Why I'm a Republican in my head but a Democrat in my heart: A Love Story


My name is...well that really doesn't matter.

What matters is that I am a conflicted American.

You see, I am a Democrat.  I am a Democrat, in part, because my parents are democrats, and their parents were democrats, and their parents - well... if they were able to vote, probably would have been Republicans but that's a whole other story.

I am a Democrat because I am a Chicagoan.  Growing up in the 1980s as a Black girl on the south side of Chicago made for an interesting childhood.

One of my earliest memories was when Harold Washington, the first Black mayor of Chicago died.  I remember my parents crying.  I remember looking at the television coverage of the thousands of Chicagoans who stood in line to pass his grave in the rain and frigidness of late November.   I remember going to church and hearing the church folk yell, "They killed him!  They can't ever let a Black man be in power!"

Now, before you mock Blacks for thinking that White people killed the mayor, you have to understand that during that time everything in Chicago was seen through the lens of race.   Racial polarization along physical, political, and philosophical lines was not only an accepted practice but it was the law of the land.

Yet, despite the constant power struggles that were (and still are) ever present in Chicago politics, you only had one decision to make:  Are you a White Democrat or are you a Black Democrat?

Needless to say, I chose the latter.

Yet, as an adult I sometimes struggle with my party affiliation and wonder why my heart will never let me abandon my "birthright" of being a Democrat.

The truth is that I think big government is a bad idea.  

Welfare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Department of Motor Vehicles...

When you see and hear those words, what comes to mind?   Long lines, a defunct system, inefficient operations, and belligerent people behind a glass window.

Most of us spend our entire lives working hard so that we will never have to interact with the government.    So why do we support the very existence of these institutions and programs for the most vulnerable people in our society?

The truth is that I think that government promotes waste.

Forget earmarks and pork barrel spending; ask someone who works for any city, state, or federal agency what it takes for them to get a new pack of pencils and you will understand the true culprit behind government waste.

The process usually looks something like this:

  • Step 1:  Call the dispatcher at “Central Management Services" to order a pack of new pencils.
  • Step 2:  The dispatcher connects you with the Superintendent of “Central Management Services” because he doesn’t know the process.
  • Step 3:  The Superintendent of “Central Management Services” tells you to call the "Supply Department".
  • Step 4:  You call the "Supply Department".
  • Step 5:  The “Supply Department” tells you to complete Form 229-A which is the "Order Form for New Pencils" in order for them to process your request.
  • Step 6:  You ask where you can find “Form 229-A” and you are directed to the “Forms Department”.
  • Step 7:  You go to the "Forms Department" and complete Form 229-A.
  • Step 8:  You return to the “Supply Department” only to find that everyone has decided to take an early lunch and will not return for several hours.

The above story may sound painfully obnoxious but it happens every day in a bureaucracy near you.

The government doesn't work well for most people who work within it so I am often baffled by the notion of developing even more agencies and governmental departments (to do God knows what), no matter how great the intentions might be.

Despite its efforts, government is often too big and too slow to respond to the needs of citizens in a timely manner and in the cases where it does move swiftly it can't be held accountable for the money it spends or the laws that it hastefully enacts.  We saw this to be true with the enactment of the Patriot Act and TARP.

The truth is that I think that most entitlement programs are extremely flawed.

Let’s look at TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families), better known as "Welfare".

The argument that I am making has nothing to do with whether people deserve or should be entitled to Welfare, but focuses on how such programs create disincentives for people to work, receive education and training, thus - encouraging them to stay dependent on welfare.

In its current state, the benefit level equates to less than $8 a person a day.   If you have a family of three, then that gives the family $24 a day to survive.   TANF mandates that the head of the household work outside the home for a predetermined number of hours to get their check.   More times than not, due to a lack of education, the jobs that TANF recipients end up getting provide only a minimal wage.   However, as their earned income increases, their TANF support decreases.   Therefore, in the absence of a TANF recipient finding a six figure job, most recipients keep their earned income to a minimum to remain eligible for the program and benefits.    Poor people may be broke but they know good math.

My point is not to debate the need for programs like Welfare because one of the core tenants of my faith is to help those in need.  I do question, however, the true benefit that such programs have in changing the long term landscape of poverty in our country.

So why stay?

Why stay in a party that promotes flawed economic policies and makes renewing my driver's license so painful?

I stay because the Republican Party gives me no choice.

In fact, they make it too easy to stay.

Time and time again, election after election, they deem themselves more concerned with protecting arcane notions of what it means to be "American" rather than accept the fact that the face of our country is no longer predominately white and male.

I stay because I don't think that government should have a say in who I, or anyone else, marries and what I do with my uterus.

I stay because I don't agree with allowing people to sneak across the border to clean our homes but force them to go back when they want to attend our schools.

Most of all, even with all its flaws, I stay for a reason that our President expressed on Tuesday night during the State of the Union address:

"I’m a Democrat. But I believe what Republican Abraham Lincoln believed, that government should do for people only what they cannot do better by themselves, and no more."

We cannot negate the impact that institutionalized racism and bigotry has had on many in America.  For that reason, I believe that it is all of our duty to continue to lift up others who cannot lift themselves out of their situations.  And though we may be far from the perfect solution, we owe it to the dream of what our country can be to keep trying, to keep helping, and to keep believing that we can be better.


Leave a comment
  • Your conflict is not uncommon to Americans.

    ---> liberal-conservatism, considered an oxymoronic phrase in the US, has been a natural concept in other continents for centuries.

