You know President Obama thinks he is in trouble with his liberal base when he lapses into what used to be called "jive talk" before an audience of Congressional Black Caucus members. Dropping his "g's", the president admonished the group to "stop complainin'."
"Who's he talking about?" Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat, asked puzzled, keeping the "g."
Some African-Americans have reason to complain. For decades they have given Democrats their votes, while receiving little in return, except government checks and a welfare system that has become as addictive as cocaine. In fact, the programs themselves are a kind of drug, which has doomed generations of poor blacks to a shoddy education, single motherhood, absent fathers, crime and incarceration.
This summer, the unemployment rate among blacks increased to 16.7 percent, the highest level in 27 years, almost twice the national rate. In 1984, black leaders blamed joblessness on Ronald Reagan. They are reluctant to blame America's first black president (if you don't count Bill Clinton), and instead have launched a jobs tour to focus on the problem.
Obama's approval rating among blacks has declined 25 percent in the last five months, from 83 percent to 58 percent, according to a Washington Post-ABC News Poll.
This isn't the first time Obama has lectured his base. Exactly one year ago, the president said, "Buck up. Stop whining. And get to work." He didn't tell them where or how to find work if they were unemployed.
Liberal Washington Post columnist Courtland Milloy, an African-American, wrote, "It's hard to see how the plight of black people could get any worse, even under a President (Herman) Cain." The tone of Milloy's column suggests Obama only pays attention to black people when he wants their votes.
Before the Congressional Black Caucus, President Obama said, "I expect all of you to march with me and press on. Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes."
Instead of blindly marching to the polls to again vote for Obama and other Democrats, African-Americans should march out of the schools that are failing their children. They should demand from politicians who can afford to send their children to expensive private schools -- like the Obamas -- the same choice those "evil" rich people enjoy.
A bright future begins with a good education. Too many African-Americans are being deprived of an education by their Democratic bosses who doom them to a future of welfare dependency and despair because they will not let them flee failing schools.
I would be willing to wager several mortgage payments on an experiment. Take one dozen poor minority children and allow them to attend private schools where they are loved, encouraged and motivated to do well. Take another dozen and let them remain in failing schools where drugs and guns proliferate and they live in despair without being able to spell the word.
Oh wait. That is already being done in an increasing number of charter schools around the country and through groups like the Children's Scholarship Fund in New York City, which underwrites the cost of a low-income child's private, often parochial, education. The academic and social results in these schools are astounding.
If children learn to value themselves, they are more likely to be motivated to do well in school and as adults and less likely to have babies while still in their own childhood.
The keys to a successful life are known: stay in school and receive a good education; get married before you have children and then stay married; develop character qualities such as virtue and honesty; have a purpose for living beyond yourself; refrain from taking drugs; avoid the company of criminals and other bad influences.
Disillusionment with this president has set in with many of the young people who viewed him as a messianic figure four years ago. According to an AP-GfK poll, 27 percent of young Democrats under age 45 say the president is not a strong leader.
They are already marching, but it's away from the president.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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