Fred C. Dobbs’ rant, and my reply

The Dunwoody Crier – our weekly neighborhood paper, the kind supported by ads from realtors, local eateries, salons, chiropractors, and so on, is a right-leaning little rag. A week or so ago, they published a very cranky letter from Fred C. Dobbs, wherein he decried “black Americans of a certain sub-culture.” Here’s the response I just sent in:

To the editor:
In Fred Dobbs’ angry rant I see two complaints: first, he believes that some poor black Americans who live in risky neighborhoods with insufficient police enforcement and bad schools and limited access to medical care and under-funded public transportation systems which they need to get to low-paying service jobs with no health insurance benefits make bad choices to keep themselves poor and on public assistance, while blaming very nice hard-working self-sufficient white Americans like Fred C. Dobbs for their situation; and second, he believes that nasty pandering politicians from a wicked political party did a flip-flop that moved these poor black Americans to a “modernised version of the plantation” while taking some of Fred C. Dobbs’ hard-earned money and giving it to these undeserving poor black Americans in order to keep them poor and to get themselves – the Democrats, not the poor black Americans – re-elected. (Oh, and they took some unspecified rights of his, too. And he doesn’t like some of the self-appointed media-anointed “spokespersons” of these poor black people. Or some of their music either. Grrr.) Well, I’d feel angry and tired and defensive too, if the problem is as he describes it.

But that’s only part of the picture. There’s always abuse and waste in government, sure, but it’s there in companies and corporations too – and there’s much success in all those places, too. The programs that Fred C. Dobbs complains about, that we all pay for, help more people than he realizes. Civil rights protections, jobs, education, health care, transportation, public safety – for all the well-publicized waste and the corruption, immeasurable good still comes from it. Millions of lives are changed for the better. Look at the economic expansion of the 1990’s: some of that growth was spurred by government spending, and some of that made a difference to… poor black Americans! But that doesn’t bring eyeballs to the TV, or callers to talk radio – it isn’t outrageous, so it isn’t news. The small part of the picture Fed C. Dobbs describes that would make anyone angry is news. Anger sells. Since mostly all we can see is the bad part of the picture, we can get angry about it like Fred C. Dobbs does.

Since Fred C. Dobbs reads the Crier, he’s one of my neighbors. I’d welcome the chance to talk with him as a neighbor if he wants to get angry about a much larger example of how nasty wicked pandering flip-flopping politicians spend his tax dollars on undeserving people, people who don’t happen to be poor black Americans. There are many things he could feel angry about that just don’t make compelling TV or good talking points on talk radio. I’d suggest looking into the $9 billion that the Coalition Provisional Authority “lost” in Iraq as a starting point. I’m just saying.