Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Myth of the Super Black Woman

At the risk of offending women in general and black women specifically I have undertaken the task of destroying a commonly held myth by both whites and blacks. This myth has so permeated our collective conscious that it is often depicted in story and movie. This mythical black woman is often times portrayed as some super human single black mother who has overcome tremendous obstacles to raise her family despite the odds. It has given way to the belief by many that black women have some inherent strength or ability that allows them to be able to raise children successfully without men. The danger of this myth is that because of it today many black women are choosing to do precisely that. They have accepted and fostered this false belief to the point that many look at men as merely sperm donors and have no expectations of their presence in the lives of their children. Let me state unequivocally and without wavering the experiment of women raising children by themselves has failed and failed miserably.

Due to the fact that so many men have allowed themselves to be silenced by feminists today any male that in any way calls into question a woman’s desire to give birth, raise, and fail her children is considered a chauvinist. Because we have allowed women to frame the arguments surrounding family, children, and reproduction men no longer have any opportunity to take part in the discussions or analysis of these issues. Despite the propaganda of some women and the lack of concern by so-called news organizations the evidence is clear. The vast majority of children raised in single women head of households are suffering and as a result the society at large is suffering. The society is suffering because not only do these children create
social problems, but this lifestyle is growing throughout our society. Granted divorce is playing a larger and larger role in our society and creating a large number of these homes, but what is also playing a major role is the desire of women to have children without the expectation of having men in the lives of their children.

To me for a woman to deliberately have children without the expectation of having the father in that child’s life is the epitome of selfishness. With all of the empirical data we now have concerning the ill-effects of such a household on the great majority of our children it would be considered unconscionable for anyone but a woman to consider such a choice. I don’t agree with the logic that many of these children are accidents or mistakes of reckless people. If you make a mistake and have a child under these conditions that is one thing, but if you have multiple children from multiple men then this is no longer a mistake it is a lifestyle choice. The evidence is clear that not only is this detrimental to our children’s well being, but also to our nation’s well being. It is not about a woman being strong enough to raise children alone. An example would be if I break the doorknob on my door and I use some rope to open and close the door, granted that would work but that is not how the door was designed to work. No matter how I would like for it to be otherwise the fact remains I am making the best out of a bad situation. Young women who are raised in fatherless homes make up 85% of the future single unwed mothers so we are perpetuating the education, crime, and social problems into generation after generation. The proof is that in the 1960’s 20% of all black children were being raised in single mother households; today that number is almost 70%.

In spite of the rare success stories that we see on the television the truth is that most of these children grow up in and remain in poverty, they are poorly educated, and prone to criminal activity. We hear about the 15% that are successful and ignore the 85% who are not. Imagine if at your job you were 85% wrong about whatever it is you do and then not only were you not terminated but you were promoted as a success story. Black women are not genetically or culturally disposed to be able to withstand the rigors of raising children alone, no woman is. The sad part is that this is not a problem of poor or teenage women, but a choice being made by older women. The majority of new unwed mothers are women over 21. We have turned having a baby into a fashion accessory or a substitute for missing intimacy.

There will be those who criticize me for "picking" on the women, but let’s be honest women have always driven the reproduction and repopulation of the species. It was the morals of women in the 1960’s that had the rate at 20% not the morals of men. There will be those who say black women don’t have the requisite number of potential partners and my answer to that is that if black women are doing such a good job of raising these young men why are there not enough good men? Are there other external reasons for the lack of good black male suitors? Of course there is. There is racism, there is systemic marginalization of black men, and there is lack of economic development. The problem is simply this and it hasn’t changed since 1960, until we begin to stabilize our families and provide a healthy environment for our children to develop the tools they need for success all the integration, money, and opportunity won’t make a bit of difference. If we open up a door and our kids are not prepared to go through it then we all fail.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Bush/Obama Administration?

