Archive for February, 2009

Chris Brown Beats Up Rihanna? So What?

February 20, 2009

The media is still buzzing over the assault of R&B singer Chris Brown on Rihanna. I do not have to say “alleged” assault because he already apologized for what transpired. My thoughts and prayers immediately went out to Rihanna and all of her family who have to experience this directly. My prayers also go out to Chris Brown because anyone who could engage in an attack such as he did truly needs help. After my prayers are done, however, my thoughts immediately turned to accountability and how Chris Brown will most likely have little to no accountability for his actions. I speak using recent history as my judge. If the examples of Lil’ Kim, Michael Vick, and Martha Stewart are my guides, Chris Brown will be back on top of the world in little time.

I’m no psychic, but this is what I envision will happen. Chris Brown will find Jesus. He will lose a few more endorsements. There will be a trial and he will get off. Actually, if he really wants street cred, he will go to jail. He’ll do the talk show circuit, a reality show, write a book, and move on and this will soon be a memory. That’s just how it is in America today when you have talent and you live in a society that still fundamentally hates women. I believe in forgiveness but I also believe in true come-up-ins and real accountability. Let’s look at history.

Lil’ Kim was convicted of a crime and before she went to jail, there was a reality show about her final days which received very high ratings. She’s back out and it’s as if she is more popular for being incarcerated. She did not lose a record deal or have her music banned. Martha Stewart also spent time in the big house for perjury and her product sales soared. Michael Vick was convicted of running a dog fighting circuit but luckily for him, he is still young. There is no doubt in my mind that he will play again in the NFL because he has talent. If you can entertain, you will be OK in this society because there are no real penalties for breaking the law. If you don’t believe the examples I just sighted, how many rappers openly rhyme about selling drugs in their music? How many have been incarcerated because of it? Like Jay-Z said:

I do this in my sleep

I sold kilos of coke

I’m guessing I can sell CDs

Why is it that celebrities are not dropped from record labels or TV deals and contracts for committing the most heinous crimes? Reverend Al Sharpton once tried to have a 3-month radio ban from artists who are convicted of a crime and folks pretty much ran him out of town. Currently, if you get convicted, you seem to get more play as if you died and were being given a tribute. The radio hosts will introduce each song with a “hold ya head up” and it’s all good. Ask yourself this question: why is it that celebrities can generally lose contracts with their companies or get fined for not showing up to a game, poor sales or poor conditioning, but not be dropped for physical and sexual assault, robbery, drug possession, or kidnapping? The answer to this question gets to the root of our money, talent, and influence but no morality rules in this society. Is this what we want our kids to see?

Back to the misogyny. If you go online now, you will find that many people are actually blaming Rihanna for the attack saying that she gave Brown an STD or some other reason. This is an argument that people are actually entertaining. Should we be surprised? We name shirts after abusive husbands—wifebeaters. I’ve actually heard department store employees (male & female) refer to A-shirts with that term. We treat women in the media as sex objects, many of our TV shows are actually soft porn, and most female rappers today have to sell sex to get signed. The days of Queen Latifah and Lauryn Hill are long gone.

Now I know women have made a great deal of progress over the last century, but I believe that it in spite of the values we place on this society, not because of them. The venom spewed at Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin proved that hands down. It is my hope that this recent incantation of misogyny can lead us towards a productive dialogue on domestic violence. I hope Chris Brown gets the help he needs and the punishment he deserves. I hope Rihanna will not be silent on this issue because many of her fans experiencing the same thing will continue to stay silent and blame themselves until they are killed. Most importantly for me, however, is the hope that we will really take a look at how we value each other in this society. Our kids are watching us just like Chris Brown watched his abusive father beat his mother as a child. We cannot let another generation become maligned with the massive media messages of misogyny. Let’s heal ourselves.

The Obamas and the Fashion Industry: the Real Racism

February 20, 2009

King and Obama? What about Malcolm X?

February 18, 2009
January 25, 2009
Another third Monday in January has passed where we honor the legacy of the late great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We watched the “I have a dream” speech (or excerpts of it), debated whether his dream has been achieved, and the more adventurous of us participated in the National Day of Service. This MLK day obviously had a greater feel to it because it came the day before we celebrated the first African American President, Barack Obama. As beautiful as these two days were historically, I find myself somewhat disappointed at all of the “from King to Obama” rhetoric. Everyone knows that I am huge fans of both individuals, but I do feel as though the comparisons have gotten a bit out of hand and more importantly, out of context.

