This one is for Mr. Cornel West

There’s a video running around, in which the distinguished professor is saying: “”Barack Obama Is NOT The Fulfillment Of Martin Luther King’s Dream”.

As I’m trying to follow the president’s lead, I will not use all the words that went through my head when I saw it. Instead, there’s what I found on YouTube this morning.

Have a nice MLK day, everyone. You too, Mr. West. May you’ll be cured of your jealousy and bitterness.

223 thoughts on “This one is for Mr. Cornel West

  1. I would say that no one knows better than Barack Obama just how much more of the dream there is to fullfill and how many more dreams there are to dream. “We can be better” . . . . a whole lot better.

  2. “Have a nice NLK day, everyone. You too, Mr. West. May you’ll be cured of your jealousy and bitterness. ”

    Amen. Would also extend that same wish (to be cured of jealousy) to Tavis Smiley.

  3. It’s pretty sad, that an academic filled with jealousy and pettiness loses some credibility, because the focus is not on substantive matters, but rather his silly outbursts.

    Wishing everyone a reflective and meaningful MLK Day!

  4. wow. I don’t think Cornel is jealous. I think Cornel is making sure we keep the memory of Dr. King in its appropriate context… there are LOTS of people who have come to be the fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream (I like to think I am, aren’t you?)

    I find it sad when we don’t recognize the importance of not blending our heroes lives and purposes.

    It is possible to respect each man, for what they have both accomplished. One can never take away from the other…but to suggest that one “validates” the other… uncool. That isn’t what Martin wanted… he just wanted us to have the same opportunities… and we have them (those who choose to see them)

    again I say…wow.

  5. I have to agree. There is still a lot more work to do, and President Obama would be the first to say as much.

  6. Jealousy? Bitterness? That’s all, you are being kind today, lol. Its shameful the way Mr West have acted, but I was never a fan anyway so he has no effect on me. If the Pres is not what Dr King was speaking about, the I dont know what else could be. I’m sorry but I trully dont. Enjoy your day friends

  7. Of course there is much much more work. But this is a very nasty comment, IMO. Mr. West said some of the worst things i’ve heard about Barack Obama. I find it quite disgusting.

  8. All I can say is consider the source. This comment from the distinguished Professor Cornel West advising us that President Obama is not the fulfillment of Martin Luther King’s Dream reveals more about himself than anyone else.

  9. Yeah, respectfully, you may not have heard what Dr West has been saying. I believe BWD put it gently to say jealousy. I would hate to think of any other reason for him to say such things.

  10. Love the video.

    Here’s another one that inspires me today…grab a kleenex.

    And I’d just add that I believe the parallels between King and Obama go deeper than many people see. I wrote about that in a little piece I titled Good Crazy.

  11. He said the Pres. is the same as the Republican party. Says Obama brought in Summers so he cant be like Dr King who loved poor people too much. That after Obama spent political capital to save the Auto industry that directly affects the middle class, the Pres doesnlt consider the poor in this Country. That King fought against Vietnam and the Pres is directly against him in Aphganistan. I dont ever remember the Vietnamese housing terroist who killed 3,000 Americans, do you? The fact is that he sat on a panel with Obama bashers AH, and the ridiculas Smiley and participated. Cant go with that

  12. How is Barack Obama “NOT The Fulfillment Of Martin Luther King’s Dream”? It doesn’t mean that othes are not either. But Barack Obama, the first black president, is NOT The Fulfillment Of Martin Luther King’s Dream?

  13. Great Video – thanks for sharing that!!

    I’d rather focus on something more uplifting today 🙂

  14. I wish everyone a day of peace and service.

    This kind of demeaning of our President is entirely unnecessary and self-serving. The President is firing at full speed on all cylinders. Change takes time and I believe we are witnessing a very deep change in our country. That is why all the irrational squealing is taking place. I honor President Obama and FLOTUS every single day. Their work affects us all.

  15. Thanks so much for the video and I love your piece! You nailed it! I would suggest that you find a way to forward it directly to Dr. West. He needs to see it.
    I think perhaps a good dose of reality is in order for West. I would suggest that he take a minute to go on the internet to some RW websites to get some kind of idea what we are up against here. Cornell West seems to be stuck in his aacademic bubble.
    Wonder if the Koch Brothers are thanking him (West)for his contributions to their cause right now……

  16. And the difference between Democrats and Republicans is that the vast majority of the Left rejects their fringe loons and Republicans embrace them.

    A black man is President of the United States. MLK would have had the wisdom, heart and sense of history to understand how important that is to fulfilling his ‘dream’.

    To apply the political climate of the 60’s to the political climate of the 2010’s is flat out childish and anyone with the apparent intelligence of Cornell West should know better.

    Let’s see if Cornell West can take his rhetoric and get elected to anything, much less the Presidency. Let’s see how his rhetoric would change 30 years of Republican brainwashing. By yelling louder?

    My barometer is effectiveness. Ralph Nader and Cornell West can yell as much as they want to about abolishing corporations — could they do that? Would anarchy necessarily flow to utopia?

    Ridiculous. He’s marginalized himself with his ridiculousness.

  17. It says how far we’ve come that a black president is a president of ALL Americans. That’s what the dream was about. So if there are people like West and Smiley (and a few others) who denigrate PBO, it says to me that The Dream has truly been dreamt into reality.

  18. I know he will be volunteering today. I hope we can see him.

    All I know about this controversy is President Obama is the best president in my lifetime, IMHO. I think somehow that Rev. King would be okay with him, especially his gentle, moderating speech in Tucson.

  19. Monday January 17, 2011
    All Times Eastern Standard

    VP Biden and Dr. Jill Biden participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service in Delaware.

    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    10:15 AM

    Pres Obama receives the presidential daily briefing
    11:00 AM

    Pres Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama participate in a service project.
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM

  20. I believe Cornel West was on the panel with Tavis Smiley “America the Next Chapter” and I have to agree with you his comment was that BO is one of the fulfillment of MLK and not THE fulfillment. He went on to say that MLK had a bigger dream of eradicating poverty around the world and that is something politicians have yet to address including POTUS.

    Cornel West is disappointed about the focus of the administration. He would like an agenda that focus on the poorer communities that are struggling and not corporate America. There’s nothing wrong with what was said – the only problem I had was he left out the reality of what we’ve been through the last two years. The president was right to focus on stabalizing the financial system and now that we are not losing 700K jobs a month he can focus on other issues, including poorer communities.

    The struggle continues with a divided congress but I’m hopeful the next two years will be fruitful.

