Jason Reed/Reuters

Earlier today, Governor Romney announced that his pick for Vice President will be Wiisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, who is relatively unknown to Americans on a national scale. A recent CNN poll cites that 46% of the country is familiar with Ryan via his famous or infamous budget plan.

No question, Ryan has a firm vision for the country and the Federal budget in particular. His plan proposes ominously ambiguous modifications to social programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, which millions of Americans, whether Democrat, Republican or other, have grown to depend on and look forward to.

Almost immediately, Romney attempted to distance himself from the controversial Ryan Budget, which is futile in light of the numerous occasions he advocated it. At a campaign event less than 6 months ago, Romney declared, “I’m very supportive of the Ryan budget plan. It’s a bold and exciting effort on his part and on the part of the Republicans and it’s very much consistent with what I put out earlier.”

But the controversy surrounding Ryan’s budget has Romney backing off, insisting that he will be coming up with a federal budget of his own. But can a candidate for president successfully distance himself from the ideologies of his own ticket? And furthermore, who among us will believe it?

It’s only a matter of time before the conservative pundits come forth to support Romney in a desperate appeal to Independents and elderly voters, perpetuating the idea that just because Ryan is the Vice President-to-be, doesn’t mean Romney has irrevocably given the “OK” to Ryan’s plan.

And it will come as no suprise if some of these pundits turn out to be the very voices that criticized President Obama for distancing himself from the likes of Reverend Wright and William Ayers. One could argue, at the very least, that between Obama distancing himself from his former pastor and Romney from his own Veep nominee, there isn’t much of a difference, aside from the fact that Obama wasn’t running for President with his object of aversion whereas Romney is.

Minus the starkly conservative budget proposal, Ryan’s political career is lacking in other areas, including minimal-to-non-existent foreign policy experience, the fact that he’s never ran for a statewide office before, and like Obama, he has little background in the private sector- a weakness that Romney has repeatedly asserted should be enough to disqualify an individual for presidency.

So while he seems to be an honorable husband, father, and dedicated Congressman, no offense to Ryan, but why pick him if not for his budget proposals?

Senator John McCain won’t say it, but the first premise of choosing Sarah Palin for VP back in 2008 was an attempt to shore up the Women’s vote, reaching out to a demographic that largely leaned towards Obama.

All Paul Ryan does is further energize a Republican base that may or may not have been fully sold on whether Romney is a true Conservative; if that was the point, then hats off to the Romney campaign. However, the anti-Obama sentiment is so prominent among said base, they really didn’t need any more convincing.

It’s the Independents, the Black, Latino, and Gay communities, and the Female vote that he should be appealing to, now more than ever, as time is running out. To win this election, Romney needs to present policies that speak to voters who are unlike him instead of those that further alienate them. Because no matter how far left some centrist voters perceive Barack Obama to be, the far right ticket that Romney is now offering is not their desired solution.


Video credited to MSNBC.com

As if serving as president for the past three-odd years isn’t proof enough, it seems some Republicans are still interested in the Reverend Wright and William Ayers ties to President Obama.

Just to recap and make a short story shorter, Obama was a member of Reverend Wright’s church for 20 years, of which, the controversy lies in the sporadically racist and unpatriotic remarks of Pastor Wright.

William Ayers, a former member of the radical, left-winged 1970’s organization called Weather Underground had been linked to Obama in that they both served on not-for-profit committee boards in the past.

In 2008, Republicans attacked Obama’s judgment in choosing to sit under the leadership of Reverend Wright and accused him of “palling around with terrorists” for his minor associations with the reformed Bill Ayers.

For some reason unbeknown to anyone with any satisfactory level of intelligence, Sarah Palin has offered her uninspired opinion on the 2012 campaign. Her advice? Resurrect the controversies that riddled the ’08 election against Obama. And never mind the fact that they failed then, and will no doubt fail now.

Why anyone would ask the loser of the ’08 campaign as to how Romney can win in this election is beyond me, but not beyond Fox News.

Fox News anchor Sean Hannity recently had General Colin Powell (who endorsed Obama in 2008) on his show and tried desperately to get Powell to speak against the Bill Ayers and Wright associations. Needless to say, he failed.

