Skip to comments.A new declaration of independence (Super Article)
Posted on 08/29/2002 3:46:26 PM PDT by where's_the_Outrage?
It's time for a change. In fact, it's long past time for that.
After careful consideration and due deliberation - including some not-so-gentle prodding from some of you - I'm coming around in my way of thinking.
Such movement requires the resolve of a contortionist, some might conclude. But the changes in my philosophical approaches really are merely subtle. These changes have been coming for quite some time now.
What's the best way to advance the plight of an oppressed people? That's been a constant in my mental machinations for much of my life. I've followed the lead of Solomon, Aristotle, Frederick Douglass, Ida Bell Wells, W.E.B. DuBois and Malcolm X. Others have figured as well, to lesser degrees. Of late I've even mixed in some John Stallworth.
Essentially, I continue to consider what's the best way for me to accomplish my goals as a person, as a black person. In a broader sense, I'm trying to understand what is the best way to improve the plight of a people - black people.
Many of my suggestions have centered on unpaid debts and unresolved relationships. Don't get me wrong. The debts are still unpaid and the relationships still dysfunctional. Many of the failings of black America, past and present, can be traced, directly and indirectly, to the racial climate: We failed because so many people wanted us to fail; we failed because so many people helped us to fail.
Though there's truth to that, most of our failures resulted because we - I - didn't work hard enough.
I should be an independent soul. My failings are my fault. Of course, I can use some help along the way. There's nothing wrong with interdependence. But total dependence is all wrong.
I am responsible for how far I go in life. I'm the one charged with maintaining the vehicle that carries me on the long journey of life.
If a tire is flat, if the engine blows, if the tank runs dry, I have failed. I didn't take care of business.
Yes, I could have benefited from some advance assistance. The others that whizzed past me on the freeway of life could have stopped to assist. But, all in all, the ultimate result of the trip was mine.
We can look at the fate of a people or a culture by projecting this situation in a microcosm and a macrocosm. Who is most responsible for helping an individual or a country fare well? Ultimately, it's the power of one. It should be a matter of independence.
Things like minority set-asides, affirmative action, racial bonuses, even reparations, are nice aids and crutches but are no longer required.
To paraphrase soul master James Brown: Get out the way, I'll do it myself.
Yes, other individuals can help and should help each person survive and thrive. Those persons of means, especially those closest in terms of relationship, have a moral responsibility to assist.
Likewise, in the global sense. ''Have'' countries have a moral obligation to assist ''have-not'' countries. But the ultimate responsibility rests with each country, its leaders and its people.
The deliberations now under way in Johannesburg by thousands of world leaders and environmental activists helped me sort through my mind's muddled mess.
The world summit is designed to have the ''have'' and the ''have-not'' countries determine the best ways to eliminate poverty. How can we best assist the one billion (of six billion globally) who subsist on less than $1 a day? How can we feed the two billion people who go to sleep hungry every night?
Who should be responsible for the masses?
The biblical entreaties dictate that each of us is our brother's and sister's keeper. But ultimately, each of us is responsible for caring for each of us.
My sagacious pursuits bring me to this realization. I arrived here more by my own efforts than with the assistance and even in spite of the resistance of others. I'm my own man, in other words.
So I'll take care of me and mine. If you care to assist, that's good. You can help a brother out. But if you don't, that's OK, too. I'll take any offers of a hand-up. But no more hand-outs.
Columnist Ben Johnson's e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ben, thank you.
As the saying goes: God helps those that help themselves.
I wouldn't let my son take his vehicle (mine that he uses) to Disney Word to work during the summer, he said I stopped him. I told him not to let some SOB stand in his way, he can make it despite me, all he needed was himself.
Hope Ben remains at the Huntville Times, revelations like this can get him alienated.
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