What’s the most stigmatic political label you can have these days? “Commie-lib?” “Evil conservative?” “Joe Lieberman?”
Nah, I’m starting to think the label is ”non-partisan,” specifically when it encroaches on an area that happens to be a traditional hunting ground of the agenda-driven politician and activist.
Future historians may record it as a bit disturbing, and appropriately somewhat funny, that it took a comedian to wake people up to the importance of parenting and responsibility.
While politicians – most of whom simply adore placating the poor with empty rhetoric so they can squeeze votes from them like an orange juicer – wheel and deal your money into the next counterproductive program, a successful comedian and sitcom star is doing more to actually have a positive impact on peoples’ lives than all the politicians put together.
Bill Cosby is continuing his travels to schools to spread a message of responsible fatherhood, preventing teen pregnancy, the importance of education and self respect. This, not surprisingly, is often controversial.
Here’s what makes Cosby’s message pack a wallop: He has no political agenda.
Here’s what makes Cosby’s message so ”controversial”: He has no political agenda.
It’s this non-partisan approach that brings on the criticism of Cosby. When we hear Cosby’s words are ”controversial,” much of this criticism obviously emanates from people to whom poverty is a commodity. These are folks who have a vested financial interest and/or power base concerns that are derived from experimenting with the poor. They don’t call ’em ”The Projects” for nothing.
Cosby’s speeches are often peppered with common sense that was at one time in this country a no-brainer, but that now needs to be dusted off and redistributed. Consider this quote that appeared in the Baltimore Sun last week:
Asked whether middle-class blacks do enough to help the poor, he (Cosby) said:
”If a man graduates from college and makes $90,000 and marries a woman that makes $120,000, then why should they have to live in a one-bedroom apartment in the projects?”
Cosby’s economic lesson is brilliant in its simplicity: We should first do our part to help the poor by not being poor ourselves. It’s much easier to help somebody out of a hole when you’re not in there with ’em.
This is accomplished by heeding the remainder of his message, which is to get educated, raise your own children, take responsibility and stop listening to degrading, insulting garbage.
A simple Google search on Cosby produces a slew of articles, columns and commentary titled with some variation of ”Is Bill Cosby right?”
The very fact that so many deem it necessary to ask that question supplies it’s own answer in the affirmative.
Cosby’s speeches are often questioned or maligned , but the fact is that the message needs to be expanded further than just minority communities, not eliminated from being delivered there simply because the problems addressed aren’t exclusive to them.
The critical response to Cosby is often some variation of ”Get with it Bill, not all black men abandon their kids, drop out of school and listen to vulgar hip-hop!”
Of course not, but this is like telling Mother Teresa, ”Knock it off, not everybody in the world is starving, you know!”
Bill Cosby is trying to help the starving in America. This time though, the hunger is more moral and intellectual in nature.
Maybe if Cosby peppered his speeches with anti-Bush rhetoric his message would catch on with more of his critics, but Cosby doesn’t appear to care about that. That would be so easy to do, which is probably why he doesn’t do it. You can’t preach that the ”easy way out” isn’t always the best way to go when you’re taking that road yourself.
Perhaps if Cosby’s speeches were filled with calls for more federal spending in urban areas his message would catch on more with his critics. Where there’s money, there’s somebody handing out money. And where there’s somebody handing out money, there’s someone with full control over the lives of others. Bill Cosby is clearly opposed to pimping, so that’s out.
The old saying, ”give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day ? teach a man to fish, and you feed him for life” comes to mind. Cosby’s trouble is that he’s trying to teach people to fish, and the politicians and activists who peddle fish are more than a little concerned about their lucrative sushi business going under as a result.
Well done, Mr. Cosby. It’s all uphill from here.
Related special offer: