The article above is one that I’m trying to use as a silver lining of sorts. It’s a CNN story visiting with several African Americans in and around Atlanta. They’re talking about the inspiration they feel from Obama’s election, and one man in his twenties makes the particularly good point that for a lot of black kids this will be the first role model they’ve had who doesn’t sing, dance or play sports.
The fact is there are large parts of our society which have felt even more “out in the wilderness” than the GOP does right now. If Obama’s election helps put to rest the notion that America is a racist country, then there’s something very useful there. If it provides inspiration to little black kids who previously could only aspire to sports fame, then it’s even more valuable. Mobilizing the brains of millions of kids who’ve been educationally left behind is just as powerful a boost to our country’s capability as was the movement for women’s suffrage and allowing women into the workforce. We simply can’t compete in the world with 10, 20, 40, 60 percent of our citizens on the sidelines.
The flip side, of course, is that electing pro-welfare Democrats is a sure way to ensure that the poor stay dependent on government. In that sense, Obama’s presidency, if it moves people toward dependence on government, is long on symbolism and short on actual help for poor folks.
What the GOP needs to do — desperately needs to do — is to lay out a clear, understandable case for this newly-politically-active class of citizens, and for all Americans. Now that they know they can do anything, that the country is truly full of possibilities for them, we must make the case to them that the clearest path to achieving those dreams is by reducing the barriers that stand in the way of innovation and economic mobility. That the best way to achieve prosperity for themselves and their famlies is by increasing the freedoms they enjoy, not building up barriers which make America less competitive. And we must demonstrate that the party which does that is the conservative party, the Republican party. And lest we forget, the party of Lincoln.
It’s a task made tougher by the mantras that we’ll hear from the left and the media over the coming years about how the government is there to take care of you, protect you from the big bad evil businesses out there, and care for you from cradle to grave. But until we can present a cohesive explanation of why the collective wisdom of individual Americans is not better and smarter than government bureaucrats telling us how to live our lives, then we won’t capture the hearts and minds of the voters.