  21. I think West is making sure we continue to see he himself as the brightest bulb in the room. Jealous!

  22. Good morning, everyone. I was a little 16-year-old high schooler, living in the confines of a Catholic school environment and a white, suburban neighborhood in the northeast, when Dr. King gave us his “I Have a Dream” speech. I watched it on our black and white TV, through tears and sobs.

    During those times, I learned for the first time (from my recollection) about segregation and the awful things done to men, women, and children in the south and other parts of our country. I learned from news clips on TV or news reels at the movie theater. I had no idea. It changed my life and perspectives forever.

    Today, I will listen to and read several of Dr. King’s speeches, so I never forget what he meant to our country – and to a young white girl he touched very deeply. It’s something I cherish and don’t want to give up – that I was alive and got to hear him real time, and learned from it.

    At a certain point in my career, I was able to work as an equal employment opportunity manager, fighting the good fight, and nothing gave me more satisfaction.

    We all have these types of stories. One of the latest stories that has touch me happened to a friend of mine last week. She’s a substitute teacher, and was showing a video about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his life and deeds, to a class of third graders. They were astonished and several came to her after the discussion because they could not believe that “white only” signs had existed and that fire hoses could really have been used on little children at that time. She told them it was all true, and tried to calm them down – since some were very distressed.

    This is why we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., each year – so we never forget. And so the newest generations won’t forget. Together, we lift each other up, just like President Obama tries to lift our country up and gives us hope for the future. We cry together, and then we try to give something back – for the betterment of our fellow Americans. I’m glad to be among people who understand this.

  23. So many “black luminaries” are jealous of PBO and upset that he didn’t “kiss the ring” and ask their permission to run for President.

    Non Afro-Americans probably won’t understand what I’m about to say. There is a strong self-defeating streak in our community. Some in our community don’t like to see others shine at all. Some like to be the only ones or one of the few that shine. In order for you to do so, you have to do it with their blessing and more importantly, take them along with you. They want to stand in your light.

    If you go about attempting to shine outside of the narrow focus of these gatekeepers, they will go about badmouthing you to the rest of the community. They will say you’re not “real”. That can mean anything from being a “real nigga”, if you have the audacity to carry yourself with maturity, intelligence and dignity. Or a “real brotha” if you have the audacity to do or enjoy things that aren’t “black”. This can be anything from listening to music that isn’t hip-hop, r&b, jazz or other black music. Playing a sport that isn’t “black” (how DARE you play field hockey!). Living in an area not predominantly black, dating outside your race, etc. etc.

    Barack Obama didn’t ask the Gatekeeper’s permission. Tavis Smiley styles himself as the Voice of Black America. He hates Obama. Cornell West is another that feels that he needs to be consulted before making any moves in the black community. Jesse Jackson is another. Al Sharpton was the only one that came to his senses and backed Barack Obama early.

    Now, these Gatekeepers are STILL out there basically telling black folks that PBO isn’t a “real brotha”. Whatever Dr. West’s narrow definition of that is, PBO doesn’t fulfill it. What PBO has to do in order for him to become a “real brotha” is never fully explained but attending Tavis Smiley-arranged shindigs or inviting Dr. West to an administrative position would surely do the trick.

    I’ve never subscribed to the old notions of what “being black” is. If I’m doing it, it’s black. I only judge if someone takes definitive, deliberate steps to do something that HURTS the black community either directly or indirectly (Clarence Thomas and Condoleeza Rice come to mind as well as some of these right-wing blacks).

    So, I disregard Cornel West’s criticism of PBO out of hand because it reeks of jealousy and spite.

  24. God bless President Obama and his family.

    I won’t speak for Dr. King, because I believe speaking on behalf of deceased people is wrong, but I can see why many feel that President Obama is fulfilling King’s Dream.

  25. I mean this in a kind way, but, when does President Obama’s day of service end? He is always on the go, in service to this country, with so many under-appreciating his efforts, and minimizing the importance of his stature and intentions. In peace I say, let the naysayers be damned. I voted for a president, not a civil rights leader, but President Obama happens to be both. No amount of academia can decide this one way or another. God rewards the heart of man.

  26. I watched a commentary by Shields and Brooks of PBS. Shield said 2 things I wanted to share

    Jesse Jackson, “we may have come over on separate ships but we are all in the same boat”

    parahrasing Shields story
    This week a white Catholic Republican judge, is murdered on his way to visit his friend and congresswoman, a Democrat and Jew, her life was initially saved by a 28 year old Mexican American college student, and eventually by a Korean American doctor, the event was eulogized by an African American president.

    Martin Luther King would have thought that was a good thing. quote found 5:30 into video

  27. I don’t think the TOTAL fulfillment of Dr. Kings dream is simply Barack Obama becoming President. I think that he would view that as a MAJOR accomplishment but Dr. Kings dream was that he wanted ALL people to be treated equal and to have the same opportunities. He wanted minorities and poor folks no matter what race to be assisted and lifted up out of despair.

    We still have a ways to go but I don’t believe that Dr. King would grandstand on cable tv about President Obama. IMO I believe he would be a counsel to the President and would quietly prod him for social change.

    I have never heard Tavis or Cornwell West give an interview or be on any panel anywhere since PBO became President (or before) in the without them taking a negative dig at this President. They allow these shows to use them because they are guaranteed that they will say something controversial. I believe they know this because they obviously don’t care how they get their message out as long as it gets out.

    Neither one have been invited to the WH for counsel. I’m not wondering why!

  28. It only counts if you’re achieving the ‘dream’ Cornell West’s way. Anarchy will lead to utopia, won’t it?

  29. West is a professor and should recognize that idealistic, immediate resolution of complex and longstanding problems is usually how idealistic youth start to explore politics. It’s great but it is a perspective that does require maturity, as MLK so poignantly and famously describes:

    I must confess, my friends, the road ahead will not always be smooth. There will be still rocky places of frustration and meandering points of bewilderment. There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. There will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted. We may again with tear-drenched eyes have to stand before the bier of some courageous civil rights worker whose life will be snuffed out by the dastardly acts of bloodthirsty mobs. Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future. … When our days become dreary with low-hovering clouds of despair, and when our nights become darker than a thousand midnights, let us remember that there is a creative force in this universe, working to pull down the gigantic mountains of evil, a power that is able to make a way out of no way and transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice.

  30. Oooh StarkyLuv, you’ve just educated the masses here….LOL! Of course, I expect the commenters here are aware of what you proposed so does do us all good to hear it from the real tip. Thanks so much.

