11:42pm February 3, 2012

Komen Decision: Race, Class, Abortion and Republicans

married african american pregnant woman

Lenny McAllister continues to call Republicans out on their “contradictory slams.”  All this energy that goes into defunding Planned Parenthood and passing dead-on-arrival legislation might be better spent trying to solve some of the major problems persistent in the country.

The debate over abortion funding and Planned Parenthood reminds me of all the members of Congress I talk to who wear their religion on their sleeve when talking about abortion then suddenly forget about God when it comes to the poor.  All this fervor and fire is great on abortion. Everybody’s up in someone’s business when they’re pregnant — they “care” about Black babies then — but it all stops at birth?  Your party is “concerned” on the number of black babies aborted? How about an exploration on what happens to people after their birth in a nation with 16 million children in poverty?  How about getting up in someone’s personal business then? How about an annual march on that issue?

You fight to cut funding for Planned Parenthood for poor women during a time of record poverty: 50 million people. That’s the Republican answer?

How about an answer on how it is the same people who argue in favor of state involvement in reproductive decisions are the same people who argue against state involvement in heath care?  The U.S. is the only modern industrialized nation with elected officials quarreling over this. Some conservatives simply use African Americans as a political device when convenient.  Need a janitor at a middle school? Newt has a plan.

Other than changing the subject to Barack Obama what is the specific conservative policy on poverty? What is the conservative answer to the second poorest (and incidentally the Whitest…) district in America — Kentucky’s 5th congressional district?  That district has been presided over by Republican Rep. Hal Rogers (R-KY) for years.  Why are the “liberal Black Alderman in Chicago making $125″ the sum total of your focus when some of the most failed  social policy in the country is presided over by Republicans? How about putting down the Fox talking points for a second and confronting that?

Until you see there is no difference between the Black Chicago Aldermen and over 50 years of White Republican policy failure in Appalachia, Arkansas, Kentucky and Louisiana and react with equal fervor this is all games. Where was Michelle’s Bachmann when 800,000 jobs were being lost a month? Did she sign a pledge regarding how black children were doing before President Obama showed up?  And see, that is the problem with our politics right now. We’re so about defending our political tribes and reaching for talking points we won’t attack anyone in our tribe even when their policy ideas are clearly a failure.

The critique towards both should be equally fervent regardless of party. Newt cares about who is on food stamps now? Where was his big mouth from 2001 to 2008? Why does he only care about poverty when using it as an issue against a President who is a Black Democrat? If Newt really cared about poverty he’d visit Appalachia and Rep. Hal Rogers’ district in Kentucky.  Why is his discussion on poverty confined only to urban America and yours confined only to Black Alderman in Chicago?

Try it: Ask Rep. Rogers how as Chair of Appropriations he can vote for sending $20 billion in tax money to build roads and schools in Iraq and Afghanistan for 10 years yet votes against $4 a day to someone in his district here in Kentucky on food stamps? Rogers voted for the Ryan Budget — which cut $127 billion from food stamps over 10 years.

The conservative answer is a “redirection of educational dollars to the best avenues for immediate academic yield in order to create a work force worthy of global economic competition.”  Come on, Lenny, I know you can do better than that.  If those policy answers worked then something would have changed under eight years of President Bush.  There must be a better answer.  But will we ever find it when one of our major political parties spends all its time in attack mode?

Why didn’t Newt’s welfare reform in 1996 save Chicago and Kentucky from poverty?  Why didn’t eight years of Republican policy under Bush do it?  Newt found Christ? Really? What would Jesus do? Would he cut food stamps?

About the Author

Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke
Lauren Victoria Burke is a writer and political analyst. She created Crewof42, a blog that covers African American members of Congress, in 2009. Ms. Burke appears regularly on NewsOneNow with Roland Martin and on WHUR in Washington, D.C., WURD in Philadelphia, and WVON in Chicago. Ms. Burke has enjoyed employment at USAToday.com and ABC News. She holds a B.A. in History from The American University. E-mail anytime: LBurke007@gmail.com. Twitter: @Crewof42. Instagram: LVB325.



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  1. Matt Kern in Char NC

    Not sure why I am the only one replying – must be readership is low. Could it be there is a disagreement with your own hate-filled blatantly racist comments and attitude?

    Why is it a trend that single women of all races have multiple children out of wedlock? Is it not because of the amount of government assistancethat is received? Why do I have to pay for someone to act irresponsibly by having (multiple) children and then get a handout?