The major problem I have is that Dr. King was one of many leaders in a movement. President Obama was the leader of a campaign. A political campaign by default is about the individual at the end of the day for he or she is seeking office. Without Obama, there would be no presidential campaign to elect him. Would there have been a Civil Rights Movement without Dr. King? Of course. The movement was well under way before Dr. King’s involvement. Some say the movement started when black heroes came back from World War II and still had to sit in the back of the bus or even as far back as the days when we first landed on these shores. Either way, we cannot solely attribute the beginning of this movement that drew international attention (and still inspires other movements worldwide) to Rosa Parks refusal to get out of her seat or Dr. King’s great leadership. I know by this time that I may be coming off to some as a hater, but I am far from it.

My point is that I often wish that on the 3rd Monday in January that we would have a Civil Rights Day instead of an MLK day. The messianic complex that so many of us have on this planet always causes us to create these “One man stood up” or “One woman had enough” stories that completely minimize (or erase entirely) the contributions of others. From Cezar Chavez and Nelson Mandela to Mussolini and Hitler (it works in the positive and negative sense), history, often told by others, picks a leader of a movement and that is who is celebrated or vilified. This is wrong. As it relates to Dr. King, many African Americans have unfortunately embraced this philosophy. There are many reasons that this frustrates me but I will only cite one reason here—Malcolm X. Remember him?

I get frustrated when I look at how quickly we forget people like Emmitt Till, Medgar Evers, Claudette Colvin, and the many other men and women, black and non-black, who gave their lives and heart to the movement. It is when I remember Malcolm that I get the most frustrated because President Obama admitted in his first book that Malcolm X’s message resonated with him more than any other figure of the Civil Rights Movement. This is also true for me and this is why it bothers me that we have allowed his memory to be forgotten and Dr. King’s to be pacified. I believe that Dr. King would not have risen to such prominence if Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam were not present with their self-defense mantra or Kwame Tourés militiancy or the Black Panthers. The list goes on and on. Malcolm’s contributions to the movement are no less significant simply because he did not have a title like “Dr.”, “Reverend”, “Nobel Peace Prize Winner”, or “President” before his name.

We who either came through the Civil Rights Movement or who are students of it should not continue to allow America to forget what the true meaning of the movement was and the massive involvement of so many groups. We should not allow the country to turn Dr. King into a “Kumbaya” singer who only had a dream. He was a hardcore soldier who spoke about police brutality and was as opposed to the Vietnam War as many of us are to the war in Iraq. Though it is important to remember King’s American dream, it is also equally important to remember that he had this dream while living an American nightmare.

So let us continue to celebrate the life of Dr. King. Let us never forget the momentous inauguration of the first black President. Let us also not forget, however, that Dr. King was one of many who helped bring the first black President into existence. There can only be one president at a time, but a movement for equality, whether gay rights, Muslim rights, etc. have many leaders, As great a man as Dr. King was, our struggles in this country have been too long and too complicated to only credit one individual for a movement that existed, in my eyes, before he was born. As the African proverb goes, “until the lion tells his story, history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”

Gaza vs. Oakland: Black America Still at War

February 18, 2009

Why do girl pull-ups all have white folks on them?

February 13, 2009


January 4, 2009

 


Raising children is by far the most joyous and most challenging experience of my life and I know this is the case for any parent who truly loves his or her children. In addition to trying to raise kids that will have a work ethic like you (or a greater one) and hopefully accomplish more than you did, you often find yourself with greater challenges than expected, especially if you are a person of color in this country. I have lived as a black child in America as well as a black adult in America. With all of the racism and ignorance I have experienced as an black person here, living as a parent as a person of color in this country has proven the most challenging and I have only been at it for 2 and a half years now.

My daughters are 2 and half years old and 4 months old. Both parents are black and my sister also lives with us. Without bragging too much, I can at least say that the three of us are doing a good job of providing an example of positive black role models as it relates to the 4 Es: education, exercise, entrepreneurship, and eating right. When we go to Boston and see their grandparents and their aunts, uncles, and cousins, there is nothing but more positive black role models for them to emulate. The major challenge we face is trying to have society join us in our struggle for them to see positive images of themselves, particularly at a young age.

