Note to readers: Before reading this post, you might want to read the comment by Irwin Singer in the comments section in “A Time for Reckoning,” posted on July 3.
In comments posted on the blog a couple of days ago (“A Time For Reckoning”), my friend, Irwin Singer, made several contrarian and thoughtful points. His first major point was that it is wishful thinking on my part to think that Democrats, if they are in control, will be able to make much of a difference since extreme poverty still exists, especially among people of color, despite billions of dollars spent by Democrats over the years on what Irwin sees as failed programs. Why should anyone think that things would be different now? His second major point was that the cause of poverty has more to do with sociological and lifestyle issues than government policy and that if three things happened among the people of color who are also poor, this would go a long way to solving the problem: finishing high school, avoiding having (or fathering) babies out of wedlock, and keeping a first job. The implication is that bleeding heart Democrats are guilty of casting dispersion on hard-nosed realists whom they tend to demonize as racists or uncaring when these “conservatives” actually have a more accurate of understanding of the way the world is and what works and what doesn’t.
Irwin’s comments, I think, probably are representative of what used to be mainstream, conservative thinking and are not totally without merit. I, however, am Exhibit A of a bleeding-heart idealist. I plead guilty to wishful thinking. However, while far from perfect, the “progressive” approach is the far better choice, compared to four more years of Trump. It stands a far better chance of at least softening the blow of poverty, racism, and inequality than business-as-usual or “benign neglect” as recommended by Senator Daniel Moynihan, who was the first to encourage this policy under Richard Nixon, as pointed out by Irwin. It also means we have a better shot at combating global warming.
I also realize that human nature, being what it is, the “rational” arguments offered by the “other side” often fall on deaf ears. I could cite some of the progressive accomplishments like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, minimum wage, civil rights and fair housing legislation, and programs like Head Start, SNAP (food stamps) and the Peace Corps, recognizing that while none of these initiatives is perfect, each one has done more good than harm. We have made “progress,” albeit too slow and far from perfect.
I also believe that a major driver behind increasing inequality and the civil malaise and unrest is globalization, which has both good and bad outcomes. And we have not yet figured out how to deal with this.
And I certainly do not agree that we should ignore the root causes of why people behave the way they do. Some people were dealt a lot stronger hand of cards than others. It is not so easy to change human behavior.
But I also know the that I won’t convince those who have another world view. I have had a lot of friends over the years who were and are conservatives. I respect and honor them. Many of my clients in my affordable housing and seniors housing practice would certainly fall into this category. I had and still have great affection for many of these clients—mainly developers and non profit, faith-based, seniors housing corporations. They are good people. I understand where they are coming from. We can agree to disagree on questions of politics.
That Democrats have all the answers, however, was not intended to be the main point of my blog on “reckoning.” We don’t. The intended point of my blog was that the only alternative that we have to Trump is to elect Joe Biden as president and, if we are going to change direction of the country, to control the Senate as well as the House. No, it will not be perfect. Yes, mistakes will be made, and poverty and racism will not be eliminated. But under the Democrats, it will be far better than what we have now or what we will get with four more years of Trump. At least it will give us a shot.
So while I stand by my positions in “The Time For Reckoning” post, I also appreciate hearing views on the other side. But I will end with the same comment that I made on my “Reckoning” post. If Trump wins a second term….
God help us.