  • Agreed Gwill. Do you think that a viable third party option would hurt or help?

  • In reply to Kirstin Smith:

    If he or she is truly "viable," then he or she can, and will, most certainly help.

  • As I read this I developed a sore neck from my agreeing nod. I was raised by a super liberal mom who taught us Republicans are evil and votes a straight party ticket. At 36 I'm a liberal conservative. Bleeding heart when it comes to human rights, fully embrace a hand-up instead of handout philosophy yet I'm conservative when it comes to finances & waste. I now vote person, not party to my moms disdain. I could care less who you sleep with or what goes on in a adult relationship & believe religion has no place in politics. 3rd party system have worked in other countries. Finding competent candidates and enough people who can see past the skeletons in everyone's closet is the next hurdle. I'm not willing to open mine!

  • In reply to LCC-Catie D:

    Good point about how the media often places more importance on finding skeletons than real issues. I agree with you, I don't want to know about anyone's fetishes or sex life! TMI...

  • This is what Lincoln said: “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do at all, or cannot so well do, for themselves in their separate and individual capacities.”

    The difference is not in doing it "better", but what "needs" to be done, as voiced by the people, acted on by the people, and not decided from above by a "leader". This is democratic with the small "d".

    My grandparents were Democrats through and through. Most Irish were back in the day. But when the Democrat Party forgot they existed, and started down a path of appealing to every fringe group, they had a crisis of conscious. Especially when it came to the abortion question. It has been said before, the Democrat Party left them, not the other way around.

    As far as black people go, how much dishing of scraps can they take from the massa's table before they realize they are being fed just enough to keep them from starving?

    To depend on Obama's hand "to lift you up" is having that same hand shove you back to the ground. Only so far, an no further. Not without him -- or Charlie Schumer or Dick Durbin. How silly to think they care? How hurtful to find out they do not care?

    Now almost fifty years of Democrat promises and how great is Bronzeville now? How great was it, before LBJ and and before Obama?

    Your heart will not be lifted by anybody at 1600 Penn Ave, no matter their skin color or party affiliation. But willingly keep your heart with the guy in the Big House and your heart will be broken. Guaranteed.

  • In reply to Richard Davis:

    Whew! That was intense!

    I agree with most of your points. Just the mere mention of Bronzeville made my blood pressure shoot up! But that's for another day and another blog post...

    To your point about the massa's table, I think you have to consider this: Would you rather take scraps from the table? Or be fed to the dogs?

    This is the position that I think many Blacks and other minority groups feel that we are in.

    While the Democratic party only looks to pacify and minimally appease us, its still better then being lynched.

    Figuratively speaking, of course.

  • In reply to Kirstin Smith:

    You know, a film has just come out that may interest you:

    Seems right up your alley and it looks like they may roll it out in Chicago soon.

  • In reply to Tinmea:

    For a second I thought you were calling me a slave but I went to the link. :-)

    Thanks for the info Tinmea!

  • In reply to Kirstin Smith:

    Your reply about being "figuratively lynched" is a fine example of the racism and corruption in the black community. I used to be just like you. A brainwashed liberal who believed that the Republicans were the "party of racists" until I came to grips with the fact that my community which has had problems with racism in the past is also heavily Democrat. My father himself is a racist Democrat who voted for Obama. He can't stand black people and never ceases from using the N-word. I am a conservative who is sick and tired being labeled a bigot for being against gay marriage and a racist for wanting the border enforced. The real racists are the Democrats who don't care how many thousands are killed across the border as long as it ensures for them one-party fascist rule. The real bigots are the Leftists and Democrats who are doing everything in their power to destroy Christianity in this country all while claiming to be "Christians" themselves. Don't call me a bigot for believing the Bible while you claim to be a "Christian" and don't believe the Bible. The Left-wing fascists like Soros, Hilary, Obama, Wright, Pelosi, Kerry, Durban, etc, etc, have the blood of millions of dead babies (especially black ones) on their hands and are pushing this country toward civil war or probably eventual secession. And I for my part will be happy to be apart from their Euro-utopian fantasies.

  • In reply to metal321:

    Wow Metal321. Thanks for your comment?

    I never thought of myself as racist or brainwashed but I guess I'll go reflect on that before going to church. If anyone can't help me, sweet Jesus can!

    If it sounded as if I am categorizing all Republicans as "lynchers", my apologies. Perhaps my point got away from me.

    My point is this: As someone who can agree with the Republican party's stance on several issues, the increasing acceptance of racially-charged rhetoric is a turn off.

    "President Obama is a Food Stamp President"
    - Newt Gingrich

    "... I pray that Obama's children grow up to be fatherless and his wife a widow"
    - Kansas GOP House Speaker Mike O'Neal.

    Can you say, "ouch!" ???

    Either way, I appreciate your comment.

  • In reply to Kirstin Smith:

    The Democrat party was the party of the segregated south, fighting desegregation every step of the way. It was Democrat Governor George Wallace who stood in front of the school doors trying to keep black students out. It was Republican President Dwight Eisenhower who ordered federal troops to protect the black students. Dwight Eisenhower also signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957 into law - the first civil rights legislation in almost 100 years. Who opposed it? The Democrats - with Democratic Senator Strom Thurmond carrying out the longest filibuster in senate history.

    Skim through this to see other dirty little secrets the Democrats would rather you forget:

    The Democrat party is happy to keep blacks dependent on them, and happily offers handout after handout in exchange for guaranteed votes. It's codependency at its worst.

