The more time passes, the more I understand the wisdom of my father and the source of his determination to make it on his own terms. It was not always this way; during my youth I rebelled against everything my dad did and thought he was a closed-minded conservative who was being brainwashed by Republicanism. Two decades after his passing from lung cancer, I see my father all together differently; I recognize him for being the true hero that he was because he chose self-empowerment over enslavement.
We used to duke it out all the time in the back of his taxi; as much as I hate to admit it now, he was a dedicated listener of Rush Limbaugh and would torture me in his cab by making me listen to the racist bloviator who took his last breath a couple of days ago. During commercial breaks, we would declare war on each other and engage in the blood sport of politics as he drove around in Washington, DC. He taught me the value of being impeccable; one false fact or a a misstatement on my part would lead to instant dismissal of all my other assertions.
One particular occasion, my father and I started debating the legacy of Lyndon Baines Johnson. I have never seen my dad so animated before; I realized that cold January day that my father despised LBJ more than he hated Bill and Hillary Clinton. His level of repulsion when he talked about Johnson was immeasurable; I have never seen my dad so riled up as he lashed into the once Senator from Texas. He tried to tell me, though I was too foolish to understand, that Johnson was responsible, more than any recession or the “crack epidemic”, for the decimation of the “black family”. I countered that Democrats were helping minorities and that the “war on poverty” was aimed at alleviating generational privation that had mauled African-Americans since Abraham Lincoln “emancipated” slaves.
In hindsight, after witnessing the dreadful condition of “black” people in America personally, I understand what my father was trying to teach me. I finally see LBJ’s true depth of depravity and the wickedness behind Democrat’s malicious charity. Far from giving a hand-up to marginalized people, welfare actually moored them into the abyss of dependency. By incentivizing single-person households and penalizing two parents living in the same domicile, welfare encouraged fathers to vacate and leave their families to be raised by single mothers. Moreover, welfare made people choose between state assistance and self-sufficiency. What the US government offered was a program of addiction whereby recipients would give up their independence and instead sign on to become wards of the state.
Take away people’s desire to work and you introduce them to spiritual death. We do best when we eat from the fruits of our labor; this is why men and women who retire and stop working die shortly after they accept their golden watches. Such was the reality of my father Fikremariam Million, a man who worked tirelessly ever since he was a teenager and a former Ethiopian naval officer all the sudden had his passion to live sucked out of his body. Though it was cancer that robbed him of life, the inability to work and provide for his family was the underlying reason my dad lost his joie de vivre. Faced with an uncertain future and the thought that he would no longer be the breadwinner for his wife and children, my dad slowly ceded the will to live.
This same spiritual death is evident in countless millions of Americans who have to negotiate between rent, food and finding purpose in life. All too often, purpose takes a back seat to expediency as people choose short term benefits only to lose their long term autonomy. Workers are gashed by Democrats and Republicans alike; while the latter impoverish the bottom 90% through fiscal policies that favor the wealthy, the former cripple the poor, working and middle-class only to hand them crutches after the fact. We are forced to choose between two equally malicious parties that are owned by corporations and are actively working against our collective interests.
We are now entrenched firmly in an era where workers have become modern day sharecroppers and corporations are the neo-plantations. As more and more of us fall into the black hole of financial ruins, the only thing we are offered in exchange is the abdication of our financial independence. Like the devil peddling apples, Democrats market paternalism as a panacea when in reality it is a poison that is killing our spirits. The little we receive by way of government alms is outweighed by the freedoms we lose the minute we accept their “safety net”.
There is another way beyond government interference in our lives being hawked by Democrats and the Ayn Randian approach preferred by Republicans. The way forward is to empower our communities by retaining our resources locally, reinvesting our monies where we live and taking power away from corporatism. To do this, we need to decentralize as much as possible and stop feeding into the broken philosophy of federalism. Only when we support each other financially and invest in our neighborhoods will we start making authentic advancements. We can either follow the model of the Black Panther Party or we can go the way of dodo birds.
If you want to know why the middle-class has disappeared, why the working class are now the working poor and why the wealth gap has grown into a chasm, look no further than welfare and you will realize the largess of Democrats is really financial bondage. This is the undeniable truth that Democrats cannot refute, “black” families were better off during segregation than they are now after decades of welfare, food stamps and government subsidies. The 'war on poverty' was never about alleviating suffering, LBJ and @theDemocrats used stealth to decimate families and trapped millions into a cycle of perpetual dependency. #WelfareIsWarfare Click To Tweet
“Charity degrades those who receive it and hardens those who dispense it.” ~ George Sand
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