The Third Rail
October 27, 2009
It is the third rail of public discourse.
People used to call talking about Social Security as the third rail of American politics. But, that was long ago during the 70s and 80s, and even the early 90s. The term referred to a controversial issue that politicians usually avoided.
Do you remember a Florida congressman and senator by the name of Claude Pepper who used to say, “Don’t tamper with Social Security”? What he meant by tamper, which he intoned with his southern accent, was, “don’t even suggest any changes whatsoever.”
It didn’t make any difference what the motives of the meddlers may have been; even if the change recommended would eventually work to the public’s betterment. What it amounted to was a gaggle of honest and open discussion of the facts. Many of us felt, as did Ronald Reagan, that maybe the system could be saved and could work better for the senior citizen.
But, no! Claude Pepper and his Democrat cronies held the high ground and no one could even question their position. And since it was tantamount to heresy to even question the fiscal and political soundness of the system, the system was allowed to fester.
Where we go from here with Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and all the other entitlement programs in the public welfare system, remains to be seen. And the reason for our dilemma is our fear of being called names by the heirs of Claude Pepper and the social welfare elites.
If you think that was bad, here is something far worse . . . talking about anything that has even the remotest association with race! We have gotten to a point in this country that questioning the efficacy of any of the numerous social welfare programs, based on race as the guiding factor, is not only unconstitutional, but self-defeating.
No one knows better than I do the cruelty of being smeared as a racist. I think to question the validity of government programs and accuse the person making the analysis of a school entrance examination as outright racism is specious and slanderous.
And yet it continues, because, quite frankly, Attorney General Eric Holder was right when he called white Americans “cowards” for being afraid to discuss race. He ought to know, because if a white person says something the black community does not agree with, then, there will be hell to pay.
So, what is a white person to do since he fears being crippled by the charge of being a racist?
I can tell you it is no fun being Horatio at the bridge.
The worst part about it all is, to quote none other that Martin Luther King Jr., “We will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Amen, brother! Amen!