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Friday, June 10, 2005

The Politics of Greed

What's in it for me?

People get involved in politics because they want to affect their societies - some for the purpose of creating their version of a more perfect union, others for the purpose of personal gain. The biggest problem with politics in America today is that the latter group greatly outnumbers the former group - everybody is out for self: "What's in it for me?" Maslow's Hierarchy At a basic level this is not a bad thing - the whole hierarchy of needs thing - but the problem is when political policies reflect greed instead of need. If we are given a choice between either feeding the homeless who would otherwise starve or giving a tax break to a billionaire then our ethical imperative should be clear, but the Republican Party opts for the tax break every time.

You would think that the political party that claims to be the only viable party for Bible-believing Christians would actually read the Bible. During the Olivet Discourse Jesus said that it is important to feed the hungry, invite in the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and love the imprisoned - so much so that it showed the difference between those who were heaven-bound and hell-bound - yet these are the very initiatives that the GOP gleefully sacrifices upon the altar of tax cuts. No man can serve two masters according to Jesus - you cannot serve both God and Money - and it seems to me that the GOP serves Money while they pimp God. They trot God out whenever they need to fire up their base, but when it comes to actually honoring God with their deeds they demonstrate that while they honor God with their lips their hearts are far from Him. Big Money always gets its due while God gets empty platitudes from the GOP.

The truth is that many Democrats serve Money as well, so we have to get a tall stack of it if we are going to bring them into line with the needs of our communities. This is why African-Americans For Democracy is committed to building the Black Donor Class. If we cannot get politicians to support the greater good, to support the least of these our brothers, then we have to make them support their own self-preservation - we need a lot of money to be used for our friends and against our enemies. We have to be able to inflict great pain upon those who would do harm to our communities' interests, and we must be able to bestow great pleasure to those who implement our issues. That takes money, and while most people don't have a large amount of disposable income to be used to influence politicians, collectively we can make a huge difference for our communities with our small donations. We have to, because the Republican Party is pursuing a vicious version of the politics of greed. Our communities are vulnerable to this because, as DuBois warned, we mistake the means of living for the object of life. We have to go make a difference. It is time for the Talented Tenth to step up and make a difference for our community.

Are you ready to make a difference?

Emancipated by Athanasius @ 1:14 AM

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Amen! I've had a chance to talk to some of my local elected officials -- one of whom is running for re-election -- and they've all told me that the next step for African-Americans is to contribute cold, hard cash. Because they remember who donated even $10 to their campaigns. And guess which people get a quicker call back? That's right, their donors.

Posted by Blogger Akilah Stewart @ Friday, June 10, 2005 5:22:00 PM #

Lord knows that's true. One thing that we need to do in looking long-term is working with people who are running for office for the first time. By making inroads with them early in their career - when they're running for alderman or something like that - we'll have a long track record with them by the time they run for Congress or the Senate. It's all about making friends and influencing people - that's politics.

Posted by Blogger Athanasius @ Friday, June 10, 2005 9:40:00 PM #

Another tactic I learned about recently, is for people in a community to create a group focused on whatever their primary issue is, name it in a way that describes its purpose, then invite your elected reps to come speak. They remember the constituent groups.

Bigger turnout has a bigger impact, but low turnout should not disuade you from having the event. In such a setting, you get to ask questions and expect answers. These people work for US, they are accountable to US.

If you can get your local media to show up and cover the event, all the better. Pre-prime them with info about the issue, your group, and why the issue is important to the media's local audience, and the coverage is likely to be better than if they come in cold.

Posted by Anonymous mataliandy @ Friday, June 10, 2005 10:22:00 PM #

RE: mataliandy said @ 10:22 PM

That's a really good idea - maybe we can do something like that at DemocracyFest. Definitely something to consider. Thanks.

Posted by Blogger Athanasius @ Friday, June 10, 2005 10:59:00 PM #

I think it's about what we can do by education and/or example to cultivate this as a regular practice in the communities where Black folks live.

How can we empower other people? How can we collect ideas like this, and give them away to our communities, with a hope that these things matters can make a difference?

Posted by Blogger Quintus Jett @ Friday, June 10, 2005 11:23:00 PM #
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