Sunday, April 22, 2007

"Cast down your bucket where you are."

Instapundit links to a review of the book by Angela McGlowan, called Bamboozled, and asks:

Are the democrats in danger of losing the black vote?

And concludes (actually, this is pretty much the whole post, but come on, it's Instant Punditry, right?)

It's an interesting argument, but it would be more persuasive if the Republicans were smarter.

Well, no. I don't think the Republican Party needs to be smarter, or the Democratic Party less dumber.

Here's how I view my vote. It's a commodity. Every two, four and six years (on the national level) I "sell" my vote to the "highest bidder." I calculate my sale based upon return, based upon who, individually and secondly as a Party will further my own self-interest. Everyone does.

It's how we calculate self-interest that differs. For me, I'm strong on National Defense, Property Rights, Individual Liberties, Transparency, Accountability and a permissive rule set. Basically, anything that let's an individual grow, make mistakes, pay for those mistakes and move on. I'm not into Grievance, Gotcha, Get-some, Purity of Thought or Cultural Programming.

I like my elected leaders humble, open, frugal and informed. I vote to send people to Delta Charlie to sit shiva on the instruments of governance and to try, really try, not to make a mess of things.

It's how our republican system works, ideally. See, I'm busy living my life. I don't have a brace of Helots toiling in the field for me, freeing me up to engage in the more esoteric ins and outs of pure democracy. Country's far to big for that, anyways.

Self-interest. There's two ways of looking at self-interest. One, someone gave me something, my self interest is met. I think of this a corrosive. The second way is someone got out of my way, and I built something. Far healthier.

Black America thought has followed two strains of thought, IMHO.

W.E.B. Dubois and Booker T. Washington.

Here's my shorthand:

Washington believed in the basics. He felt thought it was within the hands of Black America to conduct our own uplift, after the Civil War. He argued for building businesses, trades, and skill sets necessary to survive and thrive in a still racists America.

Then you had Dubois. DuBois felt that Blacks in America could not succeed until racism was destroyed, until we were "liked." He chased every utopian dream in trying to make that happen. Of course he failed.

Refining this further, I carry around in my noggin "Washington as Builder" and "DuBois as Griever." DuBois (1965) far outlived Washington(1915), and saw many, then, unimaginable changes, but his form of grievance left and indelible mark on Black American thought.

Washington was a simple, plain spoken man. DuBois, slick and urbane.

Jesse J., Al S., (now) Stinger et al are inheritors of DuBois thought. Like me, love me, accept me, and all will be ok. Except it won't

Leave aside disneylands like Beale St and 18th and Vine, you go to the heart of the Black Diasporas, the Harlems and Roxburys, the A.T.L.s and Chi-Towns, you see what Dubois' particular form of grievance mongering has wrought (I wouldn't recommend investing in property, there). Instead of pride in doing, a fake sort of esteem based not on what you've done, but how you were born has dominated. A false esteem whose lowest common denominator "hip hop culture," has replaced any authentic sense of the Black American experience.

Bad programming.

Instead of following in the traditions, the reasoning, and the logic of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters [ed note--"Randolph was born in Crescent City, Florida. He never grew up being "racially internalized." Meaning that he never saw himself any less than the white kids around him." WORD!!], we've slipped into grievance mongering. The easy road, paved with gold? Right? I mean, why compete on an even playing field, when you can just jigger the rule sets in your favor?

Because of the long term effects. There is no pride in begging. Without pride, without esteem (real, not imagined) we become something less than our full potential. Rainbow Coalitions, my ass!!

So back to the Democratic and Republican Parties. Treat them as businesses, selling a product. Call that product Good Governance. Every few years, they come around, peddle their wares, and through slick advertising, rallys, the dog and pony talk show circuit, they attempt to exchange product for your vote.

Seems to me, the smart way of going about selling your vote, whether your ethnicity is to ensure that those parties deliver on the their promises, and that you make sure they are promising the right things.

Business development versus income redistribution.
Property surety versus collective housing.

Things like that. "Pity the fool" who pities you.

Black Americans don't need to vote Republican or Democrat. We need vote our own self interest. We need to ask how, after the abolition of old Jim Crow, our communities collapsed, worsened and were destroyed. If we start voting our own self interest (which is remarkably what I would define as America's self interest) then both parties will adjust their business practices. They both want that vote. Do that, and we're in a buyers market. Don't and it remains a sellers market.

Success is the only secret hiding in plain sight. Just need to look for it. Hey, maybe we just need to ask Margaret Sanger or Senator Robert Bryd. Ha, ha. Kidding. Right?

But one thing that needs to go by the roadside is hate. Hate feels good, but without exception, always ends up destroying he who wields it most. Don't ask me why, it's just a rule. See your original manufacturer for specifications.

Anyways, I need to wrap this up. The wife and I are going grocery shopping. Busy, busy, busy, we have a life to build.

No time for hate.

End Post.

A ship lost at sea for many days suddenly sighted a friendly vessel. From the mast of the unfortunate vessel was seen a signal, "Water, water; we die of thirst!" The answer from the friendly vessel at once came back, "Cast down your bucket where you are." A second time the signal, "Water, water; send us water!" ran up from the distressed vessel, and was answered, "Cast down your bucket where you are." And a third and fourth signal for water was answered, "Cast down your bucket where you are." The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River.

To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is their next-door neighbour, I would say: "Cast down your bucket where you are"--cast it down in making friends in every manly way of the people of all races by whom we are surrounded.

Cast it down in agriculture, mechanics, in commerce, in domestic service, and in the professions. And in this connection it is well to bear in mind that whatever other sins the South may be called to bear, when it comes to business, pure and simple, it is in the South that the Negro is given a man's chance in the commercial world, and in nothing is this Exposition more eloquent than in emphasizing this chance. Our greatest danger is that in the great leap from slavery to freedom we may overlook the fact that the masses of us are to live by the productions of our hands, and fail to keep in mind that we shall prosper in proportion as we learn to dignify and glorify common labour and put brains and skill into the common occupations of life; shall prosper in proportion as we learn to draw the line between the superficial and the substantial, the ornamental gewgaws of life and the useful. No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem. It is at the bottom of life we must begin, and not at the top. Nor should we permit our grievances to overshadow our opportunities.

Booker T. Washington Addresses 1895 Atlanta Exposition

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