The average American looks up, they distrust politicians in general and they don't think they've been told the truth, and I think they got good reason. They've watched a Bush/Obama spending cycle that began with a stimulus package last year which failed at $180 billion, a housing package in August which fail--or July which failed at $345 billion, a Wall Street bailout at $700 billion, a Federal Reserve guarantee of $4 trillion; a stimulus package of $787 billion, which we're now being told weeks later isn't big enough, but which had to be passed so quickly no one could read it, because we had to get it out there immediately.[1]

I saw the new, old face of the Republican Party this weekend on a Sunday talk show and I was shocked at the new tact of the Republicans. According to Newt Gingrich the last eight years has been the Bush/Obama administration. Who knew? In an effort to once again fasten President Obama to the current economic meltdown the new strategy appears to be to unite him to the failed policies of the Bush administration. The once revered George W. has now been turned into a tax and spend liberal by the very same people who heralded his accent to power. These people have no shame. They are willing to throw Bush under the bus for the sake of some political advantage that doesn’t exist. Do they think that the public is so incompetent that they don’t know the difference between Bush and Obama for the last eight years? Here’s a hint Obama is the tall, dark one.

So are we to assume that the last eight years were not Republican run as we were led to believe by their policies and their utter failure? So Republicans were not the ones who put the economy and our nation on the road to a “China Syndrome”. You have to hand it to them though that is innovative. You attach the incoming administration not only from another Party but another galaxy to the previous failed administration which happened to have been from your Party. My guess is that the goal of this strategy is to try and reduce the amount of patience the American people will have with the new President since he has been in office for the past eight years and hasn’t done anything.

Now for those following at home here is the latest. Not only did President Obama not inherit this economy he actually caused the economy to crash as a member of the Bush administration. Theoretically he has not been in office for only two months after all so his policies don’t deserve anytime to work. After all they are the same big spending, big government policies of that other liberal stalwart George W. Bush. How Mr. Gingrich can expect any national political aspirations to be taken seriously following comments like these are beyond me. But considering no one on the panel gave them a second look maybe he knows something I don’t. The problem with Mr. Gingrich and all of his new and old GOP faces is not that they are new or old; it is that their ideas are old. The GOP continues to repackage their “new” faces with the same failed ideas. I mean to try and pretend that the Republicans outside of George Bush had nothing to do with what is happening in the country today is ludicrous.

Mr. Gingrich would rather join his other political cohorts and fiddle while the empire burns and continue to be apologists for the wealthy than pitch in and help. For anyone to say it is unfair for the taxes of the wealthy to be raised after decades of tax-breaks and inequitable distribution of wealth is completely out of step with the mood of the country. For anyone to argue against giving 95% of working Americans a tax-break they are out of step with the mood of the country and the polls attest to this fact. While Mr. Gingrich and the other ignore the polls munchkins continue to try and deny his popularity the President’s numbers continue to rise. Now the new line is that the President has popularity but doesn’t have credibility with the people. Let’s be clear it is not the President that doesn’t have credibility it is the bankers, politicians, and talking heads that have no credibility. The public is tired of hearing about bankers and wall-streeters who continue to take bail-out money and hoard it or continue to live in a culture of a by-gone era. The public is tired of politicians who refuse to understand that they are hurting and “Just say no” is not an option. The public is tired of media-types who live in a bubble telling them who is at fault and who to trust.

Mr. Gingrich there was no Bush/Obama White House and until the Republicans can acknowledge their role in this economic melt-down and begin to articulate a new strategy that addresses these problems they have no credibility with the public. The public is not willing to ignore the last eight years or pretend they never happened. Until the Republicans can acknowledge their failures they are doomed to repeat them, but not at the expense of this nation. You can’t start a fire and then charge the firefighters with arson. The best thing the Republicans can do to avoid another 50 years in the wilderness is to begin to help craft real legislation that will turn this economy around at least then the Democrats won’t be able to take full credit for the salvation of our country.

[1] http://www.scribd.com/doc/13090517/Meet-the-Press-March-8-2009-Transcript-and-Video-Link

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

America is Cool Again

Not since the early sixties has America so epitomized the notion of cool in the world as we do today. What began as a fist bump on the primary trail has reached a national shout-out before both chambers of Congress. The Obamas in the White House has once again provided the world with the desire to be a part of America and part of the cool that they perceive America to be. Whether it’s the pop star reception of Hillary Clinton in Asia or the talk around European capitals the buzz is unmistakable. The thing about the Kennedy administration that many have forgotten was that they had style and exuded cool to not only Americans but to the world. They made other people in the world want to be American and if they couldn’t be American to immolate American style and coolness.

