elevated from the diaries ~ Ford writes regularly on music, Texas and cultural issues for The Agonist
by Don Henry Ford Jr.
I saw a roundtable discussion of Martin Luther King and his legacy this weekend past featuring two panelists of African origin and one white guy. During the discussion, the topic of entitlement programs came up.
In my neck of the woods, most (but not all) conversations involving conservative white members of the community and entitlements will soon degrade into talk about those worthless niggers on welfare that won’t work for a living. Sadly, in some cases, they’re right.
One of the black panelists made this point also with the following analogy. You don’t hear anyone complaining about how members of the black community are stealing all the jobs immigrants need.
I don’t think a guy like Martin Luther King envisioned large groups of healthy people perpetually living on the dole. He wanted equal opportunities for all–the chance to compete on a level playing field and share in the success when it’s earned.
Here is what you’ll hear few members of the white community bring up–the larger their bank account–the fewer the number: We also are destroyed by entitlements. We don’t think we should have to do any manual labor. We expect to earn lots of money, live in huge houses with the latest conveniences and eat the best food the world has to offer. Every kid expects a car and a credit card to go with it by the time he or she is 18, if not, before. American kids test 25th on educational evaluations against kids from other countries. Truth is, many adults from this community sit on their ass all day talking on the phone or playing computer games and they draw disproportionally large paychecks. Then they go home and park in front of a TV, remote in their hand.
They don’t work for a living either. Nor do their kids bleed in our wars.
As I look at my country, I believe we have become victims of our own success. We have become the fattest country in the world. We consume the most drugs, burn the most oil. Our kids are on Ritalin, our moms, Prozac. Not just the rich but even in poorer communities. People from other countries do our work for us.
What do we do about this?
Damned if I know. But the first step in fixing something or in this case avoiding a total catastrophic collapse is an honest evaluation of the way things are.
Here’s one thing that might help (and few will ever do). If you run a company, do a little work alongside your hands once in a while and take the time to see what life looks like from their point of view. When times get tough, and they soon will, don’t look just at the wages of your laborers, cut some of the fat out of your own salary. (What are the odds?) Travel if you can. Get out of the luxury tourist trap and see what’s happening in the world outside our borders. Remember that in the end, we are all in this together.
And remember a few words MLK once offered. An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.
Stokely Carmichael once said people are incapable of judging themselves. We better hope he was wrong.
We will reap what we sow in this world, sooner or later.