Archive for January, 2013

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As the nation commemorates the Martin Luther King, Jr holiday, it is imperative that we reflect and embrace what was present at the core of King’s vision: freedom. 

In his letter from the Birmingham jail on April 16, 1963, King wrote that “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”

I am positive that if the slain Civil Rights leader were with us today, his quest for economic freedom and justice would still be his beckoning call for America.

In his historic “I Have A Dream” speech, delivered near the Lincoln Memorial in 1963, King spoke distinctively on two freedoms: Freedom from racial discrimination and bigotry and freedom from “a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.”

America has come a long ways toward racial harmony and the removal of prejudice. While there has been tremendous progress, there is little doubt among many that work stills needs to be done.

Currently, MLK’s vision of a freedom from poverty is being undermined by government oppression and generations of families dependent on government assistance.  We live in an America vastly different from the 1960s. Todays America values entitlements and a nanny-state America over entrepreneurship and a capitalistic society. We are being taught by liberal plutocrats that the socialistic philosophy of redistribution of wealth is the most effective way to alleviate the income disparities between the rich and poor. And while history proves otherwise, Americans are seemingly content to ignore such history for now. Instead, we are being fed a mythical notion that equal opportunity equates to equal outcome, and that accumulated wealth through hard work and determination is cancerous and must be cured. 

This is not freedom, this is 21st century captivity. In order to make MLK’s desire for freedom a reality, we must promote and advocate for ideas which empower the individual. Freedom is giving someone the choice to make sound economic decisions without inhabiting the fear of government stealing their earnings. Freedom is the ability for one to have a job, earn wages, and provide for their families without depending on a social program for permanent stability. When one has a free mind, they’ll unify with John F. Kennedy’s mandate of not asking what America can do for us, but what we can for America.

It is freedom which enables a parent to choose where to send their child in order to have the best education available. The fact that poor and minority children are relegated to failing schools simply because of their zip code is undeniably the Civil Rights issue of this current decade.

It is freedom that grants us the right to speak freely and think independently without facing rebuke from others for our beliefs.  I believe MLK would be appalled at the way black conservatives are ostracized for their beliefs. 

It is freedom that allows to defend ourselves from any present harm or potential government tyranny with the right to bear arms, given to us through the second amendment of the Constitution. Slaves were never allowed to defend themselves; free people are. 

It is freedom that vanishes the thought that we are owed something, but that we have the opportunity to accomplish our goals and fulfill our dreams, if we are willing to put in the hard work and go the distance.

At last, we must acknowledge that freedom does not come from an elected official or any government entity. It is given to us by our Creator and born into the heart of every man. 

MLK had a quest for freedom. He envisoned the glorious attributes of freedom when he shared his dream with America: “When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every tenement and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old spiritual, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, we are free at last.”

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As we commemorate the 84th birthday of Martin Luther King, we reflect upon the courage and wisdom of the slain civil rights leader. He was undeniably a beacon of hope and a pillar of light in the midst of the dark and evil times in which he lived. He inspired many, including myself to dream and persevere, despite the challenges and obstacles that may easily seem to surmount us.

 While the accomplishments of Dr. King are deserved and many, it intrigues me to ponder the thought of how MLK would view America if he were alive today. As we continue to see the downward spiral in the American economy, class warfare that is being driven by political elites, and an insufferable secular agenda that is constantly promoted by Hollywood, there is definitely a valid reason to want to lose faith in humanity.

 Despite these obstacles, MLK envisioned the bigger picture when he said this: “If you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”

 I like the analogy of being a drum major. A drum major is the leader of a marching band and is responsible for providing commands to the ensemble regarding where to march and what to play.

 In today’s 21st century, I strive to embrace MLK’s agenda and march towards morality, righteousness, purity and leadership. Today’s culture is so entrenched in sexuality, individualism, greed and selfishness, and it is in desperate need of a voice that will not only impact today’s youth, but the generations to follow.

 As a drum major, perhaps instead of playing the same beat of complacency, indolence, and apathetic living, perhaps I can create a new beat—a beat that strikes to the rhythm of hope and redemption. Hope for a better tomorrow and a brighter future and redemption for past failures and mistakes. It is very easy to highlight the failures of modern day society, but it takes a compassionate heart to advocate redemption and a fresh start to one’s life.