    Re: your quotes - another thing to remember:
    The plural of "anecdote" isn't "evidence". We could quote people all day long and it wouldn't mean that members of those parties support (or don't support) those beliefs. Are all Democrats racist because of Ray Nagin's comments about keeping New Orleans a "chocolate city"? Or because Obama attended the same racist, black separatist church for 20 years? Do all blacks hate Jews because of things Louis Farrakhan has said? Or, for that matter, are all black men criminals because 10% of them are in prison at any one time? Where does it end?

  • In reply to Tinmea:

    To use your analogy Tinmea, I truly hope that all Jews don't think that all Blacks are racist but I can understand if they aren't lining up to support the Black Muslim movement either.

    We can go on and on...I feel like I need to buy you a virtual beer and catch up on life. I have some questions about your comment about taxes too, but i think we would end up at the same place.

    Either way, my next posts will be about my Cocker Spaniel, Oprah, and Seal Team Six... I hope you come back to visit my page soon.

  • In reply to Kirstin Smith:

    Re: taxes, just remember that the government (state, federal, local) has no money. Any money it spends is taken from you and me. Even when they "print money", they're actually just taking out a loan that you and I have to pay off sometime in the future - or worse, taking through inflation, which affects rich, poor, and middle class alike.

    So having the government "create jobs" is really just taking money from you and me to give to someone else. And government workers are much higher paid, on average, than the rest of us. Federal workers average $75k/year, which goes up to $130k when you factor in all of their benefits. How many private sector workers does it take to pay for one of those jobs? Apparently not enough because we're borrowing 40 cents out of every dollar the feds spend.

  • In reply to Tinmea:

    Tinmea -

    I understand your general point about taxes.

    Initially, I thought you were saying that they (government workers) were getting a free ride from everyone else because we pay taxes. My point was going to be that they pay taxes too, so technically they are paying for their own salary as well.

    However, through your response above, I more clearly understand what you initially meant.

  • In reply to Tinmea:

    I would counter that government workers don't pay [income] taxes. Well, they do, but the net result is that they don't.

    If the government gives someone $100 and then asks for $20 back in the form of taxes, didn't they really just get $80? None of that $100 was produced by the government worker and all of it was produced in the private sector. And anyway, the $20 taxes paid wouldn't cover the original $100 anyway.

    Government workers DO pay taxes, but it's really more of an accounting trick since they're just returning money that originated in the private sector to the government. They could be paid less and have no tax liability, and the outcome would be the same - funded entirely by taxpayers in the private sector.

  • In reply to Kirstin Smith:

    Can I say "ouch!"? Give me a break. I can't tick off countless examples of dispicable behavior by Democrats. Robert Byrd talking about "white niggers" and does Byrd lose he job? No, he was beloved by Democrat in spite of being a doddering old fool. The racist Jesse Jackson talking about "Hymietown". The racist Jeremiah Wright saying "the Jews" around Obama won't let him talk to him. To say what Gingrich said is "racially charged" is total bull because most people on food stamps are white but what do facts mean to a liberal? Nothing. I'm not going to make excuses for O'neal, whoever hell he is. Here's a suggestion which I know you'll never take: Read Jonah Goldbergs book Liberal Fascism. Good luck trying to refute his excellent history of liberalism. As I said, you are brainwashed. It doesn't matter how radical the Democrat party becomes to people like you or my father. You'll keep voting Democrat in order to thwart the "racist","greedy", "blackhearted", etc, etc, Republicans.

  • I declare you a rock star and must have drinks with you at our next CN gathering. I've enjoyed everything you've written thus far. Welcome to the club!

  • In reply to WoodlawnWonder:

    Thanks WoodlawnWonder! I'm glad you've enjoyed my posts! I look forward to reading yours! I'm NO rockstar, just someone who is very opinionated! :)

    I can't make the next CN event due to a prior obligation but I'll definitely be ready to party at the next one!

  • I see where you are coming from. I was in 3rd grade when harold died. I remember how sad people were. Especially in the black community.. I voted Democrat for the same reason you did but as I got older I realized that they used the same guilt trips that the GOP does. So I now consider myself a libertarian. Nice post BTW.

  • In reply to Evan Moore:

    Thanks Evan!

  • Good stuff. Too bad in the GOP there is no longer room for sensible moderates like the GOP of 3 decades ago. George Voinovich, Christie Whitman, Warren Rudman, Jim Jeffords, no longer welcome.

    Maybe when the GOP comes out of the woods they'll attract soem of us back. For now, it's suburban, white xenophobes that dominate the party.

    Til then, they should also stop pissing and moaning about taxes.

  • In reply to Andy Frye:

    Agreed Andy!

  • Kirsten - In a nutshell - Great Piece!

  • In reply to Michael Ciric:

    Thanks Michael!

  • fb_avatar

    Don't have time to give a more detailed response...

    But a couple of things:
    1. this is a great article. Wish most voters in Chicago would be so open-minded.
    2. you should check out Lenny McAllister. he's a Black Republican who is NOT like Alan Keyes -- Lenny TRULY cares about the black community. He will criticize the Republicans when they ignore urban issues.
    3.You should also check out the Christian Community Development Association & its principles. i think they are inline with much of what you're talking about. It was also founde dby an African-American www.ccda.org

    i vote in the democratic primary because that is the ONLY way i can vote out local incumbents...but i will vote Republican , Green, Libertarian, etc. if it makes sense for the office.

    p.s. I'ma writer for The Sixth Ward Blog, covering the communtiies of that area (Englewood, Chatham, Park Manor, Chesterfield, Roseland Heights). Now that the originator of the blog has been re-mapped, we might add the 9th ward to our coverage. www.TheSixthWard.us

  • In reply to JP Paulus:

    Good information. Thanks JP Paulus!

