A twist on a classic song from the 1970s has been playing in my head whenever I see Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich. It’s a song that many may not have heard, but some may know the familiar hook line. The song is about the Lone Ranger and Tonto being surrounded by a band of not-so-friendly Indians. The lyrics are: “The Lone Ranger says ‘Tonto our lives are in danger’, we’ve got to get away if we can!’ Tonto just looked at Lone Ranger and says ‘What you mean WE, white man?’” 1
“Now there’s no neighborhood I know of in America where if you went around and asked people, ‘Would you rather your children had food stamps or paychecks?’ you wouldn’t end up with a majority saying they’d rather have a paycheck. And so, I’m prepared, if the NAACP invites me, I’ll go to their convention and talk about why the African-American community should demand paychecks, and not be satisfied with food stamps.” 2
Really,what should one expect from a man who thinks most blacks are likely to be unemployed, which means they can’t very well participate in ‘Take your child to work day’, right? So he came up with the brilliant idea of ‘Put your child to work’ EVERYDAY – as a janitor, cleaning up the schools they attend. Now to be fair, with that particular comment, he didn’t single out blacks. He said kids from the “poorest neighborhoods”. 3 I will not condescend to you dear reader; when he said “poor” he meant “Black”. How do I know this? Consider the source.
Santorum said in a widely circulated video:
“I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families.”
He later amended that statement by saying we mistakenly heard him say “Black” but what he actually said was “Blah”. If that’s true, then when I insert the correct word (according to him) in that statement, he’s NOT being a racist jackass — he’s really just an inarticulate dolt!
The truth belies these comments. The largest percentage of welfare recipients is actually white.4 Many of the reddest states politically are also the poorest states economically. 5 This is why I hear “Don’t you mean WE white man”. The reality is that there are many people who need a path that leads them out from under the scourge of abject poverty and significant numbers of them are white. The financially well-off likes of Santorum and Gingrich want to keep the wool over the eyes of their white and right (wing) constituents, many of whom are living if not right below the poverty line, then dangerously close to it. Why? Because it’s easier for most people to blame another group for their condition than to examine their own pride, prejudice and principles closely enough to see they are sorely lacking a fundamental basis in reality. That might actually prompt people to seek a leader who gives a damn about them.
We can’t have that…now can we?