One of the most exciting issues candidate Donald Trump talked about while campaigning was taking on the problem of inner city crime, joblessness, and the hopeless despair associated with them both. Candidate Trump believed it didn’t have to be that way. His talk was aspirational and action-oriented. The Left, of course, heard racism and the worst kind of stereotypes. There are multiple examples of white leftist organizations being offended on behalf of the inner cities they claim to know better than old white guy Trump. (See here, here, and here.)
As usual, the media and the Democrats they represent, are wrong. While they heard racism, normal people heard hope. Real hope — not the empty rhetoric of a smooth Democrat, Barack Obama, saying the right words but making no difference for the people he claimed to care so much about.
Donald Trump outlined his economic plan in Detroit in August of 2016 and he contrasted Democrat rule with his ideas. (Read his speech here.) It wasn’t just what he was saying, which was powerful, and as everyone can see, effective in practice, but where he was saying it. He was not giving up Detroit. This matters.
Democrats have talked a good game for decades but delivered so little to their constituents. President Obama was a pro at spouting pretty platitudes and then jetting off to Martha’s Vineyard. A good portion of the Democrat base noticed this hypocrisy, even as they said little. President Obama conceded that some things just weren’t going to get better and that practical people must just get used to it. Surrender to misery.
Candidate Trump did not accept that premise. Bullheaded to a fault, he didn’t and doesn’t believe that the killings in Chicago are inevitable, as an example. He doesn’t believe that joblessness is a given. He doesn’t believe there is no hope for families.
Voters were right to be skeptical about any politician promising the things Trump promised. As the economy has turned around and tax cuts result in record low unemployment, as people return to work, hope returns with it. Tackling crime-ridden forgotten parts of cities as in Chicago doesn’t seem impossible.
So tomorrow, President Trump will sit down with Chicago native Kanye West and talk problems and solutions. While the leftist white folk at places like Vox, the Nation, and all the rest call the President racist for naming a problem that obviously exists, normal people are watching. Kanye fans are watching. The South Side of Chicago is watching. Maybe Kanye is right. Maybe the President does care.
The thing is, President Trump can hardly do worse than Obama and at least by naming the problems they can be defined. As Freud noted, the cure is in the correct diagnosis.
Ellen DeGeneres featured a principal from New Jersey who is turning around the lives of children with love, washing machines, and after school programs. He describes his sorrow at boy and girl students, his “babies,” dying, getting shot. Who is okay with American children tip-toeing through gang-infested streets to get to school? Who is okay with American children avoiding school because their clothes smell because they have no washer to wash them? This is an abomination and any thinking person is offended at the problem, and thrills that there is a principal that ushers in a solution.
How about this idea? What if there’s a way for children to feel safe getting to school and have fresh clothes because they have parents who have jobs and can afford to clean them? What if it is possible?
These issues are complex and difficult which is why a guy like Barack Obama shrugged his shoulders and gave infrastructure funding to his green energy donor buddies. That equation is simple: give money to those who will give money to you. He avoided the problems of Newark and Chicago.
In contrast, Donald Trump seems genuinely offended that these problems exist in America. He’s right. It is shameful that there are such disparities in education and opportunity. It is offensive that it has become acceptable that politicians shrug their shoulders at massive unemployment for blue collar workers. It’s offensive that politicians can ignore problems that seventy years of social welfare programs have made worse, not better. These charlatans still get elected and produce nothing.
This is America. After decades of the War on Poverty there should be some wins.
Kanye West will come to the White House and talk about the problems in the city he loves and his daughter is named for. This is not some b.s. beer summit to walk back accusations of racism where there was none. This is a conversation between two successful men about finding solutions and coming together to solve some problems. It’s heartening.
Like many Americans, Kanye has lost his best friend (Jay-Z) because he dares cross the line and work with a Republican president to make America better. This isn’t some night show hit to slow-talk the news for a fawning left-wing audience. This is two guys who continually break expectations to do something innovative and different.
Will it work? Maybe. At the very least, the realness works. For too long, cynicism has fueled the conversations around the misery in blighted communities. It would be refreshing to have honest hope and maybe even some real change for a change.