  • I have never considered myself in one camp or the other. Being a Chicagoan, I've had to be a democrat for local politics. State politics, party doesn't matter, just try to pick a governor that won't end up in jail. Federal, being ex-military, I have voted Republican most of my life. Now, with the advent of the tea party, old-fashioned ideas and the anti-latino attitude that seems to have consumed that party, I voted Democrat during the last election and will again this time around. Bottom line Kirstin, you are 100% right. There isn't a good choice. The Democrats are too liberal and the Republicans to conservative. If somebody started a moderate party (not some individual independent), then we would see some real choice. My prediction is that the Republican party will end up splitting into two, the tea-party and Abraham Lincoln's Republican Party. You would then see moderate democrats join the Lincoln party....
    Sgt63B: 8yr Veteran, Latino, American Citizen, Born and raised in Chicago

  • In reply to Sgt63B:

    Thanks for your comment Sgt63B. Your theory of the Republican party splitting into two is the best case scenario. If they continue down the road of thinly-veiled bigotry that they are currently on then my bet is that they will implode...or spontaneously combust.

  • fb_avatar

    I was born and raised Republican in the burbs, though like most when I was young I moved very left. Then as i got older went back to the right mainly because of economics: I have much the same views as you.

    But seriously, the last few years I have never felt so ashamed to be white and republican. The main reason I stay registered republican is so I can vote in primaries against the hatemongers and christian sharia that want to take over the country.

    I work at a charity that helps feed people, and I can sleep at night knowing my company does more good than most politicians combined.

  • In reply to Chrisb:

    Thanks for your comment! Just know that you can't hold yourself responsible for the foolishness that Republican candidates say anymore than I can be responsible for gang violence or the crack epidemic of the 1980s. We can only do what we can do as individuals first, and hope that that impacts the world around us.

    Sorry for that Oprah moment.

  • fb_avatar

    It hurts me that you came so close to an epiphany and swerved away at the last moment to a more comfortable conclusion. The ugly truth isn't as compelling as a beautiful lie.

    The current system is broken because most agencies of the government are filled with bureaucrats: soulless paper-pushers who care only about clocking time and padding their taxpayer-funded pensions. This isn't an indictment of government agencies per se — there are bureaucrats everywhere: private businesses (think "The Office"), religious institutions (the Catholic bishops who shuffled pedophile priests from parish to parish rather than deal with the issue), and even, much as it pains my Republican heart to say it, in the military (spending money on helicopters that can't fly and weapons that are useless in a post-Cold War world).

    Want it to continue? Reelect Obama, who's determined to add redundant layers of bureaucracy to existing businesses (banking/finance) and new ones to industries that don't need any more flaws (health care). I believe that his intentions, like yours, are pure. But you're committed to a system that doesn't work and has already indebted us a mindboggling amount of future generations' money.

    Are there people in civic service who do care? Absolutely, just as there are teachers and health insurance providers who care. But they can't do enough in a system that's broken. The methods for people to get help forty years ago were not perfect, but since then it's only been worse. And even if it were better, not only is it not enough, it will bankrupt us all. The math doesn't lie.

    I realize certain elements within the Republican Party aren't exactly palatable, but you know what? Since the advent of the Tea Party — a movement centered only around fiscal conservatism — social conservatives have less influence than ever before. They still have sway within the G.O.P., but only because "Republicans in their head" aren't pulling them in the other direction. But besides, we just came out of eight years of an administration led by a born-again Christian, and what came out of it? Abortion is still legal, gay marriage was adopted, and the people who want to regulate private behavior find themselves increasingly outnumbered by those who believe in personal freedom.

    I wish, as a Republican, that people who want to fight the culture war will soon recognize we must do so in the culture and not in government, just as you have come to the realization that helping people must be done outside the government. It will happen, eventually. But until then, people like you and people like me must band together to insist that we unwind government control of EVERYTHING and remake our society through societal means. I can't promise it will happen if Obama is defeated in 2012, but I can damn sure promise it WON'T if he's reelected.

    I can't make you take those next steps, and I realize how much it must hurt to vote against someone who means so much to you, both as a historical figure and your native son. And he is a good man. But it must be done, or it will ruin us all, and the people who need the help the most will suffer both first and worst.

  • In reply to Mike Marchand:

    Hey Mike! Thanks for your comment.

    To be fair, I think that bureaucracies are a product of both parties. Rhetorically speaking, Republicans say they do not support "big government" but the fact is that most earmarked projects that are supported by their party (which are just as plentiful as those supported by the Democrats) are carried about by bureaucratic agencies. Even Mitt Romney's claims of job creation are being questioned, in part, because it is estimated that upwards of 75% of the jobs that he "created" were government jobs.

    To be honest, it's something that I am torn about. As I said in my post, I have personally seen how bureaucratic agencies can be fragmented and wasteful. But you know what? They hire a heck of a lot of people. In fact, in Chicago, upwards of 50% of the population works for a government agency. And these are not soulless paper-pushers, they are people who just want to provide for their families. What would happen if we eliminated or down-sized all the agencies in this city? A lot of people would be out of jobs. Would the private sector step up to hire them? Doubtful. Would the private sector step in to provide city services more efficiently? Probably, but we would pay dearly for it. (As you might guess, I’m still cursing the sale of the parking meters.)