    If I really wanted out of poverty would I be having children? C'mon girl wake up.

    By the way, the R's took over the House of Represenatives less than two years ago – they haven't done much – to be sure – but your level of expectation doesn't mesh with reality IMHO.

    • clever devil

      suddenly when someone mentions poor whites in WV that's racism? so i guess you agree that all the times gingrich has brought up black poverty and they only do things "illegal" that's been racist as well right?

    • New York John

      What racism?… did you miss this sentence:Until you see there is no difference between the Black Chicago Aldermen and over 50 years of White Republican policy failure in Appalachia, Arkansas, Kentucky and Louisiana and react with equal fervor this is all games.

      Translation: There has been failures black and white!
      Is simply bringing up whites and something negative now "playing the race card"

    • Regina

      But in your creed birth control is not allowed. You're just a buck private in the right-wing "war against women," which is also against children — real ones, not the zygotes your ilk wants preserved, till birth.

    • doris

      "Could it be there is a disagreement with your own hate-filled blatantly racist comments and attitude?"
      A dumb, stupid post.
      It would be interesting to see what you do with your time, what news organizations you subscribe to, if any, what books you read (probably none), the world you live in (the local trailer park), and what your IQ must be.

      "Why is it a trend that single women of all races have multiple children out of wedlock? Is it not because of the amount of government assistancethat is received? Why do I have to pay for someone to act irresponsibly by having (multiple) children and then get a handout?"

      Very simplistic.

  2. New York John

    Funny that any mention of white failure is "racist" …. "Why do I have to pay for someone else…" Once again when you pay $20 billion per month for 8 years to build roads in Iraq+Afghanistan no problem with that… it's all good… doesn't even get a mention. You sit in the 10th poorest state in the US and all you want to bitch about is a single mom with a kid. Come on boy wake up.

    • Matt Kern in Char NC

      Hey – how many terrorist attacks have there been since 9/11 Dude? I am not sure that was the best way to secure our safety but it was a way let's not forget that we have not been attacked since and I hope not again…
      I'd like to make a difference. Let's have an honest series of posts here…please answer the question about personal accountability for receiving a personal benefit: why is it the poor think they can pro create and expect others to pay for it? Are you suggesting that if we just didn't have that darned Bush war abroad there would be more of the rich people's money to spend on irresponsible people at home?

      Regarding your rebuttal about denying "white failure" is racism… read the article Dude – who's playing the race card, her or me? Are blacks in America better off with the policies of the left or right? Do blacks in America as well as whites (my view is not about race) think a hand out is a good thing? Seriously is a person's soul that easily bought?

      • JasonButtsIn

        OK so you're against handouts. So let's shoot em and bury em so then you don't have to pay anything. problem solved. Like the thing says see you in church in the morning.
        ps yes this my way of asking: what's the alternative.

        • Matt Kern in Char NC

          I am not against paying taxes. I am against people expecting nothing in return. Admittedly they are not everyone on assistence programs – certainly they are in the minority – but I can show you from personal experience there are a lot of those folks out there.

          The alternative is to develop public programs in where people who receive help should also give help or receive training to get out of the cycle of poverty.

      • New York John

        Of course personal accountability. Who said personal accountability was bad. We are where we are however. If someone falls and is irresponsible do we just let them go down? Not even Russia lets people live in the gutter homeless.

        • Matt Kern in Char NC

          It seems from my interactions on this and the author's other article post that there is resistence to reforming welfare.

          Case in point – in this trail of comments no one answered the question I posed – why should I (or you for that matter) pay for someone else's irresponsibility by having a child/children out of wedlock? Why?

          • Jennifer V

            I see no one has mentioned paternal responsibility. It takes 2. Many women struggle to get the father to pay child support. It is time consuming and costly to got the courts to collect the money from these men.

            Also don't forget that under the Bush administration the push was on abstinence only sex education. As a result we have seen a rise in teen pregnancy rates. The sad part is that the pro-live movement and the pro-choice movement could find common ground. No one really is pro-abortion. But if the pro-life movement wants to prevent abortions, let's work on preventing unwanted pregnancies. Access to comprehensive sex education and birth control, studies have shown, significantly reduces unwanted pregnancies and abortions. The question for the pro-life movement is what is more important to you, preventing abortions or preventing premarital sex? You have wanted it both ways and it isn't working. Restricting sex education and fighting against insurance coverage for birht control pills increases the number of unwanted pregnancies resulting in either more abortions or in some case more women in need of federal assistance to raise their children.

