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Dr. Cornel West, and Tavis Smiley Poverty Show full in effect…

August 10, 2011 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Politics, Weekly Columns

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( “Me and Tavis, we’re going to remind you who Martin really was.” – Dr. Cornel West

Now that Dr. Cornel West and television personality Tavis Smiley have set out like an Afro-centric version of “Thelma and Louise” on a tour denouncing the Obama administration for what the two decry as a lack of focus on the poor, the only real interest I have is how this road trip ends. Will West-Smiley lock hands and drive over the cliff or are they apt to take us along for the ride and the plunge?

To say that I am disappointed in Dr. West and Tavis is an understatement.  During one of the most difficult periods African-Americans have faced in the post-Reconstruction era, we should expect more from Black elites who claim to possess some special anointing to lead the masses. It is not a matter of their criticism of President Obama that disturbs me; it is how they are going about their critique and the sense that much of it is personal and has little to do with the general welfare of our community. There is no question that this administration has a lot of work to do to improve economic conditions for Blacks, every monthly employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reads like an epitaph for Black America. Still, to simply lay all the blame at the foot of 44, when the policies of 43 got us into this mess, suggests an analysis by West and Smiley that is either rooted in ignorance or intentionally misleading. Given the truly historical circumstances that created the present crisis, and the manner in which current inequities have been cumulative, the idea that President Obama is somehow fully responsible for our present condition is absurd.

Sadly, two obviously intelligent Black men are missing a larger point. Many of us have found ourselves in positions of responsibility in hostile environments, where no matter the strength of our convictions the tide of anger and resentment is overwhelming. Multiply our experiences 1,000 fold for this President. Given the multitude of challenges Barack Obama has faced, and continue to face, that are rooted in his being a Black man and the first to hold the keys to the Oval Office, both West and Smiley should have an appreciation for the weight of this President’s cross he is bearing. As the elders in our community would say, “they should know better.” Yet, the stones are thrown at our nation’s first Black President from the privileged comfort of a glass tour bus. Meanwhile, the very real suffering in our community is played out like some theatrical presentation for the amusement of those who are taking considerable delight in our pain.

Dr. West suggests that he and his running buddy are out to remind President Obama of the true legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Let me remind the professor that Dr. King was not truly loved and appreciated by many Americans, Black and white, until he was six feet under and his voice was eternally silenced. We have a habit of doing that in this country; we loathe and resent Black leadership until their death and they are no longer considered a threat to the status quo. To mock the President, and use Dr. King to do so, is unfortunate and sad. If he were alive I believe Dr. King would appreciate the predicament of our President, and be the first to draw the distinction between the pressures of the Oval Office and the demands of Black leadership. I think Barack Obama is smart enough to not aspire to be Dr. King, but committed enough to try to find a way to work within the confines of his office to build the prophet’s “beloved community.”

My fear is that after this tour, all that we will have are new books by West and Smiley, media exposure for the two personalities, and a Black electorate that is further dazed and confused. I have grown tired of Black people being used as entertainment, and this “show” has all the makings of bad reality television.

Written By Walter Fields

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4 Responses to “Dr. Cornel West, and Tavis Smiley Poverty Show full in effect…”
  1. Maureen & Richard WIENCEK says:

    Your two minds together will help the cause of simply TELLING TRUTH TO POWER.

    LEAD…..FOLLOW…………. OR MOVE OUT OF THE WAY !!!!!!!!

    MILLIONS have died …..for the sake of our United States CONSTITUTION.


    However …..ASKING MILLIONS TO SUFFER for one person’s own gratification is just a disgrace to the Nation’s past history.

  2. Dee says:

    First of all, we all know that the minute President Obama says anything about a program “specifically” geared for African Americans, he would be crucified because everyone (especially in the media) would then say that he is being biased towards African Americans. He can’t win.

    This is nothing but personal pettiness. I’m hearing more about Obama on this tour than any of our Americans in poverty. Smiley is still mad that Obama didn’t kiss his ring and come to his little Black Union town hall back in 2008 and West is still angry that he couldn’t bully he and his Mom’s way into the Inauguration. They both need to grow up. Period.

    I am just sick and tired of publicity seeking Blacks who seem to have just found their angry voice now that we have an African-American President in office. Where was this bus tour for the 8 years of the Bush Administration when we were being driven into this poverty ditch?

