But my saying it will mean nothing if the people on the ground don't want to make it happen.
Ferguson, Missouri could be coming to your town real soon. There are many explosive pockets of populations in our country just waiting for an excuse to explode into violence, rioting and looting.
The tragedy of a teenager killed by a police officer in Ferguson set off the reported violence that has dominated news reports for nearly two weeks now. The violence appears to be subsiding, but the stories and premature conclusions about what, why, and how things happened continue.
Only a few sources are starting to talk about the root causes of what sparked the situation in Ferguson, and no sources are doing anything to remedy those causes. Namely, socio-economic conditions as measured by weak family structures, a high poverty rate, high unemployment and few job opportunities.
Socio-economic conditions in Ferguson gave some residents and too many outside agitators an excuse to go on a destructive rampage. It's inexcusable, but they used the excuse anyway.
Socio-economic conditions start with the family and a job or jobs. Two-parent and faith-based families are less likely to resort to violence than single-parent and non-faith-based families. Similarly, someone with a decent job is less likely to throw a rock through the window of a business in their own community to make a quick theft than someone desperately unemployed.
Many studies have confirmed these observations, but no government program can enhance the family structure. It must be done by the families themselves.
This is evidenced by the failed "war on poverty,” and the gradual decline in parental presence in a large number of homes in low income areas. For decades, the number of welfare programs and the number of people on food stamps have increased significantly, while the percentage of people at or below the poverty level has remained around 15 percent of the population since the 1960s.
Similarly, it is extremely difficult for many people maintain a decent job (or jobs) without a decent economy. Despite the claims of the Obama administration, we do not have a recovering and decent economy. The economic evidence is an anemic national economic growth rate, a real national unemployment rate of 10-plus percent, and a four-week rolling average number of new jobless claims of 300,000-plus!
This has been the general state of the economy for nearly six years, and a bad economy rolls downhill to the state, local, and kitchen-table levels. The causes have not changed – namely ineffective policies and programs, and irresponsible spending. The elected Democrats' denial of these causes has also not changed, and the forced passage of ObamaCare has only made things worse!
Solutions to the root causes of situations like Ferguson will sound like another broken record coming from this and other "voices in the wilderness". We keep saying it because the solutions have not changed, but we do not control the positions of power necessary to affect responsible spending and effective economic policies. We did not win that opportunity nearly six years ago.
The solutions to the socio-economic challenges in communities like Ferguson are still an education, a job, a career and future opportunities. Otherwise, we will see more rocks thrown, more violence, and even worse, more deadly tragedies.
Some public school systems are failing their students, especially in low-income communities, for a lot of reasons. But the decision of students to stay in school and make the most of it is the responsibility of the students and parents who need to be giving their encouragement. It is not the responsibility of another government program.
Many of us today grew up in households where any job was a good job until you could earn a better job. Good work ethics, job performance and continuous learning helped many of us to not only find that better job, but a career and better opportunities over the long term. It starts with the individual. It does not start with the deception that more government mandates will get someone out of poverty.
I hope that the many unanswered questions about the tragic death of Michael Brown will be answered, and that the Ferguson community will be able to recover from the destruction it has experienced. If it does, then it will be because they focused on education, jobs and opportunities.
Let's hope other communities will learn something from Ferguson and listen to those voices in the wilderness of effective solutions before it's too late, instead of listening to those who preach victimization and polarization.