Some people’s opinions and their opinion pieces are simply too good not to be shared. This is certainly the case with Campbell Brown‘s opinion piece from the New York Times yesterday. Brown, a seasoned reporter and former news anchor for CNN and NBC, wrote an honest and open piece directed at President Barack Obama.
She urged President Obama to stop offering a paternalistic and patronizing tone to women in the country. As she brilliantly explained, making references to how women are so much smarter than men is really sending the patronizing message to women that they aren’t enough – but that we’ll give them fake praise anyway.
As she pointed out,
“Some women are smarter than men and some aren’t. But to suggest to women that they deserve dominance instead of equality is at best a cheap applause line.” Her biggest concern was that Obama is being glib about the economy and encouraging young graduates (as he did recently in his message at Barnard’s graduation), to stick it out. As he said to the graduates, “I am convinced you are tougher” and “things will get better — they always do.”
Brown makes the point that there is nothing reassuring about assuming that things always get better at some point. Particularly when looking at the statistics on the ground at the moment. And she pointed out that the economy is really the main item on the minds of the up-and-coming graduates today.
As Brown concluded,
“…The promise of his campaign four years ago has given way to something else — a failure to connect with tens of millions of Americans, many of them women, who feel economic opportunity is gone and are losing hope. In an effort to win them back, Mr. Obama is trying too hard. He’s employing a tone that can come across as grating and even condescending. He really ought to drop it. Most women don’t want to be patted on the head or treated as wards of the state. They simply want to be given a chance to succeed based on their talent and skills.”
Now if only President Obama were listening.
The North Carolina Same-Sex Marriage Amendment created quite a controversy recently when it appeared on the May 8, 2012 ballot in the state. The measure makes the definition of marriage to be between one man and one woman. It also bans any other type of “domestic legal union.” Same-sex marriage is already illegal in North Carolina. This measure, which passed, just added the ban to the state constitution.
Now, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has put himself into the recent controversy surrounding this amendment. While speaking to the graduating class at the University of North Carolina, he used his chance to be inspirational as an excuse to preach and be political instead.
While at Kenan Memorial Stadium on Sunday, Bloomberg told the crowd that the recent vote shows that the country still has a lot of work to do on civil rights. As he said,
“But over time, we understood that freedoms that are not fully shared are not fully safe. If government can deny freedom to one, it can deny freedom to all. Exclusion and equality are mortal enemies – and in America, every time they have met in battle, equality has ultimately triumphed.
Throughout our history, each and every generation has expanded upon the freedoms won by their parents and grandparents. Each and every generation has removed some barrier to full participation in the American dream. That work is not over. Far from it.
And – I would argue – last week’s referendum banning same-sex marriage shows just how much more work needs to be done to ensure freedom and equality for all people.
When the torch passes from one generation to the next, the light of liberty always shines more brightly. And I have no doubt that in your lifetime, liberty’s light will allow us to see more clearly the truth of our nation’s founding principles, and allow us to see all people, and all couples, as full and equal members of the American family.”
The rest of his speech was quite inspirational and heart-warming. Whether you agree with Mayor Bloomberg’s sentiments or not, the political opinion and message just don’t seem to have a place at the graduation speech.
Vice President Joe Biden was definitely not on top of his game while visiting the Florida Everglades on Monday. First, during his campaign visit, he accidentally referred to the Everglades as the “Ever-gators.” It would have been a cute nickname if he were trying to be cute – but he wasn’t.
As the video shows, he said,
“Back in ’28 when it was built, they didn’t realize that they effectively created a dam through half of the Ever-gators – through half of the Everglades – cutting off the water supply that these wetlands depend upon.”
Everyone makes mistakes. However, when the Vice President jokes about having one of his secret service agents kill another man, it’s certainly gone too far. While promoting the Everglades Restoration Project, Biden pointed to Commissioner Ronald Bergeron during his speech. Biden explained that Bergeron tried to get Biden to visit the Everglades 10 years before.
As Biden said, “He wanted me to wrestle alligators. You all think I’m kidding. I’m not kidding. He’s one crazy son-of-a-gun. Where are you Ronnie? There he is. And the worst part is, [Sen.] Bill [Nelson] introduced me to him. I wondered, Bill, why? He said, ‘No, he wants [you] just to do a little project with him. I thought the project was something about restoring the Everglades. It was about seeing whether or not I was really an athlete,” Biden said.
“But you see this man right here, my Secret Service guy? He played in pro-football, also was on that national championship team – the Clemson had. He said if I go, he’ll shoot you, Ronnie, so …I’m only kidding. That’s not true. He didn’t say he’d shoot Ronnie. He said he’d shoot the alligator if I went. I just think it’s incredible, and I still think you’re nuts, Ronnie.”
Even stranger, the White House has made this clip available to the public. Wouldn’t they want to bury this transcript? Ignore it?
While it was disturbing enough that the speech sounded completely disjointed and scattered, it was far beyond disturbing to hear the Vice President jokingly threatening the Commissioner of the Everglades.
Really Vice President Joe Biden? Let’s hope this was just a bad day. And let’s hope that it gets better really fast.