    My point is that I don't know if either party can provide a great answer to the "bureaucracy conundrum".

    I appreciate the sentiment of sticking together. I wish that more people in our country felt this way since at the end of the day, we all want the same things.

    Take Care.

  • In reply to Kirstin Smith:

    "Would the private sector step up to hire them?"

    The private sector *already* hired them. Government jobs are paid for by the people who aren't working in government. So if 50% of Chicagoans are government workers, that means that the other 50% are paying for them - although in reality that wouldn't be enough and it means that private workers and businesses outside of Chicago are paying for them.

    If 10 people are on an island, and 5 work for the government, that means that the other 5 need to not only support themselves, but also the 5 government workers. This is where we are now, and why government is too big. Every new law comes with new enforcers. Want to regulate carbon dioxide? That means you need to hire carbon dioxide police. And government agencies only grow with time. The Dept of Energy was created during the Carter administration to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. I'd say it hasn't been a success, but it has over 100,000 government and contract employees today. How many private sector workers are needed to support those jobs? I'll guesstimate that each of those 100,000 employees costs $100,000 (very conservative when you factor pension, healthcare, etc for the salaried workers). So that's $100 BILLION each year just for the Dept of Energy. Even if you cut that in half, imagine how many better ways there are to use $50 BILLION. And that money is taken directly out of the economy (actually our grandkids will be repaying China - with interest for decades to come). Is it really worth it to bankrupt our grandkids so that 100,000 people can have non-productive jobs?

    Every dollar that goes through government is shrunk by inefficiency. If I hand you a dollar, you get a dollar. If I give the government a dollar, you may get 70 or 80 cents of that dollar after losing some to corruption, inefficiencies, paying for redundant staff, racist "prevailing wage" rules, etc. If government loses money, they just make a law that collects more in taxes (with refusal leading to prison). If private industry loses money, they go out of business (or find a corrupt politician to use power they shouldn't have to bail them out).

  • In reply to Kirstin Smith:

    We really need a third party. It seems that people only view the parties through an extremist point of view. "all Republicans want to kill grandma and gays" or " all Democrats commit voter fraud and want to smoke pot all day". It really non-sense (and untrue) as both parties have good people. In fact if you were able to unite both sets of good people you would have a great third party. Get the liberal Republicans and the conservative Democrats together and start a real third party. I'm thinking the Common Sense Party. Who's in?

  • In reply to newchapter:

    "In fact if you were able to unite both sets of good people you would have a great third party."


  • In reply to Mike Marchand:

    Obama is going to crush Romney.

  • One of the best posts I've ever read. Thanks Kirsten for putting this up! So much to respond to, but unfortunately, I do not have the time. I will note that most of the comments, especially Mike Marchand and JP Paulus, were great. And I hate only specifically noting two when all of them, with one notable exception, were very well thought out and had me either nodding my head in agreement or respecting an opposing viewpoint because it was well articulated and gave me something to think about. I love posts like that!

    Honestly, great post! Congrats!

  • In reply to Brian C. Thomas:

    Thanks Brian!

  • While I recognize the waste and inefficiencies within the public sector seem inherent, they aren’t. The private sector can suffer from as much bureaucracy and bottlenecked processes as government.
    What we need is more efficient government, and I do agree with that. Often, I’m uncertain if this is what the average Republican is calling for or if as Grover Norquist once famously said they want a system small enough to “drown in a bathtub.”

    Privatizing everything is not the answer. For some entities, the profit motive provides perverse incentives that are harmful to Americans. A good example is the healthcare system.

    As for welfare, the way it is set up is broken but Capitalism necessitates winners and losers. Especially laissez-fair free market capitalism as espoused by the republicans. Therefore, a safety net is a critical need. The problem with welfare is that it does nothing to help lift the disadvantaged out of poverty. Universal childcare, healthcare and job training for living wage job positions would be a start toward breaking a cycle of dependency for those recipients to whom it applies.

    I don’t think advocating personal responsibility or more efficient government to be Republican values. I think they are American values and that’s why I am not conflicted about my party affiliation in the least. I am proudly Democratic. I appreciate the history of the Republicans as the party that freed the slaves, but once Nixon spit on that illustrious history with his Southern Strategy and the GOP became a clearing house for right wing extremism and religious fundamentalist, my respect ended there.

    No person of color should be conflicted about Republican vs. Democrat. In this two party system there is only one viable, sensible choice. Anything else and you’re cutting your own throat.

  • In reply to elle:


    Thanks for your comment. I appreciate, and respect, everything that you said. The only place that we differ is that I don't believe that it's my position (or place) to say what anyone else should do with their vote.



  • In reply to elle:

    elle, inefficiencies in the private sector are punished by loss of capital. Inefficiencies in the public sector are rewarded with more money and power. The system we have now is far from laissez-fair free market capitalism. If that were the case, GM, Chrysler, a host of investment banks, etc would have been allowed to fail and we'd all be better for it. Instead we have crony capitalism where companies cozy up to government to get a business advantage - backed by the full faith and credit of the US of A.

    Bush was no conservative, bible-thumping notwithstanding. Medicare Part D was a big government handout on the same order as Social Security. And he increased federal spending to levels not seen in the history of mankind. That is, until Obama came in and spent multiples of even Bush's tragic records. Sadly Romney is more of the same Bush/Obama big government spending ideology. But to suggest that blacks who don't vote for Democrats are cutting their throats is disgusting.

