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America at Large

You Can't Save the World, and Yourself at the Same Time
By Ricky Allen
Mar 4, 2005 - 11:39:00 PM

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If you look at the world as it is now, in comparison to how things were let's say 15 years ago, it's been a wild ride. From the sparks of the information age we live in today, to the world where yellow, orange, and red take on a whole new meaning, America has become the ultimate multi-tasker. And when it comes to world issues, we are the ultimate multitaskers. Let's look at what's on the plate right now: Social Security, Iran, Iraq, Afganistan, Bin Laden, insurgents, and troop deployments.

We can't forget the ill-fated Illegal Immigration issue along with the other challenges we have on the homefront, from unemployment to heath care costs.

So you tell me, is that a full plate or what?

Not saying the President doesn't have his reasons, I'm just taking a step back to look over the state of our world.

America, we are getting to a point to where the worry isn't how many troops we have overseas, or what plans we can put in place to save the struggling Social Security issue, it's the question of what do we do first? Save ourselves? Save the world from everything that we consider wrong?

Highlight the word "We" for a minute.

Have our views on democracy become the repeated television show on the world's channel? Earlier this week Putin showed that everyone's views are not their views through his sales to Iran.

Did I mention that the President feels they are making WMD or nuclear weapons (whatever you want to call them at this point).

In my opinion, the philosophy of "Clear and Present Danger" has been taken to a very high extreme.

And I agree that for us, it should be; especially after 9/11 (even though terrorism has been with us for years, we just weren't affected.)

If we take the rules of Clear and Present Danger and try to save the world from terror, evil, or whatever the name is now, we're going to be stretched so thin that when the enemy does attack us, we'll be caught.

Army recruitment is down, parents are becoming weary of military service because of all the happenings in the world, and we're still working on getting our troops the proper equipment.

So do we really need more on our plate? You decide.

You can't save the world if you don't have your world in order. That's the fact of the matter.

We have to remember to take care of our own before we address the needs of others. We have to prioritize, and that's something we're not doing right now.

We're jumping around the globe with our sale of democracy and when someone doesn't go along with it, then obviously they're not on our team; not a good way to earn friends and influence people.

Some places have had monarchy rule for years, while others have their own forms of governement that the people are just fine with.

Iraq liberation: needed. Afghanistan: needed, even though we went to get Osama. Iran: gotta get the facts and proof (learn from our mistakes and plan better).

We don't even have an idea as to how to work out Social Security. We have people in lines waiting for food out in our streets and we're more concerned with others. We have good Americans that could use a job, yet we send them overseas for a few pennies less on the payroll. Where's the good 'ole American spirit?

Oh, I forgot, it's "Made in Taiwan."

FROM THE EMAIL BIN: OK, The American People have spoken. Earlier this week, I wrote a piece in regard to the hit that has swept the nation by Fantasia Barrino called "Baby Mamas" (I know that might not be right, so forgive me Fantasia fans).

Now, let me clear up something. It really doesn't matter to me if she wrote the song or not, and I'm not bashing her success. I just took a look at it from another perspective and posed the questions that I'm sure many Americans had on their minds. So for those who feel that the article was an attack on her and what she "meant" the article to be, relax. A lot of these responses were so long, I've consolidated them to make sure I can respond to a good number of them in this column. If I haven't gotten to you, don't worry; you'll be in the next.

Let's go to the inbox:

Lisa Robertson writes:

His is about the 20th letter I've fired off regarding this song. Come on, she knows and we know that there are single fathers doing the job just like single mothers. The song is from the female perspective (which by the way a man wrote for her) this time, but maybe someone will do one for the fathers someday. I think too much is being made of what is attempting to be conveyed through the song. I don't think she/the song writer is advocating single parenting, but is rather celebrating those who choose to raise their children and make the sacrifices and overcome the barriers to do it. She is not the first person to have a child while unwed, receive a child support check, or raise her child without a father. Yes, the ideal family is one with both the mother and father but in today's society, this is simply not the case. In addition to that, some of us are married yet raising our children single parent style. My mother was a single parent. She raised me and my brother and we turned out just fine. In some instances, being raised in a two parent home does not equal success. She is not downgrading an intact family. Nowhere in the song does she bash two parent family homes. She is singing about her experience. It is real and others as you pointed out are doing the same thing.

My reply: Agreed, others are doing the same thing and like all songs, we should make sure the content is just and makes sense of what we need to instill in our children?a positive outlook on the world, and not  a view of a life that has gone wrong and no encouragement. Fantasia's song was not that case, and for that, I do applaud her. Female perspective? Ok, I'll run with that.