Case in point. My oldest daughter, Ngolela, is now at the age of wearing pull-ups, a big step for her and probably something the majority of parents don’t think twice about. I did not either until I realized one thing—there are no pull-ups out there that have black girls on them. Every brand of pull-up I could find for girls had white or Latina/Arab-looking princesses on them. I couldn’t even find blank ones. Some boy pull-up brands had no images of people on them, only cars, but they were part of the pack that came with white cowboys and astronauts on them. I was amazed by this fact and I quickly tried to see how deep this problem went. Being a doctoral student at the University of Maryland, I quickly went on our black graduate listserv and asked for help. No one could point me in the direction of pull-ups without images of white people on them. This became very frustrating!

Let me make it clear. I am no racist; I’m just real about race. If you’re just discovering me, you will find that I spend my days trying to bridge gaps between cultures, not widen them. In order to do that, however, I believe that all groups need to be confident in their own identity before branching out and losing themselves before they’re ever found. I just don’t my children arrving at the dinner table of multiculturalism with no utensils. For example, the first day Ngolela learned the word “princess,” she immediately said she wasn’t one. This was after she started wearing the pull-ups though we’ve called her princes before. Within a day of the three adults in the house constantly repeating it to her, she realized she was a princess too. Now when I tell her bedtime stories that I make up on the fly, she insists I start with “Princess Saafi…” (Saafi is her middle name).

My point from this is simple: life is a quest for representation. If people don’t see themselves represented properly and see how they fit, they will act like misfits. In addition to the pull-up problem, did you ever notice that there are no black girl cartoon characters on TV in the Dora the Explorer age range? I’ve seen white, Latina, and Asian so far and I applaud that. I see many black parents buying their girls Dora paraphernalia just to get close to a black image. Thank goodness for Bill Cosby and Little Bill or I’d be saying the same thing about young black boys. At least there’s one. If you believe I am over exaggerating on my concerns about imagery, just look at the video below which recreates the “black doll test” and understand just how early our kids start seeing themselves in a pejorative manner:



Enough said right? No.

I was recently conducting a workshop on educating black males with a group of predominately white teachers. I asked them about the pull-ups and one woman remarked: “Wow. I never had to think of that.” That’s the point. When you’re in the majority, you don’t have to worry about seeing yourself represented everywhere you go in the form of history books, statues, etc. You don’t have to be that image-conscious and it’s not just with toddlers. As historic as President-elect Obama’s nomination is, I am also impressed by Richard Liu becoming the first Asian American male newscaster on a major news network. There have been plenty of Asian newscasters on CNN but, without hopefully sounding too ignorant, they have all been young attractive women who almost fit the “Asian doll” stereotype. Having attractive broadcasters isn’t Asian specific, but I hope my point is clear.

At the end of the day, it is my hope that my daughters will be able to grow up in a world where what we tell them they could be will be represented when they walk out the door or turn on the TV so they think we lied to them about what’s possible. The new President and family will help tremendously, but it is the beginning of the work that needs to be done as it relates to countering the overabundance of sex-driven, “ghetto fabulous”, gold-digging black women that are still represented in the majority of the media that is out there today. We have much to do because despite my gripes, I realize it could be much worse. I could be Native American. Pocahontas anyone?

Why you shouldn’t be teaching right now

February 13, 2009

November 23, 2008

It is only natural that voters for a given candidate would be upset when their candidate does not win. It is natural for people to still keep their signs in their yard, the stickers on the cars, and the buttons on the bags. It is natural to believe that your tax status will change, you may make less money, or you may spend more time in a war that you do not support. The election of President-elect Barack Obama, however, for a myriad of reasons, has led many in America to expose their true racial animosity towards blacks in America on an entirely new level. This is best demonstrated when one analyzes how many of America’s teachers are responding to Obama’s nomination.

Across the country, I’ve received story after story about how some majority white schools are not “allowed” to discuss Obama’s election because the teachers are so angry. There could be many reasons for this if anyone believes the hateful rhetoric that came from the McCain/Palin campaign: Obama is a terrorist, a radical, a foreigner, a Muslim, socialist, etc. The elephant in the room that didn’t need to be mentioned is that he is black and I see this as a major problem for many white teachers. The reason for this is that so many students of all races have been coming to schools with Obama t-shirts and many of these students have been inappropriately celebratory with chants like “Obama, black power!” or “We’re in charge now!” In many schools, this has been a recipe for disaster with students fighting each other in support of their party (or race) and teachers not acknowledging this teachable moment in a positive manner.

