Vol. 10, No. 9 email@example.com www.thespiritualherald.org September 2011 © 2011 Eastern Tsalagi Publishing Co.
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January 2011 (Vol. 10, No. 1)
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The Congress Is Cooking Up a Real Turkey
By Rev. Dr. Clyde Anderson
As we enter into the winter of our discontent we will find the same old issue that has been dogging us for decades: entitlements.
The issue of entitlements became quite evident when President Obama and Congressional leaders of both parties announced that they had agreed to an increase in the so-called debt ceiling. However, the agreement calls for estimated $3 trillion dollars in federal spending reductions over the next decade.
As they say, the devil is in the details. As part of the deal, they all agreed to the creation of a new Congressional Committee to recommend a deficit-reduction proposal by Thanksgiving, and a two-step increase in debt ceiling.
We obviously don’t know what the commission will recommend, but, if I were a betting man, I would say that the entitlements will be hard hit and virtually placed in the intensive care unit of the nation’s safety net for African Americans and other people of color.
The bottom line: The right wing tea parties and other conservative forces are winning in their campaign to eliminate or weaken Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other safety net programs.
The 87 members of the Congressional tea party must be our target if we are to save the entitlements. During the summer, they held the nation hostage by demanding that the president “reform” the entitlements, which, to us, means cut the costs of the programs so drastically that they will no longer be effective.
These programs are just as important as public accommodations, voting rights and other gains made during the past half century. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has turned over in his grave repeatedly this past summer as he saw the tea partiers succeed in bring our nation to its knees. Yes, they won round one, but there are many other rounds to go. Will we go into training and be ready?
Our trainers must be the clergy. They must again spring into action and set the pace. Churches have the organizational structure and force necessary to take on the tea partiers and others.
But, sadly many of our men and women of the clergy have been silent. “How long, how long?” must we wait for them to get ready to help lead us.
Another group is the Black Congressional Caucus. Not all, of course, but many members of the Caucus have not been as forthcoming as they could be. They should take on the tea party Congress. It is a sad fact, but many members of the Black Caucus do not like our president and they have not provided him with the kind of backing that they should have.
The clergy can change that scenario overnight. They should look at the individual districts of members of the Congress and conduct voter drives. They should hold each member of the Caucus accountable to see what they have done to specifically address the issue of entitlements.
Without entitlements to offset the lack of jobs, we will be headed back to the dark ages. Seniors in their 60s and older will recall what life was like before Medicare and Medicaid—programs that have directly helped African Americans.
And don’t forget about Social Security. The majority of all of the recipients are reportedly on social security are people of color. A white-collar worker may be able to work until the age of 68 or perhaps even 70. But a man or woman who has been doing hard, manual labor all his or her life cannot.
Think about it this way: how many men and women past the age of 60 require an afternoon nap? I don’t know of any statistics, but I would say that the number is extremely high.
If the tea partiers can get away with raising the age to 68, why not 75? They will get away with anything they can if we let them.
Only God knows the outcome of how the entitlements will be cut. We can only pray that the Lord will give us the strength, intelligence and conviction to fight efforts that are morally reprehensible. The tea partiers are the descendants of the right wingers who opposed civil rights during the 1960s.
They are carrying on their struggle while we continue to reminisce and dream about “the good old days” when we were establishing our freedom and independence in America.
We believe that President Obama has worked hard to protect these programs, but we also believe that he may cave in just enough to destroy them. Like with our principles, we must draw a sharp line between compromise and selling out—whether it is intentional or not.
Our president has a history of seeking the middle road, but that is not always the correct course to take when it comes to matters involving life and death.
We are concerned, in particular, about the future of Medicaid, the poor man’s insurance program. Without it, we will continue to see a rise in racial health care disparities, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, asthma, HIV/AIDS and heart disease. The rates are skyrocketing each day.