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Rick Perry’s unorthodox economic opportunity speech went there

Rick Perry’s unorthodox economic opportunity speech went there

A lesson on how to address the issue of slavery and black poverty

Somewhat overshadowed by the Independence Day holiday weekend, Rick Perry’s unorthodox jobs and economic growth speech ruffled all the right feathers.

Candidate job plans tend to blur together because regardless of party affiliation, they’re virtually indistinguishable. Reduce/raise taxes, decrease/increase regulation, “get America working again!”, “yada yada yada middle class!” Then there’s always “something strangling something.” Whether it’s speech writer laziness or well tested imagery I don’t know, but there’s always something being strangled. “Bring jobs back to America!” [insert story of someone candidate met while campaigning and how current administration/elected official’s policies have made it hard for anecdotal individual to find work] and so on. And that’s pretty much every single economic policy speech in modern history. Or at least it was until last Thursday.

Perry’s economic opportunity speech at the National Press Club last week was unlike any other speech of its kind and brilliantly so.

“It was 99 years ago on the 15th of May of 1916 at a courthouse in Waco, Texas there was a mentally disable 17 year old boy. His name was Jesse Washington. He was convicted of raping and murdering the wife of his employer. He plead guilty and he was sentenced to death. But Jesse died no ordinary death because he was black.”

That’s how Perry began his jobs speech.

“After the death sentence was issued, Jess was dragged out of the McLennan County Courthouse into a crowd of hundreds. And thanks to the advent of this new technology called the telephone, word spread to what was about to happen. And soon there were 15,000 people watching Jesse Washington be tortured, to be mutilated, to be tied to a tree. Someone lit a fire under Jesse and raised him into the air. Jesse tried to climb up the chains, to keep from being consumed by that fire. Someone started cutting his fingers off so that he could not climb that chain. One man castrated him. Another used a pole to prevent him from pulling himself away from the fire.”

“There was a prominent local photographer who took pictures of Jesse’s charred remains and sold them as souvenirs on a post card. Even today, we Texans struggle to talk about what happened to Jesse Washington. We don’t want to believe that our great state could ever have been the scene of such unimaginable horror. But it is an episode in our history that we cannot ignore. It is an episode that we have an obligation to transcend. Now we made a lot of progress since 1916.”

Before we move on to the progress that has been made over the years, we must pause to reflect on the significance of the gruesome story Governor Perry told.

Far too often there is a collective failure to recognize the horror whence our nation emerged and the atrocities we willingly afflicted on those whose only misfortune was a heaping dose of melanin.

The story of Jesse Washington is evidence enough for why the most offensive parts of our historic fabric must be preserved, remembered, and recounted. We cannot change our history, though there are those who wish to rewrite or adjust it. But it is that seemingly simple act of acknowledging where we began that means the world to many who’s parents and grandparents served as the primary sources for our historical record.

If we wish to endear more to our cause, we must first relate. In order to relate, we must acknowledge. And that’s precisely what Governor Perry did.

“When it comes to race, America is a better and more tolerant and more welcoming place than it’s ever been before. We’re a country with Hispanic CEOs, with Asian billionaires, with a black President. So why is it, today, so many black families feel left behind? Why is it that a quarter of African-Americans live below the poverty line, even after the impact of federal programs like food stamps and housing subsidies? The supplemental poverty rate for African-Americans is nearly double the rate for other Americans,” Perry continued.

And then he dropped the hammer. This is lengthy, but well worth the few minutes to read. Promise. Oh yes, and emphasis is mine (but read it all anyway).

“Democrats have long had the opportunity to govern the African-American communities. It is time for black families to hold them accountable for the results. And I’m here to tell you that it’s Republicans, not Democrats, who are truly offering black Americans the hope for a better life for themselves and their children. I’m proud to live in a country that has an African-American President. But President Obama cannot be proud of the fact that the prevalence of black poverty has actually increased under his leadership.

We cannot dismiss the historical legacy of slavery, nor its role in causing the problem of black poverty. And because slavery and segregation were sanctioned by government, there is a role for government policy in addressing their lasting effects. But the specific policies, advanced by the President and his allies on the left, amount to little more than throwing money at the problem and walking away.”

“…There has been, and there will continue to be an important and a legitimate role for the federal government in enforcing Civil Rights. Too often, we Republicans, me included, have emphasized our message on the 10th Amendment but not our message on the 14th. An Amendment, it bears reminding, that was one of the great contributions of Republican party to American life, second only to the abolition of slavery.

For too long, we Republicans have been content to lose the black vote, because we found we didn’t need it to win. But, when we gave up trying to win the support of African-Americans, we lost our moral legitimacy as the party of Lincoln, as the party of equal opportunity for all. It’s time for us, once again, to reclaim our heritage as the only party in our country founded on the principle of freedom for African-Americans.

