Sunday, January 29, 2006

Its a shame we don't care

I was a bit under the weather yesterday (where does that expression come from?), and did not blog. Jessica McBride, however, apparently had a quiet night at home, whipping up a veritable blogstorm.

I was struck, however, by her reference to Eugene Kane (who I think can be thoughtful)and his dismissal of the bona fides of conservative approaches to urban problems. She quotes from a recent Kane column on school choice:

"He [referring to Doyle] also knows why so many Republican politicians and commentators who usually express little or no love for poor black children have decided to support school choice. It's a good way of bashing the teachers union, Gov. Jim Doyle, and sometimes African-American voters in general"

This kind of stuff disrupts my normally unflappable wa. If you want to drive conservatives to give up on issues of race and poverty, this is a great way to do it.
Keep calling us insincere. Continue to dismiss our ideas as manifestations of a racism now grown so subtle that it takes a professional to detect it. Why should we care, when all it gets us is abuse?

My answer is that we are called to care. The Gospel may not, as is so occasionally claimed, mandate the economic platform of the Green Party, but it pretty clearly tells us that we are not entitled to remain indifferent to the plight of the poor. It may not excuse anyone of personal responsibility (in fact, I think it quite clearly insists upon it), but neither does it mean that we may fail to help our brothers and sisters exercise that responsibility.

So I was heartened to read about this new market-oriented urban renewal initiative. While it alone will not address the more intractable problems of the central city, it seems to be a vital - and necessary - component of any attempt to fix what ails the inner city.

What is interesting is that the initiative is funded by the Bush administration which found funds through the efforts of Karl Rove. It has been championed locally by a group including my former partner and GOP heavyweight Jim Connelly. What a shame that none of them "really care."

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