November 21, 2019

Changing our Culture

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has made an overt attempt to coax the black community to consider voting for him this coming fall. In a typical campaign speech, Trump will recite a litany of problems plaguing the black communities: failing schools, crippling poverty, massive unemployment, and violent crime. On occasion, Trump will end this list with the question, “What in the h*** do you have to lose by voting for me?” Trump then promises that if he is elected president, those problems will eventually be eliminated or, at least, significantly mitigated, and a new age will come to the inner cities.

As a successful businessman, Trump sees the crisis of the black community as a lack of economic opportunity. His solution is to eliminate the regulations and onerous tax burdens that destroy businesses and stifle entrepreneurship. Once the government gets out of the way, the free market will take over. Businesses will flourish, resulting in hundreds of thousands of new jobs. With a chance to make a good living, many young black males will become responsible citizens, thus diminishing crime and poverty. When children see that their futures can be bright and promising, they will also see that knowledge can take them to unlimited heights. As a result, they will take education more seriously, and schools will be places of serious learning.

As a free-market conservative, I see some of the wisdom of Trump’s plan to ease the plight of the black community. Getting government out of the way can have a dramatic role in economic growth. But would a wise economic program be enough to really stop the death spiral so prevalent in many large urban areas? I submit that it would not.

Why? Because this death spiral is not caused by government malfeasance. Eliminate all government corruption and all government socialist policies tomorrow, and there would still be a cancer in the black community that will destroy any serious attempt to make them places of growth and safety. And that cancer is a decaying culture that has lost nearly any sense of proper moral behavior. And culture always trumps (pun intended) politics.

The lynchpin of a healthy society is the nuclear family–a mother, a father, and children. It is in such a home that children learn the value of hard work, respect for themselves and others, honesty, selflessness, compassion, love, and honor. A young boy learns what it means to be a man and how to properly relate to women. A young girl learns how to act like a woman and how to properly relate to men. Both learn to value their sexuality and that sex is reserved for marriage.

In addition, a proper family attends church on a regular basis. The children learn to understand their roles as children of God and what responsibilities that entails. They learn that there is a higher power than themselves and that God has established laws that will enable them to live an abundant life.

Numerous studies prove the incredible value of the intact family when it comes to keeping children from illegal and dangerous activities that so often destroy their futures.

So, how many such families do we have in the poorest urban areas? Very few. As a result, we have two generations of young people who have never been taught the virtues listed above. They have rarely experienced an intact family, and church attendance is almost non-existent. Instead of the abundant life, it is a life of vulgarity, violence, and ignorance.

People raised in such a culture will not be able to thrive in an economy envisioned by Mr. Trump. If a young man has never been taught the value of hard work, why would he even seek a job? And if he ever was hired, would he understand the obligation to come to work when scheduled and be on time? Would he have any concept of what it means to give his employer on honest day’s work?

If a girl has a mother, aunts, siblings, and friends who have never been married but have several children with a variety of men, will they have a chance to be chaste and avoid the pitfalls of single motherhood?

If young children are raised in an environment where education is not valued, books are never read, and the television is on twenty-four seven, will these youngsters have success in school and be able to parley their learning into higher education or training that leads to a bright future?

With rare exceptions, the answer to all these questions is no.

Recently, on a talk-radio station in Detroit, the host asked a member of the police union why there were not more black officers on the force. Was it a matter of budget constraints? The man replied that money was not an issue. The problem, he said, was that most of the men who apply for the force fail the drug test. Enough said.

Change the culture and change the future. The billion-dollar question is, how do we change the culture?

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Written by
Thomas Addis

THOMAS ADDIS is a retired high school teacher and published author, most recently authoring a children's book, A Gift of Light, which is available at Amazon. An M.A. graduate of Oakland University, he is Associate Editor of Catholic Journal. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and cycling.

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Written by Thomas Addis
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