  31. Well, I tried to bold some text within the blockquote, but that seems not to have worked out.

  32. “Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” ~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

  33. No Jessica this is his full schedule. He went to Church service yesterday where there were many AA local leaders in attendance. I think in the wake of Tucson he is having a relatively quiet Holiday of Service this year. All events were cancelled last week until this Tuesday (with the exception of the day of service) so I am not sure if they had originally planned something with civil rights leaders for this weekend.

  34. I’m not going to defend Cornel West here or anywhere else except to say his message over the years have not changed. This is not the first time he said these things nor will it be the last. He is suspicious of any president/politician who he feels does not adopt an agenda for the poor, so he’s consistent on that front.

    Does he have an ulterior motive? maybe, afterall he’s good buddies with Tavis. I posted here before about Tavis having an ax to grind with POTUS for not coming to his “Black America” forum in 2008. Tavis criticism of POTUS cost him his commentator job on Tom Joyner morning show.

  35. StarkyLuv – Brilliant.

    Something of a different nature clicked in what you said for me, since I’m in a very nostalgic mood today.

    I “lived through” the women’s liberation movement. Young women today would never believe (thank God) that we once weren’t able to go for the profession we wanted (wouldn’t even be accepted in certain college programs), or get a loan or credit on our own name, or “be allowed” to do something as silly as wear pants to work. [Not to trivialize any of this, but I worked for the federal government in the early 1970s and one day we women were given “permission” to wear what we called pantsuits (think Hillary Clinton) to work. And the federal government was the model employer.] As Gloria Steinem once said about sexual harassment, “We just called it life.”

    Anyway, when certain women in the organization where I worked started to advance into management roles, some of them were the most hard on the junior women who were struggling to reach their dreams. Wouldn’t help ’em … not unless they were asked to be their mentor and were treated like the gatekeepers they thought they were. Everybody lost.

  36. Dr. West has long identified himself as a Socialist rather than a Democrat. Its not surprising that he would disagree politically with President Obama.

    Its too bad he couldn’t just do that without the references to MLK’s Dream.

  37. Exactly. West and PBO were never on the same side with their politics – and that’s cool – but i really can’t understad why he’s working so hard on weakening the first black president.

  38. Tavis Smiley, Cornell West and Michael Eric Dyson have always had something negative to say about President Obama. Even Jesse Jackson, at first felt he should wait his turn, so to speak. It’s like they feel he should consult them before he do or say anything. At one time they insinuated he wasn’t black enough to run for or be called the first Black President.

    But President Obama being the person he is. Knowing who he is as a man, stayed the course and prevailed over all the negative talk from some in the black community. He continue to prove all of them wrong.
    That is why he is the President and they aren’t.

  39. I hope they get to go out for a special dinner. It’s been quite a while since they have had a treat like that. Happy birthday, Mrs. Obama.

  40. Saint Roscoe,
    it is actually Crabs in a barrow.
    A crab pulls a crab down to keep a crab from achieving the purpose of overcoming obstacles to achieve success or accomplishments.

  41. Those two ankle nibblers…is a spot on statement. I love it. Every time I hear Tavis on NPR, I think, Okay what kind of a harpy remark is he going to make about the President?

    By the way, did Tavis ever acknowledge that the black farmers got their long overdue settlement?

  42. I disagree. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley have been on the airwaves along with some members of the PL complaining that the pres hasn’t done enough to fulfill their needs. They’ve even floated around a primary challenge. While it is true that the president has only been president for a couple of years and we still have a way to go for the dream to by truly fulfilled, those two did that with nastiness and may I say it, hate. They haven’t done much for the black community but sell their books and tell us that we’re too stupid to understand nuance. That’s the problem.

  43. The fact that Cornel West was on a panel with Tavis Smiley and Arianna Huff & Puff (who never misses an opportunity to say this White House just doesn’t get x, y, or z), tells me all I need to know. Birds of a feather flock together.

  44. There is a passing of the torch from one generation of African American leaders to the next. Some are doing that gracefully, others not so much.

    I remember this commentary by Rev. Gordon Stewart, who marched with King, on the day after Obama’s inauguration.

    They are strange tears, like none other I have ever felt. It confuses me. I wonder what they’re about. It feels like joy. A joy I have not felt for a long time. Joy… and hope… that something really new is happening. Joy that all the struggles and all the marches that wore holes in my generation’s shoes on behalf of civil rights and peace have brought us to this indescribably holy moment that transcends the old divisions.

    For sure, the tears that rise up in me are tears of joy. But they’re also about something else. They feel like the convulsing sobs of a prisoner released from prison. They come from a hidden well of poison — the well of deep grief stuffed away over all the years because of all the marches, all the beatings, all the blood, the well of buried anger — the silent tears of grief over the America we had almost lost.

    Then I realize: Only the appearance of joy and hope can release such deep grief. It was the joy on Yo-Yo Ma’s face that finally released the poison locked inside my soul. It is the joy and hope of a new generation that’s able to take us where my generation cannot — free of the taint of sore feet and scars and old grudges the new President says we must move past.

  45. I believe that they wanted a ‘black agenda’ so that the pres can put his focus on healing black communities. The pres has been around the country to know that black people aren’t the only ones that are hurting and that’s why he states that his programs will affect not just black folks but all people. Hence extending unemployment and making it easier to get preventive care. He even took a rick to his political capital with HCR and the auto bailout. He was a community organizer and If that’s not caring about the poor, I don’t know what it is they want.

  46. Thank you so much for your comments. Tavis, and Dr. West need to sit and have a conversation with you. I concur with you totally. Let us move beyond this simple act of their constant jealous attitudes. They really need to get up out of those chairs and do something to help instead of whinning all of the time. I am tired of both of them. My soul is too old to take into it their ugly attitudes. I dismiss it all. It is a awful stage play that has been running too long, and it now the time for us to move to another theater where the actors, script, and music is real, uplifting to our society, and a message that will encourage our youth to move forward with a hope that is so pure they will never stop travelling the road of success that shares hopefully and lovingly with other and for others. Thank you.


  48. FRAUD…Thy name is Cornel West…He’s the
    quintessential book peddling hustler…I
    wouldn’t be so blatant if West wasn’t such a
    character…West helped spread that failed
    meme of “Sen.Obama is not black enough” and
    of course who can forget that conspiracy
    theorist “Obama is funded by Illuminoti”.
    When shyt gets heated & heavy lifting is
    needed he’s nowhere to be found…He avoids
    Rev. Al Sharpton, because that would mean
    getting his hands dirty initiating voter turn-
    out drives or sore feet from door-to-door
    neighborhood canvassing.
    Where is west’s outreach group..??..Seriously…I can remember after Katrina in New Orleans where im from and the
    first person to come in to speak out against
    folks calling us “refugees” in our own country was Rev. Sharpton…As flawed and rough around the edges as he is…Rev.Sharpton doesn’t mind doing the
    grunt work and is from the streets of New
    York and he has a very high respect for Pres.
    Obama…He called out West for being a phony..I could not agree more…West’s “I keep it more real than everyone else” is about as useful as an asshole attached to my elbow.

