What if the CBC was pro-business?

Harry C. Alford | 11/27/2014, midnight

For the most part, our Black congresspersons are in “safe” districts and once elected, they will stay there until something unexpected happens. Death, indictment, scandal, etc. are the things that usually replace them, not another candidate. There have been a few examples to the contrary, like when Rep. Artur Davis knocked Earl Hilliard from his Alabama seat. From that point on the Democratic Party went after him.

As a people, Black Americans should be demanding much more. We get very little for supporting someone without expecting them to work hard and bring home some results. Our neighborhoods are blighted, and it seems to get worse year after year. Our poverty levels are about the same as they were when the Democratic Party declared “War on Poverty” back in the early 1960’s. Our healthcare remains deplorable and our educational levels are far less than other segments of our nation’s population. Why do we take poor performance so lightly?

Until we start voting out elected officials for nonperformance, there will be no effective leadership representing us.

If the CBC would become at least nonpredictable and start voting on legislation that would enhance business (jobs, health, wealth), our communities would begin changing. Imagine if our unemployment rates were just equal to the national average. Our quality of life would improve dramatically. I pray to see the day that some of the CBC would not follow the Democratic leadership on every issue whether it hurts us or not. There are some who do on a few issues but not nearly enough to make a difference. If it hurts us, why do they go along with it?

They are so loyal but are disrespected. I believe it is more than a coincidence that the wealthy members of Congress are White and the poorest members are Black. How do many of our White elected officials stay decades in office and become multi-millionaires while their Black counterparts stay broke?

Representing wealthy districts makes an elected official wealthy. Representing poverty keeps an elected official broke. The way out of this is to economically empower a district which will make that official economically improve also. Instead of waging a “war on poverty” we need to wage a “love affair with wealth building.” Our preachers do it, and it is with our money!

There is hope. Recently, CBC member Bobby Rush (Chicago) wrote a pro-business bill. He wrote it and immediately got sponsorship from a noticeable number of Republican members along with Democrats to co-sponsor the bill. He is looking like a hero and, hopefully, this could start a new movement by the rest of the CBC. It is time for a positive change. Maybe, just maybe, it can start on Capitol Hill and catch on throughout our great nation. Black America would change for the better.

Harry Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. www.nationalbcc.org.