On March 11, 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the results of a study which found that nearly 26% (1 in 4) of American teenage girls ages 14-19 have at least one sexually transmitted disease. This report and its ramifications, however, were quickly shelved so that the media could provide us with non-stop coverage of the New York governorâ€™s sexcapades with a prostitute.
The global image of the Black woman continues to be under attack, the latest of which being with Charles Knipp and his character Shirley Q. Liquor. Liquor, is described by Charles Knipp as being "the Queen of Ignunce," who is based on his experiences with and interpretations of Black southern women. Knipp, who is white and gay, performs the character — an illiterate, welfare collecting, mother of 19 children, who drives a Caddy, and attends Mount Holy Olive Second Baptist Zion Church of God in Christ of Resurrected Latter-Days AME CME _ in blackface.
The media is awash in stories about how women (except for some of us old gals over 50) are flocking to Barack Obama in droves and away from Hillary Clinton. Feminists are pitted against feminists as to which candidate, if elected, would be better for women, and many younger women are arguing with their mothers and aunties. But thereâ€™s a much bigger division looming, and itâ€™s not between the Obama and Clinton camps. What everybody ought to be looking closer at is that "if elected" part. Women have suffered incredible setbacks under the Bush administration and it is in their hands whether that path continues after November.
A lot of Bushâ€™s damage to the country as a whole, like the war and the tanking economy, is front and center. But much of the damage to women has been under the radar. Presidential appointees can do tremendous harm, mostly out of the public eye. Take Wade Horn, one of Bushâ€™s Health and Human Services assistant secretaries. Horn founded the National Fatherhood Initiative to promote marriage as the solution to poverty, loudly touting his belief that "the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church." Then he gave the group $12.38 million of the taxpayerâ€™s money to push marriage instead of funding job training and educational programs to get women off welfare.
"There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority, be it Baptist/Unitarian, Irish/Italian/Octogenarian/Zen Buddhist, Zionist/Seventh-day Adventist, Women’s Lib/Republican, Mattachine /Four Square Gospel feel it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse. Every dimwit editor who sees himself as the source of all dreary blanc-mange plain porridge unleavened literature, licks his guillotine and eyes the neck of any author who dares to speak above a whisper or write above a nursery rhyme.” —Ray Bradbury
In Ray Bradbury’s futuristic novel Fahrenheit 451, the state burned all books in order to hide the truth from the people. In the coda to a 1979 edition of the book, Bradbury wrote: “Fire-Captain Beatty, in my novel Fahrenheit 451, described how the books were burned first by minorities, each ripping a page or a paragraph from this book, until the day came when the books were empty and the minds shut and the libraries closed forever.”
In 2005, the Center for Vision and Values hosted a conference about poverty in the United States and different approaches to alleviating it. During the Q&A session after one of the presentations, a Grove City College student asked what actions the College was taking to help the poor. Good question. While the short answer is, “More than you realize,” I hope the student asked himself the far more important question, “What am I going to do about poverty?”
I don’t think there is anybody in America—liberal or conservative, atheist or Christian—who thinks that poverty is a good thing or wouldn’t like to see poverty vanquished. Differences of opinion emerge when the talk turns to strategies. Liberals tend to favor government programs that use tax dollars—monies that are taken by compulsion—to fund various government antipoverty programs. Libertarians favor, and most conservatives tend to favor, private-sector initiatives that are funded by voluntary contributions. Liberals are happy to give money to this, that, and the other cause, as long as it is other people’s money. I call this “the liberal temptation.” Conservatives and libertarians are more likely to acknowledge that they have a personal responsibility to freely contribute time or money to work toward the desired goal. There’s a huge difference between compelling others to perform work you think is important and doing good deeds yourself.
During a recent Republican presidential debate, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee took Texas Congressman Ron Paul to task for calling for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq. Huckabee suggested that it was irrelevant whether the United States should have invaded Iraq. The point, he stated, was that because the invasion had “broken” Iraq, the United States had the obligation to remain and fix it. As Huckabee put it, “We bought it because we broke it.”
Huckabee is wrong on several counts, and his reasoning only goes to show how far American conservatives have fallen in terms of conscience and morality.
Let’s assume that when Huckabee was a teenager, he broke into his local hardware store with the intent of stealing supplies to give to the poor. Let’s say that as he reached for the items, some of them fell to the floor and broke.
When the police arrived, would Huckabee have had the right to remain in the store to fix the items he had broken? Could he have told the police that this is what his mother taught him when he was a little boy? Of course not. The police would have taken him into custody and removed him from the store. While he would have been obligated to reimburse the store owner for the broken items, Huckabee would not have had any right, legal or moral, to remain in the store to fix them.