Ditching the Democrats: I am a black Republican

Tierra Beasley, Community Editor

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It was the Tuesday that changed everything. I’d heard Ben Carson, 2016 GOP presidential candidate, would be speaking at the Phoenix Convention Center downtown, so a friend and I decided to check it out. Carson was the black Republican running for U.S. presidency. A retired pediatric neurosurgeon and former head of John Hopkins neurology department, a Real Clear Politics poll shows Carson is second behind Donald Trump in the presidential primaries.

Thousands packed the center. Lyle Youngblood, now 15 and a student at Shadow Ridge High School in Surprise, who Carson operated on many times and successfully helped beat all the odds of his spina bifida, introduced Carson with a touching story about a faithful doctor. The crowd went wild when Carson stepped on stage. He began his 45-minute long speech by saying he never thought he’d get into politics, but he spoke of responsibility — a call from God — to do something great for our nation.

“It’s because I operated on 15,000 patients, you saw one of them, and the fact of the matter is it was an attempt to give them a better life and quality of life. I realize that sure I could retire, put my feet up, relax and live the rest of my life in luxury, but that would be irresponsible, and I couldn’t do it knowing that the lives of so many people in this country would be in jeopardy if we continue down the same path that we’re going down now.”

Woah. Was I really considering voting for a Republican? It all sounded well and good, but I was a black, lifelong Democrat. But where did my loyalty stem from?

Maybe it was socioeconomics that determined my political status. Growing up in a low-middle class black family, it was practically expected that we would be Democrat. For one thing, Republicans didn’t care about the “minority”; the Republicans only wanted to steal what little we had and get richer.

Second, being a liberal was about believing in fairness and equality. If someone had more, it only made sense to give to the less fortunate. In that case, taking more from the poor didn’t seem right. That’s a platform democrats run on — more welfare and more taxes for the rich.

What is fair?

I started questioning Democratic ideals and analyzing their foundation. Just because the rich can pay more in taxes doesn’t mean they aren’t paying their fair share. “The top 10 percent of income earners pay more in taxes than everyone else combined. That’s 12 million households, that earn at least $150,700, who pay more in federal taxes than the other 109 million households,” according to a report by the Washington Examiner. Carson’s approach on how to solve this dilemma is the same as the Bible would tackle it: by taxing everyone an equal percentage. “You make $10 billion, you pay a billion. You make $10, you pay one. And everybody gets treated the same way. And you get rid of the deductions; you get rid of all the loopholes.” That sounds fair. Some people are born into unfortunate situations, but taking more from them doesn’t balance the scales or solve the problem. It just brings us closer to being in the same boat.

My mother says the reason she supports Democrats is because they help the underdogs. “The underdogs are the lower income people. They need more help than people in the higher income bracket.” For my mother, it was circumstance that influenced her beliefs. She saw what most people see: defenseless people in need and a powerful government with the capacity to switch the narrative. I agreed. As a society, we can do more for the ones struggling. What I disagreed on was the plan of action. The Democratic ideal tends to consist of pulling money away from the rich to feed to the poor, but from what I saw, money wasn’t solving any problem.

According to the Census Bureau in 2013, there were over 45 million Americans – 15 percent of the population – counted as poor. U.S taxpayers have spent over $22 trillion dollars on anti-poverty programs since the War on Poverty began in 1965. As reported by the Heritage Foundation, a major reason these programs haven’t stopped poverty is because welfare generates a pattern of increasing intergenerational dependence, and welfare creates a greater need for assistance in the future. In essence, people get on the system, stay on the system, and the problem spins madly on.

Carson’s life started that way, but had a different ending. His background growing up Christian, on the poor side of Detroit was fascinating because he came out of poverty into medical school and into a career as a pediatric neurosurgeon, famous for separating conjoined twins attached at the brain. Although his mother never went past a third grade education, with her support, he was determined to achieve more with his life. His whole story is inspiring — a perfect example of how our circumstances do not have to decide our decisions.

At 25, I am the first registered Republican in my family. It’s a decision I stand by for the sake of my faith and country. The ideas of the Republican Party coincide with my enlightened understanding about how America works. The system is flawed. The solution is appointing men like Ben Carson to lead us toward an America with a foundation of truth and morality. As it says in Proverbs 11:14, “Without wise leadership, a nation falls; with many counselors, there is safety.”

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Ditching the Democrats: I am a black Republican