President Bush doing right thing for wrong reasons

By Mychal Massie

Never let it be said I don’t call them like I see them. With that caveat, I must call the president’s African-Americans for Bush Coalition initiative wrong – perhaps even morally so.

I probably won’t be invited to any White House picnics or have my phone calls accepted for a while, but that’s OK, such is life – the president and the impressive list involved are still wrong, and here’s why.

Simply put, blacks are part and parcel of America. They are not a subgroup nor are they a fringe group. They /we are intelligent and capable of independent thought.

Jobs, retirement incomes, education, homosexual marriage, NEA, taxes and various assorted hardships are not color-sensitive issues – that is the point that people need to understand. These are not only black issues, they are issues that impact every American on some level. All of the aforementioned are just as important and no less difficult for a white family of four with an aggregate income of $22,000 living in rural Tennessee as for a black family of four with the same aggregate annual income living in rural Oklahoma.

Health issues and rent-mortgage payments are the same for a white family living in Miami, as they are for a black family living in Dallas.

For there to be any possibility of a united America, we must dispense with the damnable lie of injustice, i.e., blacks have it worse today than others because they are black and /or because of slavery.

All blacks must come to understand that America is their birth home, their ancestral home and that they are full participants in her well being, irrespective of their socioeconomic standing. Too many blacks have bought into the idea of modern-day social injustice and other Democrat lies as eagerly and as completely as a 3-year-old buys into Santa Claus.

And therein lies the problem with the president’s initiative – it furthers that mindset. No matter how you sell it, it still bespeaks of special attention, needed for special disadvantaged people, with special needs, different and more severe than all others in the same exact situation. It reinforces a mindset, which I submit is an act of gross injustice to project onto a people.

The leadership of Africa-Americans for Bush point out that nearly 69 percent of blacks now own homes for the first time, and that “President Bush has worked tirelessly to make the American dream something we [blacks] can all accomplish.”

But I would argue that is disingenuous, at best, because the president is president of all the people – not just blacks. Blacks have access to the same facilities and services as whites. Those who do not are still no different from whites who do not. Beyond that, blame poor decision-making, but do not blame the system.

Blacks must be encouraged to embrace capitalism and industry because it is the American way, not because they are owed special dispensation for slavery.

A clear example of this is Project 21, a D.C.-based think-tank predominately comprised of conservative blacks of which I am a National Advisery Council member. The Frederick Douglas Republican Leadership Forum is yet another conservative black group gaining membership in much the same way.

Not all blacks are like the gentleman from Texas or the gentleman from Atlanta, who after viewing me on a national cable news program, one criticized me for not explaining in minute detail why he should be a Republican, while the other, who claimed to have worked on Wall Street for over 10 years, cursed me for speaking proper English – accusing me of being the reason blacks are held back and denied. No amount of winsome committee work will change their kind.

But we can change the minds of Americans such as the listener from New York who called back into a talk show I was guest hosting to say he had thought about the things I had said when previously hosting, and they made sense.

I am convinced we should not approach people to vote for conservatives or independents because of their race. Rather, we should approach them because they are Americans. You approach people based on race and color if you are a Democrat or attempting to start a PAC (political action committee).

The president’s reasoning is correct as far as it goes, but I believe his approach is fatally flawed.

Win them over for any other reason and they will stay only so long as you give them things to help them stay. If you want them to stay for generations, sell them on a united America – not on hyphenated nationalities and handouts. A true African-American would be Teresa Heinz-Kerry, not Tashandra Mfume from Brooklyn.