Ms. Chapman writes:

As a 56 year old fan of Fantasia, I believe the message in this song is just a shout out to single mothers trying to raise their children.? We all know that there are fathers struggling to raise their children. She isn't promoting being a single mother. However, since there are many single mothers out there, why not shout out to them through this song and recognize their struggle? She also says that she has love for them.

It is just a shout out and nothing else!

My reply: Ok, I'll even go with that and yes, she is coming from a different perspective.

Kecia Muse writes:

Thank you for not bashing ... like so many others have done. You have made some very good points; single parenting is very hard and is nothing to look forward to as a badge of honor. Single parents are not just women. I agree! So my comment is just that FANTASIA didn't write the song; she just sings it, and very well I might add. Fantasia is also a single parent and she is a WOMAN, so she is singing about it from her point of view.  To expect that she cover it from a man's point of view if not fair, and if you speak to her, I am sure that she would be the first to tell you that she wouldn't wish single parenting on anyone, NOT JUST TEENS! So keeping it real, let's be fair with our expectations over a song. (I would love to hear a man sing or even talk about the woes of single parenthood from his perspective) How about it, Mr. Allen; do you have any takers?

Peace and Love from a FANTASIAN (FANTASIA BARRION fan)

Kecia Muse

My reply: Kecia, Thank you for recognizing the fact that I wasn't bashing. And as much as I would love to make a song for the hard working single men out there with kids, I don't have a solid note in my body lololol, but I'm sure there's a gifted person out there that will make a song like that one day.

Emily Miller writes:

I don't care how many friends you have who are single parents; until you have walked in those shoes, you should not make comments about single parents and what you think that song means.

My reply: That's the wonders of democracy; read my latest column.

Veronica Jenkins writes:

You state: but what about the single fathers that are out there who work just as hard? If you're going to do a song about single parents and the trials they go through, get both sides of the story.

Fantasia is telling her story and the story of all of the other single mothers who relate to her situation. I am not knocking single fathers; they have a story to tell and they should tell it. But it's not Fantasia's responsibility to tell anyone's story but her own.

My reply: I agree with all of your points, and yes, it's not her responsibility.

Toyboxinc writes:

So women need a man in their lives to make their lives complete? What a bunch of rubbish. I'm a 38 year old male and I know better than that. "Training our children towards a complete family home?" Sounds like you regard children more as pets rather than the wonderful, unique, artistically creative individuals that they are. Are you a parent? Bet not! And your article really shows your lack of research as "Baby Mama" is pretty much a response to a song that was already in the genre, "Baby Daddy!" If I was your boss, I'd have two words for your backward thinking "red state" ideologies. (Help me Donald) - "You're fired!"

My reply: I figured I'd get a liberal somewhere in the bunch. And yes, I am a parent. No, they're not my pets as you said; and yes, I know about the song "Baby Daddy".  Thank you for the reminder and your input.

Sabrina Jones writes:

I think everybody is being to hard on Fantasia as well as the song. She's giving a testimony of what she's been through, and listeners should take what they can from that. I applaud her for being so bold in saying what a lot of these young women want to say but were afraid. And for the record, I do not condone teenagers having kids, but it happened so let her live her life. At least she's not on public assistance like a lot of these girls are. I am so sick and tired of people like you bashing her. The girl is doing all she can to make a good life for her and her daughter, so leave her alone. She made a mistake in her past, but she does not owe you an apology; that's between her and her god. So I repeat: Leave Her Alone, Damn It!

My reply: Not bashing Sabrina, and she's not bold, she's successful. Making songs of that nature have been around for awhile, check your research on the matter.  We do music for common causes all the time.

Janice Copland writes:

I wish the song could have been refined too, but that's her story. I am not a baby mama so I can not relate, but I do know many women who like the song that are baby mamas.

I know you will probably get a lot of hate mail for this.

My reply: I never get hate mail, just good Americans posting their views. Thank you for your input.

Pep writes:

Could it be refined? Your editorial, my response, and all our lives could be refined! Give Fantasia a break, she is 20 and has had her life changed and paraded over America in the last year. True there are fathers that do the same. Let Jamie Foxx or some man tell his story. She can't tell what being a man is like. A man can't tell a woman's story either.

My reply: Yes, all of our lives can be refined Pep; oh, and a man did write that song so maybe we can tell their story ... hmmmmmmmmmm.

