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Do Democrats care about Blacks interests?

admin | 2/1/2012, 7:30 a.m.

State Representative Allen West doesnt think so Republican Congressman Allen West, who represents Floridas 22nd District [West Palm Beach], recently led a discussion on Capitol Hill with about one dozen Black Republicans in what he calls the first of many conservative Black forums. His goal, he says, is to begin to articulate and connect conservative principles back to the Black community. In an exclusive interview with The Miami Times, he said, Its time to break down public misconceptions about Blacks and the monolithic nature of Black voters and their tendency to vote for Democrats. Does West think that the interests of Blacks are being addressed within the Democratic Party? Without hesitation, he replied, No. In a survey taken last summer, 33 percent of Blacks identify themselves as conservatives but still vote in a block with Democrats, he said. Still Black unemployment is almost at 17 percent with Black teens facing a rate of 40 percent. Blacks are facing problems in the U.S. of biblical proportions. What I am proposing is that Blacks need to do what folks do with their financial investment. You dont put all of your money in one fund neither should all Blacks continue to rely on the Democratic Party. If we want equality as it relates to political capital, then we must diversify join the Republican Party so that we remain relevant and to ensure that our voices are heard.

Criticisms of political grandstanding

West wants more Blacks to admit that they espouse conservative values and beliefs, but even more, he says Blacks need to take control of their own destinies. I grew up in the inner city of Atlanta but now represent one of the highest per capita zip codes in the country, he said. We have to start looking at our values and interests and diversify so that we can take advantage of the opportunities that currently exist for all of our citizens. We are losing generations and our inner cities look more like war zones. Thats because no one is looking after our interests not even the Democrats. West adds that there is a difference between the equality of opportunity and the equality of achievement. We all have access to the ladder that we can climb to achieve our personal goals, but sometimes people fall off that ladder, he said. Thats when there needs to be a safety net provided by the government. But I strongly stand against allowing someone to dictate what is or how much is my fair share. That only leads us down the road of economic dependency. The key is that the U.S. is still a place that supports an equality of opportunity. When I look at some of our politicians, all I see is a lot of grandstanding. They arent promoting the right kinds of policies that would help us reduce this countrys exorbitant debt while opening up opportunities for small businesses that would infuse capital back into peoples pockets. As for the ongoing battle between Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, West says he is tired of the politics of demagoguery. I wasnt happy with the way [John] Boehner [speaker of the House] handled the whole payroll tax thing, West said. We have to get together both parties and we need to allow for bi-partisan legislation that helps our citizens, especially homeowners who are facing foreclosure. Im tired of good policy decisions being trumped by political demagoguery. By D. Kevin McNeir kmcneir@miamitimesonline.com