  49. StarkyLuv thank you for your very clear, correct an incisive post above. I sat here paralysed by the multitude of thougts and words I would have liked to use re Cornel West’s comments and there you came and said it all for me.

    We will continue to lift up our President and support his continuation of Dr King’s dream. In doing so we will ignore the pettiness of small minds and the jealousy that emanates from them.

    Happy MLK day everyone..the DREAM lives on in PBO.


  51. Oh, NLinStPaul. The hairs are standing up on my arms and tears are welling in my throat. Thank you so much for sharing Rev. Stewart’s words. They are so poignant for my generation.

    How can anybody not be moved by President Obama’s inauguration and the beauty in the last two years?

  52. This kind of stuff is the perfect time to ask yourself, What Would Obama Do? (WWOD). I think we all know the answer, and for those that don’t yet practice it enough, or at all, I personally have been really enjoying it when I put it into practice, and it’s starting to change how I interact with people on a day-to-day basis. I’m happier…the people in my life are happier…and I’m getting much more done in life. The Ripple Effect is tremendous.

    Will give a try here: I understand why West, Smiley and others with similar views react the way they do. They grew up in a much more racially charged environment, and it was difficult to directly face so much overt hatred, and not get angry yourself and develop a “fighter” posture.

    Thing is though, as the quote goes, the arc bends toward Justice, and that’s been happening on a number of fronts in society, especially between people with different melanin levels (could be going the opposite direction in terms of economics, but we’re working on that). My teenager literally has no idea what we’re talking about when we discuss some of the divides and debates that West and others focus on. My younger kids get excited when they see a picture of President Obama, who is simply the President in their minds. Nothing about skin tone enters their minds. We’ve all seen so many photos of all the kids over the years now hugging, smiling brightly, and star-struck when they meet President Barack Hussein Obama in person, as if he’s some rockstar. We as a society should feel proud of how much better we’ve been able to make things, especially in terms of melanin relations.

    Time marches on, and I hope people like West and Smiley choose to jump on board more often and use their immense talents and intellects, which they clearly have, to contribute in any way they can to help shape this new Era, rather than re-hash debates from the past. We need all the help we can get, since the old mentalities are clearly still out there, and they realize that they’re becoming more and more irrelevant and lashing out with all they got. Full steam ahead, brothers and sisters!

  53. Happy MLK Day everyone, and Nina, you are spot on to post these words by Dr. King. And so appropriate as we gear up for 2012.

    I just wish the PL/frustrati, and others kept these words in mind with every “outrage” — especially this: “Difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future…”

  54. Exactly, BWD. And his not consistently calling out the GOP, who caused the problems we are facing.

  55. Yes, I cry almost every time I read that. You can feel both his hope and his grief.

    I witness that passing of the torch daily in my local community as well. The young African Americans I work with don’t understand the grief their elders are clinging to and the tension exists.

    I think we need to honor the elders pain and what it took to do what they did years ago. But wise elders like Rev. Stewart recognize that life is moving on – our battles today aren’t the same ones they fought. There is a whole generation of new leaders coming into their own. They need our wisdom and we need their vision.

  56. “GRAB A MOP” as POTUS told the Republicans. The same for Tavis Smiley and Cornel West. You don’t like the way the poor is being treated? DO SOMETHING TO HELP THEM THEN. Selling a book that the poor can’t and won’t buy does not help anyone. You’re little cable teevee show and special forums does not feed the poor either Tavis. These hacks just will say anything to get attention.

  57. Happy MLK day everybody.

    I think we can all speculate, but who can really speak for a deceased person? I know I can’t. Peace

  58. I’ve read through all the current responses before attempting a reply, and I lean towards the first paragraph in your response above this one. Fulfillment to me also suggests completion, final realization, (your use of the words ‘TOTAL’ support this) and I somehow feel that the President would be among the first to say that what he is trying to accomplish is a work in progress. I’ve never heard of these naysayers before today, and I don’t intend that they will use up much of my brain space. Step by step, President Obama IS FULFILLING a lot of my hopes for the world, and I will support him as long as breath is still in my body. He cannont do it alone, but I believe that while some are trying to knock him down many others are waking up to the fact that he is trying to LEAD in a positive non-violent way. Doesn’t it say somewhere that steel is forged through fire? While Joseph’s (Bible) brothers sold him into slavery with evil intent, his life was used for good. IMO Prez O’s ‘evil “brothas”‘ actions will be just as ineffective in the long run.

    Have a great MLK service day!

    God bless you on your special day, First Lady Michelle!

  59. That’s been my point for the last two years.

    It’s healthy to have robust discussions and air our disagreements. But to me the line is clear: when your rhetoric does damage to any moves in the progressive direction and the ones in a position to make that progress, then you become part of the problem.

    You just have to have paid attention to how Republicans succeed: they support their leaders even when they’re doing even nothing. When a leaders know you have their back, they are emboldened to be more of what you want them to be. Based on the realities of the political climate of course.

    You wish Obama had concentrated on poverty and poverty alone? Let’s have a discussion of poverty in this country. But don’t assume that because the path is more complex than you’d like, or that there is a list of priorities that has to be addressed, the leaders are out to sabotage you. It’s childish and has become a cancer in the progressive movement. It’s no different than a 16 year old yelling, “You hate me! You’re ruining my life!” because you enforce their curfew.

  60. Yes he has, thanks for your great presentation, Faith. Now I’m off to OFA service-I actually have time today 🙂

  61. You are spot on with your assessment, greenafrodiva.

    I continue to lose respect for both of them. I get so sick of this notion that there needs to be a “black” agenda. A black agenda is not necessary. The only agenda that matters is the “American” agenda. One that treats us ALL equally…that affords us ALL the opportunity to establish the “American Dream” (whatever that is). I admire the fact that PBO strives to be the President for all Americans and not just Democrats or Blacks. Maybe if the Presidents of the last 30 years had tried being President to all, instead of just their party, our Country would have seen more progress.