 MLK’s view of faith still echoes amongst us today. He once said “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

 Maybe you’re an individual who has to work two or three jobs to make ends meet. Perhaps you’ve just had the unfortunate experience of losing a job. Maybe you’re a recent college grad who’s had to move home with mom and dad because you couldn’t find a job and there were no monetary resources to meet your needs. Whatever the case may be, I encourage you to step out by faith and let God fight the battles. We do not know all the answers to the mysteries of life, but we can find refuge and strength in almighty God in knowing that he will supply our every need, and that he will not abandon us, even when our faith is feeble.

 The very last quote by MLK that I would like to share with you deals with politics. MLK had a wise approach to this divisive subject He simply stated: “I feel someone must remain in the position of non-alignment, so that he can look objectively at both parties and be the conscience of both—not the servant or master of either.”

 In a time where the political theory and philosophy is causing disarray and deconstruction, we all, myself included, have become saturated with our own ideology, that we have neglected accountability and honesty at times in our debate. It is easy to be passionate about our beliefs and convicted in our principles, but it must never blind us from becoming victimized by deceit and vanity that is displayed on all sides of the political spectrum.

Let us become visionaries of change, not disciples of blind loyalty. I truly believe the political discourse can be solved when we encourage ourselves and our peers to be better, even the ones who claim to be on our side. I believe that MLK would agree with me when I say that being on our Creator’s side protects us from fallacy.

 Thank you Dr. King for reminding us to look at the bigger picture.

 

 

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Former Secretary of State Colin Powell was featured on “Meet The Press.”  Powell, who identifies himself as a Republican, has faced much scrutiny from conservatives for endorsing Obama, not to mention his consistent attention seeking tactics at the expense of the GOP.

Powell was asked by host David Gregory to tell on what basis on which he was a Republican and if he left the GOP or if the GOP left him. While Powell refused to clarify on exactly what makes him a Republican, he did manage to give a short, but weak response in which he described himself as a “moderate.” Powell referred to the GOP as having “an identity problem.” He pointed to immigration, health care, voter ID laws, and the changing demographics (rising numbers of Hispanics, Asian-Americans, blacks) as examples.

While it is absolutely true that the GOP must re-evaluate its approach and methods of messaging to minority communities, the retired general was vague on specific proposals and ideas to help reinvigorate the party. Instead, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs decided to regurgitate the liberal talking points, claiming the GOP shows hostility or resentment towards minorities.

“There’s also a dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party,” Powell retorted. “What do I mean by that? What I mean by that is they still sort of look down on minorities.”  Has Gen. Powell forgotten the fact that he was nominated as the first African-American Secretary of State by Republican President George W. Bush, who also happened to have the most diverse cabinet in presidential history? Bush’s successor, however, has neglected this attribute.  After Obama’s picks for the Treasury, State, Defense and CIA were announced, the President came under some criticism from pundits and commentators on the left and right bringing to center attention the lack of diversity in his choice cabinet.

I’m intrigued to know if Powell thought it to be intolerant when Sen. Harry Reid claimed Obama lacked “negro dialect” or when Joe Biden said Obama was the first “clean and articulate” African-American.

Powell used an opportunity to take a jab at comments made by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. ”When I see a former governor say that the president is ‘shuckin’ and jivin,’ that’s a racial-era slave term,”he exclaimed. This is an absurd claim by Powell. Palin was simply referring to the president’s inconsistent descriptions of the Benghazi terrorist attacks, and if Powell figured that to be slave-term usage, his uber sensitivity has served as a substitute for facts and rationale debate.

Powell also implied that the GOP was heavily involved in the “birther” movement. As astute and knowledgeable as Mr. Powell is, I was a bit surprised he was unaware of the fact that Phil Berg, an ex-deputy attorney general for Pennsylvania and 2008 Hillary Clinton supporter, filed a lawsuit alleging that Obama was ineligible to be a presidential candidate. On these grounds, would Secretary Powell deem Mr. Berg also hostile to minorities?

By these remarks and inserting himself back into the conversation, is Colin Powell simply attempting to become relevant in the GOP once again? If so I question the strategy.  I mean, who better to speak on behalf of all Republicans but a man who voted for Barack Obama, not once, but twice?

His refusal to highlight the class warfare that’s been elevated in the Obama administration, the higher taxes implemented under Obamacare and the fiscal cliff deal and Obama’s horrible record regarding the economy, makes Powell appear to be a steward of the Democrat party, barring the (R) behind his name.  Where is his mention on the hostile job market and rising unemployment rate in the black communities under the first black president?

He has a stage, and millions of black Americans admire and respect him for good reason.  But, if Powell truly wants to be relevant again, and help the party he claims to be part of, might I suggest that he actively involve himself in transforming the GOP instead of using liberal means to bash it?

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Tim Scott’s swearing in ceremony as United States Senator was an historic achievement that was embraced and celebrated by many—except the NAACP. Ben Jealous, president of the organization, made this claim: “We have Republicans who believe in civil rights — unfortunately he is not one of them,” Jealous said. “And unfortunately his party as you know, has really gone after so-called RINOs as they call them, these Republicans who believe in civil rights, again and again.”

Let’s cut to the chase: Scott was ostracized by the NAACP because he’s a black conservative Republican who refuses to subscribe to the myth that all blacks must be loyal to liberals and big government policies.

It’s asinine for Jealous to suggest Scott, who is the product of a dirt poor single mother in South Carolina, isn’t concerned with civil rights. The fact of the matter is that the NAACP, who claims to be nonpartisan, vocalizes opposition against anyone who believes in conservative ideals such as school choice, limited government, lower taxes, and individual liberty.

Here are some recent examples of the NAACP’s bias against conservative Republicans:

Rev. CL Bryant, a FreedomWorks fellow, held a key leadership role within the NAACP, including serving as president of the chapter in Garland, TX in the late 1980s. He noted that after he declined to speak on behalf of the NAACP at a pro-choice rally due to his religious convictions, the organization began to turn sour towards him and that it led to his inevitable departure. He was also relieved of his duties as a pastor due to his opposition to race-card cohorts Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, and after vocalizing his beliefs in the principles of limited government. 

Bryant and Deneen Borelli, Director of Outreach for FreedomWorks, reached out to the NAACP for support after many racial slurs were hurled at them for their outspoken conservative stance. The organization refused to respond or correspond with them in any way.

And if you thought they were only hostile to individuals who differ in opinion, think again. Benjamin Jealous addressed the issue of voter ID in July 2012 at the NAACP’s Annual Convention in Houston. Unfortunately, he embraced the left’s absurd belief that equates voter ID to voter suppression and an assault on the rights of minorities. He likened the movement of opposition to voter ID laws to the Civil Right Movements in Selma and Birmingham. Mr. Jealous invoked this resemblance to elicit an emotional response during an intense presidential election cycle. What he neglected to inform the oldest civil rights organization in the nation of, is that voter ID prohibits voter fraud, which currently serves as the biggest hindrance to casting a ballot and ensuring fair elections. 

In July of 2010, the NAACP passed a resolution condemning presumed racism from the Tea Party. Hilary Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau and senior vice president for advocacy and policy, made the assertion that Tea Party activists spat on Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights activist and friend to Dr. Martin Luther King, and called Rep Emanuel Cleaver the ‘N-word’. As of this date, neither claim has been proven true and no evidence has been presented to back up these claims. Many Tea Party activists have indicated on numerous occasions that racism will not be tolerated and that the movement is focused on making government fiscally responsible and ruled according to the Constitution.

In 2006, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond compared the GOP to Nazis and compared judicial nominees of then President George W. Bush to the Taliban. 

The partisan rhetoric spewed by members of the NAACP proves that they are entrenched in the far left movement, and that they are not as concerned with civil rights and racial equality as much as they are about creating a false narrative that black Americans are victims and continue to live in oppression.

By bringing these examples to light, I am not suggesting that conservatives ignore the NAACP.  It is important to note that the NAACP was founded by the Republican Party and conservatives should challenge the NAACP to provide a message of equality and opportunity, instead of a message of victimization.