            Not everyone has the same values and views about premarital sex. The pro-life and pro-choice movements could come together over the issue of sex education and access to birth control. Educating women about sex and how to prevent unwanted pregnancy is critical in this discussion yet it too seems to be held hostage by the same religious, moral, and political debate.

            What frustrates me most in this larger debate is the inconsistencies the author noted–that pro-life advocacy ends at birth. The pro-life movement is there while the fetus is in the womb but once the baby is born they are gone. These same individuals don't support a strong social welfare system, public education, or universal health care coverage. They tout adoption as the answer. I want to know how many in the pro-life movement are foster parents or are willing to adopt the babies they have fought so hard to have born. If you are pro-life that carry that through in all you do an believe. Supporting 10yrs of war is not being pro-life. Not supporting a strong social welfare system to protect all the babies born is inconsistent with being pro-life.

          • mercuryblues

            You are 100% correct. And stated it more eloquently that I could.

            It is also now fasionable in the Anti-choice movement to be anti birth control. Yes, they want BC outlawed too and if they can they will.

          • March

            So they can pay ssi to keep you in retirement. Or maybe we should make it easier to get rid of these kids U dont want.

  3. JR1

    Matt — Like I said: Don't make judgements on people you don't know. Most poor are working poor — look at the people at the cash register at Target… working poor. no one can stay on welfare for more than a year — no one can just be on it and not work…. you don't know what you're talking about or who you're talking about. no one is living off your money — get over yourself.

    stop telling yourself your tax dollar is paying for someone lazy — where it's really being wasted is overseas — how about you get your attention on that???? just because mommy and daddy had the $ to put you through school doesn't mean everyone has your life.

  4. Matt Kern in Char NC

    I don't think anyone begrudges a person truly in need who wants/needs help. I know wealthy people who give a lot of time, talent and treasure – not to mention providing jobs. I want to share with people who want a hand up. I don't want to share with people who want a hand out.

    Does that make me selfish?

    • JR1

      Matt my question is this: Are you suffering because there are lots of people in welfare? Do you have a roof over your head? Do you have food on the table. If so: Shut up. What are you complaining about? You're pissed you pay taxes? Join the club. Who doesn't pay taxes. But don't sit and tell me how hard your life is or how conflicted you are that people are on welfare and they are "living off" you. Is it keeping you up nights?

      We give the poor nothing but ridicule and we watch Trump and glorify him. We don't even pay attention to people who don't have money. They are nobody. So stop acting like you're the victim of something and thank God for where you're at. You seem pretty smart educated. Who paid for that? Nothing wrong with that nothing wrong with success. Just consider not everyone is you that's all i'm saying here. I know it's hard. everyone thinks the world they live in is everyone's world… you are in north carolina drive to Robeson county.

      And yes it is funny you bring up something like welfare and we spend so much on wars like NewYork said. Are you really going to say that spending a trillion on that was worth it?

      • Matt Kern in Char NC

        JR – sorry for not being more clear but I am not complaining about my situation. I have no one to blame but myself and I look to no one but myself for the solution. By God's grace I will dig out. I take my own medicine – that personal accountability thing…

        Lastly, I think I posted earlier about confusing bad foreign policy with bad domestic policy. One doesn't excuse the other – with one excpetion: we haven't been attacked on US soil since 9/11…just saying.

    • Jennifer V

      What about all the corporate handouts our government gives out? We talk at length about welfare recipients and the handouts they get and demonize them as the ones that are ruining our economy but corporations get huge handouts from the government that they could do without. Also we refer to the "free market" in the US but it is not truly a free market. Corporate handouts and corporate influence in policy making (see ALEC and look at all the money corporations put into lobbying for favorable legislation for themselves) and one can see that it isn't a free market. It is a market manipulated by those with money, power, and access.

      Again, consistency. If we want to make welfare recipients accountable where is that same accountability and transparency with corporate welfare? For example, the last Agriculture Bill, crafted behind closed doors, was pushed through congress with very little public discussion or news coverage. The ag bills cover 5 yrs. The subsidies no longer support small family farmers but large industrial farm complexes that actual exploit small farmers and push out the family farmer. Monsanto has patented the national seed bank and through their successfully lobbying of congress to promote and protect it's GMOs have forced out small farmers by suing them for "growing" Monsanto crops, i.e. their GMOs contaminate other farmers' crops and then the farmer is sued for unauthorized use of their patented seeds. Monsanto is a thug who has eyes and ears all over our farmlands looking for farmers who harvest and save their own seed or who's crops are contaminated by Monsanto GMOs. But I digress.