One white teacher in one of the schools I visit told me that she was told by another white teacher that she can’t vote for Obama because if he wins, blacks will think they deserve more than they’re already getting. This is a higher level of anger than just one’s candidate losing. As a teacher, if you cannot use this moment to teach all of your students that they can be anything they want to be, you should not be a teacher. Given that so many black males have so many few black male role models, and so many white teachers have seen too few images of positive black men themselves, the Obama election should be used as a tool to teach what’s possible. The fact of the matter is that if you as a teacher believe that black people are only deserving of so much, than you can never teach them equitably and you should be ashamed.

Across the country, black males are the majority of students in special education, suspensions, expulsions, and remedial programs. A large part of this is due what they don’t have in their communities as it relates to positive black male role models, coupled with what they are not getting in school: culturally competent teachers and a culturally relevant curriculum. Despite that, some of these students labeled “at-risk” came to school on November 5th and pledged allegiance to the flag for the first time. Some came to school with t-shirts showing a president and not a prisoner from some rap group or mafia-type. As educators, if we cannot embrace this moment to show the world not only how far we’ve come, but how much further all of America’s children can take us, it should be criminal for any of us to walk into our classrooms and not embrace this moment in history. If you cannot do that, why are you teaching? Better still, who are you teaching for? It’s time for you to look in the mirror and reflect.

Congratulations President Barack Obama!

February 13, 2009

November 5th, 2008

Wow. We did it. We really did it. For African Americans, this is the single greatest moment in our history because it is a near culmination of all our struggles from Slavery to the Civil Rights Movement. It is by far not the end of all of the ills we still face, however, this moment proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that this country belongs to African Americans as much as anyone else. For America in general and the people of all races who voted for President Obama, we have shown the world (literally) that we can choose hope over fear. From trying to prove Obama was a terrorist to robocalls on election day in Florida saying that President Fidel Castro endorsed Obama, we have shown the world that we are moving towards hope.

Today is a new day. Not only did President Obama win this election handily, but senators and governors across the country from the Democratic party have taken over, showing that America has chosen to drive towards unity rather than the “Joe the Plumber,” “real America” politics of divisiveness. Just looking at Grant Park in Chicago, every representative of this country was represented in large numbers. Asian men were out there wearing Obama shirts. White women dressed like the statue of liberty. This election is a testimony to our tenacity as a nation. Furthermore, the election of President Obama shows that one can be intellectual and succeed in a nation of instant television stardom from reality shows, sex tapes, negative music, and even more negative politics.

CNN’s Gloria Borger often speaks of how this nation has a self-corrective nature. The corrections may come after a great deal of agonizing time, but they do come. Furthermore, we must also understand the importance of underestimation. Those on the Republican side laughed at President Obama’s experience as a community organizer and now they are confused. They failed to realize that community organizers are the people who changed the world from King and Ghandi to Mother Theresa and Mandela. We must always remember that when we turn away from our communities, we turn away from ourselves. Though Obama raised millions of dollars, it is important to remember that he came from nothing economically compared to many of his presidential rivals. This was a campaign rooted in the community that expanded worldwide.

Lastly, I have to end this with a comment on our children. My daughters will grow up seeing the first Black President. He will live down the street from me. I shook his hand at the gym we used to work out at. He’s an ordinary man who did the extraordinary and it is an example for all of us. Ordinary Asian, Latino, Native and Black children will now grow up believing that they will have the opportunity to be the leader of the free world. As the First Lady, Michelle Obama will set a new standard for beauty for America. President Obama and Michelle have shattered the ultimate glass ceiling. President Obama has officially proven that this country belongs to everyone, not just wealthy White Americans. When I was a teenager, I always used to tell the kids I mentored that they should not want to grow up hoping to be the first Black President. I told them we shouldn’t have to wait that long and that they should grow up wanting to be the next one and for that Mr. President, I love you and I thank you.

What about Hakim the Plumber?

February 13, 2009

October 19, 2008

Here we go again! The McCain campaign has introduced yet another tactic in its pathetic attempt to show Americans that he and Governor Sarah Palin are the most “like them.” Samuel “Joe” Wurzelbacher or “Joe the Plumber” has now emerged as the new face of the McCain campaign. His “impromptu” questioning as an independent voter at an Obama event in Holland Ohio has given the media something new to discuss (though it’s quite old now). McCain used Wurzelbacher during the debate and thereafter to showcase how Obama would hurt the average American. I wanted to first point out a few inconsistencies of the “Joe” story and then point out why it is ultimately damaging for America.

Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune points out several of the problems with “Joe.” First of all, “Joe” does not make enough money to even be taxed under Obama’s plan. He is nowhere close to having the $250,000 needed to even buy a plumbing business. Furthermore, he is unlicensed. Third, he actually owes on his taxes. Finally, he is a republican who claimed to be independent. Senator McCain’s folks apparently did not properly vet “Joe.” Sound familiar? In the McCain campaign’s attempts to use words like “small town,” “country first,” “like us,” “patriotic,” and “Joe” to make their campaign to be the campaign of America, they have labeled the rest of us as “other” and this is a problem.

As “Joe the Plumber” rises to fame, receives book deals and reality show offers in addition to his new status as a pundit who has done more interviews than Palin with the press, I can’t help but be concerned with the continued decline of intellectualism in America. I saw “Joe” on Fox saying that the fact that he hasn’t paid his own taxes is irrelevant. This is probably in addition to the fact that he’s broke and isn’t licensed. McCain’s campaign has been reduced to slogans and catch phrases with no regard for the facts. The motto for the campaign might as well be “Vote for us White America. We look like you.”

The problem is that America no longer looks just like you Senator McCain and Governor Palin. You seem to have forgotten about Hakim the plumber, Jae Kim the teacher, Harshal the lawyer, and José the doctor. You should be mindful to know that in 2008, America is much more diverse and accepting than days past so attempts at division will backfire. Putting country first actually means putting all citizens first and not just those who look like you. While you and your supporters condemn Obama’s heritage and community organizer roots, you should be aware that Obama’s ability and attempt to organize the American community has placed him in the position he is in. You should take note.

An Open Letter to CNN’s Campbell Brown

February 13, 2009

October 10, 2008

Dear Ms. Campbell Brown,

I hope this letter finds you well. I must say that for the most part, I have been impressed with your coverage of this 2008 election process. Though you claim that your show has “no bias” and “no bull,” I have noticed that since the advent of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as the Republican Vice Presidential candidate, the hypocrisy in some of your statements have shown more bias on some issues and double standards on the other. Let us recap a few examples.

Before Governor Palin came on the scene, I recall the controversy over Senator Obama using the term “sweetie” to refer to a female reporter. He said that it’s a habit of his that he had to check. I thought your report was fairly objective until you reached the end of your segment and stated (paraphrasing) “Senator Obama, calling a woman ‘sweetie’ is an absolute no-no.” I thought to myself that you had already accurately covered the story and did not need to add your personal opinion. I was a little annoyed but I figured that would be the end of it. I did not know that a trend of double standards was beginning.

After Governor Pain was selected and spoke at the RNC, you and Gloria Borger were visibly moved and understandably so. I will return back to that night shortly. A few weeks later after Palin’s qualifications were becoming less and less evident, you masterfully grilled republican strategist Tucker Bounds about Palin. At the end of your roasting, you said “Tucker, I’m just gonna give it to you baby. We’ll end it there.” “Baby” vs. “Sweetie”? Is that not a double standard? I just looked at this as “strike 2” on my mental mound and let it go again but I did not realize the worst was yet to come.

On the night of Governor Palin’s RNC speech, on several occasions, you would interrupt the men on the panel with you to explain why a woman could better explain what is going on. Later, you and Ms. Borger took exception at the use of the word “shrill” by one of Senator Reid’s spokespersons. You stated that it was a very condescending term and Senator Reid and his staff should have known that it was a disrespectful term to use towards women. I (as a man I guess) never heard that before but given that you are a woman, I gave you the benefit of the doubt because you have lived this your entire life (although Donna Brazile disagreed with you). It is in this point that you revealed your ultimate hypocrisy.

Recently you reported on the violent language being hurled towards Senator Obama at Senator McCain rallies. You rightfully stated that there were racial slurs as well as terms like “terrorist” and “kill him” being thrown out there and that this language was unacceptable. In your attempt to cover both sides, you then confidently stated that those of us who saw Senator McCain’s use of “That one” in the second presidential debate as racial or racist were completely over-reacting. Ms. Campbell, that revealed an ultimate hypocrisy and misunderstanding of the experiences of many African Americans on your part.

I did not see the use of the word “shrill” as offensive but I respected your opinion and tried to step into your experiences in order to improve my understanding of your experience as a female professional. Do Black people in America not deserve the same attempt from you? All Black people did not see that term as being racist; however, there were many of us (particularly older Black people) who did, like CNN-contributor Michael Baisden. Rather than try to belittle our experiences, you should have conducted a report on why many of us saw it the way we did. That would have been the unbiased thing to do.

