If we hope to make our world a better place for our children we must begin changing some of the recent behavior and not allow opportunities to make change pass without speaking out. I mentioned in a previous column that changes in our society must come from the grassroots, people like you and I must speak out when our leaders fail to. With that thought in mind here are a few points to ponder.
Recently U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Democrat and chair of the congressional Black Caucus, condemned his party for accusing Republicans of waging war on women. In an interview on CNN, Cleaver said: “I condemn it. If it’s a Democrat, if it’s my cousin, it’s wrong. And I think we need to stop that. It’s damaging the body politic and it’s further separating the people in this country.”
The message he is sending is a simple one; winning isn’t everything. If winning by planting inaccurate and deceptive messages is what it’s all about then Cleaver is making it clear he does not buy into that message. Uniting this country and voicing concerns when the rhetoric gets out of control sends an important message to the country and to those in charge. Just because you hold a position of authority shouldn’t give you license to spin political nonsense for the masses if your motive is strictly self serving.
Right is right and wrong is wrong. The same holds true for the president’s wife Michele Obama. When speaking before a group of children in San Francisco recently, Mrs. Obama said: “I mean, I can’t tell you in the last election how many grandparents I ran into who said, I wasn’t going to vote for Barack Obama until my grandson talked to me, until my great-grandson talked to me, and talked about the future he wanted for this country. You can get out there with your parents. You guys can knock on doors. I had one young lady who brought me a petition — she’s already working. You can convince wrong people. Sometimes we don’t listen to ourselves, but we will listen to our children.”
Mrs. Obama should be encouraging children to learn more about our political system and the voting privilege we enjoy in our Democracy. If she wants to make an impression she should speak to the children about encouraging their parents and grandparents to do the same by taking the time to understand the issues our nation faces, not just using her fame to influence wide-eyed kids into convincing grandma to do anything other than value her vote for the candidate best suited to address her concerns.
Republicans play fast and loose with our Democracy as well. Recently, U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, from Iowa, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, used his Twitter account to refer to the President as stupid. Grassley wrote: “Constituents askd why i am not outraged at PresO attack on supreme court independence. Bcause Am ppl r not stupid as this x prof of con law.” Regardless of your political differences when the discussion reaches a point where childish name calling becomes the standard, it shows we’ve reached a point where government is no longer functioning responsibly.
On another matter, ABC is about to begin airing a new television series starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, titled “The Client.” The show is based on the true story of an Odessa massage parlor that operated an undercover prostitution ring. Do we really need a TV show glamorizing prostitution and the sex trade? Talk about a war on women, I would think ABC and its affiliated networks should be under heavy pressure from all sides trying to justify what purpose this show holds for viewers. The sex industry has destroyed many lives and doesn’t need to be glamorized in any shape or form. Other than a few legitimate massage parlors that see this show as a poor misrepresentation of their services, I’ve heard no one speak out.
When we allow our government representatives and an entertainment industry to display this type of behavior and do nothing about it, we can be certain that they will continue to move the bar further away from what should be considered responsible behavior. As citizens we cannot allow our sense of judgment to become numb to activities that are over the top and send the wrong message to people of all ages. Civility, respect, moral behavior and traditional values will become less the norm and more the accepted unless we make our voices heard.
Dan Alexander is publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.