When It Comes To Republicans & Values; Is It The Message Or The Messenger?
Did anybody else spontaneously start singing, in the Kreayshawn voice, “One big Binder, full of bad b***hes…” when Presidential candidate Mitt Romney started talking about a binder full of women during Tuesday’s debate? Just me? Okay, well I’m sure I’m not the only one who instantly thought of Cam’ron’s “Horse & Carriage” when President Barack Obama amusingly referred to Romney as “Mr. Me Too?” Well, if you didn’t you are probably thinking it now.
It’s funny how we associate things with both positive and negative attributes. On their own, both Kreayshawn’s “Gucci Gucci” and Cam’ron’s “Horse & Carriage” might illicit some negative reaction for their explicit language, misogynistic lyrics and overall wack content. However, in new context, say a gaffe by Mitt Romney and a well orchestrated zinger by the president, they become wonderful salient postscripts to otherwise muted points.
And this might happen more than we think. Like during the same debate, when a sole woman stood up in front of both candidates and asked, “President Obama, during the Democratic National Convention in 2008, you stated you wanted to keep AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. What has your administration done or planned to do to limit the availability of assault weapons?”
Both candidates, while disagreeing over the ban, co-signed each other on the community’s role in violence. And while the president was more kid gloves about it, suggesting that the end of violence can only come through community efforts, Romney took a more direct tone to the whole “community effort” discussion with talk about family values. To be more exact:
“But let me mention another thing. And that is parents. We need moms and dads, helping to raise kids. Wherever possible the—the benefit of having two parents in the home, and that’s not always possible. A lot of great single moms, single dads. But gosh to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone, that’s a great idea.”
Well maybe Romney’s binder full of women is actually a matchmaking look-book for all those crime spreading single moms out there?
But seriously, no one should be surprised by Romney, a self-professed religious man, would champion the family unit as the solution to social problems. I think that is basically his answer to everything. Can’t afford college? Ask mom and dad. Likewise, it was Paul Ryan, Romney vice-presidential hopeful, who just last week asserted that, “The best thing to help prevent violent crime in the inner cities is to bring opportunity in the inner cities. Is to help teach people good discipline, good character.”
But that didn’t stop people in my news feed, particularly angry black folks, from balking at his solution to violence and issuing charges of coded racism and sexism, pointing the finger at poor single parents. Single parents, particularly single mothers for all the ills in the community so what’s the big deal if we add gun violence to the list? Of course I am being facetious but how is Newt Gingrich’s advice that the NAACP “should demand paychecks and not food stamps,” any different than Bill Cosby’s now infamous Pound Cake Speech? Or Philadelphia Mike Nutter, who gave his best Southern Baptist routine in the pulpit about how our youths are damaging the race any different than Rush Limbaugh asserting that some people are just meant to be born slaves because they are lazy?
Point is that black folks have been on this social conservative/personal responsibility kick for a long time and lots of our folks were willing to co-sign some of these very conservative values when the speaker just so happened to be black. How many times will someone go off about hood rats and welfare queens? How many of us regularly scowl at the antics of project dwellers and thugs? How many times do we read comments below stories about lazy shiftless Negros, messing it up for the rest of us good…er…African Americans? So what makes Romney’s sentiment less meaningful now?
Is it the message or the messenger?