Jamie Crawford writes:

I agree with your thoughts about this song. Initially I liked the melody, but when I actually listened to the words I found them disturbing. Not only is the grammar poor, it seems to condone young single parenthood. What ever happened to girls wanting to enjoy life as an individual without the responsibility of another life? I think the song should have discussed more about why she should have thought more about her decision to become a "Baby's Mama" and the repercussions.

My reply: Yet another example of another opinion on the song that many have. Thank you for your response.

Diedre Murray writes:

First of all in I believe you are not understanding what the song is about. She didn't write the lyrics she is just sing the song. She is basically saying to all the young single mothers don't give up you can take care of your family and don't give on your dreams that you can make it if you really want to. Next it like a BAdge of honor she is saying that that are so many single mothers in the world that the youn girls think it is a badge of honor.

My reply: See my first comments about who wrote the song, and I can run with what you're saying, and you also said it's how you take it ... agreed. It is how you perceive the song. Thank you for your input.

Karnie writes:

Thank God for your article about Fantasia's latest single, "Baby Mama." Finally, someone gets it! Geez! I was beginning to get worried. That song is about the worst thing to hit radio, especially for the audience Fantasia has acquired through American Idol. As you said in your article, there's nothing wrong with being a single parent, but endorsing it isn't right. Fantasia has a lot of young impressionable fans, and this is not a message to be sending out. Not only that, but what a hypocrite to be endorsing single motherhood when Fantasia herself doesn't mother her own child. Fantasia never was a mother to that child. Fantasia's daughter calls her "Tasia" and calls the grandmother (Fantasia's mother) "mommy".

My reply: Thanks for the input, but make sure when you speak on people that you have ALL your ducks in a row Karnie. It's called slander and I might not take care for the song, I won't dig into her personal life. That's speculation and E-Hollywood True Stories. Thanks for the input and be careful what you say about people. Just a thought.

CHOCOLATE3002 writes:

I'm emailing u to say I think u should listen to the song again. The song is not condoning single parent homes; its giving single parents the honor that they so deserve cause most single parents don't think they can make it out there on their own. Yes, some kids benefit from 2 parent homes but some kids that have 2 parent homes also get into a lot of mess in growing up.

My reply: Yea, I've been listening to it, and  yeah, I truly agree that it's not the number, but it's the quality. One or two, still parenting is the key. Even though we should shoot for a two-parent household.

Artemislight writes:

Dear Mr Allen,

While I respect your view on this subject, Mr Allen, I think you might have missed the point of the "Badge of Honor" line. It is not saying it is something to aspire to, it is saying that the survival of the situation, the endurance that is called upon, to do it alone, is like a Badge of Honor. Just like no one thinks war is good, to survive one and overcome it is a Badge of Honor. No one would want to go through it. But if you do, what would you call it?

My reply: I can see where you're coming from, and that's a good angle too. Thanks for your input.

Sweet Pea writes:

I understand where you are coming from. And yes, it should not be held as a badge of honor but I guess the point she is trying to make is that she is now a "famous" person who is a single mother, and unlike other baby mamas, she doesn't have to be considered a nobody because she made it. So can other baby mamas out there. Yes, kids out there should see that there is a better life from a 2 family home but let me tell you from seeing it myself a 2 family home isn't always the best.

My reply: Just as I said earlier, it's not the number, but the quality of parenting.

Wendy from Chicago writes:

Well to respond to your article. First of all, as you know, Tasia did not write the song. But I can say that when she was here in Chicago, she said the song "BaBy MaMa" is for moms and dads. She also said she wants her video to have Fathers as well as Mothers in it. I'm glad that u understand the song, unlike others.

My response: Thanks for the merciful words, and yes, I know she didn't write it.

Eunice-Meekins Jupiter writes:

Fantasia does not condone or promote people to be baby mamas. She has said that herself. She talked about raising a child and getting a support check that wouldn't even pay for day care. That doesn?t sound like she is promoting anything. She said it is not fair because it isn't. Millions of women have to raise kids alone without any help and when they do get help it is very little. I am tired of people like you trying to put Tasia down.

My reply: Not putting no one down, just giving another angle. Thanks for your reply.

And we have more replies to go through on the issue, but those will be for next time.  I would like to thank everyone for contributing their thoughts, and yes, in all fairness, I will go back and continue to listen to the song and hopefully gain from it what so many feel that is being misunderstood.

I am not bitter, are you interested?

Drop me a line at navjoallen@yahoo.com and I'll respond to your thoughts in my next column. *Be sure to give your name or alias, and where you're from so readers can get a look at what all of America is saying. Have a great weekend.


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