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Reply #28: Its not too far left, its just empty [View All]

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Nederland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-31-03 02:13 PM
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28. Its not too far left, its just empty
These quotes do nothing more than point out that America has an inequitable distribution of wealth. They do not specify solutions. As the 30 years that followed MLK proved, solutions to problems are far more difficult find than words to describe them. The anti-poverty programs of the Johnson era proved to be a failure in the minds of many if not most Americans. Sure, its easy enough to transfer wealth from the rich to the poor and improved the standard of living of the poor, but that's not what most Americans consider success. Success is when poor people have the opportunity to work and earn enough money to support themselves without help from other people. That is how we generally define success here in America: the ability to support yourself and your family.

Americans wanted to see the problem solved, not the symptom treated. Simply transferring money to the poor wasn't accomplishing this. As we entered the 1990's, descriptions of 3rd generation welfare families convinced many people that the anti-poverty solutions enacted in the Johnson era were not working. They started to listen to Democrats such as Patrick Moynihan who had been telling us from the very beginning that the programs were flawed. Sure, they raised the standards of living of millions of poor people, but they did not address (in fact many argued they exacerbated) the causes of poverty: broken families, illiteracy, and crime. The result of this dissatisfaction was Welfare Reform, which irrefutably proved what many Americans had thought was true all along: millions on the welfare roles were perfectly capable of working, they simply chose not to.

If King's words were spoken today this is the history that would be flung back into the face of the speaker. Unless you can clearly articulate a plan that is radically different from what was tried before you will get nowhere. In King's day what was needed was a person to clearly articulate the problem. Today we need someone to clearly articulate the solution. With all due respect to Dr. King, the later is far more difficult.
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