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Descent into destruction

"Descent into destruction" Continued...

Issue: "The surge is on," Feb. 3, 2007

WORLD: You note polls showing that most black Americans think America is now a land of opportunity for all and that too many people are overly dependent on the government. Why then do 90 percent of black votes typically support candidates who favor big government?

WILLIAMS: What you call "big" government still resonates in minority communities as a force for good that put in place a law against lynching and laws that segregated people. The Democrats are still seen as the party that supported the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act while the GOP's presidential candidate in 1964, Barry Goldwater, was opposing the Civil Rights Act. The Republican Party hurt itself with Hispanic voters with the harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric in the 2006 mid-term elections.

Then there are the strong big city Democratic political machines, with black and Hispanic politicians. That monopoly on the black vote is just now being challenged by Republicans. Candidates like Ken Blackwell and Michael Steele are at the cutting edge of what could be a major change if Republicans appealed to the social conservatism of blacks and Hispanics on issues such as gay marriage, the death penalty, support for small business, and opposition to government programs that foster dependence instead of strength.

WORLD: You write that the "nation's leading civil-rights groups . . . are locked into arguing that 'the system' is causing the continued high level of poverty in black America." What should the civil-rights movement of the 21st century be?

WILLIAMS: Today's movement should focus on getting the poor out of poverty, and that starts with quality schools. With the increasing class divide in American society it is getting harder to push your children up the economic ladder. It is harder to pay for higher education, for health care and housing. It is critical to get the nation-people of all colors and classes-committed to the cause of keeping the American dream alive for everyone.

We can't allow the poor, who are disproportionately black and Hispanic, to fall into a permanent underclass filled with hopelessness and despair. Most Americans want to give those in need a hand up if those in need are not holding themselves back with self-defeating habits such as dropping out of school, accepting criminal behavior, and not looking for a job. Look at New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. There was an outpouring of help with people offering money, jobs, and even going down there to help rebuild. Today's civil-rights movement has to capture that spirit and put it in service to helping the poor out of poverty.

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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