“We know what Democrats will propose in 2016, the same thing, the same things that Democrats have proposed for decades, more government spending on more government programs. And there is a proper and an important role for government assistance in keeping people on their feet. But few Presidents have done more to expand government assistance than President Obama. Today we spend nearly one trillion dollars a year on means tested antipoverty programs. And yet, black poverty remains stagnant.

“Here is what I have seen in my time in public office. The best welfare program in America is a job. There is a fundamental reason why Democratic policies have failed to cure poverty, is because the only true cure for poverty is a job. And Democratic policies have made it too hard for the poor to find a job.”


This, THIS, ^, +1, and yassssssss.

Let’s hope we hear more of this from Governor Perry and other GOP presidential hopefuls. It’s a message that needs amplification.

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It seems lost on the left and African Americans (AA) that perhaps the best prescriptions for providing jobs for the poor in the AA community is removing the millions of illegal Hispanic Americans that have taken jobs

    herm2416 in reply to gulfbreeze. | July 7, 2015 at 10:08 am

    You might want to rethink your term “illegal Hispanic Americans”….no such people! They are illegal OR American…not both.

      Fiftycaltx in reply to herm2416. | July 7, 2015 at 5:47 pm

      Do have a go at geography. If you look at a globe, you might notice that there is NORTH America, SOUTH America and CENTRAL America. And Mexico is in the part of NORTH AMERICA. I believe you are confused about who constitutes a UNITED STATES CITIZEN.

        J.F.D. in reply to Fiftycaltx. | July 7, 2015 at 8:20 pm

        I do not believe that you actually think North America is one giant country. If you would take a minute and google it, you would learn that there are 23 countries in North America. Each with its own laws and Governments. Antigua, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Cuba. El Salvador
        Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Mexico. Are all the people in these countries ALL UNITED STATES CITIZENS? Good god man educate yourself.

Today, what “reach” (marketing term) would Mr. Perry’s thoughtful and welcome remarks have? What US major media media outlet can carry them? Not even Fox, for even Fox is a busy box of microsecond messaging. Fox too is part of the aggravation media, which is a thought-ruining media.

Yesterday on a Philly AM new station, I heard a commercial for NHK. Japan’s news station. They were advertising on a CBS radio affiliate , marketing their own news channel. NHK presents news old-style. Not aggravation-style.

    Valerie in reply to bvw. | July 7, 2015 at 10:52 am

    Funny, FOX has been busy giving the GOP candidates plenty of interview time. And, they have been getting what I consider better Democratic spokespeople, those that can make a point without sounding foolish.

    You can compare their coverage to MSNBC, where the talking head will flash up a few pictures of a candidate, and quite possibly a string of 5 words or so, and then proceed to lie about what the candidate said, mocking endless successions of straw men (Rachel Maddow, for example, is particularly offensive in this regard.)

    I don’t watch CNN. I was done with them when I found out 1) they let Eason Jordan, a VP, run around lying about journalists being targeted by Americans in Iraq for two years, and also 2) covered up for Saddam Hussein. In addition, I caught the difference in their newscasts in the US and overseas.

on those whose only misfortune was a heaping dose of melanin.

I gather that in the case of Mr. Washington, rape and murder were also involved. Neither are misfortunes.

    Valerie in reply to tom swift. | July 7, 2015 at 10:55 am

    Even Jack Ruby was entitled to due process. Surely you can recognize cruel and unusual punishment?

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Valerie. | July 7, 2015 at 2:00 pm

      The underlying reason for that precept in the Eighth Amendment exists because we refuse to be barbarians. The delivery of justice is supposed to be limited to the government, with the people’s imprimatur, through the government’s assumption of authority to deliver justice via the constitution, that being the people’s will. It really doesn’t apply to a mindless mob. They are governed by laws against vigilantism, etc..

    Rape and murder deserve a death sentence, but not death by torture at the hands of a mob. What happened that day in Waco was an atrocity.

      JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Phineas Fahrquar. | July 7, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      Well, that wasn’t the only atrocity we’ve seen occur in Waco. We have the Clinton justice department, one of Hillary’s pet projects, to look at, too, in their burning of an entire compound/village just two decades ago. My recollection is that those victims were white, including women and children, and it was perpetrated by our government, not just a mindless mob.

      DuraMater in reply to Phineas Fahrquar. | July 7, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      I predict:
      Incorporating that sordid tale into his speech (regardless of whether true or embellished) will not achieve Gov. Perry’s objective of reaching out to the AA community. It will simply be seized and exploited by the perpetual victim industry as an example of the brutal treatment their forefathers received at the hands of those white devils in law enforcement. The “shock jock” approach will obliterate everything else he said about the dignity of becoming economically self sufficient.

