Often, I contemplate the reality and common conditions for many African-Americans living in poverty and the ghettos of our harsh inner cities. These concerns require me to consider their struggles and the dangers they face every day. Not so much because I pity them, but rather because I want more for their future.


The only thing that separates many of us from them is opportunity. They have the same faculties as you and me. However, the lack of opportunity has left them in a cave of despondency, only seeing success on television, online or in a magazine. Success is but a shadow on a wall; elusive and distant.

I am saddened because I know when given the proper tools to achieve, anyone is capable of success. They are imprisoned in this cave of hopelessness from childhood and with that despair comes no real measure of what success is. So without a proper interpretation, they have no real means of achieving it.

The real objects of success — what it means and how to achieve it — is foreign to them. What can they do that is analogous to opening their eyes and realizing they too, are capable and full of potential? I'd argue nothing as long as the tools, resources and opportunities continue to escape them.

The idea that their future is bleak has forced many of them to develop self-destructive behavior that only further leads to their demise. This disconnect from honest labor has a devastating impact on the entire community, which often results in crime. And crime for that matter becomes autonomic, like going to sleep or waking up. The result is increased crime and unemployment that makes these boys, as they sire babies, worthless as husbands or fathers, spawning fatherless communities that are plagued with despair — continuing the cycle of hopelessness, arguably because of the lack of access and opportunity.

Often in politics, the focus is rarely on solving this moral blight, but on tossing blame. Somewhere, somehow the focus is lost, and it is at the expense of those who are suffering the most.

Republican luminaries such as former Michigan Gov. George Romney and later New York Rep. Jack Kemp both recognized the conditions that plague many inner cities across America. They advocated for attention to be placed on these issues on the political front, specifically in the Republican Party. Unfortunately, the GOP seemingly missed those opportunities.

As George Romney —father of 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney — acknowledged, "urban unrest is deeply rooted in economic privation." After the violence that befell Detroit in 1967, Romney went on to say:

[T]he drive for human justice has gained ground during the past few years. All our efforts have not been wasted, all our programs designed to bring about equal opportunity are not now valueless. We must not permit a backlash to weaken the valuable programs and policies designed to bring about first-class status for all citizens. ...

I think it's important for public officials — and through their eyes all citizens — to see ... the horrible conditions which breed frustration, hatred and revolt.

Those stuck in a pit of hopelessness must indeed find hope, but to do so, they must have access and opportunities. Perhaps the Republican Party can return to the advocacy of Romney and Kemp to provide opportunity for those who lack it.

Singleton is a Republican political consultant. He has worked on the presidential campaigns of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney. Follow him on Twitter @Shermichael_.