Every day, it seems like we see news of another shooting, followed by more riots. “This can’t be happening,” we tell ourselves, but there it is. Every time we see the crowds, the police, the damage, it seems like our whole society is burning up right alongside the police cars and storefronts.

To most of us, the riots might as well be in a foreign country. But they’re not. They’re here, in our cities.

And we feel powerless to do anything about them. The good news is, we can.

The truth is that the riots sparking up in major cities from St. Louis to Baton Rouge, and most recently Charlotte, are not a response to police shootings. They are an overflow of frustration at generations of broken promises made to urban communities. The shootings are a violent, terrible, heartbreaking last straw.

Politicians promised these communities more than what they had. They promised stability, jobs and education. These were political favors, promised in exchange for loyalty. Instead, our fellow Americans got less stability, fewer jobs and worse education. They started out with not much and ended up desperate and hopeless.

We can improve the depressing situation of many urban communities, but in order to create real opportunity, we have to start fresh.

Here’s how we can make a difference so that America’s urban communities can enjoy the fullness of the American Dream:

Stop using government handouts as political favors

Granted, this one may sound impossible to stop, but we can. As government gets bigger, more programs fly under the radar. Eternally funded with no accountability, these programs become slush funds for political favors.

By limiting the size of government, forcing bureaucrats to tighten their belts, we can empty political slush funds and stop the destructive practice of taxpayer programs for political favors.

Find out more about the importance of a leaner, more effective government here.

Build an economy of opportunity

We didn’t say this would be easy. But let’s be honest, for all the happy talk about the economy, it’s still depressing. Fewer people are working. The economy is barely growing, if at all. Starting a business is a nightmare of jumping through hoops that fewer and fewer people are willing to go through.

How do we get our mojo back? In short: clear the path. Clear the mess of regulations and red tape that are quicksand to entrepreneurs trying to start or grow a business. Despite the talking points, government programs like Obamacare make it harder for businesses to hire people. Minimum wage laws actually destroy entry level jobs, putting the first rung of opportunity out of reach. When we support these measures, however well intentioned, we’re actually taking away opportunity and draining hope.

Find out more about how to give everyone an equal shot at success, or the truth about income inequality.

Open the doors to education by choice

As public education has collapsed in the United States over the last few decades, nowhere have students been more abandoned than in urban communities. Today students trapped in failing urban school districts have more access to options than ever before — from charter schools to online education, scholarships and more. But it’s not enough.

The best hope for urban communities to rebuild prosperity is to make more education choice and options available.

Find out how to improve the education our children receive.

This is how we stop the riots.

At this point, you may have though we weren’t talking about Charlotte or Baton Rouge or Baltimore.

We are.

Riots only happen when people have nothing to lose. When they have no hope and no future.

No policing program, housing program, meal program or healthcare program will ever replace the vacuum that exists when there is no hope. And no, hope (and change) do not come from these programs. Adding programs only builds a taller wall between current misery and future potential.

To restore hope in urban communities, we have to clear out the barriers to opportunity. Build new hope, dignity and confidence. Build a healthy relationship with law enforcement based on the rule of law. And open the doors to a better education.

If we create a road to a different future, we create hope. We create opportunity. We create peace.

What are your thoughts? Do government programs help urban communities, or ultimately hurt opportunity and kill hope? Share your thoughts on Facebook!

Don’t think hope can make a comeback? Check out the trailer for the Comeback series:

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