    Now, I have not been on board with quite a few things President Obama has done while in office and have written my own share of disappointed e-mails and letters about some of his policies, but I also know that he is our best bet for the future and pettiness like this only serves to weaken his base of support. President Obama is going to need record Black support to combat the Tea Party come 2012 and we do not need people like Smiley and West trying to undermine that support!

  3. August 11, 2011

    My Beloved Professor West,
    I am very proud of your collaboration with communicator Tavis Smiley and the nationwide poverty bus tour of America, as I implore you to stop in Kansas City. Here you will witness over days hundreds of hopelessly unemployed Black folk, seeking employment unsuccessfully in K.C.’s famous traditional Jazz District at the recently de-funded Full Employment Council. Every weekday morning at 9 a.m. with the line stretching into the front door parking lot people loose their dignity from an inefficient system.
    Compliments to your associate for last Friday revealing the agenda of disablement of the right wing conspirators, as he interviewed the prolific PBS founder Bill Moyes (truly one of my few “White American Hero’s”).
    Understand I am enclosing a letter sent to our President back in May of this year, if enacted, would have put Blacks back to work nationally and came months ahead of the curve of racism became unmanageable. While B.O. took part of this plan to help the over-class, he refused initiating the part to help the under-class. If you should stop and interview me, I will lead to many stories of injustice and discrimination untold by those who are suffering, including myself for continuing to speak out.

    Respectfully Yours,

    J.D. BLACK, founder of the (Young) National Black Programmers Coalition
    a.k.a Wali K. Muhammad