With all due respect Ms. Brown, you do not speak for Black America. No one person does, however, it would be better if you worked harder to understand our experience than condemn them. If someone makes a derogatory comment about Muslims while I am at the airport with my Muslim colleague, I may not find the comment offensive, but I could turn around and see her in tears. Is it my job to tell her she’s over reacting or is it my job to dig deeper in an expedition of understanding? The latter should be your job as a journalist. Feelings may not always be right, but because of our experiences, we as humans often cannot help how we feel. Please do not forget that.

Sarah Palin: a Great Pick for Senator McCain

February 13, 2009

September 2, 2008

So Senator John McCain chose first-term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate. For all the talk of possibly picking someone pro-choice or even a democrat, McCain has chosen to mollify his Christian conservative base by choosing a staunch conservative as his vice presidential candidate—and the spin cycle begins on a level we have not seen since Bush led America into the Iraq war.

As expected, McCain spokespersons such as Tucker Bounds and Steve Schmidt demonstrated that their past careers included stints as circus acts because they masterfully jump through hoops when dodging questions concerning Palin’s qualifications (watch Campbell Brown embarrass Bounds). Every argument I have seen from any republican over the past few days basically goes like this:

“Governor Palin has more legislative experience than Senators Obama and Biden.”

Challenge: “Being mayor of a town of 7,000 and head of the PTA does not qualify for Vice President.”

Reply: “Governor Palin is the most popular governor in the country.”

Challenge: Governor Palin’s 80% approval rating in Alaska does not mean 80% popularity in the country (after all, Bush had a 90% approval rate as Governor of Texas)

Reply: “You should not demean the role of a woman who has come this far and she should not be diminished or belittled by these sexist attacks.”

Challenge: Well, McCain said that foreign policy experience should count more than change so why would he pick someone with no foreign policy experience?

Reply: “Governor Palin has more executive experience than Senators Obama and Biden. It’s the top of the ticket that counts, not the bottom.”

Thus the circular logic has begun and this is all the republicans will keep saying until and after Election Day. In the eyes of the republican base, Governor Palin can do no wrong and must be defended vigorously. It’s almost like watching the birth of the clan during D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of a Nation” where the White woman has to be protected from the Black man (who is now a presidential candidate as opposed to a runaway slave). Ferraro did the same thing.

The pregnancy of Governor Palin’s daughter and Palin’s child with Down syndrome highlight the hypocrisy of the Republican Party. They espouse family values but praise the fact that Bristol is keeping the baby and marrying the boyfriend. How can they support family values when they are promoting teenage marriage? I have not seen evidence out there supporting the notion that teen marriages as a result of pregnancy promote healthy marital relationships. Furthermore, democrats should be highlighting the fact that Bristol at least lives in a country where she can choose to keep the baby in the first place. Lastly, Palin’s first son was born 8 months after her marriage, according to the New York Times, but this is also of no consequence to the Christian conservatives, who now (based on hats worn at the convention) support unwed mothers. Unwed mothers was never my issue, it was theirs until now.

What bothers me most is the exploitation of her child (Trig) with Down syndrome. Every article I read about Palin cannot neglect to mention that her son has Down syndrome. CNN contributor Bill Bennett (Republican former Secretary of Education) went so far as to say that Palin should be praised for even choosing to have a baby with the disease in the first place. I’m reminded of comedian Chris Rock’s skit when he stated that men shouldn’t seek praise for being fathers to their children—“It’s what you’re supposed to do!” The more Trig’s disease is brought up as some huge anchor, the more it is going make children with Down Syndrome look like complete burdens on any family. I don’t know what it’s like to raise a child with this disease or any other, but I think that any good parent who is in that situation loves his or her child unconditionally despite the many challenges and resents having this thrown in their face. Her choice to have and raise this child should not be looked at as some badge of honor—it should be looked at as raising her child—period.

So yes, all Republicans must rally around Palin and this will be great for McCain. Republicans like Bill Bennett are comfortable stating that Palin should be praised for Bristol having her baby but at the same time suggest that crime in the inner cities would decrease if Black women aborted their babies. They vilified Senator John Edwards for his affair but say it’s OK that McCain cheated on his sick wife because he was a POW. They can decry the ills of inner city youth but then shower praise on the same indiscretions as long as the children have supportive families. Senator McCain and Governor Palin are not running in order to serve the entire country. They are running to be the President of the Christian conservative nation. The base has been excited like never before and Obama and others would do best not to underestimate them—after all, George W. Bush won two terms. McCain and Palin can do no wrong until we show them in this election who is truly on the side of the right.