  • A very interesting blog and it a shame that some who have posted pull out their Thesaurus and used every insulting word in the book when talking about Democrats. When I was growing up (in South Shore in the 50s) we could all discuss politics reasonably and without screaming obscenities; those days are long gone. I've been a Democrat, then a Republican for awhile and now am back where I belong in the Democratic Party. Yes, they have many flaws and are not angels, but the vitriolic statements flying out of Congress are beyond the pale. Telling the president he lies during a SOTY speech is one example of the loss of respectable behavior. And these are persons who claim to be Christians! The messages of the Lord are obviously lost on them. Also, how did it happen that the Republican Party wants to take all the hard earned rights earned by women to protect their health and plan their family? They are acting very much like the Nazis and we cannot allow them to continue. So I am a proud Democrat and now vote a straight ticket which used to be against my principles. I do not dare vote for a Republican because he may turn out to have a black heart.

  • In reply to maddie:

    maddie, in a few short sentences you demonize Republicans (and for some reason, only Republicans) for one man's lack of civility - and then go on to compare Republicans to Nazis with black hearts. WITH NO SENSE OF IRONY.

    Perhaps people on the extreme ends are so caught up in their ideologies that it's become a sort of religion. And as such, they're incapable of seeing themselves engaged in the very same abhorrent behavior they demonize. Reflection may be in order for these people.

  • Maddie,

    Thanks for your comment. While I understand your viewpoint, I think it's important to not match angry words with angry words. I hope I don't sound too preachy by saying that.

    There are many good Republicans, one was my mentor in fact. Some have just missed the mark, just as some Democrats have (believe me...I worked with a few).

    Take Care,

  • Ms Smith:

    Please allow me to point out my analysis of the situation with Black America after doing my "What Makes The Prevailing Black Community Political Consciousness Tick?".

    There are two "domains" that we as Black people reside in:
    * The American Political Domain - where political parties and our "Equal Black Ballots" reside
    * The "Black Community Cultural Consciousness & Competency Development Domain" - where our aspirations to develop our people using our community resources reside.

    Unfortunately the forces that I call the "Embedded Confidence Men" work to fuse our "Black Community Development Consciousness & Hopes" into the American Political Domain and get us to VOTE FOR OUR SALVATION as they also prove to be guilty at allowing the other domain within our community to suffer from "benign neglect".

    My goal is to not force anyone to change their votes. (I am a Black Conservator - political Independent - who observes how the 'Malcolm X Political Football Game' HIJACKS our conscious attention).

    For me I believe that it is a matter of what is valued and those who seek to control the narrative.

    RACISM CHASING is shown to compel Black people to look past the massive problems (within the Black community) within Chicago (Englewood), Detroit, Philly, Newark, etc - and instead VOTE in a "Racially Defensive Manner".

    Thus instead of running those forces that brought us Detroit, for example - we see the "Embedded Confidence Men" holding a press conference a few weeks ago seeking to compel "the congregation" that the threatened "Emergency Financial Manager" promoted by "The State Republicans' is an attempt at suppressing the votes of Black people. They are not able to focus on the DAMAGE done to Black people as the city leaders and their 100% Democrat city government were left up to their own devices. They know that for our people - the RACIST THREAT is superior to all other concerns.

    With this as the basis of my argument I must ask you - WHY do you chose the 'American Political Domain" as your repository for your Community Development projection?

    Politics has expanded from the operation of basic government services to a "high stakes - winner take all ploy". The present "income inequality debate" doesn't mention those who took POWER with the promises of DEVELOPING OUR PEOPLE and thus reducing INEQUALITY. Instead they look past the heavy investments of the "Equal Black Ballots" that were supposed to provide for our uplift for the past 50 years and instead focus our consciousness on the next election - the next 'pass play" in the "Malcolm X Political Football Game".

    The primary means that I have come up to thwart the schemes of the "Embedded Confidence Men" who Racism Chase as a means of keeping the "congregation" together is to focus on ORGANIC COMPETENCY DEVELOPMENT among our people through the INSTITUTIONS that they now dominate.

    Are our people being developed - as our young people matriculate through the institutions that they now dominate within our communities? As we broaden our scope from American politics outward into the "Black diaspora" around the world - is there any development that we are receiving that would allow our people to offer any structural help to the real "The Least Of These" around the world?

    OR is it more the case that we are barely able to develop our people in the United States through these institutions that are now corrupted by politics that if we did go to these other barren places it would be as CONSUMERS rather than BUILDERS - unfortunately sliding down to what the infrastructure in these new places "offer" us??

    I suggest that everyone start watching more international news (France24, RT, Al Jezeera, [most importantly]CCTV - go purchase a Roku Box). With this expanded vision it brings to clarity how much Black Americans are being USED. The tricks used to keep the "Congregation Unified" in the context of the 'American Political Domain" are failing to DEVELOP OUR PEOPLE - in the big picture.

  • Constructive Feedback:

    Thanks for your comment. It's going to take me a day (and a few Wikipedia searches) to fully follow everything that you mentioned, however, I thank you for your enlightening perspective.

    Your point about moving beyond the American political paradigm is intriguing, however, we live in America and must operate within the constraints of the system that is applicable to the land in which we live.

  • In reply to Kay S:

    "Living IN America" and choosing to replace your CONSCIOUSNESS with one of the players on the "Malcolm X Political Football Game" are two very different notions.

