Atlas Shrugged: The Mocking

Monday, June 16, 2008

Father's Day

Barack Obama gave a lovely speech on Father's Day. He exhorted fathers to set a good example of achievement and hope, and society to help fathers achieve this goal.

It’s up to us – as fathers and parents – to instill this ethic of excellence
in our children. It’s up to us to say to our daughters, don’t ever let images on
TV tell you what you are worth, because I expect you to dream without limit and
reach for those goals. It’s up to us to tell our sons, those songs on the radio
may glorify violence, but in my house we live [give?S/T] glory to achievement,
self respect, and hard work. It’s up to us to set these high expectations. And
that means meeting those expectations ourselves. That means setting examples of
excellence in our own lives. The second thing we need to do as fathers is
pass along the value of empathy to our children. Not sympathy, but empathy – the
ability to stand in somebody else’s shoes; to look at the world through their
eyes. Sometimes it’s so easy to get caught up in “us,” that we forget about our
obligations to one another. There’s a culture in our society that says
remembering these obligations is somehow soft – that we can’t show weakness, and
so therefore we can’t show kindness.

But our young boys and girls see that. They see when you are ignoring or mistreating your wife. They see when you are inconsiderate at home; or when you are distant; or when you are thinking only of yourself. And so it’s no surprise when we see that behavior in our schools or on our streets. That’s why we pass on the values of empathy and kindness to our children by living them. We need to show our kids that you’re not strong by putting other people down –you’re strong by lifting them up.
That’s our responsibility as fathers.

We should be making it easier for fathers who make responsible choices andharder for those who avoid them. We should get rid of the financial penalties we impose on married couples right now, and start making sure that every dime of child support goes directly to helping children instead of some bureaucrat. We should reward fathers who pay that child support with job training and job opportunities and a larger Earned Income Tax Credit that can help them pay the bills. We should expand programs where registered nurses visit expectant and new mothers and help them learn how to care for themselves before the baby is born and what to do after – programs that have helped increase father involvement, women’s employment, and children’s readiness for school. We should help these new families care for their children by expanding maternity and paternity leave, and we should guarantee every worker more paid sick leave so they can stay home to take care of their child without losing their income.

It's a wonderful speech that puts the responsibility of raising black children directly on their fathers, while acknowledging that society doesn't do enough to help them.

They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And
the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.

It's not the institutional racism of America, or its economic system set up to gouge the poor and middle class. It's a matter of personal responsibility, just like with Obama's father. You see, Obama knows the difficulty of growing up without a father.

I know what it means to have an absent father, although my circumstances weren’t as tough as they are for many young people today. Even though my father left us when I was two years old, and I only knew him from the letters he wrote and the
stories that my family told, I was luckier than most.
He knows the pain of feeling rejected by one of the two people a child loves, needs and wants the most in the entire world. Raised by whites yet black himself, American yet foreign, poor but successful, it left Obama with a fierce need to prove himself.

Still, I know the toll that being a single parent took on my mother – how she struggled at times to the pay bills; to give us the things that other kids had; to play all the roles that both parents are supposed to play. And I know the
toll it took on me. So I resolved many years ago that it was my obligation to
break the cycle – that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good father
to my girls; that if I could give them anything, I would give them that rock –
that foundation – on which to build their lives. And that would be the greatest
gift I could offer.
See, it's incredibly important to Obama to be a steady rock for his family, to give them continuity and security. He praises the pastor of the church in which he's speaking.

Here at Apostolic, you are blessed to worship in a house that has been founded on the rock of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. But it is also built on
another rock, another foundation – and that rock is Bishop Arthur Brazier. In
forty-eight years, he has built this congregation from just a few hundred to
more than 20,000 strong – a congregation that, because of his leadership, has
braved the fierce winds and heavy rains of violence and poverty; joblessness and
hopelessness. Because of his work and his ministry, there are more graduates and
fewer gang members in the neighborhoods surrounding this church. There are more
homes and fewer homeless. There is more community and less chaos because Bishop
Brazier continued the march for justice that he began by Dr. King’s side all
those years ago. He is the reason this house has stood tall for half a century.
And on this Father’s Day, it must make him proud to know that the man now
charged with keeping its foundation strong is his son and your new pastor,
Reverend Byron Brazier.

It's too bad Obama can't stay in the church he raised his kids in, the familiar community that is so important to both black and white church congregations. But that church was hurting his election chances and he had to abandon it, to achieve his continued success. It must have hurt a great deal, but he had to be an example to his children. If someone is holding you back, leave them behind and look for something better. The point is to be a good example through achievement, after all.

Another example of Obama's fine character is his religious devotion. Like a human father, Obama looks to his Heavenly Father for guidance, help, and protection. Faith in God's love, both for us and our country above all others, shows that Obama is a true American, certain that we are uniquely favored by God and Jesus over other people, and other nations.

That is our ultimate responsibility as fathers and parents. We try. We hope. We do what we can to build our house upon the sturdiest rock. And when the winds come, and the rains fall, and they beat upon that house, we keep faith that our
Father will be there to guide us, and watch over us, and protect us, and lead
His children through the darkest of storms into light of a better day. That is
my prayer for all of us on this Father’s Day, and that is my hope for this
country in the years ahead. May God Bless you and your children. Thank you.

It's such a relief to know that if Obama is elected, the nation will change and improve. He believes so strongly in challenging society's assumptions of class, race and religion.


Anonymous said...

Again, I love you.

Righteous Bubba said...

Barack Obama will personally cut back on greenhouse gas emissions by flying to state visits using only his own angelic wings.

Susan of Texas said...


I look forward to the end of money influencing politics.