After decades of waiting America and the world can now usher in a new era of vitality and panache. We must not underestimate the value of chic and coolness in the global marketplace of ideas. America represented more than just democracy and capitalism to the world. America represented the freedom to express your coolness in ways that the old world could not. America represented new ideas and new ways of expression, innovation and a spirit of compassion for those who did not share our abundance. It is hard to recruit people to kill you if they see in you their hopes and their desires being realized. The reason we are despised in the world today is because we took those hopes and those desires of the worlds unwanted and we profited from them. Our concern wasn’t to liberate them or enrich them instead it was to exploit them. We offered them hope and instead gave them whiskey and a “Big Mac.” Instead of embracing and acknowledging the value of their cultures we judged and condemn them.

We no longer reached out to the world with a hand of friendship and mutual understanding; instead we hid behind barbed-wire and guns. Before the world got to know us through our people who were willing to suffer the indignities of those they came to help instead of through our military. Those brave young Americans did more for our standing in the world than all of our bombs and rockets. These volunteers allowed the world to see the American people as people just like they were not as conquerors or liberators. The world got to see that we were cool. We may have been too arrogant and overconfident, but we were still cool and were willing to try to help those we could. There were many casualties to our volunteer efforts but the mission continued and for generations we enjoyed the goodwill of most of the world despite our continued efforts to profit from their misery.

So here we are today with a new opportunity to once again reach out to the world with hope and a shared sense of purpose. While there are many who want to continue the gun-boat diplomacy bred by fear and hatred we must overcome those forces and realize that we once again have the chance to influence generations of the world’s people not through might of arms but through right of purpose. We Americans need to believe in the good in the world and the rest of the world is no different. They want to believe that we represent what we claim to represent freedom, compassion, and understanding. Let us begin today to not fall for the politics of greed and the philosophy of fear that has paralyzed us from taking our rightful place in the world as the purveyors of cool and the beacon of freedom.

President Obama and First Lady Michelle have a style and a flair that we have so desperately needed. They both exude a confidence that is not based in arrogant power but based in a quiet acceptance of their roles in this world and humility for the enormity of the tasks that await them. Let’s face it being cool won’t stop al Qaeda from wanting to destroy America but it will make recruiting a little bit harder because cool is a lot harder to rally support against than boisterous and bellicose. We had a similar example in the campaign and it is hard to be against hope. We must understand and accept that what is missing in these men’s and women’s lives is not consumerism or democracy, it is hope. It is hope in the future that it will be better than their yesterday and their today. If we can’t provide the world with hope then it won’t matter how many bombs and tanks we have it won’t be enough to protect us.

Yet, when the President and First Lady walk into a room there is a hope, a sense that our best days are ahead of us. As I watched them arrive at the address of the joint chambers of Congress I couldn’t help but think these folks are cool. It’s funny how sometimes in life you don’t know you have missed something until it arrives and then it is like the break of a new day and you realize this is what was missing. Somehow it gives you comfort that wasn’t there before. I don’t think for one minute that President Obama will solve all of our nation’s problems or that his policies are the only solutions to them, but I get a real sense of the measure of the man that gives me confidence. Tom Delay stated that the American public elects Presidents to be caretakers and not to change the country. While this may have been true for the past 30 years there have been times in our nation’s history when the people elected someone to shape this nation to lead us into a new world. I would ask Mr. Delay if the country elected Lincoln or the Roosevelt’s to be caretakers. I think not. The country does not have the luxury of a caretaker at this moment in history and that is why we rejected the Republicans and John McCain.

The country chose cool and the world will be better for it.

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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I Was Inarticulate

What ever slim chance Michael Steele had of recruiting young people and minorities to the Republican Party went out the window after Mr. Steele had to bow down and kiss the ring of Conservative “entertainer” Rush Limbaugh. Mr. Steele displayed all of the qualities that are despised by both groups when on Saturday night while trying to pal it up with D.L. Hughley he accused Rush Limbaugh of not being the head of the Republican Party and merely an incendiary entertainer. Just when it appeared that a Republican had the nerve to tell the truth to the ego maniacal Limbaugh and thus freeing the Party from extremists Mr. Steele within hours was prone before Limbaugh begging forgiveness as so many other so-called Republican leaders have had to do.

