A group of men from the Polygamist Ranch down in Texas where some fifty young girls were removed because they were being married off while underage have launched a PR offensive, trying to appeal to the general population of the United States in an attempt to get their children back. Now, I can understand being upset, angry, livid that your children were yanked out of your house by the cops. I really can. And I can understand that you’re going to do anything you can to get them back. What I can’t understand is why you’d claim you were ignorant of Texas state law (which prohibits marriage for women under 18, or 16 when parental consent is given, which it probably was in each of these cases) and why you’d let someone marry your minor child and get them pregnant? Of 53 girls ages 14-17 that were taken from the sect’s property, 31 have children or are pregnant. That’s almost two-thirds of the sect’s MINOR females that are either pregnant or who have ALREADY had children. Couple that with a story from a former sect member who was talking on PBS about how young boys are often sent out in the “real world” to fend for themselves as they become adolescents (lest they compete with the older men for these young girls’ affections), and you just have to say, “you know what? I don’t want to hear it.” Frankly, I’m surprised most of these fathers thought people would give a damn. You subject your children to abuse and then think the public is going to help you pressure the authorities to give them back to you? Wow. Talk about delusional thinking.
The New York Times reports that one of the uncommitted superdelegates had this to say about the Obama-Wright controversy: “I’m a little surprised at how much traction it is getting, and I do believe it is beginning to reflect negatively on Senator Obama’s campaign,” Ms. Macoll said. “I think he’s handling it very well, but I think it’s almost impossible to make people feel comfortable about this.”
There’s the rub. It just plays bad. This is why my initial reaction to Obama’s otherwise masterful speech on race relations in Philadelphia was that it hadn’t gone far enough. He needed to make then the type of denunciation he finally made yesterday. The problem is that the most retarded assertions that Wright has made of late (e.g., that the U.S. somehow manufactured AIDS and released it on the black community; Wright seeming to have forgotten that AIDS initial victims were largely in the gay community, and yet we don’t hear that community crying ‘government conspiracy’), are the very same assertions that caused this dust up in the first place. I’m glad that Obama is denouncing them now. But why didn’t he then? And while none of this sways my vote, I do find myself asking why he didn’t speak up years and years ago if this is the kind of sermon that Wright typically gave to his church each week. I wouldn’t have to hear this kind of nut job wackiness more than once before I’d be looking for a new church.
I fear that this side show is going to cost Obama the Indiana primary. Democrats in that state are more conservative, and there are more independents voting in the primary, and I just don’t see any of this playing well in the mid-West. (We lefty pinko commie types on the east coast are more forgiving.)
Some interesting context from the Chicago Tribune :
In 1961, a young African-American man, after hearing President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” gave up his student deferment, left college in Virginia and voluntarily joined the Marines.
In 1963, this man, having completed his two years of service in the Marines, volunteered again to become a Navy corpsman. (They provide medical assistance to the Marines as well as to Navy personnel.)
The man did so well in corpsman school that he was the valedictorian and became a cardiopulmonary technician. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the Navy’s premier medical facility, Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a member of the commander in chief’s medical team, and helped care for President Lyndon B. Johnson after his 1966 surgery. For his service on the team, which he left in 1967, the White House awarded him three letters of commendation.
What is even more remarkable is that this man entered the Marines and Navy not many years after the two branches began to become integrated.
While this young man was serving six years on active duty, Vice President Dick Cheney, who was born the same year as the Marine/sailor, received five deferments, four for being an undergraduate and graduate student and one for being a prospective father. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both five years younger than the African-American youth, used their student deferments to stay in college until 1968. Both then avoided going on active duty through family connections.
Who is the real patriot? The young man who interrupted his studies to serve his country for six years or our three political leaders who beat the system? Are the patriots the people who actually sacrifice something or those who merely talk about their love of the country?
After leaving the service of his country, the young African-American finished his final year of college, entered the seminary, was ordained as a minister, and eventually became pastor of a large church in one of America’s biggest cities.
This man is Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the retiring pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, who has been in the news for comments he made over the last three decades.
Since these comments became public we have heard criticisms, condemnations, denouncements and rejections of his comments and him.
We’ve seen on television, in a seemingly endless loop, sound bites of a select few of Rev. Wright’s many sermons.
Some of the Wright’s comments are inexcusable and inappropriate and should be condemned, but in calling him “unpatriotic,” let us not forget that this is a man who gave up six of the most productive years of his life to serve his country.
While words do count, so do actions.
I just read what is probably the most sobering article I’ve come across in years. It’s called, “The End of the World As You Know It,” by Michael T. Klare, and originally appeared at TomDispatch.com. I think it should be required reading for all politicians in Washington. If ever we needed to start eliminating our foreign debt, create incentives for clean energy and generally start taking care of ourselves, it’s now. That’s not to say that we should isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if they start isolating themselves from us. I mean, what will we have to offer the rest of the world when each country is jockeying for oil and natural gas? Not a whole lot. It’s not like we produce anything anymore. What are we leaving for our kids? It would be nice to at least leave them with a country that is self-sufficient to as much of an extent as it can be, that way all they’ll have to deal with is global warming caused by the rest of the world. Let the other countries fight for energy. Time to get that national solar grid online. God help us if McCain becomes president. We don’t have eight more years to play with. Time is running out.
In answer to Charles’ article below, perhaps even more disgusting than the overall tone of the first 45 minutes of last night’s debate is the fact that one of the questions asked by George Stephanopolous was provided by none other than Sean Hannity. Now, I don’t ever want to hear the words “liberal” and “media” being thrown together again from the right-wing. When you have the so-called mainstream media getting its direction from a third-rate, right-wing pile of waste like Sean Hannity, you have *no* right to say your voice isn’t represented. The whole first hour of last night’s attack session on the Democratic Candidates was nothing but an echo-chamber for the right-wing tabloid media. I thought Obama answered little Georgie’s question very well though: “And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense, George.”
One simple lash of the tongue, and Obama put George (and by extension, Hannity) securely in his place at the bottom of the sewage pit from whence he crawled. You could almost see George *and* Charlie sinking in their chairs. They were totally and completely outclassed by their guests. ABC News should be ashamed of itself and I even think they owe the candidates an apology.
Coverage in the NYT this morning about last night’s presidential debate starts off with this description: “Mr. Obama was put on the hot seat here in a way we haven’t really seen so much on his “bitter” comments, his not wearing a flag pin, his support for Reverend Wright, his association with a 1960s radical.
Thank goodness Gibson and Stephanapoulos honed right in on the most pressing issues confronting America today. I’m sick and tired of the side show diversions over ridiculous non-topics like the Iraq war, the failing economy, or the collapse of our health care system. I mean, really, who cares?? It’s far more important to me to know that our candidate wears a flag on his lapel, wears flag underwear, and is willing to shove a flag up his ass if need be. And then take another big flag and beat the shit out of Rev. Wright with it. Now *that* is what matters in America today. Again, kudos to George and Gibby!