It's not unusual to see male-bashing for the sake of attempted comedy -- after all, white men are the only allowable targets for ridicule these days -- but Barack Obama really hit the right notes with his Father's Day address. He wasn't male-bashing: he laid out some very legitimate, and very constructive criticism that the black community in particular needs to hear. (And has heard from Bill Cosby, among others.)
In an address that was striking for its bluntness and where he chose to give it, Mr. Obama directly addressed one of the most delicate topics confronting black leaders: how much responsibility absent fathers bear for some of the intractable problems afflicting black Americans. Mr. Obama noted that “more than half of all black children live in single-parent households,” a number that he said had doubled since his own childhood.
“Too many fathers are M.I.A., too many fathers are AWOL, missing from too many lives and too many homes,” Mr. Obama said to a chorus of approving murmurs from the audience. “They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men. And the foundations of our families are weaker because of it.”
Accompanied by his wife, Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, who sat in the front pew, Mr. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, laid out his case in stark terms that would be difficult for a white candidate to make, telling the mostly black audience not to “just sit in the house watching ‘SportsCenter,’ ” and to stop praising themselves for mediocre accomplishments.
“Don’t get carried away with that eighth-grade graduation,” he said, bringing many members of the congregation to their feet, applauding. “You’re supposed to graduate from eighth grade.”
This speech will certainly appeal to family-value voters, as it is no doubt intended to. From the transcript we can see some parts that even made The New York Times too uncomfortable to print:
We know that education is everything to our children’s future. We know that they will no longer just compete for good jobs with children from Indiana, but children from India and China and all over the world. We know the work and the studying and the level of education that requires.
A mention of globalism that doesn't denounce the competition but instead encourages Americans to rise to the challenge. Nice.
And the speech itself contained an unexpected admission from a Democrat that wasn't in the prepared text:
The change we need is not just gonna come from government. It's not just gonna come from a president. It's gonna come from us. It's gonna come from each and every one of us. We need families to raise our children.
What?! The government isn't the solution to all our problems? Holy crap, who'd've thunk it? It's not in the transcript, but apparently Obama said it.
Oooo, and there's this:
But we also need families to raise our children. We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child – it’s the courage to raise one.
Wait wait wait... the responsibility of fatherhood begins at conception? What about motherly responsibility? Does that responsibility preclude elective abortion?