Like her husband, who has been known to talk about the importance of
fatherhood, Michelle doesn’t go far enough. I presume that’s because even if she
wanted to, she couldn’t: The party wouldn’t let her. It’s the reason, I assume,
that Barack Obama can’t bring himself to do a full-on Bill Cosby and challenge
men — and black men specifically, who need to hear it, because he can — to be
responsible fathers. He could talk passionately, opening up about what it was
like to grow up without one.
The Obamas do know what works — good, solid, traditional families with a
mom and dad. They also are in the rare position of actually being able to say
that. But they won’t.
While some women whine that they won’t see one of their own become
president next year, they should really be challenging the Obamas to tell the
honest truth about family values.
However, Obama has done that very thing, in a 2005 Father's Day speech at Christ Universal Temple. He emphasized the need for black fathers to be engaged in their family's life and be a good example.
Of all the rocks upon which we build our lives, we are reminded today that
family is the most important. And we are called to recognize and honor how
critical every father is to that foundation. They are teachers and coaches. They
are mentors and role models. They are examples of success and the men who
constantly push us toward it.
But if we are honest with ourselves, we'll admit that what too many
fathers also are is missing - missing from too many lives and too many homes.
They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And
the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.
You and I know how true this is in the African-American community. We
know that more than half of all black children live in single-parent households,
a number that has doubled - doubled - since we were children. We know the
statistics - that children who grow up without a father are five times more
likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out
of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more
likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage
parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of
How many times in the last year has this city lost a child at the hands
of another child? How many times have our hearts stopped in the middle of the
night with the sound of a gunshot or a siren? How many teenagers have we seen
hanging around on street corners when they should be sitting in a classroom? How
many are sitting in prison when they should be working, or at least looking for
a job? How many in this generation are we willing to lose to poverty or violence
or addiction? How many?
Lopez commented on this very speech, acknowledging Obama's criticism of the black community.
Obama, as the first major black presidential candidate in recent history,
has an unprecedented opportunity: To lead a fatherhood revolution. And he knows
it. Speaking at Christ Universal Temple in Chicago on Father’s Day 2005, he
preached the Word and channeled Bill Cosby, known these days less for his comedy
than for his lectures to black men about taking responsibility as fathers and
husbands. Obama said, “There are a lot of folks, a lot of brothers, walking
around, and they look like men. And they’re tall, and they’ve got whiskers —
might even have sired a child. But it’s not clear to me that they’re full-grown
It’s not shocking that Obama would latch onto such a message — and
leadership role. Now that he’s launched a presidential exploratory committee he
knows it’s smart politics. But it’s also a natural for him. In recent weeks the
press spent a few days talking about Obama’s “coke problem.” In his 1995 book,
Dreams from My Father, he wrote, as if preparing an opponent’s attack ad:
“Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed.” That part was heavily quoted in
the media. But he added a less-quoted part: “the final, fatal role of the young
would-be black man.”Read on. In that book and in his recent bestseller, The
Audacity of Hope, you will learn about his father, whom young Obama knew only
from mothball-covered photos, stories, and letters from Kenya, his father’s
native land. (His parents divorced when he was two.)
Without complaining, Obama relays that “as I got older I came to recognize
how hard it had been for my mother and grandmother to raise us without a strong
male presence in the house. I felt as well the mark that a father’s absence can
leave on a child. I determined that my father’s irresponsibility toward his
children, my stepfather’s remoteness, and my grandfather’s failures would all
become object lessons for me, and that my own children would have a father they
can count on.
”Now the father of two daughters, Obama’s focusing on more than his
familial responsibilities. Sounding more like a social conservative than a
liberal Democrat — he lauds welfare reform, teen-pregnancy prevention, and just
stops short of speaking the right-wing language of personal responsibility and
abstinence. (“I want to encourage young people to show more reverence toward sex
and intimacy, and I applaud parents, congregations, and community programs that
transmit that message,” he writes.) He says that “policies that strengthen
marriage for those who choose it and that discourage unintended births outside
of marriage are sensible goals to pursue.”
Lopez knowingly and deliberately lied about Obama. Bearing false witness against a neighbor is a serious sin which breaks the Eighth Commandment. Kathryn Jean Lopez should resign immediately, for her partisanship is endangering her soul.
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