Great Society welfare policies passed in 1960s have led to an economic decline of many black Americans, who represent only 13 percent of the population. As a whole, we lag far behind other racial groups in education and wealth but have the highest rates of out of wedlock births, prison population and homicide victims. As a friend said Democrat policies have “defanged the black family.” More than 70 percent of all black babies are born to unwed mothers thanks to welfare rewarding women for living in fatherless households. Not having fathers around explains why more than half of the nation’s homicide victims are black and 55 percent of all federal prisoners in this country are black.
The broken down black family also explains why blacks are failing in education.
“Today, black children are 17 percent of students nationwide – but they are 42 percent of the students in our worst-performing schools,” Mitt Romney said in his NAACP speech in June. If any party has blacks in chains as Vice President Joe Biden said recently, it’s the Democrats.
Mitt Romney made the case at the NAACP how his Republican policies support the traditional family, entrepreneurship, and education, specifically school choice and vouchers, empower blacks to succeed in life. Romney asked for the black vote, explaining “when decades of the same promises keep producing the same failures,” it’s time to “consider a new plan.”
If black Democrats are honest with themselves, they will admit supporting Democrats for the past 50 years hasn’t helped them advance economically as a race. Looking into the eyes of black America, Romney told the NAACP audience, “ If you want a president who will make things better in the African American community, you are looking at him.”
Whites are a dwindling portion of the US electorate. If Romney wins more of the white vote than McCain did in 2008, Obama could still win the election with his lead among women, Hispanics and Blacks. Romney needs minority votes. In an election this close, it would be unwise not to go after the black vote, which is declining in its support of Obama, like he’s going after the Hispanic vote
We don’t need Romney to create a Black Leadership Council to figure out how to talk to blacks. We don’t need him to change his message either. We need him to take his message to blacks. Governor Bob McDonnell did it in 2010 and earned the endorsement of black billionaire Shelia Johnson. That’s how Romney can convince blacks to consider his plan and earn the black vote—backing up words with deeds.
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