A Deep Divide

I thought I would wait until all the craziness died down before blogging about the most recent campaign trail  flap: the comments from the reverend Jesse Jackson concerning Senator Barack Obama … and perhaps the bigger issue at play here.

For those of you who might not remember, Jackson was caught on camera saying that Obama is “talking down” to black people and he wanted to cut of a rather sensitive portion of the Senator’s anatomy. I think that’s a bit much for someone who disagrees with Obama on a point of policy, but that’s me.

Rev. Jesse Jackson & Senator Barack Obama: A deep divide over an issue that should unite the pair

The issue in which Jackson took aim at Obama was the Senator’s contention that African-Americans, and young African-American males in particular, need to take responsibility for their lives and their actions. More to the point, young black males need to stop having children out of wedlock and, if they do, they need to become providers for the children and the families they have created.


I cannot believe anyone has a problem with Obama’s contention. Sure, young males of all racial backgrounds have become dads out of wedlock, but statistically, the rate is higher among African-American males. I commend the Senator for taking a public stand on an issue of social responsibility in the midst of a close campaign for the top office in the land. Let’s be honest, it’s not going to win him any votes among the larger electorate since the majority of voters are not African-Americans. The majority is more concerned with the war and the economy than whether another child is born without a dad. That maybe a cold truth, but it’s still a truth.

The Senator is not “talking down” to African-Americans, he’s talking to them and confronting the younger part of the demographic with the challenge to reverse a history of poverty and single-parent homes. How could anyone disagree with that? Sounds like the Reverend Jackson is more worried about losing his moral high ground and status in the African-American community with such critical comments of Senator Obama.

Comedian Dennis Miller once quipped that parenting was the hardest job in the world, but the easiest one to get. In his wordsds “just screw up once and it’s yours”. In many ways, he was right. One moment of misplaced passion can bring a life into the world and can change the life of two people forever. I think Senator Obama’s call for personal responsibility on the part of young black men should start even before they become fathers. It should start before they take that step that brings that life into the world.

As for the Reverend Jackson, perhaps his call for emergency surgery is correct. But instead of removing a part of the Senator’s anatomy, maybe he needs to have something done to his own body. Perhaps brain surgery is in order.

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