When African-Americans marched on Washington to hear the historic “I Have a Dream”speech by Martin Luther King, they were pressing for a society that looked very much like that in which they already lived – a society built on freedom; a society that protected life, liberty and the pursuits of happiness among its citizens. Many of those freedoms and protections had not been extended to African-Americans, of course. And so they came to Washington to “cash a check”(to paraphrase King) that would cover the remainder of their birthright as American citizens.
What blacks got when they cashed that check was not their birthright.
Of course the right to vote was formally recognized and began to be slowly enforced, but Washington’s main thrust was to try and paper over the decades of pain and oppression suffered by blacks with a shiny new toy – the Great Society program. The program offered to cure all the ills of black America with government entitlements – food aid, housing assistance, Medicare, a variety of educational enrichment programs and the like. ……Fifty years later, that experiment has finally earned a retrospective…….[and] helped to further entrench some of the social problems that gave rise to it….[and] became a political patronage strategy for successive generations of politicians….Today we face a situation in which social programs have grown [so that we] have to borrow funds (at great peril to our future stability) to fulfill current obligations. But more importantly, the programs themselves have not worked as intended…To Read More…..