Beyond the Rhetoric
By Harry C. Alford
Let’s start with another question: Why do the Clintons love Blacks? Pretty simple – they get the vast majority of Black votes. All of those votes and they don’t have to do anything in return. In fact, they use us as expendable creatures. They get white votes by doing harm to us and we offer no payback.
When Black voters helped get Bill Clinton into the White House he quickly moved to the center instead of staying left. He wanted to show whites that he was indeed white himself and not the “first Black President” as we started to call him. He wanted to prove that he can be tough on crime. One of his last acts as Governor of Arkansas was to execute a seriously retarded Black man. He remarked after the execution, “I can be nicked a lot, but no one can say I’m soft on crime.”
That was just the beginning. Within two years he signed a $30 billion crime bill which started a wave of new federal prisons. Also, he provided the states $16 billion in state prison grants and expansion of police forces. This was in preparation of what he was about to do. He lightened federal offenses for use of cocaine and greatly increased punishment for crack. This sent our youth to those new prisons for crack use and gave slack to the whites using cocaine. Today, many of us cry about over-criminalization of our youth. Well, Bill Clinton is the “Father” of it. Since this milestone African Americans account for more than 80 percent of all people incarcerated for drug use. Suddenly, the United States began leading the world in incarceration rates.
It gets worse! Hillary steps in and is quoted “They are not just gangs of kids anymore. They are often the kinds of kids that are called ‘super-predators.’ No conscience, no empathy. We can talk about why they ended up that way, but first we have to bring them to heel.” In essence, they were wild animals.
Then came HUD. No one with a drug felony can live in public housing. If a resident is convicted of a drug felony, the entire family must leave. President Clinton would call this “One Strike and YOU are Out initiative.”
To add more fuel to the “fire” funding for public housing was reduced by 61 percent and he dismantled Aid to Families With Dependent Children (AFDC) and lowered the overall budget for welfare. The prison budget was twice as high as the Food Stamp budget.
Unemployment in Black communities soared. The statistics were covering the fact that imprisoned persons were not counted in the unemployment rolls. It is like they don’t even exist.
Keep in mind that our Congressional Black Caucus generally supported all of the above. This was the worst economic tyranny since the beginning of New World Slavery. Most just smiled and loved their First Family.
Where do we go? How can we overcome what has happened to our race in this country during the 1990’s? Must we go through this again? The thought of that frightens the hell out of me.
As Michelle Alexander writing for Thenation.com states: “It didn’t have to be like this. As a nation, we had a choice. Rather than spending billions of dollars constructing a vast new penal system, those billions could have been spent putting young people to work in inner-city communities and investing in their schools so they might have some hope of making the transition from an industrial to a service-based economy. Constructive interventions would have been good not only for African Americans trapped in ghettos, but for blue-collar workers of all colors. At the very least, Democrats could have fought to prevent the further destruction of Black communities rather than ratcheting up the wars declared on them.”
We got played big time. Our vote is pretty much worthless if we can’t get our just share of the American Dream. My people we need to let “Pharaoh” go. He doesn’t have us. We are clinging to him. The Clintons admit their mistakes. What we need to know from them is how are they going to correct these misdeeds? Since we are so forgiving and naïve with our votes perhaps we should trust them one more time. If we do this, we will go down as the most stupid demographic living in the entire world.
What we need to do is plan on developing a new generation of people who will be productive and creative. It is imperative that we expect positive results from our elected officials and fire those who cannot perform the task. Remember we do have a choice. Reconsider your love for the Clintons – you deserve more.
Mr. Alford is the President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www. nationalbcc.org Email: [email protected].