    Not to make use of a tired claim but - I assure you that the Koreans that are now seen dominating the sole proprietor retail outlets in the Black community (and many others) are NOT focusing on politics as their main source of their economic favor.

    I did not say "Do Not Vote". The real issue is with how both sides have made the national government and associated politics into a "high stakes game" of "Winner Take All" prize fight. This in the areas of "Social spending", "National Defense", "Corporate power" and "Financial Services". The fact that our nation is $15T in debt and growing will one day knock ALL OF THEM off of their perch. Thus the real question is "What good is OPERATING WITHIN THE CONSTRAINTS that you have normalized your present understanding to IF the signs point to a fatal collapse in the future?"

    Even more to the point - IF the claim is that "Black People will receive our Human Resource Development outcomes by achieving SOCIAL JUSTICE - at what point do we look at the past 50 years of political struggle, note that the population of our 'Least of These' in our community has not sufficiently shrank in line with our DEVELOPMENT NEEDS? The choice to retain this "constraint" and STRUGGLE ON also feeds into what we see today: Despite receiving the monopoly balance of our "Investments" over the past 50 years and the key institutions now under their control (schools, criminal justice, local economic development) - instead of purging those forces that have not delivered the "Return on Investment" that was promised - we are told that IF WE DON'T INVEST AGAIN "our enemies" will return back into power and if you think its bad now - wait into RACISTS get back into power. We will surely return to slavery".

    This propaganda suppresses the normal will for good self-interests/self-governance.

    The Congregational Unity that is enforced among the present Black Consciousness produces what I call "BLACK FLIGHT PROGRESSIVES". This is evident in the 180,000 Black people who have left the "Progressive Mission Accomplished City" of Chicago in the past 10 years.

    This points to the irony that even though their investments have lead to the Progressive/Democratic utopia that they one day hope to transform the entire nation into - when they won the balance of power after winning the battle against their enemy - once they took the reigns and were now charged with PRODUCING the outcomes that they had long struggled for - they did not like what they had at hand. Thus they MOVED AWAY from the challenge.

    The flow has been out of these "Mission Accomplished Cities" and toward the suburbs and South. Ironically they are moving NEXT DOOR TO the enemy that they had long fought. If the enemy was RACIST when they moved away - then what should we call "The Black Flight Progressive" when he moves away?

    He is not called names by other Blacks because even though he has moved away - he still votes for the Democrats. He merely has moved his FAMILY away from the full "consequences" of his policy preferences.

    What we have then is a person who seeks the best for his family (schools, public safety, property appreciation, retail shopping experiences) BUT in his quest to empathize with "the Least of These" who are left behind he VOTES for policies that, when implemented in his own world were offensive to his CONSUMER consciousness.

    The relocation proves that the 'Black Flight Progressive" is a CONSUMER of social order, largely running from the challenge of going against the "public opinion" where he might have to be called a BIGOT (ie: Immigration Controls, Traditional Marriage, resisting the 'Social Justice' message).

    This is why I say that the macro change in "CONSCIOUS CONSTRAINTS" require that our people be made to focus on the conditions of the REAL 'Least Of These" in other diasporatic nations - asking our selves IF what we are building in the institutions within the Black communities of America could be transplanted to other areas in need around the world and BUILD UP a greater society rather than just relocate a CONSUMER CONSCIOUSNESS?

    This constraint of Black American Consciousness today will one day turn into a noose that cuts off the blood flow to our brain, stopping our development. When America goes insolvent - and it will - Where will our community culture stand as we are left "on our own"?

    Constructive Feedback

  • Every community has this same struggle! This is a perfect example of why we need not three parties, but four-- social/fiscal conservative (ranting talk radio nuts), social/fiscal liberal (militant hippies), social liberal/fiscal conservative (you and I, sounds like), and social conservative/fiscal liberal (many Christians, among others).

    This way, there's plenty of room for people to agree with different people on different issues, and we can get things done by forgetting about "us vs. them" nonsense and focusing on what we believe!

  • fb_avatar

    Great post and, for the most part, the comments have been good, too! I look forward to reading others.

    For the content, race, politics, finances, religion...all very difficult to discuss without emotion because they often seem integral to who we are or why we are. That being said, it feelslike a sysyphean exercise to even open the doors of discussion to changing a system -- polotical, legal, etc.

    Keep pushing the ball!

  • In reply to Curtrice:

    Good point Curtrice!

    I think that a healthy debate can be beneficial (at times) even if an answer or agreement isn't reached. We live in such a polarized time within our society that basic conversations to understand one another rarely take place anymore.

    I'm just trying to do my part!

    XOXO, KS

  • fb_avatar

    Excellent post! While I'm much less partisan than I used to be, (rumor has it that my first words were "F*ck Reagan!) it is not because I sense some new form of cooperation from the conservative side that I was raised to loathe. Rather, it is more along the lines of previous posts, stating that both political parties are apart of the larger status quo establishment. That big money will ALWAYS have more of a say about what happens in this country- and the world for that matter- than big scattered populations of individuals EVER will. Blacks v Whites Republicans v Democrat, Libertarian v Socialists, Team Jacob v Team whatever-dudes-name-is, Autobots v Decepticons.....its all the same stuff. Give people an issue (abortion, big government, environmental waste, taxes...etc) tell them why they should be afraid of it, and then tell them who is to blame for it. That's the game. And the sad part is, those people with the most to lose in the game, are not participating voluntarily and most likely not aware that they are being played.

