Well, it was good to see that Tavis & Co had spent the year productively, developing a policy text called the Covenant with Black America. I haven't read the text (yet) as it came out today, but by the chapter titles it appears to be warmed over liberalism (increase funding for schools, right to healthcare, etc, etc). They did invite black Republicans, but only a State Senator from Oregon was able to make it. She did a good job, focusing people on the importance of families and decrying the lack of discussion in that regard.
Now, on to the interesting stuff... Harry Belafonte was lauded as a courageous leader for Black America. When it was his time to speak, he didn't disappoint:
- He spoke of an alliance between Black America and the Venezuelan and Bolivian governments... "an alliance against a common enemy - capitalism" [can we say that Harry Belafonte is similiarly aligned with Iran? H/T Wizbang]
- He repeated his assertion that Bush is a terrorist, to great applause from the audience
- He questioned whether Osama was actually behind 9/11.. seriously
- He called for revolution and asked those in attendance whether they would be willing to die to change the system.
As with last year, Louis Farrakhan hijacked the show, taking control of the subject and manipulating it to benefit himself. Here are some of the highlights from Louis:
- "AMERICA MUST BURN!!! America is no good!"
- The educational system isn't worth a damn.
- we don't need to be integrated into [the current system]
- Terrel Owens is oppressed by The Man.... when you make a contract with the devil (apparently a reference to Andy Reid, head coach of the Eagles), you cannot liberate yourself.
- "[Bush] is the Devil" - and you can't make a deal with the devil
- Abolish the government because it and the world is run by "wicked, corrupt industrialist bankers... you KNOW what I'm talkin about?" [Yes, Louis... I've seen that language employed to disastrous effects before]
Tavis had to spend a lot of time bringing the focus of the conversation back to the Covenant, which is essentially a policy document similar to the Contract with America by Newt Gingrich. For all of the talk regarding change and a need to progress, it's interesting that the same old ideas and fundamental perspective are used.
Getting ahead in America is not rocket science and each time that I watch one of these sessions with Tavis, I'm amazed that more practical information isn't discussed. Here are some things that I would point out:
- Get an education
- Don't use drugs
- Don't sell drugs or commit other crimes (it's the best way to stay out of jail)
- Get a minimum wage job when you're young and work hard at it - have a smile on your face while you're at work and use your manners. If you keep at it, you will get promoted.
- Save your money when you're young
- Go to college (a community college or a university, whatever you can afford)
- Don't have a child out of wedlock - you might need to use contraception... if you don't think that's cool, don't have sex outside of marriage
- If you have a child (and you're the father or the mother), time to get a job and take care of the kid. Don't turn your kid over to your parents as they're ill-equipped to raise their grandkids
The GOP has a clear policy position which addresses each item above. Unfortunately, many in the African-American community are unwilling to hear those arguments and the black leaders (like Farrakhan) preach to their consituents that they cannot trust anything that the "evil whites" say... Farrakhan made this point today. When you cannot have a conversation and start from a position of trust, how can you even get the point of listening and understanding their position? I'm always concerned when I see the most radical of black leaders receiving the loudest applause (ie Belafonte, Farrakhan, etC), but I know that the African-American community does not have a monolithic perspective on the issues... if only their leadership would recognize that fact as well.
Tavis is taking the Covenant on tour and will be in St Louis on Monday. Unfortunately, I'm leaving on Sunday to go to North Carolina, so I won't be able to attend. Check here to see if your city will be on the tour!
By the way, don't look to the Kos Kids for info on the State of the Black Union.... nothing there. And why do African-Americans think that Libs take them for granted?
ARC: St Wendeler