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Jewish World Review August 4, 2005/ 28 Tammuz, 5765

Larry Elder

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Sharpton: Dems take Blacks for granted | The Democratic Party takes blacks for granted, according to former Democratic Party presidential candidate Rev. Al Sharpton.

Never mind that each one of the 2004 Democratic presidential candidates pledged to support race-based preferences. Or that the Democratic Party agrees with the NAACP's opposition to vouchers, arguing that they threaten a child's ability to get a good education. Or that the Democratic Party, like the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP and the Urban League, all support some form of Hillary-Care.

Take blacks for granted? Democratic candidates, almost on cue, troop down to black churches around election time, precisely so that no one argues that the candidate takes blacks for granted. On taxes, spending, race-based preferences, skepticism about the War in Iraq and opposition to private Social Security savings accounts, the Democratic Party takes the position held by most blacks, and most blacks take the position held by the Democratic Party. What's left? Reparations for slavery?

Given Sharpton's newfound disgust for the Democratic Party, does this mean he suggests that blacks reconsider their monolithic Democratic votes, and open their minds and hearts to the Republican Party?

The Republicans, after all, long advocated vouchers, at least on a limited basis, for failing inner-city schools. A 1999 Harvard University study on the Cleveland, Ohio, voucher program found voucher parents more satisfied with their kids' education than public school parents. In Milwaukee, Wisconsin — home of the nation's oldest and largest urban voucher program — students involved must come from low-income families, with many minority students coming from broken homes. In Milwaukee, 64 percent of students using a voucher to enter ninth grade in 1999 graduated in 2003, compared to 36 percent of Milwaukee public school students. The six Milwaukee public high schools that have academic admission requirements — as do many private schools — only had a 41 percent graduation rate. In an NPR interview in January 2003, Sharpton said, "I believe in public education, do not believe in going into privatization, whether that be through vouchers or other schemes." Will he reconsider?

Studies show that lowering college admission standards increases the chances that an "affirmative action" admittee drops out. In 2001, the Detroit News compared graduation rates at seven Michigan colleges and universities, and found that, within six years, blacks graduate at a rate of 40 percent compared to 61 percent for whites and 74 percent for Asians. Despite programs "aimed at helping black students meet financial, social and academic challenges," the News found that "[u]niversities knowingly admit students who have a high chance of failing. . . . The 10 years worth of data analyzed by The News shows that the more selective a university is in choosing its students, the more likely its students are to graduate." Can we expect Sharpton to reconsider his position on preferences?

About taxes, President John F. Kennedy said, "[I]t is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high today and tax revenues are too low — and the soundest way to raise revenues in the long run is to cut rates now." About President Bush's tax cuts, even The Washington Post, in an editorial, called the cuts "fortuitously well timed." Sharpton once criticized Bush's tax cuts for "the wealthy," and said, "George Bush giving tax breaks is like Jim Jones giving Kool-Aid. It tastes good, but it'll kill you." With inflation low, interest rates modest, a declining deficit and 5 percent unemployment, will Sharpton reconsider?

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Blacks living in the inner city disproportionately suffer from crime. Studies show that in the 34 "shall issue" states where citizens may obtain permits for concealed weapons, crime declined in 31 of them — with the remaining three so recently becoming "shall issue" states that no definitive studies are available yet. Residents of Washington, D.C., a city that's 60 percent black, live under some of the nation's most restrictive anti-gun laws. Any civilian D.C. resident who owns a handgun — unless registered before 1976 — commits a crime. The laws require that owners keep their guns unloaded and disassembled or trigger-locked in the home. Yet Washington, D.C., per capita, suffers from an extremely high murder rate. Bad guys don't walk into gun stores, politely fill out registration forms, and then use those very same guns in crime. Gun control hurts the most vulnerable of Americans — those living in urban areas. In a 2003 presidential debate, Rev. Al said, "I think that we must do whatever we can to regulate how guns are used." Will he reconsider?

Recall Sharpton began his career by falsely accusing a former assistant district attorney of rape. Sharpton's M.O. is simple: blame the White Man; blame the System; continue a status quo defense of government schools; bash the police; demand handouts, programs, set-asides, loans and grants for "the disadvantaged."

The Democratic Party says to blacks, "You're a victim. We're here to help." Does Sharpton have the guts to turn to his party's leadership and say, "Stop treating us like victims"? When and if that happens, some will wonder whether Al's been drinking Jim Jones' Kool-Aid.

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JWR contributor Larry Elder is the author of, most recently, "Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies and the Special Interests That Divide America." (Proceeds from sales help fund JWR) Let him know what you think of his column by clicking here.

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© 2005, Creators Syndicate