27 Mar 2008

Kenya Airways and the US Elections.

On the face of it, there would seem to be zero relationship between the state of Kenya Airways and the US Presidential race in which the Democrats seem poised to mount a very serious challenge to regain the White House. In this contest, there is no doubt that 95% of black American votes will go to Barack Obama should he be nominated or around 85% to Hillary Clinton should she squeak by.

This has been the black American tradition since around 1940. Previously blacks, most especially those in the South, voted Republican. Most people would be surprised to know that Martin Luther King was one. That's because most people, and almost no Kenyans, have any idea that the Democratic Party in the USA was the party of the slave owners and fought for segregation after the US Civil War right up until the late 1960's. Kenyans are amazed to hear that the Democratic Party supported the Klu Klux Klan and denied blacks all voting rights for 100 years after the end of slavery. They would almost fall over if they learned all the southern state Governors in the time of the great 60's civil rights crusade were Democrats. Yet African-Americans now vote against the Republicans, the party of Abraham Lincoln?

The explanation is the Democratic Party was split between southern and northern in the USA with the south following a racist brand and the north a non-racial type of Democratic Party politics. Most blacks lived prior to 1940 in the south but the Great Depression forced millions to migrate to northern cities in the 1930's where the northern Democratic Party was in control gave them welfare and other forms of assistance they had never seen in their lives under the southern Democrats. Thus black Americans switched allegiance from the Republicans to the Democrats and have kept that allegiance, besides a rare 10% Republicans like King, ever since.

Voting for the Democratic Party has not helped black Americans so much as destroyed large parts of their former independence, thrift, marriage rates and hard work ethic. From the hard bigotry of the southern Democrat , black Americans ran into the soft bigotry of the northern variety. This "kindness" allows for very low expectations of black Americans. They were the subject of endless handouts in welfare, socially ruinous policies that paid them more for having illegitimate children than for marrying, and affirmative action that allowed blacks to have high placement for lower achievement than others academically and professionally.

All of these Democratic Party practises seem to be "progressive" but have a message: "You are not to be held to high expectations because of the past". This is not very far from a hidden message of, "You are not to be held to high expectations because you can't reach them" - hence the soft bigotry.

Politically the Democrats have used every trick in the book to block welfare reform, to prevent the faith based help of the older African-American society, to offer school choices to inner-city parents and replace affirmative discrimination with helping raise the educational standards of black Americans so they can be independent of welfare.

What has this got to do with Kenya Airways? Here is a black run company with under 0.05% expatriates in the work force that was privatised a decade ago when it was a shoddy Government run corporation. Consistently it beats the profit records and service standards of other African airlines, including South African Airlines which has a very high percentage of "white" employees. It is voted often as the best airline in Africa and as a preferred carrier to European ones like British Airways or Air France.

Kenya Airways works to the high expectations of strict international airline standards, not a low expectation that Africans need extra help or are otherwise incapable of running an airline. Instead of being in confrontation with non-African airlines the way black Americans are in confrontation with the entire range of Republican values (self reliance, non-affirmative, small government, anti-welfare), it partners with a major European airline and shares ideas and expertise.

This story is repeated with black Kenyan hotel management as another example. Our large tourism industry meets international standards, not the local standards of small hotels. Consequently, Kenyan hotel managers can be found in Dubai, Europe, Asia and America running hotels and often 5 star ones of exacting international quality. But what if promotions in our local hotel industry, which is the springboard to an international career, met only Kenyan standards which are lower than international?

It remains a tragedy for black Americans not that they should ever vote Republican en masse, but that the Democrats, while offering to help them have actually added to the low esteem and dependency culture that prevents many of them, racism aside, from prospering. If the split between the parties in the black American community was more 60/40 or 55/54 as in most other communities in the USA it would mean a healthy internal debate and dynamic between the endless dependency of affirmative welfare the Democrats offer and the non-affirmative conservative social and economic values of the Republicans.

That would be good for all of America and especially African-Americans. There seems to be no sign either Democratic candidate in 2008 is willing to shift an inch away from the failed past the way Kenyan Airways did.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I have to thank Clint Eastwood for helping to make the phrase, "the good, the bad, and the ugly" so popular - a phrase which can easily be applied to the roots of the Democratic Party in the U.S., as much of it is bad and ugly. (I think the rank & file average American has never heard some of the history mentioned in your blog, so they think that the Democratic Party is primarily good.)

Good comparison between Kenyan Airways & the US Presidential race... just watched a television interview with Chris Gardner, subject of a recent movie starring Will Smith, entitled "The Pursuit of Happyness". Gardner's life stands in start contrast to the entitlement mentality so common in the US, and continuously spawned and propagated by liberal US politicians...

thanks for the blog - appreciate it!