      Consistency…everyone who takes the child tax deduction on their income taxes is also getting a form of welfare. Those without children don't have that privilege.

    • WHG

      Yes. It does make you selfish, a poor Christian, and not much of an American, in my book.

  5. joe m

    Folks, I read all the aforementioned comments. And it failed to point out, that many of our citizens are in food stamps due to having lost their jobs. I know of families that worked all their life, paid their taxes, but lost of jobs that forced them into the bread line. Others have turned to rubbing banks to feed their familes. It's sad and I can't but feel compassion and sorrow for their plight. Let's not condamn everybody. Remember we are all interrelated, we belong a nation that helps in the hour of need.

  6. Mercuryblues

    Hey MK, got anthrax, just saying.

    I have an idea, let’s stop corporate welfare. Walmart pays many of their employees so little that they qualify for government assistance. Yet Walmart for some reason gets huge tax breaks and roads built for them with our tax dollars.

    Lets start with the Walton welfare cheats. Or Exxon, or BoA. Before they get one more penny of our tax dollars, THEY pee in a cup.

  7. wondering in NC

    It seems that many Americans have chosen to become anarchists or some sort of Social Darwinists. They have embraced the notion that we are accountable only for ourselves, that none of us has any responsibility except for ourselves, and that government contributes nothing to our well-being.

    They certainly are not Christians and they do not understand the beliefs of our founding generation.

  8. wondering in DC

    We have many selfish bastards among us who look down on people who can't make ends meet — look down on poor people. That's what the Tea Party attitude was.. "why should I pay for someone else's health care…" the the same people claim to be Christian and love waving the flag and having their tax dollar kill people overseas they are fine with that. Is that Christian?

  9. Doris

    We have too many ignorant people passing themselves off as informed citizens. Just check out some of the above posts. Not all, but a disturbing percentage of the posts are speaking from a place of self righteousness , small minded bigotry, and a lack of perspective beyond their own personal circumstances. Their world is very small, and they are either unable or unwilling to acknowledge the humanity of those less fortunate than themselves. These same people, however, are not saying much, if anything, about the money spent devastating other countries and the violent murder of thousands and thousands of innocent human life in those countries. Don't talk about your precious tax dollars and where those dollars are going unless you open your mind to the bigger picture. Furthermore, for the price our military service men and women pay to "keep us safe" I would think some of you out of gratitude for your own lives would be willing to grant the downtrodden, the poor, the mentally ill, a safety net without bitching about your tax dollars. After all your "tax dollars" may be contributing to the safety net you may one day find yourself in need of.

  10. We should be worrying about CORPORATE Welfare & WARFARE money–and stop falling for the demonization of the poor! Especially since the unemployment rate is HOLLOWING OUT FORMER MIDDLE CLASS. look uyp:THAT'S WHERE THE POWER & THE PROBLEM IS–not ON PEOPLE DING WORSE OFF THAN YOU ARE NOW.

    Consider the HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS for MORE WEAPONS. The US SPENDS MROE on weapons THAN THE NEXT 18 countries COMBINED! How many planes, ships, bombs do we "need"?????
    And for those who think they are Christians: read what JESUS says about the poor. IT isn't the current "Propserity Gospel" that makes televagelists, theocrats, far right politicians and billionAires richer/

  11. mercuryblues

    Doris and Jenn you hit the nail on the head. I would like to add that the same people who spout the pull yourself up by your bootstraps meme will also believe that if/when they find themselves in the positition of needing the safety net, well they deserve it. THEY worked hard, THEY are not abusing the system – everyone else is. (By everyone else I mean minorities.) It is hidden racism and sexism and it is also sickening.

    It is always the woman who has kids out of wedlock, as if they got pregnant all by themselves. Rarely is there outrage directed at the men for walking away and not living up to their responsibilities. For every woman who has a child out of wedlock, there is also a man who has a child out of wedlock.

  12. Percy

    Thank you MercuryBlues. We talk about a welfare mom we give chump change to per month and NO ONE talks about corporate welfare. While we focus on nickel and dime bs for reasons of race (the minorities are wasting our money while WE WORK hard… ) the BIG money gets wasted day in and day out. And fools on an errand like Lenny whatshisname defend it… WAKE TF UP!

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