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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 24, 2008 / 17 Adar II 5768

Obama's missed opportunity

By Kathryn Lopez


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The Rev. Jeremiah Wright is not someone who should be advising a presidential candidate. But Sen. Barack Obama did an admirable thing in not disavowing his friend and mentor for the sake of a political win. Obama talked about his American story and about the black experience in America. However, in a speech about race in this country, he failed to address a key issue facing Americans today: family breakdown. He missed the opportunity to talk about sons, fathers and father figures. He didn't have the audacity to challenge our culture on the most fundamental level, and to serve as an inspiration and a catalyst for change.


Obama's speech was in defense of a man he has known for two decades, a man he has made a part of his wife and children's lives, and a man he has made a part of his campaign. Wright is also a man who has said some pretty despicable things about America and about public servants. Obama explained that a YouTube video or two from an inflammatory sermon is not the measure of the man. He talked about Wright's military service and ministry to the poor and sick.


But Obama's story was incomplete. Nothing he said excuses the lack of judgment that is inherent in a man choosing to expose his children to angry, anti-American tirades and off-color rants. Had he gone one step further, however, he might have had me. He should have told us why Wright was an important man in his life — because he was the father figure Obama needed as a young man, and that is why he loves him above all else.


Obama told us that he is "the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas." He didn't go any further talking about his father. Instead, he threw his maternal grandmother under the media bus, saying that she had "once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and ... has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe."


He left me asking, "But what about the father? Why didn't he talk about his father's abandonment of him and his family, and how that made his later relationship with Wright all the more important in his life?" That, I suspect, is why Obama will never repudiate Wright. The fact is, Obama grew up without a father. And, I assume, Wright for him was a father figure. That may be how Wright got to be such an influence in his life. This would not have answered all concerns about Wright and Obama, but it would have presented a more compelling narrative and, more importantly, he could have delivered an important cultural message about the impact the absence of male role models has on a child.


Obama has it in him to do as much. I know this because I have read it. In his own best seller, "The Audacity of Hope," he wrote that in black America, "the nuclear family is on the verge of collapse." He felt it worth pointing out that "54 percent of all African-American children live in single-parent households, compared to about 23 percent of all white children." Writing about his own struggles as a dad with a busy schedule, he remembers how he grew up without a father, and with "partial, incomplete" relationships with a grandfather and stepfather: "As I got older I came to recognize how hard it had been for my mother and grandmother to raise us without a strong male presence in the house. I felt as well the mark that a father's absence can leave on a child. I determined that my father's irresponsibility toward his children, my stepfather's remoteness and my grandfather's failures would all become object lessons for me, and that my own children would have a father they could count on."


My problem with Obama's speech is that he didn't go far enough. He could make history in some pretty dramatic, culture-shaking and culture-rebuilding ways. He grew up without a father and had some tough struggles, but he overcame and achieved. He could truly inspire.


Obama and I will never agree, even on the marriage and family issues. He's radically pro-choice, and he wouldn't protect traditional marriage in the face of faux marriage in the courts and legislatures. But he could be an important voice for men and for families; he could find some common ground with social conservatives who fight for the same. And that would be something audaciously hopeful.

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