    West and Smiley do nothing but provide lip service. Outside of writing books, giving speeches or conducting seminars, what have they done for the community? When was the last time they went to an underserved school and read a book to a child? How many young men in the AA community are they mentoring?

  62. Great post and video, WhatIsWorking. And may I add that Hernandez is not only Latino, but gay. Which of course, probably made heads explode.

    The bottomline is that in the midst of this tragedy, it is clear that all involved — from those who lost their lives to survivors to rescuers to the medical team to PBO — really reflect Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

    And how interesting that this incident happened in the one of the last states to institute MLK Day as a state holiday, and that one of its senators, John McCain, voted against it as a federal holiday (then as we’ve witnessed him do again, again, he “flip-flopped” when heavily criticized).

  63. “WWOD?” – indeed. Simply taking a calm breath, allow the WWOD question to run through one’s mind before speaking/writing/re-acting, is a quite healthy practice, imho – something I’m trying to have become a habit.

    Thank you!


    Happy Birthday Mrs. Obama, our prayers are with you, the President and your lovely family.

  65. Cornel West is also willfully spreading the lie that President Obama has little to no concern for the impoverished /disenfranchised. Let’s see, this man has already dismantled parts of welfare reform, has scheduled a MAJOR expansion of Medicaid, expanded unemployment benefits over and over and over again, unprecedented measures to expand Native American empowerment/give them their due, grants to HBCUs—this is a truncated list; I could go on and on listing the ways in which President Obama has indeed worked to make life better.

    West can and should continue to argue that Americans must focus on the “least of these” and none of us are free until we all are. But he can miss me with that bs about President Obama having shown no such concern. The people who trash HCR because it doesn’t (in their view) do enough to help a sliver of the middle class while totally ignoring the estimated 15 million poor Americans who will have new access to Medicaid—that’s who doesn’t give a damn about the impoverished. President Obama is the opposite.

    West engages in willful ignorance and denial; something which is poisonous to actual intellectual analysis and is utterly disappointing to witness. He’s clearly on the road to Naderville, and “both parties are the same” type analyses like his have DEMONSTRABLY hurt poor people and people of color.

  66. West, Smiley, Dyson and others on the PL are reacting to President Obama with the same “he’s not doing enough” mantra as the rest of the frustrati, although Smiley is more malicious and personal in his rhetoric. Like their far left peers, they feel that the President should consult them before making a move. After all, they know everything! I also believe they say outrageous things to get face time with the media – got to pay the bills. However, on this day in which we honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., I simply say, “We Shall Overcome.”

    And Happy Birthday to our beautiful, talented and courageous First Lady, Michelle Obama!

  67. From this “mass” LOL. And you are right, StarkyLuv; the folks here, IMO, DO know what is real. I do not follow politics as closely as others, but I have a strong sense of the truth, and try to ignore what is outside of it. I’d still be at DK if I felt differently. POTUS is the fulfilment, and hopefully, we will have 2 plus six more years of this sea change.

    Life is short, and Tucson showed us every day is a gift. I know this personally as well. The Buddha said, “do not waste your time on fools.”

    I am so bored with ANYBODY who supposedly speaks for others. Yeah, Frustrati, I’m talking about you. I have black friends, I do community work, I sub at the most ethnically “diverse” schools here. I will learn from Actual People how they feel about about POTUS vis a vis MLK.

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your feelings and opinions and being here. This blog is also a gift.

    To change the topic, if I may. thank you MLK. You were one of my heroes. Happy birthday Michelle. You are quickly becoming another.

  68. West fails to realize the fulfillment of Kings dream is not just Obama responsible, what the hell is he doing to fulfill King’s dream? All I see West and Smiley do is to get rich off of old black rhetoric that has no place in the conversation. Don’t get me wrong there are still issue, however Obama is showing that there are other way to get things done for African Americans and all Americans, last time I checked Tavis and West has yet to get anything done, except getting paid, I guess their dream is fulfilled.

  69. They were angry that they did;nt get the response they wanted at that meeting. Blacks were yelling back at them so they had to cool their bashing. This was a couple of days ago. A lot of black bloggers were there. Jack and Jill politics had a story about it. They are done in the community.

  70. You guys are sooo right, their bitterness knows no bounds. But but but , Obama is black and he isn’t helping black people, (yes, let’s forget that he had a white mom and even white grandparents)…and I’m black, btw.

    Amazing how these academics really are behind closed doors. I went to a historical black college and these clowns would come and speak on the state of black america..and do just that speak, no action, no scholarship fund, just speak. And the college had to PAY them to come, not just hotel and flight, but PAY them generously to come. This goes for Sharpton (though, not as bad) and Messy Jessy Jackson.

  71. Thank you, Donna. I’m just a JewBu, but have loved this music and the spirit behind it all my life.

  72. exactly my point. The president is performing commuity service as we speak at a school in DC. When their rhetoric matches their actions, then I will listen. Until then, they need to sit down

  73. Thank you, this is so true…..

    “It is the joy and hope of a new generation that’s able to take us where my generation cannot — free of the taint of sore feet and scars and old grudges the new President says we must move past”.

    When President Obama was elected this was true for so many people who voted for, white, asian, hispanic, young, old, middle class, rich and poor.

    Unfortunately there are some elders who just can’t let go.

  74. Wow! Thanks guys! I know everyone has heard of “Crabs In a Bucket/Barrel” syndrome, but I was trying to point out why these particular “luminaries” have such an issue with PBO.

    They think that THEY have the ear of the black community and that their influence is “required” in order to make inroads. This attitude is insulting on two levels

    1. That they have the gall to believe that they have that much influence on anyone and

    2. That black people are so easily influenced. Like we’re a bunch of directionless children that can easily be manipulated. It’s actually no different from how racist politicians and corporations address our community.

    What’s sad is that this actually works on the segment of Afro-Americans that embrace anti-intellectualism and arrested emotional development.

    Again, I rejet the notion of a narrow definition of what “being black” is, and Tavis and Cornell do not own that definition.

  75. If he wanted to keep it in the context then why did he bring in President Obama. He could have expressed that each had their own individual values. Who is Cornell West to say some one some one is not the fullfillment. he is’nt the fullfillment what has he gotten done for children. Nothing but a rhyme and a rap. You can’t even get him to come and talke to poor blacks unless he gets paid. Now ask who is fullfilling what? King worked for the poor to get access. President Obama gave access to the poor so far in healthcare.

  76. Oh yeah, and this is coming from the same people who lavished Clinton with being the first black president…Let’s be honest, if it were not for the economy being in tatters all of the investments the pres made would have paid off by now, we just had such a deep hole to dig up from . These are what we call
    old heads who had their time and are bitterly
    holding on to whatever they can.

