Monday, March 2, 2009

The Quality of the Alternative

TV host, commentator and author, Tavis Smiley has for the past 10 years sponsored an outstanding event called 'The State of Black America'.

It is a conversation among politicians, activists, academics, young people, artists like, Na'Im Akbar of Florida State University, Cornell West of Princeton University, Randall Robinson, founder and former head of the TransAfrica Forum and Van Jones, environmentalist and president of Green For All. The conference, broadcast every year on C-SPAN and is about the plight of African-Americans in this country and what we should be doing for ourselves and what public policy is most effective for our communities. Yes, there can be what some would refer to as Republican bashing, and as usual when you get this many public figures together there is a lot of speech making. But so much more is the admonishment and exhortation for black people to do what black people need to do for themselves. And there are, believe it or not, diverse opinions.

This year was special, because of the 10th anniversary but of course because of Barack Obama. This was no Obama love fest altogether. Obviously proud, what predominated the conversation was how to hold Obama accountable while being supportive of him.

In the middle of the conversation on the second panel, was RNC Michael Steele. Steele's presence isn't token, or obligatory. He was there last year. Steele is incredibly interesting to me. He represents a diversity of thought (different from mine in many ways), that I think can represent something I don't believe African-Americans have ever had in this country, in a political sense. If he is doing more than saying the right things, failure on Obama's part to govern wisely and well COULD open the door to options never before considered (sorry the 2008 election just wasn't that kind of party).

Here is Steele's response to open up the second half of the State of Black America session...

But just as I was about to believe that there might be hope for civil political discourse and the prospect of a decent political alternative in this country I saw this...

Let me say I did watch most of Limbaugh's speech. I really hadn't listened to him in many years, and I thought it fair to hear him out.

After listening to Steele on Saturday morning and Limbaugh on Saturday night. The question was left asking is: Which is the real voice of the GOP? And which is the future?

The answer is important, because it determines the fate of our country...

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