Let me be clear, notwithstanding the title of this article, I am very hopeful for our future. However, not too many years ago, I would have used the word optimistic

And while I am an eternal optimist, today I would be remiss in not saying I’m concerned about our future.  

Why? Quite simply because of what I see before my eyes. 

Yes, we still have racial discrimination, injustice and unfairness in our country that must be addressed and eliminated. Nevertheless, we have come a long way in our 244 years of existence and, as we must work hard to continue making change happen, we must also celebrate what we have accomplished and how far we have come.  

Remember, our country has had a Black president! There are many Black governors, mayors and legislators at every level of government. 

There are thousands of successful and wealthy African-American businessmen, entertainers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, teachers, corporate executives, scientists, artists — the list goes on. 

There’s a growing Black middle-class that lives well and leads happy, peaceful and productive lives. Here in Baltimore, there’s a Black mayor, a Black-majority City Council, a Black president of the City Council, a Black state’s attorney, a Black police chief, and I dare say many other cities have similar scenarios. 

I strongly disagree with the radical left that says we must “reinvent American capitalism to create opportunity for all.” With all due respect, those are just buzz words — there is opportunity for all, and this very real evidence proves it. 

Growing up, I was taught that you get educated, work hard, keep your nose clean, respect authority, have dreams and make them happen. I quit full-time college after two years to help my father in his small mom-and-pop auction business after he became ill, and continued my education at night. 

I wanted to become a lawyer but I was working full-time and living from week to week. Eventually, I scraped together the money to go to night law school — classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights from 6 to 10 after a full day’s work.  

After three years I graduated, took the Maryland Bar Exam and promptly failed it! But I took it a second time six months later and passed. My Jewish mother’s fondest dream came true — I was a lawyer!

Even then, 57 years ago, there were numerous people of color in my law school class who went on to become very successful attorneys. Everything I’ve ever done in my life was the result of some ability, but mostly hard work and recognizing and taking advantage of opportunity.

Yes, there was a luck part of it, too, but my definition of luck is when preparation meets opportunity, and I prepared myself for the opportunities that came my way. That same formula — hard work, taking advantage of opportunity and a bit of luck — was available to every minority person out there when I was coming up.

Yes, in some cases it might have been harder for them. But you know what? That’s part of life. The harder something is, the more rewarding it is when you attain it. Yes, African-Americans are easily recognizable because of the color of their skin, but so are Asians, Hispanics and Native Americans. 

And while I’m white, I’m also Jewish and can cite numerous examples of anti-Semitism I’ve personally experienced during my life. When I started my business career, a very wise man said to me that there are only three kinds of people in the world — those who make things happen, those who watch things happen and those who don’t know what’s happening. 

Throughout my entire life on this earth, I have found that to be 100 percent true, whether you’re African-American, brown, red, yellow or white.

I believe the root of today’s societal problems stems from the social policies our government has created and implemented over the past 70-plus years. Prior to that, fatherless Black homes were not prevalent; today it’s the norm.

The family unit was important and revered in Black social strata. Our government’s social policies have stolen the self-respect, sense of self-reliance, the importance of family, morals and values from the Black man.

Further, they have created a sense of dependency that inculcates feelings of inferiority, feelings of being unable to provide for themselves and the need to look to government for the necessities of life — food, clothing and shelter. And that has expanded to where today, many also look to government not only for their needs but their wants — cell phones, computers, TVs, music systems.

The solutions implemented to address our social problems of the past 70 years have cost taxpayers literally trillions of dollars. And what have we gotten for it? Rotting inner cities, terrible crime rates, horrific and growing drug problems, public schools that don’t educate, uninhabitable public housing, and a mindset of entitlement that somehow causes minorities to destroy their own businesses, neighborhoods and communities when they get angry at injustices — real or perceived. 

Remember Einstein’s definition of insanity — doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? If he was right, then we are all insane.

It’s time for society to wake up, see the reality of what the investment of our time, effort, energy and money has wrought and change what we’ve been doing

Unfortunately, what we see what’s happening in the streets of our major cities today — the horrific destruction, the obvious socialistic goals of the extreme left and the pandering to them by extreme liberal local and state governments — raises the possibility that it may be too late for us to change our “insane” ways. 

The drumbeat from the far left appears to be getting louder and louder, bent on taking us down the road to socialism, and each day it seems we get further and further down that road.  

So just what is wrong with socialism? Well, for starters, it has failed miserably wherever it has been instituted — politically, socially and economically. Politically, it has often led to repressive, ruthless, tyrannical governments. Socially, it creates dependency, stifles innovation, destroys initiative and lulls people into a false sense of security. 

Economically, it has always been a disaster. Today’s leading proponents of economic socialism, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and numerous others, often point to the “shining” example of Sweden and other Nordic countries where supposedly it has fulfilled all of its promises. 

But is that really the case? The answer is a resounding NO.

The truth is that Sweden’s experiment with socialism failed years ago and the realities of that failure are obvious to anyone who might care to look for them. Socialism stopped creating jobs in the private sector. Businesses stopped producing goods and services to be traded in the world markets. Successful companies, Swedish celebrities and entrepreneurs fled to free economies across the world to escape debilitating taxes and regulations.

Incentive to innovate, create and grow ceased. These and numerous other contributing factors eventually led to the collapse of Sweden’s economy in the 1990s.  

We have been traveling down the road to socialism for years, and we are today closer than ever before to going over the edge of the socialist precipice. 

Will we go over and self-destruct, or will we recognize the warning signs and bright red flashing lights before our eyes? Can we turn away from the precipice and avoid disaster? The answers to these questions will decide our society’s fate and impact generations to come. 

And this, my friends, is what causes my concerns for the future.

The election is just weeks away and might be the most important one we have ever faced. Our future is at stake — I implore all of us to consider that carefully before casting our vote.

William Z. Fox is founder, chairman and CEO of Fox Residential Auctions LLC and Fox Commercial Auctions LLC. He is an author, public speaker and pro-Israel activist. He and his wife, Myra, live in Baltimore and have four daughters and 10 grandchildren.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Jmore.