Author Archives: Reginald Jones

It’s a Crisis of Character, not of Financial Markets

By Reggie Jones

Booker T. is said to have defined character thus: “Character is Power.”

Character is “how you behave when no one’s watching.” The present financial crisis is a wake up call to recognize the importance of character. The so-called leaders of Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, along with their enabler politicians, are largely responsible for actions that brought us to the financial brink. Yet the media blames it on a lack of oversight and under-regulation, claiming Republicans weren’t watching the store.

But the real question is, “Why the need for oversight?” Don’t responsible people know the difference between right and wrong?

Yet, in today’s society, highly paid people, from athletes to politicians even US Presidents have engaged in illegal and immoral activities and do not hesitate to lie when caught. Oversight? Meaningless when fans and political parties stand behind them.

Finding celebrities without character all too easy, making it all the more difficult for young people to withstand pop culture pressure and develop proper character. Yet the bitter fruit of the lack of good moral character among so many is all too apparent. Skyrocketing out-of-wedlock birth rates among young and younger teens. Rising rates of sexually transmitted disease (STD). families break down.

But speak out against these trends and you are labeled as judgmental. Success is less and less defined as living a constructive, productive life, but more and more by having more ‘bling’ than the next guy.

Booker T. Washington never wallowed in self pity for lack of ‘bling,’ nor for being born a slave. Rather, he used his struggle as motivation to improve himself. He refused to hate white people, choosing to seek common ground through forgiveness. He understood and applied the wisdom of the Judeo-Christian concept of forgiveness.

He showed that character – above all – was essential to attaining success. He also defined character as having a strong faith in God, keeping your word, taking responsibility for your actions, serving your fellow man, exercising thrift in financial affairs, and following the golden rule.

If more people on Wall Street and at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue adhered to Booker T.’s ideal and model of character, our country would not be having to deal with our present moral and financial crisis.

Achievers are Not Robber Barons

By Reggie Jones (Opinion expressed are not necessarily those of the BTWS).

It’s that time again, and I am frustrated. Politicians are heading into the home stretch, blathering nonsense about a segment of society to which we owe more than any other. They and their sycophantic pundits parade their bigotry with inflammatory rhetoric that turns especially virulent as we approach the culmination of an election cycle.

The code phrase for this class-oriented bigotry is, “the rich.” It’s wielded by leftists who just can’t stand the most productive members of society. Their vitriol is never directed at Marxist dictators or criminal elements. Rather, it is directed at the real public servants, people I call “achievers.” Just two examples: former House Leader Dick Gephardt referred to achievers as “the rich and the lucky.” And more recently, Sen. John Edwards, a former presidential wannabe, just couldn’t stop talking about “two Americas.”
Well, at least one of those, ummm, ‘Americas’ shut that randy dandy up.

Achievers risk time and money to invent, improve and provide things that can and do make our lives better. Each of us is free to choose whether to reward them for the fruits of their labor or not. This is a fundamental tenet of capitalism – a system in which everybody can be winners.

But politicians just don’t get it. Why not? Because they live in another world. A world in which the name of the game is zero-sum – for each politician who is a winner, there must be a loser. The pool of winners cannot grow. The more “experienced” at winning a politician gets, the less he or she can fathom the potential of a ‘win-win’ situation. From their perspective, if the rich get richer, then surely, the poor must be getting poorer.

Suppose achievers became quitters after experiencing their first failure. Suppose they chose not to risk and endure the agony of failure and rejection time and again until they (hopefully) hit pay dirt. That is, until creating or doing something the world wants enough to pay for.

These are real American heroes, but there are no monuments in Washington to them.

Instead of textbooks labeling them as “robber barons” what if young people were inspired with the wisdom of Booker T. Washington who said, “…Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.”

Racism in America Today

By Reggie Jones (Opinion expressed are not necessarily those of the BTWS).

For some supporters of Barak Obama, his loss could be their gain. That realization came to me while reading a recent column by Slate.com’s Jacob Weisberg. Mr. Weisberg declares flatly that the only reason Barak Obama could lose the election to John McCain would be (white) racism. Oh?

Weisberg did not express an opinion regarding racism by blacks as evidenced by the 90% of blacks favoring Obama over McCain. Imagine the psychological effect a defeat by Obama would have on a majority of blacks. In that event, while “the masses” mourn, I suspect some will privately rejoice even as they publicly express anger and profess solidarity with the masses.

An Obama defeat could be manna from heaven for this select group, having built lucrative careers as easily-offended race hustlers. They will claim that an Obama defeat is irrefutable proof that America is, and will continue to be, inherently racist. They will claim that they alone are qualified to determine the path to progress for blacks. In doing so, they will seek to continue to entrench themselves in the hearts and minds of blacks as necessary to their survival.

They have been effective in shaking down Corporate America and demanding ever more racial spoils to compensate for trumped-up “offenses.” Jesse Lee Peterson noted as much in his well-documented book,
Scam: How Black Leadership Exploits Black America. An Obama loss would allow these “leaders” to continue feigning righteous indignation over the new “proof” that nothing has changed. One can almost hear Chicago’s other famous reverend crying, “Selma, Selma” in the aftermath.

Still, we can expect the Obama candidacy to be widely promoted with solemn pronouncements about its historic significance for America. But what will really matter to some, I suspect, is the potential significance it holds for their bottom line.

Sadly, this is not new. It’s been going on since Reconstruction, as Booker T. Washington noted over a century ago. “There is class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs and the hardships of the Negro race before the public…Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.

Here we go again

By Reggie Jones (Opinion expressed are not necessarily those of the BTWS).

Rick Warren, pastor of California’s Saddleback mega-Church, asked Barak Obama which US Supreme Court Justice was his least favorite. The senator unhesitatingly replied, “Clarence Thomas.” It appeared to me as if, rather than ponder the question, he pandered for votes.

He said Justice Thomas was not “a strong enough jurist or legal thinker” to warrant a seat on the Court. This, despite the fact that Judge Thomas endured very intense, public scrutiny by the US Senate three times before ascending to the Supreme Court.

Weigh that opinion with his comments on other Supreme Court conservatives, Scalia and Roberts. He said Justice Scalia was “brilliant” and that Chief Justice Roberts was “a compelling person,” while acknowledging that he probably wouldn’t have nominated either.

Why did Sen. Obama single out Justice Thomas for such damning criticism, yet without rationale? OK, so Justice Thomas is a conservative, but so too are Scalia and Roberts. The conclusion I draw is that Justice Thomas is not only conservative, but – gasp – black too.

A conservative black man is, ipso facto, one who thinks for himself. To the left, this is heresy, for it alone considers itself solely and morally qualified to speak for – hence, assumes – minorities will adhere to its collectivist agenda. Independent thinkers like Clarence Thomas are not to be tolerated when straying from this perspective. Worse, Justice Thomas refuses to provide legal cover for a racial spoils tithing system.

Perhaps lawyer and ‘community organizer’ Obama would have fared better had he learned to appreciate the wisdom of another, earlier and far more accomplished ‘community organizer,’ Booker T. Washington: “The Negro has the right to study law, but success will come to the race sooner if it produces intelligent, thrifty farmers, mechanics, to support the lawyers.”