Monday, December 19, 2011

Channeling my inner Republican; what, specifically, should we do to change things?

My last email set a record for responses.  Before I get to them, I think it's only fair, having in my last email channeled my inner minority leader to write some very strong anti-Republican stuff, to turn the tables and channel my inner Republican and present the argument for why the Republican party is NOT "waging war" against the poor and minorities.  It would go something like this:


As a Republican, I don't view the world through a race-based lens, which I think is dangerous and un-American.  Instead, I'm in favor of policies that create freedom, opportunity, growth and wealth for ALL Americans.  It is this, not government handouts, that is most likely to lift your community out of poverty (along with reforming the schools, the need for which I'm glad we both agree on). 


We're already overtaxed so we need to hold the line on taxes (or, ideally, reduce them). In addition, we need to reduce the size of government, which is stifling our economy and job growth, severely impairing our freedoms and, financially speaking, is on a trajectory that will surely bankrupt us.  Italy anyone? 


As for government programs that benefit the poor, elderly, and unlucky, obviously there should be some safety net, but this needs to be balanced with fiscal realities as well as the very real problem of creating long-term dependence.  I recall that Democrats went berserk over welfare reform, yet this ended up benefiting, not hurting, most recipients.  In addition, many government programs are wasteful and corrupt – for example, see this article from the front page of yesterday's NYT:


One final point: when more than 90% of blacks and nearly 70% of Latinos vote Democratic, why would you expect the Republican party to look out for their interests? 


Though I don't agree with most of this argument, I think it's a reasonable point of view.  But that doesn't change the point in my last email: the argument I've outlined above isn't going to change most minorities view that the Republican party is hostile to their interests.


By the way, regarding channeling anyone, a couple of readers thought it was patronizing for me to write about what I thought someone else was thinking.  I totally disagree.  The natural human inclination is to view everything through one's own eyes, but this is a recipe for disaster.  If you want to be successful in ANYTHING that requires interaction with others (business, advocacy, being a good spouse, parent, friend, etc.), it's critical to be able to put your own viewpoint aside and instead try to put yourself in someone else's head and see things based on THEIR thinking, history, life experiences, etc. 

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