The first motion picture to be shown in the White House was D.W. Griffith's "A Birth of a Nation." Progressive Democrat president Woodrow Wilson showed the highly controversial silent film that was later used as a Ku Klux Klan recruiting tool portraying KKK Klansmen as superheroes rescuing white women from uneducated sexually aggressive African-American men. This Democrat president used the valuable tool of entertainment to communicate an extraordinarily bad message.
Times have changed, but the method has not.
Americans love to be entertained. More times than not, we choose style over substance, charisma over character and compromise over conviction - if it makes us feel good, we do it. That's why I call mint-filled dark chocolates "vitamins." That is also why Barack Obama became president and why the first lady invited hip hop rapper, Common, to appear at a recent White House poetry event.
While many conservatives are aghast that someone who spews anti-white, anti-cop, anti-Bush misogynistic lyrics would be welcome in the White House, I say why not? Is it not any elected president's prerogative to invite whomever he or she wishes to poetry events? Common's invitation should come as no surprise to anyone considering his hometown is Chicago, his pastor is Jeremiah Wright and Obama was elected to reflect his voter's values.
During a particularly telling interview with Touch magazine, Common allowed readers to get a better feel for who he undoubtedly is as a person. To his credit, Common told journalist Elle J. Small that because he is an entertainer he felt it was his "responsibility to let people know what he means" when he says certain things. He admits to a history of sleeping with white women but strongly disagrees with mixed-race relationships because, "It's a lack of self-love" because "our race has been damaged."
Common explained that his cultural views about mixed-races and talk about shooting a peace sign but carrying a gun - come from his Chicago upbringing. He said it has "something to do too with the way I was raised. I mean, not even from my parents, but from being in Chicago, a very segregated city. There is very much an enforcement of black culture where I grew up."
Common's explanation of the "Chicago way" should help to shine the light on numerous questionable Obama administration appointments as well serve to be a flashing red warning light that something has gone awry in America. C.S. Lewis once wrote, "The safest road to hell is the gradual one." I'm not saying we're in hell, but it seems we are headed that way, if the White House finds it acceptable to invite a rapper whose "poetry" comes pretty close to being defined as "Gangsta rap."
If this reflects Obama's voters' values, America is in a heap of trouble.
In his research piece, titled "Defining Deviancy Down," the late Democratic senator Daniel Moynihan wrote about how culture wars ensue when deviancy within a community increases, forcing society to lower its standards to accept what was previously unacceptable.
Progressive commentators have been party to "Defining Deviancy Down" in their attempts to justify the White House's unorthodox decision to invite Common by suggesting he's not as bad as he could be. They are correct. Call it what they will, but most do not find it entertaining or poetic; it is distasteful and a bit racist.
The racism does not stop there. Progressive Democrats are party to a much more damaging and insidious form of prejudice - the bigotry of low expectations - which is the crux of the problem this country faces. Much of what is found in popular rapper lyrics goes hand-in-hand with the progressive movement that began with Woodrow Wilson. This agenda is furthered when it keeps people on cradle to casket welfare, its citizens polarized, its minorities in housing projects filled with fatherless households. Without this agenda, there would be no Democratic party as we know it today. It has been said that what one generation does in moderation the next will do in excess. It's time to raise the bar.
• Susan Stamper Brown is nationally syndicated columnist and can be reached at email@example.com