Newsflash – Rush Limbaugh you are an entertainer, you cater to a certain segment of the population who believes in your extreme characterizations and your simplistic analogies of complex issues. Here is the problem for the Republican Party, while the millions that Limbaugh holds sway over is enough to promote a radio show and enrich his pockets it is not enough to win elections. How can you reach out and expand the Party when you have to sell your soul to Limbaugh to hang on to the dwindling base? While the Republicans continue to await the second coming of Reagan the Democrats continue to shore up solid gains among Independents and moderate Republicans. Rather than recognizing the influence he has and using it for a real Republican examination of the state of the Party and the nation Mr. Limbaugh would rather use it to enrich himself and stoke his massive ego.

This is the problem when you allow a “personality” to dominate a Party there is always the chance that the personality will begin to believe that he is the Party. If Rush was an elected official he would have his time in the sun and then fade away, but because he is an entertainer he can stay around for years and years without having to be right about anything. He is like the local weatherman he can be wrong 70% of the time and still be popular. Mr. Limbaugh can ignore all of those shows he did in support of the same spending and policies he now rails against when George W. Bush was in office. Limbaugh can have the best of both worlds he can say he was right on this issue or that and ignore all of the times he was wrong. He is like Carnac the Magnificent except he is a lot less funny.

The reason the Republicans can’t have a serious debate is that too many of them genuinely believe that they were right on all of the majority issues and that the vast majority of Americans are too stupid to know it. It is hard to base a winning strategy on we’re right and you’re stupid. The way you expand a Party is not by catering to a shrinking base you already have with more of the same rhetoric that was rejected resoundingly by the majority of Americans. I am not sure what polls these guys are reading but I heard Tom Delay say that the Presidents disapproval rating is at 40%. It is precisely this “alternate reality” that got the Republicans in the position they find themselves today. If we say something enough times to enough people then somehow it becomes true. The American public is becoming more politically savvy than they were in the 80’s and 90’s and the Republicans are failing to accept that reality. Twittering does not make you cool or technologically proficient. The issue is not how you deliver it, the issue is the message. It is the message stupid and right now the Republicans have none. They keep talking about all of these alternative plans and ideas they have and have offered yet no one other than them has seen them. Railing against the government and crying class warfare are not plans and ideas and while they may resonate with the “states rights” groups and the apocalyptic crowds they do not represent what many Americans believe.

Mr. Steele, the groups you claim to want to reach out to respect manhood and strength. What chance do you now see yourself as having after being “bitch” slapped by Rush Limbaugh? Having middle-aged white women calling “you da man” at an all-white country club is not cool and shows a certain callousness towards those you hope to reach. Mr. Steele being cool is not something you buy or something you can steal from someone like trying to co-opt slang for marketing purposes. It is an attitude, a feeling inside that says I know who I am and what I represent, you may not agree with it but here it is. Being cool is a quiet confidence that gives confidence to others. Right now Mr. Steele you represent the desperateness of the Republicans in that you are willing to say whatever you need to say depending on your audience. Mr. Steele you will never be the leader of anything until you stop being the “cool” black dude that you are not. It is easy to think you are the cool black dude when you are the only black dude in the room or the other black dude is Ron Christie or Clarence Thomas.

The other problem is the choice of words used by Mr. Steele during his apology. It is an historical fact that when whites want to give a complement to a black person they admire the first word out of their mouth is how articulate that person is. “He speaks so well.” So by Mr. Steele saying that he in fact was not articulate he is saying that the black dude was wrong, that he did not live up to the “articulate” complement of his benefactors. For many I am sure it will be similar to all of those whites who rented cars from Hertz felt after the OJ trial; sort of betrayed. I guess it is like Limbaugh said, “Get behind the scenes and don’t talk with the grown-ups, you’re not qualified.” I guess to Limbaugh Michael Steele is the epitome of Republican affirmative action, another unqualified black promoted because of race and not qualifications.

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