Is the microphone on? Good, because I'd like to pick up where the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Barack Obama left off.
Testing. One, two, three. We're live? Great.
Here's the deal. What Obama said in the black church in Chicago about men needing to take responsibility for the babies they father, about paying child support, about families turning off the television and unplugging the video games wasn't talking down, as Rev. Jackson suggested.
It was speaking out.
It is the same message friends of the family have been giving for decades. Every campaigner out there should hammer that message.
And, by the way, if you're thinking about being that politician, when you deliver the challenge, stand up straight and boom it out. Say it like you mean it. Don't do that thing where you hesitate and look over your shoulder like you're scared of your own shadow.
We need to sound this message in the black churches, the white churches, the brown churches and the pink-polka dot churches.
In 1992, Bill Clinton ran on the campaign slogan, "It's the economy, stupid." He was wrong. It's the family, stupid - pure and simple. Sorry to be so blunt, but we need a rap up alongside the head.
Every community and social ailment we have, ties directly to the family.
Drugs, crime and gangs? They prey on weak families. They're a powerful magnet for kids without a strong family structure. They ravage children and parents and devour entire neighborhoods.
Men, you might have been told a check in the mail can take your place, but it can't. Your children need you. Desperately. Man up.
Education? It starts in the family. You can live a lifetime without the hog slop on television, but you can't go far if you don't know how to read. Get a library card and take your child there once a week. Allow absolutely nothing to come between your child and a solid education.
Moral collapse? For centuries, the family and faith have set the moral compass. The family is where you learn how to treat others, how to speak respectfully and act appropriately.
We need parents who will lovingly get in their children's faces and say, "We don't care what the rest of the world is doing, we're not raising sheep, we're raising rebels. We expect you to go against the swarmy culture around you and take the high road. Remember who you are and where you come from. Respect the family name. Do right. Honor G-d."
This discussion over whether politicians should be debating family matters is surreal. What's to debate? You make a family, you take responsibility for your family and you enjoy the blessing of family. It's not an either or, pro or con, I feel like it, or I don't feel like it. It's the only thing to do and it's the right thing to do.
Any politician who doesn't have the backbone for that kind of truth shouldn't be given the courtesy of a microphone, live or otherwise.