  77. I forgot about Michael Eric Dyson. He’s another one with an almost childishly narrow definition of what “being black” is. He confuses remembering and learning from the past with being resentful and damn near paranoid.

    And he’s an expert on “pulling your ghetto pass” if he deems you “not real”. Like someone made him H.N.I.C.

  78. Celebrating MLK Day with City Year

    Today, I am joining hundreds of volunteers at Intermediate School 292 in Brooklyn as part of City Year’s celebration of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. I look forward to seeing the hundreds of energetic and idealistic City Year corps members who are always an inspiration.

    I helped to launch City Year New York after September 11 as part of our City’s healing, and was honored to chair its board. MLK day at City Year always brings together hundreds of people eager and excited to give something of themselves, not just to honor Dr. King, but also to improve their community.

    Advancing the idea that MLK day should be a “day on” doing service rather than just another “day off”, more than 20 members of the Cabinet are at schools, homeless shelters, and other community service organizations pitching in.

    Pursuing careers in public service is another way to express the commitment to making our communities and nation better and stronger. During the Clinton Administration I was proud to do my part to help pass the national community service legislation that started Americorps, which supports community service projects that are underway every day across our nation.

    It is an honor once again to be working for a President who believes deeply in the power of community service and is committed to creating more opportunities for Americans to serve.

    Just a few months after coming into office, President Obama signed into law the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, expanding opportunities for Americans to serve their communities, scaling AmeriCorps from 75,000 volunteers up to 250,000 by 2017. The President’s Budget proposal for FY2011 backed up the promise of that legislation, providing funding for 105,000 AmeriCorps members in 2011, an increase of 20,000 from 2010, as well as supporting the National Civilian Community Corps program, a full-time program that dispatches teams to areas in need, with a focus on disaster relief. Understanding that outcomes are as important as good intentions, the Serve America Act also created a Social Innovation Fund to invest in ideas that are proven to improve outcomes and “what works” funds in federal agencies to promote effective and innovative programs.

    And recognizing that Americans wanted to do their part during the recent economic downturn to help their fellow citizens, the President launched United We Serve, a nationwide call to service. In fact, today’s day of service is part of that initiative.

    Dr. King once said that “everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” That is as true today as it was when he said those words. I hope everyone has a chance to give back to their communities and their country today and every day, and that we can continue to strive to be great through our service…

    Jack Lew is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget

    Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King’s Life and Legacy…

    Ken Salazar is the Secretary of the Interior

  79. I tell you why. Because he wont let them come in their and make his presidency one sided. President Obama is President of all. He haven’t asked them to do nothing. Out of all these years and all those summits Tavis had what has it done for the black community. did he get healthcare, did he get jobs,

  80. Neither speaks for the community. They are shocked that the community called them out for what they are, hustlers.

  81. Why all the anger here? If there’s one thing we need to guard against is the “group think” mentality. President Obama in his address to the nation in Tucson said “…we need to widen our concerns…” and to me that means that we can learn to listen to other points of views even if we don’t agree with them.

  82. I’ve been going through boxes and papers for the last week or so and have had so many teary reminders of the 60’s — a Kennedy for President poster, a flyer when Bobby Kennedy spoke in Indiana at Purdue about a month before he died. I listened again to Bobby’s compassionate speech in Indianapolis when Dr. King was assassinated. It just brings up hurt and tears again that such beautiful souls could be taken from us.

    The thing is that their spirits do shine on us right now and they have had a tremendous impact on all of us in one way or another. I appreciate so much that Dr. King was a preacher and able to speak so strongly about the need to bring Spirit into our lives. Politicians can embody that spirit, they can inspire and lead, but as others have said here, they have to govern the whole country.

    Dr. King was an amazing man in amazing times. Dr. King was courageous, but I also saw so many other people in this video standing up with him for truth — standing up to the police and those that felt fear and hatred. They went to jail. They were beaten. I appreciate the courage of each and every one of them.

    And for President Obama or Dr. King — if they paid attention to the naysayers or critics they would never have gotten anything done. The critics don’t matter. Just keep going. Keep living our lives the best we know how. Walk the path.

    Thank you so much for this video, bwd. I’m inspired and uplifted.

  83. With respect, Flojo, I’m not seeing anger directed at each other, but at the two men being discussed.

  84. I know that tavis even condenscendingly told us that the reason why we voted for the pres was because of the historical significance of his presidency- in other words, because he’s black and we just don’t know any better. Not a peep though when Clinton was in office and passed programs and laws that were actually deterimental to the community.

  85. The bunch that calls themselves progressives (and amazingly,the base) just love to point to West as their licence to call the President everything but a son of God. West never provided free healthcare for 30 million poor people. West never was in a situation where he could insure that millions, again, millions, of needy people kept recieving unemployment in the middle of winter, with knowledge( you think getting that load off these poor peoples mind didnt save a couple people of worrying themselves into a grave to boot?) that they’ll keep getting them for at least 13 months. What do so called progressives harp incessantly about in these two situations? The PO and ultra rich people getting tax breaks. What language do they use? Obama’s a shill for big pharmacy and HI companies. Obama’s a corportist(which I admit was a new word to me). I guess we’ll see West on Maher soon where he’ll join Mahers weekly Friday night gang bang of this President. He and his guests last Friday trashed the P’s tax deal without mentioning those unemployment checks once. I really think these people live in an alternate reality. Thank God President Obama does know what poor looks like and has spent a lifetime doing all he can for them. The BS argument about MLK’s dream not being realized pisses me off, because we already know that. We’re not F&^C&ing stupid. We all know that’s exactly why President Barack Obama has to do whatever it takes to get relief to the people in places like Dillon SC, where not only do they operate out of schools with roofs that are beyond leaky but have no money and no health care until they show up in the ER with a disease that would have been prevented had they recieved a couple thousand dollar colonoscopy when they turned 50 or had the money to buy the BP or heart medicine they needed and in some cases never knew it because they never got as far as a Doctor to be diagnosed. I dont know if this rant gets posted or not, or even if it should be, but damn West and his fans piss me off.

  86. Why can’t President Barack Obama be who he is. People are always trying to compare him or judge him to past president and past heroes. He should be like FDR, He Should Listen to Clinton speech in Oaklahoma, He is his own man with his own ideas and his own vision. Thank President Obama for being you.

  87. I think the reason why MLK reasonated with us (white Dutch people, like my parents and me) is that he *didn’t* have a “black agenda” (well, he had one, of course, but it was a side effect of his overall agenda of understanding between *all* people, and true equality).