Good old Donald Trump has chimed in as well, encouraging Romney to “go at it,” talking about the Reverend Wright attacks. And lest we forget, despite Trumps’ waltz around a possible run for president, he is not a politician. He’s a businessman and celebrity, so why his political advice is being entertained is another one for the cavemen to mull over.

But let’s entertain this argument for the briefest moment.

If Obama was an “empty vessel” as Palin puts it, and these ties have all the legitimacy that Republicans claimed back in 2008, what is that to say about Barack Obama exactly?

He’s racist against whites? He’s anti-American? He’s a terrorist himself or by way of association? What is the point of bringing up these attacks?

Because I can think of nothing more American than running for the presidential office, or giving the “OK” that initiated the demise of the leading world terrorist, Osama Bin Laden. And while Barack Obama is half black, he’s also half white, and is just as likely to be racist against blacks as he would be against whites.

But even if that’s not convincing enough, wouldn’t he have conducted an attack in his first term as president? I’ve never consulted with a terrorist, personally, but if BIn Laden were still alive, I’m sure he’d express some disappointment in an opportunity missed and consider the president terrible at being a terrorist.

Any serious political analyst will agree these sideshow issues could offer momentary advantage at best to Mitt Romney but are useless in the long run. These matter slept so soundly in their graves these past years, now it’s time to lay them to rest once and for all.

A recent discussion hosted by Fox News Channel caught my attention on the subject of the Honorable Louis Farrakhan and the appropriateness of his presence at the ninth annual African Black Coalition Conference at Berkley College. It was an event hosted by the Black Student Union on campus and garnered maximum attendance, despite petitions against his appearance.

While Farrakhan’s past writings are known for their controversial remarks and considerably racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic sentiments, the most disturbing aspect of this discussion was the lack of context afforded to Farrakhan and his audience; the highlights centered on shaming the student council for inviting him, and the audience for willingly attending. But for anyone to look at those students and condemn them for not forfeiting the opportunity to merely listen to the words of an historical black figure is simply and severely out of touch with the ever-evolving black perspective in America.

If I were given the chance to hear Farrakhan, I would’ve attended the talk, as well, and this fact makes me neither homophobic nor anti-white. The idea is mostly absurd for the simple fact that my own grandfather- once a sharecropper and migrant to the north in search of a new life- has said deplorable things certainly conditioned by his upbringing in the dawn of black civil activism, that I undoubtedly encourage him to keep within the privacy of his own home. He warns me to be cautious of the “white man” and to not be fooled by a phantom status they’ll lead me to believe that I now hold in this country. A we’ve-come-so-far-yet-not-far-enough mentality fueled by the fear that things could somehow return to their dark, inhuman roots are not in the least bit unrealistic or irrational for my grandfather and others of similar narratives. I simply brush these comments aside, listening and heavily diluting them, just as I would Farrakhan’s words. The fact is, I understand my grandfather’s perspective, as it is one I could never match, nor would I ever want to. It’s a knowledge- a seeing of things I have not seen, vivid memories of hate and restriction- a constant echoed pattern from yesterday that continue to chastise and frustrate his today.

This guilty-by-association conviction played out for Barack Obama in his 2008 campaign when it surfaced that his family had been regular members of Reverend Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ. Just like Farrakhan, Wright has preached questionable content some would consider irrelevant to religion and out of place in the pulpit. Select media heads zoned in on this relationship and attempted to color Obama as an undercover hate-monger and racist. Now, I think it’s safe to assume that every Sunday, Wright wasn’t preaching some politically, racially-charged sermon, as I confidently doubt his 250+ Christian membership, with a prioritized interest in hearing the word of God, would make such a habit of attending as they have. No one seems to consider the relative anomaly of these digressions, and most importantly, what inspires such attitudes.

There’s no excuse for racism, whether your ancestry falls onto the side of the oppressor or oppressed, but rather this is a call for tolerable consideration and appreciation of why the formerly oppressed might be resentful and above all else, skeptical even in this modern day. Those like Reverend Wright, Louis Farrakhan and my grandfather are elders to my generation and younger, and feel a duty, more or less, to maintain our guard. And furthermore, simply picking up a book and learning about black history in the U.S. is enough to inspire the building of a defense mechanism, no wild, Farrakhan rhetoric needed. But whether that guard is as strong as iron or as brittle as glass is a personal matter, so do not look to Farrakhan, look to me.