Of the Reagans & the Obamas.
Listen To You Tell Me Texas Friday 3/20/15
Several seasons after it first went on the air on CBS, my wife and I discovered, via Netflix, the series called, “Blue Bloods.”
The story is centered around the fictional Reagan family of New York. The patriarch is the former New York City police commissioner. His son, played by Tom Selleck, is the current police commissioner. Selleck’s two living sons are New York City cops. Another son was a New York City cop who died on duty. Selleck’s daughter, played by Bridget Moynihan, is a Manhattan assistant district attorney.
On the surface, Blue Bloods is a cop show. But deep down, it’s really a show about family.
Every episode features a Sunday dinner scene. The Reagans are unabashedly Catholic and dinner always begins with the traditional Catholic grace. Around the table, the Reagans engage in sometimes heated discussions about what is right and what is wrong. Much of this discussion is played out for the benefit of the youngest members of the Reagan family, including Selleck’s two young grandsons.
I am encouraged that this show is even on network TV. It has been a long time since Bill Cosby was the patriarch of the nuclear Huxtable family. Network TV producers today show little interest in such traditional settings.
Blue Bloods serves to remind just how indispensible families are to the health of a free republic. When it comes to passing morals and core values from one generation to the next, nothing can take the place of well-motivated family elders engaged in the long, hard slog of turning their children into ethical adults.
Certainly the government can’t do it. As has been demonstrated to the nation’s sorrow over the past 50 years, government initiatives that were intended to help those on the economic margins have had the unintended consequence of breaking up families – most particularly African-American families.
The interactions of the TV Reagan family remind us that all the cash assistance, food stamps, free day care, free pre-school and free junior college in the world cannot possibly convey from one generation to the next the cultural values necessary for success in life. To do that, you optimally need a mother and a father. Children need to be raised by families.
Which brings us to the First Family. Sasha and Malia Obama have lived their lives with a mother and a father in the house who love them and who are active in raising them. For all of my disagreements with Barack Obama, this is a part of him that I like and respect.
Thus my great lament of the Obama presidency. Young black men who would dismiss a white man president as irrelevant can scarcely ignore Barack Obama. That Obama did not seize the moment and proactively lift up to the millions of young black men and women who still celebrate his election — at a time when it is most needed — the example he represents as a husband and father, is one of the greatest wasted opportunities in the history of the American presidency.