JACK FRENCH KEMP
After having a great Saturday with going to a seminar about the origins of the universe hosted by astronomer Dr. Hugh Ross and seeing Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, I was informed from James Pate’s blog this sad news around this past midnight about one of my utmost favourite conservative politicians who has lost his battle with cancer this past Saturday at age 73. As a Canadian teen back in the ’80’s who was (and still is) interested in politics (which also included American) I knew who Jack Kemp was (though my grade 10 radical leftist teacher condescendingly declared that I knew nothing of him. Yeah right, whatever!). At that time he was a U.S.Congressman in the Buffalo, New York suburb of Amherst (which he served from 1971-1989). He even ran for president in ’88 (but lost but became Bush 41’s Secreatary of Housing and Urban Development from 1989-1993 and boy did he roll up his sleves in that position!).What made this former football player (who played with The Buffalo Bills, of course!) sooo special to me? He proved eloquently more than anyother U.S. conservative Republican of his time (even until now) that one can be a conservative Republican and firmly believe you can have concern for the poor, the economically disenfranchized and struggling. Being a conservative and having social concern were not mutually exclusive issues in the mind of Jack Kemp. Other things I appreciated about Jack Kemp that Republicans like him and Bill Bennett (Booker Rising’s Shay may sharply disagree on the Bill Bennett part but that’s another story for another time) had a real concern and sincere care for the African American community. Much as I liked then President Reagan (he was my one of my teenage heroes for better or worse), in retrospect he just seemed aloof and if I may be blunt he was too “Dr. Manhattanish” (let those fans of either the comic book or movie “Watchmen” understand) when it came to the black struggle in America. Again, that cannot be said in anyway about Jack Kemp who was not afraid to go to the inner city to congregate, dwell, eat and even visit the churches of African Americans. I salute him richly for that! Hey, the thought (and it was a big thought on his part) that counts!
Fellow bloggist, James Pate expresses some of his thoughts on his own tribute to Jack Kemp (that supports what I have been saying) which I excerpt here,
What I especially like about Jack Kemp was that he was an advocate of freedom and opportunity for all people, including the poor. He desired for everyone to have the liberty to unleash their creativity and full potential, while enjoying the fruit of their labors. Yes, he wanted rich investors to be able to keep more of their money, but he also favored enterprise zones, giving businesses tax incentives to locate in poor areas. Although he backtracked from his support for Affirmative Action in his 1996 run for Vice-President, he believed in giving minorities a hands-up so they could pursue their potential and partake of the American dream. And, when most Republicans were saying that we should crack down on illegal immigrants, Kemp said in an interview that he didn’t understand that sentiment, since he viewed America as a land of opportunity for all who want to make a better life for themselves…God promises in the prophets to create a world in which each person sits under his own vine and fig tree. Jack Kemp worked to make that type of society possible in America, even for those who usually lacked a piece of the pie. Yet, he desired to give people a hands-up, not a hand-out, since hard work is a part of good character and the American dream.
Amen to that James! The U.S. Republicans as we speak are in disarray of what direction to turn politically. I assert that this is sooo not necessary. Jack Kemp in many ways provided a system. It is a system of unity and exclusion, not polarization and negativity. It is a system that included wealth and equality of opportunity for all Americans and rejected the sad propensity of some conservatives to embrace Social Darwinism. It is this progressive conservatism that I believe is the ONLY salvation for the Republican Party. For the Republican Party to perversely ignore this fact, they deserve political irrelevance in American politics forever! The Kemp legacy demands better than that! As a 39 year old African Canadian who aspires public office in the coming decades of the 2010`s and 2020`s that it will STILL be my mission and duty to bring Kemp`s principles the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party and Conservative Party of Canada, hell or high water! I STILL firmly believe it is the right thing to do and the right direction to go to. I will not settle for anything less! Oh yes, as I quote one former Canadian Prime Minister, I say, `Just watch me.“
I have always wanted to meet Jack Kemp, he did come to Toronto a few years ago at an Ontario Progressive Conservative meeting (if I am not mistaken). I regret not being there (due to possible scheduling conflict and not told in advance about his appearance). As a person of faith, I am very enthusiastic of meeting him in the afterlife. I want to thank Jack for his wonderful, rich legacy and may he rest in peace to be revised by The Author God Almighty!