    Looking at the video, I’m thrown back 45 years in time (the video’s are in black-and-white, which makes it much easier to connect with them – from the time we only had black-and-white TV).

  88. A consensus is not the same as “group think.” West is more than entitled to his own opinions, but he is not entitled to his own facts.

    Purity politics have been very harmful to the least enfranchised groups in the country. No one here is demonizing West/Smiley or calling them out of their names. There is simply quite a great deal of disagreement with these men, for more than valid reasons.

  89. With respect Im 53 years old and I dont need anyone to lecture me on what I need to guard against. Ive listened and read other people’s opinions on a couple other blogs and MSNBC shows. I think those people are largly just as wacky as the far right. President Obama is trying to help the poorest among us not fight a class war. In any case, this site wasnt founded to rehash the same old stuff we used to put up with in other places no matter how smoothly someone posts in order to do so. We think West and the far far left is wrong. I think its fair to say weve listened to that stuff long enough to be pretty firm in our opinion which is why we are now here.

  90. This is exactly right. What is most astounding is not simply that these are people who do not admire President Obama’s tenure: that’s fine. Yet they continue to make assertions which are simply not true, and have moved into a purity politics which have historically worked directly against the best interests of average Americans and particularly people of color.

    And they are surprised that the black community receives this poorly?

  91. We Buddhists say to drop the comparisons and just be the best YOU can be.

    I think some people need comparisons, just as they need labels and boxes to put people in. Pres Obama has evolved past this simplistic way of seeing the world.

  92. I won’t speak for Dr. King, because I believe speaking on behalf of deceased people is wrong,

    In the early ’90s I got involved in a discussion about Richard Feynman (Nobel Physics Prize winner, died in 1988) – where one of the participants made a real mess of Dr. Feynman’s achievements.

    Reaction of a more experienced physicist:

    “This must be one of the many disadvantages of being dead.”

  93. His argument is no different than that heard in many spaces on the Professional Left as there is a desperate and ongoing attempt to figure out a means of separating POTUS from his African American base of support, starting with insulting that base of support and attempting a psychological manipulation (“if you were principled or intelligent, you’d disdain POTUS”). It’s such utter nonsense and is very offensive, as Smiley learned previously.

    IMO: this is for the Professional Left’s purposes and consumption, not African Americans at large. I can say without hesitation: both West and Smiley have far more in common with Arianna Huffington than the average African American, whether rich, middle class, or impoverished.

  94. I most certainly appreciate such an empathetic approach, but I do have to note that the environment is not that much less racially charged now. President Obama did not usher in a post-racial society and I think that part of the fallacy of West’s/Smiley’s arguments is that they thought that POTUS’ ascendancy would do more to right the wrongs which black people have faced and are facing. I wish they’d re-examine that fallacy. But again, I give you kudos for reaching towards empathy; great idea.

  95. Not to worry, he does not speak for the masses of my people, hell I can’t understand many of his thought processes as he tries to relay them. And he looks creepy with that black ascot around everything he wears.

  96. Hello Everybody, & Happy Martin Luther King Day. I sure did enjoy the video with the Obama’s In Church, getting their praise on. Thank you so much Donna, Great Job.

    Yeah, I just want to also comment on the ” Naysayers, that are acting like CRABS” & have problems with our President. You know, I find myself being very offended when I hear the ugly comments, & especially from my own Sisters & Brothers. It makes me feel so bad & hurt :-(. You know a lot of the Crab like behavior, seem to have done well, for themselves & have a lot going for them, I just don’t understand how they can say all the negative & hurtful things about President Obama.

    You know, I feel a little like Thelma, on “LIVING COLOR”, do you remember, when she would talk about ms, Jenkins? And that Is, don’t talk to me about our President, If It’s not good, or If It’s Negative. I love our President. I’m proud of our President, & our First Lady & Family. He’s Our FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT, for heaven sakes!!! No, I don’t want to hear the negative Rhetoric. Look, they are loving & compassionate People, who came Into the White House, RUNNING. They never stopped, & they have accomplished a LOT In two years. You see, People need to be careful how & what they say about People, because, there are some People that God finds FAVOR, & chooses to do certain things. It’s a GIFT. All of God’s Children got gifts of some kind. Yours Is not mine, & mine Is not yours. Have a great rest of the day. Later~~~~~~

  97. I’m not sure i see anger, at least not against each other. I am angry at West, that is true. Some of the stuff that he’s saying about the president for two years now, is just as bad as what comes from the far right. You have a country in which 30% of the people thinks the president is Muslim born in Kenya. There is so much hate towards him, and IMO, he is acting and working in a way that would make MLK very proud.

  98. Good rant.

    I believe Dr. King’s message was about dignity and respect. They can state that we have further to go (and back their statement with some concrete action), but instead, they take this day as an opportunity to bash the President. I believe that the fact that he is president is an embodiment of Dr. King’s dream. While there are still racists among us, millions of Americans voted for this man – some to make history, but many more because they believed he could lead this country out of crisis and into a better future. That wasn’t about race, that was about the content of his character…

    I feel shame specifically for these black people who whore themselves into bashing the President so that they can look good. Criticize his policies, by all means, but don’t just jump on a bandwagon to prove you’re not just following the black crowd by supporting this president. I just listened to Melissa Harris-Lacewell bending over backwards trying to discredit the fact that President Obama came in a close second on a study of the most influential black leaders. Why do that? Why not celebrate this man that honors humanity every single day, and does us proud even when he makes mistakes and owns up to them?

    There is a lot of work to do.

  99. Next week, the President will have been in office for two years. So, today, he hasn’t yet been in office for two years. There was a report that came out last week showing that this President’s policies kept millions from sliding into poverty during the recession. He has extended educational loans to millions of people who couldn’t receive them. He’s made deals so that people could eat over the holidays, and keep a roof over their children’s heads. He’s talked on almost every continent about the desire for every parent to provide for their children, and described ways to allow them to do that. He’s reached out to Africa with a different approach for aid that will lead them faster to self-sufficiency. I can go on an on – there’s a whole suite of legislation that shows just how false that statement is that this President has not made any attempt to eradicate poverty. It’s just not true, and it’s disingenuous to imply that it is.

  100. Greg

    “…this site wasnt founded to rehash the same old stuff we used to put up with in other places no matter how smoothly someone posts in order to do so.”

    I don’t really know what you are accusing me of but, I came to this site because I believed in what BWD wanted to build. Mainly, showing support for POTUS in a positive way; getting the word out to people unaware of good pieces of legislation. And it’s successful because we can share our opinion. So you’re comment above I find disturbing….