  • In reply to William Taplin:

    Thanks William for reading my post!

    Re your comment: "And the sad part is, those people with the most to lose in the game, are not participating voluntarily and most likely not aware that they are being played."

    Amen. Amen. Amen.

  • Just a few quick questions. Can someone name a progressive Republican? Is there a Republican that supports unions? How about a Republican that supports a woman's right to choose? Can the Democratic Party be considered racist when they nominated a black man to be their candidate for President?

  • In reply to SouthSideGT:


    Thanks for your comments. In response to your questions:

    1) Yes, there are plenty of pro-choice and progressive Republicans - especially in Illinois. If you live in the state, Senator Mark Kirk has supported pro-choice policy in the past. NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg is also pro-choice (although he ran as an independent during his last election).

    2) Racism goes in a multitude of directions. Your question implies that you think Blacks can't be racist. Or that whites that voted for Obama can't be racist. I must say...I think that both of those assumptions are false.

  • In reply to Kay S:

    1.) You are kidding yourself. H.R. 3, the “No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act” passed the House with unanimous Republican support. Let's agree that 99% of the GOP is not pro-choice.

    2.) My question implies nothing of the sort. People who think that the Democratic Party is racist are either living in the past or using the past of the Democratic Party to make a non-existent "point".

  • In reply to SouthSideGT:


    Your question was whether I could name a republican who was pro-choice and I did.

    So I don't believe that I am kidding myself, I'm just answering your question.

    As to your second comment I won't respond because I can see that we will have a cyclical argument resulting in nothing useful.

    My point isn't to take up for the republican party, if you read my article you understand that that is not my goal. However, I find it interesting to observe the hypocrisy that takes place on both sides of the ideological spectrum.

    Thanks again for your comment.

  • In reply to SouthSideGT:


    1) Can you name a Progressive that has failed the Black community and gotten fired? (See Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland. Newark, Philly).

    2) Can you name a Progressive Fundamentalist that sees that the 4 proven ways to stay out of poverty is:

    A) Graduate from school
    B) Wait to have a child
    C) Obtain gainful and steady employment
    D) Get married

    With left and right agreeing to this WHY is it that the Progressive-Fundamentalists don't seem to mind to either blatantly chip away at this OR try to achieve the same effect via "social justice redistribution"?

    [quote]Can the Democratic Party be considered racist when they nominated a black man to be their candidate for President?[/quote]

    This is an absurd statement. Why didn't you say that "The Democratic Party AND corporations are people"?

    You keep focusing on the notion of "White Supremacy".
    Do you believe that assumed "Black Inferiority" is racism?
    What if, after watching what makes Black people tick for a long time and understanding that in the "American Political Domain" everyone receives one vote. As a "racist" I tell "The Least Of These" what they want to hear knowing that while they will invest their vote in a favorable manner - I can ultimately hide behind my "womb mates" that are right-wing, to hide my own believe in Black inferiority.

    I advance my IDEOLOGY but my "the masses of my Black Joint Venture Partners" remain disproportionately poor, uneducated and victims of violence - all in the "Mission Accomplished Cities" that my IDEOLOGY rules the roost.

    Is it possible SouthSideGT that this force of RACISM that you speak of can also be expressed by channeling the "Black Community Development Consciousness" into POLITICS where after 5 decades of channeling this hope I got YOUR VOTE, I am in POWER but your community's INSTITUTIONS remain in shambles.

    You, via your institutions can barely take care of yourself- let alone even thinking about leveraging your new found prosperity to help other "diasporatic Blacks".

    With far more Blacks having our "civil rights" violated by an act that is not called "Racist" I wonder why you place such a premium on RACISM?

  • You say progressive as though it's a good thing. And if you spent any time looking into the history of the union movement, you'd see how what kind of racist beginnings they came from. Unions were used to keep black people from taking "white jobs." Google it sometime. Prevailing wage law/Davis–Bacon Act - that was passed specifically to keep urban blacks from taking union jobs. Again, google is your friend. The right to choose? Hey, I'm all for that - but it's interesting that black women have about a third of all abortions while only constituting 11% of the population. Maybe think about why abortions are made so easily available to black women in particular. Really, let that one sink in.

    Obama was nominated because they thought he could win. If they thought an old toothbrush could win, they'd nominate that. The same goes for the GOP. If Cain had a snowball's chance in hell of winning, they would have nominated him. But even though conservatives hate Romney, he'll probably get the nomination because they think he can win.

  • In reply to Tinmea:

    Tinmea -

    Look at this! We agree on something!!

    I completely agree with your position on unions and Davis-Bacon. I must also admit, you gave me something to think about in regards to your position on abortion too.

  • I saw this and thought of this blog post:

    I thought I'd share.

Leave a comment

  • Advertisement:
  • Advertisement:
  • ChicagoNow is full of win

    Welcome to ChicagoNow.

    Meet our bloggers,
    post comments, or
    pitch your blog idea.

  • Meet The Blogger

    Kay S

    Kay Smith is a Chicago-based freelance writer and blogger who focuses on race, politics and urban culture. Having worked on public policy at the state, regional, city and community level, her opinions have been featured in the Chicago SunTimes and a host of news websites (under very mysterious sounding pseudonyms). Follow her on Twitter @kaywillsmith or contact her at kaywilliamsmith@gmail.com.

  • Categories

  • Subscribe via RSS

  • Subscribe via Email

    Enter your email address:

    Delivered by FeedBurner

  • Tags

  • Advertisement: