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Barack Obama Podcast: On Fatherhood

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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:28 PM
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Barack Obama Podcast: On Fatherhood
Run time: 04:40
Posted on YouTube: June 17, 2007
By YouTube Member:
Views on YouTube: 0
Posted on DU: December 14, 2007
By DU Member: babylonsister
Views on DU: 479
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jefferson_dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:50 PM
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1. Thanks for posting. This is extra-special given his life experience... This story was written by Kevin Merida as part of a Washington Post series of profiles of the leading presidential candidates.


Sometimes the trigger will be a newspaper story he is reading about Africa. Or he may spot a group of boys on a street corner on the South Side of Chicago and think that one or more of them "could be me, they may not have a father at home." At other moments, he will be playing with his daughters -- Malia, 9, and Sasha, 6 -- and begin to wrestle with what kind of father he has become, what a career in politics has meant to their lives and how to guard against his father's mistakes.

Thoughts of his father "bubble up," as Barack Obama puts it in an interview, "at different moments, at any course of the day or week."

"I think about him often," he says.

He last saw his father in 1971, when he was 10 years old. Remarried and living in his native Kenya, Barack Obama Sr. sent word that he wanted to visit his son in Hawaii over Christmas.

To the son, he had become a ghost, an opaque figure hailed as brilliant, charismatic, dignified, with a deep baritone voice that reminded everyone of James Earl Jones. All the boy knew was that his father had gone off to study at Harvard and never come back. Now, the old man would put flesh on the ghost.

On the day his father arrived, young Barack, known as Barry then, left school early and headed toward his grandparents' apartment, his legs leaden, his chest pounding. He nervously rang the doorbell. His grandmother opened the door, and there in the hallway was a dark, slender man wearing horn-rimmed glasses and sporting a blue blazer and scarlet ascot.

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IndyOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-14-07 12:54 PM
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2. I like Obama. I dislike his campaign for responsible fatherhood -
Senator Evan Bayh (D-IN) has been on this path for a long time and I think it is wrong. Why?

It is a form of "blaming the victim" - in which people whose families have been torn apart by the constant stresses of living in a low socio-economic status community and/or who have been the target of prejudice are blamed for the problem. This meme about men needed to be more responsible as fathers makes it sounds as if their situation is a result of their bad choices -- and they are "different" in important ways from middle- and upper-class populations.

It is a way of reinforcing male dominance in our culture. Children just can't be raised right without a daddy. Responsible fatherhood campaigns feed a top-down, security-craving, the-President-is-my-daddy-and-I-have-to-obey-him world view.

Also - the Republicans are the party of personal morality and to them I say: No, thanks. I'll monitor my own sexual behavior, pay attention to doing unto others as I would have them do unto me in my personal interactions, and I'll just say no to drugs without your help.

The Democrats are the party of morality in terms community responsibility - taking care of our shared resources, the commons - which includes the earth, our government of by and for the people, and our people.

I am all for laws that require men to contribute $$ support to their children who they've helped bring into this world -- absolutely. But the PSAs and speeches about responsible fatherhood are NOT really about getting fathers to support their children they are about maintaining a paternalistic culture.

This fatherhood message turns me off - he is activating a Republican frame that government ought to be a moral role model (parent) for the unwashed, sexually-overwrought, drug-addicted masses. Yes, that frame will attract some citizens but it also puts the focus on issues that the Rethug candidates can compete with in terms of pro-family, pro-religion, anti-drug policies that do nothing for us in terms of social, economic, and ecological justice.

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