    (Enclousure) This Letter was sent to the President

    May 15, 2011
    In The Name of Almighty God, The Beneficent, The Merciful

    Dear Beloved President,

    Rumors of your future demise are being greatly over estimated, over the past three years you have shown great courage in putting forth righteousness despite character assassinations, untrue lies, and massive conservative opposition. I believe in your character as congratulations are in order for your most recent victory, yet the job of building political capitol for reelection is monumental, in view of Willie Lynch doctrine techniques continuingly being used against you. History shows still tactics of slavery being used. “Mistrust and envy against your race’’ Please understand that all things happen through the permission of Almighty God. Realize that I am only writing you at this time because America is in great par ell and the Almighty is the only one with the answers to solve any of today’s life dilemmas. While it is true it was my pleasure to serve your campaign on a daily basis most afternoons till a couple of weeks before Campaign end, I could only do it because of your foresight for us seniors, namely AARP SECSP. I have been unemployed fulltime since December 2007, so thank you for the stimulus dollars. However having a proven track record built from thirty years of broadcasting, taking bottom ten independent properties to the Top 5 Arbitron positions from a program directors position. 1975 lead me to form 1st (as only a organizing committee) along with Jackson, MS. Programmer Dick Dawkins, The National Black Programmers Coalition (design to cater to the needs of southern radio announcers suffering low wages and to launch community initiatives). At that time having been national program director of the year for Black radio, and being recognized as a programming genius for doing things which White folks said couldn’t be done. In this sprit I present a full proof way from God to secure and guarantee your re-election, despite the presence of satanic mentality across the isle. To GOP candidates, the immoral way they have lived their lives compounded by their lack of compassion for the poor and especially seniors (which the U.S. seeks to break a contract with namely…Social Security) they lack moral conciseness enough to ever be trusted, you should expound. What I am presenting is the solution only Almighty God is allowing me to present to you now.. This plan will not only reduce gasoline prices now and in the future, it reduces the carbon foot print of the world (if organized with thought and matriculation) it will put Millions of Americans to work with its implementation. God prefers pro-activity for all that He shares his light with. First, you must meet with every bus manufacture CEO in America…i.e. . Ebus, Inc. Downey, CA/Gillig Corporation Hayward, CA/ El Dorado National Salina, KS/North American Anniston, AL/
    Collins Bus Corporation Hutchinson, KS ect.
    Tell them you will create a new market for them across the world when they invest their capitol (so the current oil companies’ subsidies will come to them instead of to people who try to take America hostage). Explain that this plan is so enormous, that if they participate each one will be asked to choose from a group of disenfranchised cities you present, to place one additional factory, to go along with there current plant operations. It is imperative you Vet who you present this to in advance, without telegraphing your moves to your opponents. Demand for security reason all planning must be kept secret, waiting for your public announcement. (Announce this only after all components are in place) The challenge to save America Intel’s using new technology to produce mass transit and school buses that operate on a combination of natural gas and electric for sales and distribution around the world. This action will need the support of newly formed business development to continually supply parts, adding more job growth. On the other hand stimulation of inter-city economics comes with a meeting with the Urban League’s Mark Moral and Mr. Gene C. Blue, President/CEO of the Opportunities Industrialization Center to set up comprehensive employment training programs across the nation for these newly acquired, (non-union) on the job training positions. In each case the companies needing workers will send in their brightest trainers to empty warehouse space designed as training assembly lines. The community host organizations in every location will hire community staff to run the training plant sights (Administrative/clerical/janitorial/security). Secondly, Announce to America effectively as soon as possible you are releasing 10% of the U.S. oil reserves for use by the government car pool (for the short term), with the exception of essential federal law enforcement. This will create a perceived atmosphere which will take upwards of 5% off current U.S. demand to help prices levelize for the last few month of summer. For the long term to relieve stress on the marketplace starting in September all future government vehicle purchases will be of the new hybrid style you have mandated to the car companies the government just bailed out, and then allowing them to increase their work forces as well (your goal should remain reaching 6.4 or less unemployment rates). These actions will have a three fold effect (1) it guarantees this government leads the way for all the worlds government to reduce the worlds carbon footprint by late 2012. Third, it puts America on the forefront of new technology, at the same time increasing U.S. taxable exports. Forth and finally it puts unemployed Americans into blue collar jobs within each region of our country, makes a way to create new part manufacture start up, and increases our tax base to reduce the deficit, along with being a new source of money to save desperately needed social programs for the poor and disabled. This project will also have a ripple effect on a consistent stabilization of the stock markets. Republicans, lead by the Tea Party want to rob Peter to pay Paul, taking vital subsidies from 15 million unemployed Americans at their lowest point, while we are fighting recession. They even have gone so far as to threaten to collapse the government, by not increasing America’s debt ceiling. All this theater about nothing, but turning public opinion against you, only to enforce their mindset on a helpless public. Dyer times demand clear and decisive leadership, as President you must for the sake of God expose the glaring truth and tell of the consequential after effect of their proposed actions. Naturally as a politician you have been worried about citizens, while they worry only about money. Sure we must amass the deficit, yet never at the cost of the citizens have we served… tell me, where’s the liberty and justice in those is unconstitutional styled acts (do they never end). However, more importantly you need worry about the wrath of Almighty God with violent occurrences happening around the world everyday. The Bible describes this time as the reality of Revelation, while the Holy Quran tells us this series of events happens before the Day of Judgment. Do this now for Almighty Gods sake, that He might spare this world a few more days. In addition Almighty God has blessed me with knowledge and solutions to the Israeli Palestinian conflict. Should you put me an American Muslim on short term as Presidential advisor on Muslim affairs, and afford me a selected brother as Interpreter together we can end this turbulence and move the Taliban from a position of Israeli extermination to a position of co-existence. This can be done with help already extended by Muslim brothers in close proximity countries.

  4. John Tartaglione says:

    Hey Walter, On many occasions I’ve heard Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley address the security concerns of Obama being the first Black man in the Whitehouse and what a remarkable beautiful thing it is to see. They also call for a beefed up vigilance because they understand the death threats are real. I understand the personal back story between Obama and West but I hardly feel it necessary to point out to Dr. West that Dr. King was disliked by about 75% of America; I learned that fact from listening to their show. What I get from Smiley and West is that Obama (as much as we need to protect him from Right wing FOX NEWS style attacks and very real physical threats) is only serving a system that has been eating away at the fiber of the poor and working class communities. Many Liberals and Leftists like my self voted for Obama because we believed he would fight more for the poor and working class citizens. We see Bush tax cuts continuing for the super rich, a 700 billion dollars for banks that trashed the US economy with predatory practices against the middle class and working poor, and an escalation of war in Libya at the behest of Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical and GE and other war contractors. Correct me if I’m wrong but he hasn’t been too vocal about fighting for workers rights in Wisconsin, or standing up to Big Business deregulation. Taking on Larry Summers and Thimothy Geithner as the Whitehouse economic team has violated the values of Dr. Cornel West to the core. I really don’t see a man who’s fighting the power of the corporate elite to better the lives of “Jamal and Leticia” as Cornel says. In the words of Dr. Micheal Eric Dyson, Obama is Jackie Robinson but we’re wainting for Willy Mays. Please tell me what I’m missing. I appreciate your time.

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