      For a little perspective on the Texas Criminal Justice system in days of yore, I give you this. In the 1800s an angry mob stormed the jail in Los Brazos TX, forcibly removing its prisoner. They restrained his wrists and ankles, secured him in a large blanket and while one group of men heaved the blanketed prisoner up into the air, other members of the group took pot shots at this home made pinata with their rifles. This continued until both blanket and contents were satisfactorily shredded and the group ran out of ammo.

      This prisoner was white. He had not raped and murdered a woman. His crime was that he’d won an informal duel against the man who had murdered his brother in Tallahassee. The loser in that duel had been a person socially and politically well regarded in that Texas town.

      Feeding the insatiable dragon of the racial victim industry is counter productive…no worse, it is accelerating the demise of the country, shredding the fabric of our society like the blanket and my ancestor in the incident described above.

      Another Ed in reply to Phineas Fahrquar. | July 9, 2015 at 7:38 pm

      Thank you, President Bill Clinton and AG Janet Reno, for reminding us what our government can do “for the children”.

      As I remind my own children, when they consider taking action on something, they need to seriously evaluate the situation and ask themselves, “What can go wrong?”

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to tom swift. | July 7, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Decades of endless appeals and death row accommodations are certainly not the answer, but a trial review with sufficient time to consider all aspects of relevant due process is what separates us from the barbarians of the Middle East and Africa. I think the death penalty should be imposed far more often than it is, and carried out within a year or two of sentencing, after one very careful and timely review. But we are not savages and the way this man, no matter his race, was executed was an absolute abomination and scar on our society. We are better than this.

Slavery is unconstitutional. Therefore, there is no ‘slavery’ issue. Therefore, anybody who speaks as if there is has taken the bait.

IOW, talking about an issue that doesn’t exist is a negative for someone campaigning to be president.

Come on, Rick, get a clue! (first rule of political fight club – the enemy’s premise is always bogus)

This dog *will* hunt.

Can’t believe anyone is still talking about also-rans like Santorum when we have real players like Perry in the race.

This was a fantastic speech. The Perry of 2016 is more thoughtful, less blustery than that of 2012, and I can only think he’ll run a much stronger campaign because of it.

Fantastic speech, but don’t be so naïve to think that a low paying job is better than free in the lower echelons of society.

We had a crib that was handed down to us from a friend. When our kid outgrew it, none of our friends or family needed one. We tried to give it away – “free”. This was a high end crib. After reading through the barrage of craigslist requestors wanting it, I took the crib to the dump.

The crib was “free” to me because it was a friend who I would come the aid of in an instant… indeed, not that kindness is a thing you barter, but in that same month I fixed a piece of machinery for him that he was going to throw out and was easily worth as much as the crib. These “freebie” people on the other hand sit around all day waiting for handouts.

Entitlement is an ugly beast. It deserves the morbid death that Mr Washington received.

    genes in reply to Andy. | July 8, 2015 at 1:58 am

    To the dump? Not to Goodwill? The Salvation Army? A Church? Battered woman’s shelter?

Lucien Cordier | July 7, 2015 at 12:05 pm

The message will be lost on people who simply refuse to embrace mainstream American culture because they consider it to be acting white, who equate thug culture with black culture, and revoke the blackness from anyone that is not a race hustler. Besides, their masters won’t allow it.

AnimusFuriae | July 7, 2015 at 12:15 pm

“horror from whence”
FIFY: “horror whence”

Midwest Rhino | July 7, 2015 at 12:43 pm

It will be difficult to convince “the black community” to leave its abusive Democrat Party spouse. The Democrat Party courts its new Mexican fling, as black unemployment rate soars. The black community is left dependent and at home, except on election day.

Fortunately many throw off the yolk, get jobs, get real educations, and achieve freedom. Some even see the light and turn conservative.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to Midwest Rhino. | July 8, 2015 at 2:37 am

    Much of that success is superficial in that it came to them through preferences, set asides, hand-outs, and usually at the expense of somebody else who worked diligently for it and should have received it through merit. In most cases, there is not a truly solid foundation in their education or critical thinking skills. The so-called successful, middle-class blacks did this:

    This event arose from a lack of wisdom and foresight. You cannot succeed by living in the moment and not examining what is before you.

    Of course, there are exceptions. But that’s the rub. They’re exceptions.

DINORightMarie | July 7, 2015 at 3:43 pm

This is the take on this speech over at BuzzFeed.

Looks like, once again, the left focuses on entirely the opposite of what the message is, why the speech was made, and attempts to Rule 13 it (and the “target” Perry, of course).

Perry back to shooting himself in the foot for illegal aliens. His reward is being made Queen for the Day by Clinton lapdog Snuffleupagus and Trumped by actual voters.