LeBron James, Competition and the American Dream

Lurita Doan
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Posted: Jul 12, 2010 12:00 AM
LeBron James, Competition and the American Dream

Democrat political orthodoxy implies that government carve-outs, handouts and social welfare programs are the only way Black Americans can "get their fair share" of the American Dream. These congressional leaders could learn a lot from LeBron James' extraordinary $100+million contract with Miami.

Democrat leaders would learn that the American Dream is alive and well for all Americans willing to compete for it. Free markets and competition remain the most effective way to ensure prosperity, while set-asides and welfare programs are short-term entitlements that create long-term dependency. But, Democrats don’t seem to want to hear this message.

The credibility of many Democrats in congress and Democrat Black leaders in the U.S. is at stake. It’s hard to remain relevant and advance the message that minorities need the government’s help to compete when a Black man is elected leader of the country, when one of the greatest media moguls is a black woman and some of the highest paid athletes and entertainers are Black Americans.

We’ve seen Democrats resort to finger pointing and guilt tripping as a way to divert attention from Obama’s failed fiscal policies. And of course, the “R” word—racism—is the coup d’grâce, issued when needed to silence detractors. Whether it’s Jimmy Carter

, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Van Jones or the recent, King Shebazz -- New Black Panther circus, hurling the epithet of “racist” at white citizens has a chilling effect and shows we are still a long way from the “post-racial” paradise promised by Obama.

Clearly Democrats don’t get it, and some clarification is needed. Republicans are unhappy with Obama, not because he is African American, but because his current policies are hostile to free market capitalism, bloat federal spending, increase out-of-control deficits, crush small businesses, expand entitlements and bury future generations under mountains of debt. Perhaps the real racist ideas are those that imply that Black Americans are incapable of competing without handouts or special, protected status.

Black Americans are a diverse group. We have diverse ancestry, from African to West Indian, slave and freemen. We’re light-skinned and dark-skinned, with hair of every texture and color. Some of us speak with accents and some of us do not. The Black American community is filled with intelligent, educated and talented individuals. We can compete as equals in any arena we choose, and we don’t need the approval or assistance of a big brother type of government to ensure our success.

Congress could extrapolate valuable lessons from watching LeBron James’ competitive business negotiations

which offer proof positive that Black Americans not only are competitive, but that they excel when competing.

Does anyone think that Tiger Woods should be given a few extra strokes to help “level the playing field” in golf? Or that Oprah should be given special set-aside programs to help her media empire become more competitive in business? Or that Maya Angelou needs legislation to force people to read her poetry? Of course not.

Whether talking sports, business or intellectual pursuits, Black Americans are competitive when not hampered by the initiative-killing, negative stereotyping, hypocritical policies of dependency pushed by many Democrats. Sure, competition is hard. Sure, some will fail. But, under the incentivizing liberty of free market competition even more will succeed.

Democrat leaders in Congress and in the Black community claim special entitlements are needed to help minorities prosper. I do not agree. Encouraging entitlement dependence ensures a perpetual cycle of failure where Black Americans grow increasingly dependent on entitlements, which in turn creates a permanent underclass electorate vested in voting for those who vote for more entitlements.

What I, and many other minorities, have recognized is that increased entitlements and social welfare programs which claim to level the playing field actually hamper minorities by limiting what they can achieve. But this belief is heresy to many Democrats who seem to think they need to take care of minorities. And, those of us daring to speak against the Democrats’ flawed orthodoxy become victims of Democrat-launched personal attacks that imply that any Black American who does not adhere to the Dems’ rigid orthodoxy is either stupid or a traitor to their race.

Republicans and Democrats don’t agree on free markets or the power of competition. That’s okay. That’s how democracy works. But, the next step—engaging in the respectful exchange of ideas leading to compromises that benefit Americans—can’t occur if Democrat leaders resort to name-calling, finger pointing and hurling racist allegations into Republican faces every time Dems are on the losing end of an honest policy dispute.

Free market capitalism is a competitive system that creates prosperity and it’s a system that works. Hopefully, Democrats in congress can learn from LeBron James that competition and choice are the real road to prosperity.