Thursday, June 26, 2008

A time to slap

Violence is bad. Fighting is bad. Inflicting pain on others is bad. And war, whether it's necessary or not, is never good. Yet I could never be a pacifist. That's because I'm a daddy. Being a daddy has taught me that there is in fact an appropriate place for defense. This lesson was reinforced yesterday while I was hanging out at the Boys and Girls Club. Some of our young men at the club have a disturbing flare for fondling the most intimate parts of the female anatomy. They have not grasped the consequences of their actions, and therefore continue to grasp anything that jiggles and gyrates in their general vicinity. Like most incidents, yesterdays altercation began with a boys hand on a girls body. Yet unlike most incidents, it ended with a girls hand on a boys face. The young man has a history of trouble, and will likely find himself in the middle of future battles. But I can almost guarantee that he will never again lay his pre-adolescent hand on the person of this particular female. I later pulled the female in question aside and sternly instructed her that if he, or any other boy ever touched her in that manner again......hit him harder. If all of our girls in the east side community would follow her example, there would eventually be a lot less pain. When one sex is forced into subordination, both sexes bear the scars.

Sadly, there is another side of the argument. This side is best told by the expression on the freshly slapped face of our young fondler, whom we'll call Johnny. It wasn't so much an expression of shock on Johnny's face as it was an expression of betrayal. Everyday, girls his age and older crank up 102 Jams and proceed to give their innocence to whatever inanimate object they deem fit. So you can understand why Johnny looks like he just got bit by the friendliest looking dog in the neighborhood. What's the solution? I have no idea. But as long as the boys keep grabbing, I'm gonna tell the girls to keep slapping. That's what I would tell my daughter. But I would also tell her that when the hand that slaps is attached to the arm of a chaste young women who is above reproach, it produces a much louder echo.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Next best thing

Has anybody here seen my ol' friend Bobby? Can you tell me where he's gone? Not me, but I did just see a well dressed, light skinned brother who bears a striking political resemblance. Ever since he was shot down on the way to the White House, the collective mind of America has wondered, "What if?" What if this deeply empathetic, righteously indignant son of royalty had made it all the way to Pennsylvania Avenue? Any history book can tell you about the man Bobby Kennedy was becoming. How the cries of injustice from Vietnam to Brooklyn had somehow penetrated the insulation of his first class upbringing and awakened his political conscience. How he had transformed from a ruthless witch hunter into the relentless champion of the downtrodden, joining himself with the likes of impoverished drug addicts and oppressed migrant workers. Yet no history book can predict a future that never came to pass. History, however, may be getting a second chance.

As you can tell, I'm an RFK fan. I plead guilty to idealizing his legacy, and to looking at his career and character through rose colored glasses. Sue me. But whatever your opinion may be of the Kennedy's, or of the current candidates, you can't deny the obvious. Barack Obama is Bobby Kennedy after he fell asleep in the tanning bed while listening to "I have a dream" on his ipod. Not only do these two share a common rock star status, and an enduring message of optimism and hope, but they are even running on identical platforms. The goad that pushed Bobby into the race some forty years ago was his outrage over Vietnam. He couldn't understand why America was wasting so many lives and so much money perpetuating an unjust war, while millions at home were financially destitute. Are we not hearing the same rhetoric from Obama?

I understand why Obama scares some conservatives. He carries the mystique of a revolutionary, and promotes ideals that are almost socialistic. But in reality, Bobby was far more radical. His clean-cut image, and impeccable pedigree served as the perfect disguise. He had uprising in his veins, and possessed an inner compulsion to challenge the establishment. So, in honer of Bobby, but mostly in honor of my own curiosity, I plan on voting for Barack Obama. To those who would remind me of his liberal stance on issues such as abortion and the sanctity of marriage, I say two things. First, I would never let him be my pastor, but I will let him be my president. Second, it's impossible in a two party system for any candidate to meet the Christian standard. The key for us is to keep the ship as balanced as possible until Jesus comes back and makes it right.