Black Backing of Barack Should Not Be Unconditional, by Deneen Borelli

Barack Obama’s election is a capstone on black Americans’ struggle for equality.

While isolated racial intolerance can be expected to continue, Obama’s electoral landslide and victory in majority-white states such as Iowa and southern states such as Virginia put to rest concerns about a so-called “Bradley effect,” in which whites allegedly publicly support – but secretly vote against – black candidates.

President-elect Obama’s life story is also a tribute to our nation’s greatness and endless opportunity.  In few other nations could a fatherless, racial minority of modest means rise to the most powerful position in the world.

There is a misconception, however, about unconditional black support for Obama.

It is quite possible to be black and be proud – even excited – about Barack Obama’s achievement while opposing him politically.  This black woman, for instance, did not vote for Obama.  Furthermore, I don’t believe his policies are sound.

I find it unfortunate that Obama’s personal keys to success – hard work and perseverance – are tragically absent from the agenda he espouses.  Instead of lauding the virtues of self-reliance and independence, he is pushing massive federal growth and government intrusion. 

Collectivism replaces individualism, and government intervention replaces self-preservation. 

On taxes, we can expect Obama to mandate “economic justice.”  His promise of a tax cut for 95 percent of Americans obviously struck a chord during this economic uncertainty, but recent revelations indicate his true beliefs lie in redistributing wealth.

The successful will likely be taxed to provide refundable tax “credits” to those with lower incomes. It’s wealth redistribution because the 40 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal income taxes would be getting the credits.

Don’t take my word for it.  When Samuel Joseph “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher asked him about it, Obama replied: “It’s not that I want to punish your success.  I just want to make sure that everybody who is behind you, that they’ve got a chance at success, too…”  Obama continued: “My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody.”

This thinking does punish success and rewards underachievement.  That’s not how our predecessors raised themselves up from bondage, poverty and racism.  Who’s going to work harder if the extra benefit is taken away and given to someone who didn’t work as hard?  It’s no way to set our nation back on a stable economic course. 

On energy, Obama picks energy winners and losers.  Through an “aggressive” cap-and-trade scheme, he plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by punishing the coal industry and coal-based utilities through taxes on carbon dioxide. 

Last January, Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle: “[I]f somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

The problem is that coal provides half of our nation’s electricity.  Bankrupting the industry will raise utility bills and make energy less available.  During that same interview, Obama added: “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket…” and power plants “would have to retrofit their operations.  That will cost money.  They will pass that money on to consumers.”

There are further problems associated with nationalizing health care, taking the secret ballot away in union organizing and new amnesty and benefits for illegal aliens.

Although it’s amazing that a black was elected President, it’s ironic that Obama’s leftist policies are likely to hurt the very people he claims to want to help. 

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – “unalienable rights” cited by our Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence – can only be achieved through personal responsibility and self-reliance.   

Unfortunately, the “We” in Obama’s “Yes We Can!” literally means collectivism and a statist government that stifles our liberties.

I’d rather endorse a “Yes I Can!” philosophy.  I think those who came before me would agree.

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Deneen Borelli is a fellow for the Project 21 black leadership network.  Comments may be sent to [email protected].

Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21 or the National Center for Public Policy Research.


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