  101. Yup, and to add: Huffington is no civil rights leader and she has absolutely no unique insight or expertise regarding the black community, none. Nothing’s wrong with that, but why was she on this panel, then? I’m not going to be invited to speak on a panel regarding the political and social needs of Samoan Americans, or Irish Americans, etc. because I have no expertise in that regard. So why is any random person invited by Smiley to speak to black people and black issues regardless of whether they have demonstrated any real interest or knowledge beforehand?

    Huffington’s no black scholar; she’s simply someone who runs a very large media space, and is someone who is very quick with anti-POTUS content. This should pretty much say it all with respect to the value of this Smiley/West/Huffington panel to the actual African American community (little to none) versus its value to the Professional Left (high). Black people and our interests were mere window dressing and an excuse to create more media content disparaging POTUS’ presidency. That’s really going to elicit some very negative feelings.

  102. I agree with your sentiments about Mr. West, BWD. At the Apollo theater, during the campaign, West said, “Even though he came out of the womb of a white woman, we should accept him.” (!) This, when he knows darn well, that most African Americans are mixed in their heritage because of slavery. He was an Edwards supporter, also. He takes every opportunity,especially on Bill Maher, to trash him. I put Tavis Smiley in the same category, and you are right, it is jealousy.

  103. The problem I have with the likes of West and Smiley is that they talk a good game, but to my mind, they produce nothing.

    For all the years I followed Tavis Smiley with his state of the Black Union, it was all talk. He paraded out a bunch of high minded black folks, who came and talked and talked about the problems that plagued our communities.

    And each year, we saw the same thing. Everyone showboated about how intelligent they were. They used their big words, and talked about every thing that impacted us. But year after year, I waited for them to come back with a five point, ten point plan to address teenage pregnancies in our communities, to address the black and black crime in the inner cities, and there was nothing.

    Yet, many of them sat up on the podium and preached to us about the problems. We know the problems exist, but what are you going to do about it, I used to scream at my TV.

    Next thing you look, you will hear them at different times pitching their books. Tavis made big money I hear from his Covenant with Black America. I could be wrong, but I don’t know if any of that money went into black America. If it did, then I have mispoken here and I will take by word back.

    President Obama is just one man. He has initiated tons of programs to help poor people. All of us need to take the initiative to go into our communities to do something to help make that change. Whether it is mentoring to a young girl or boy, reading to school children or helping the needy in some form or shape.

    Talk is cheap. I’ll like to see some of these people use their influence to help people in our communities. Take Tom Joyner for example, he uses his radio show to promote education in the black community.

    I know a very well-to-do couple in Washington, D.C., who could live in any neighborhood they choose, but have opted instead to remain in Southeast D.C. and have established a non-profit to help people in the community there.

    When people talk and just talk about what ails our communities and that’s all they do, I have no use for them.

    Please take a moment to check out our new Website, devoted to covering news about African and friends of Africa.

  104. I agree that POTUS is doing all that can be done given the political climate. He succeeded despite opposition from Republicans the last two years. The next two years will not be any easier with a divided congress.

    Electing a Black president is one of many steps in making this country more equal. I believe until we can stop saying we have the “first” black, latino, asian (insert job title) etc then we have alot more work to do to actualize MLK dream.

  105. I am so excited. My oldest son is doing his 1st year practice Teaching. He just informed me that he was selected and some of his students to speak before congress about the dream act. President Obama is still pursuing the dream act. Feb 22-26 he will be their and his students addressing congress and on the last day they will go to the White House to meet the President. I am so proud of him and excited for.

  106. A beautiful tribute to Dr. King.. and to the legacy he begat which brought us to President Obama. And yes I fear that envy and jealousy do frequently have much to do with the loud animosity directed at our President.

    Thanks bwd for posting this lovely video.

  107. Wow- Huge congratulations to your son & his students, wonderful news.. and very best wishes to him.

  108. Well said- makesense 😉 Personally I like him for him.. real sick of everyone trying to limit him and pidgeonhole him all the time.

  109. In the eternal drive to draw attention to one’s self some resort to slandering a popular and accomplished person so they can look superior by comparison. It is the essence of bigotry, and of the impulse to smugly more cool than the average citizen. Mr. West is engaged in one or the other.

  110. Theres a story on HP that contradicts everything west said. Obama does fulfill King’s dream its a great read. I did’nt know how to link it.

  111. Wow! What a fascinating and heartfelt discussion. I was going to give myself 10 minutes to check in and then ended up reading every post. I have to get back to work! I came of age with MLK’s grace-filled work and tragic death, and his words are with me to this day.

    And I just turned 60 and this is the first time I’ve heard the expression crabs in a barrel!

  112. Starkyluv, you’ve said it beautifully. I would say I don’t know what has gotten into them two but I really do….it boils down to what you said “PBO didn’t kiss the ring”

  113. BWD, thanks for the video. I cried.

    Keep it up Cornel and Tavis, you are just a hairbreath away from being permanently placed in the same boat with Clarence Thomas. You are not fooling anyone. We SEE the jealousy!

    How dare you say that President Obama is not living up to the ideals of Dr. King. Have you no shame???

    Dr. King would be overjoyed with the progress the US has struggled to achieve since 1619, when we, the people, elected Barack Obama, on November 4, 2008, as the 44th President of the United States!!!!!!

    The impact of Barack Obama being elected POTUS will be studied by scholars for many decades to come.

    President Obama is one fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream.

    The ultimate fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream would be to eradicate war, poverty, racism, ignorance, hatred, and bigotry in the world.

    Happy MLK Day!!!

  114. “When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative.” – MLK Jr.

    I wish the extreme left and right in politics would truly live by these words. But that’s wishful thinking.

  115. The First of Too Many Discussions Already
    14 Jan 2011 Author: The Christian Progressive Liberal.

    Here is the title to the story on Jack and Jill Politics. Someone have to help me with links. I hope this help make sure you read the comments. and the story.

  116. Again, you and I have the same take on subjects. I should switch MY handle to “Dharma” 🙂

  117. BWD i found the jack and jill story. January 14 The first of too many discussions is the title.

  118. I remember doing the campaign Rev. Jesse Jackson, and some of the older black political leaders of the political machine in Chicago,ILL said he should wait his turn. That he was moving up the political scope to fast. And none of them gave him a chance in hell of winning the nomination. They were all for Clinton, or Edwards. Once he won, and it looked like he could win it all. They then jumped on the bandwagon.

    If you notice, as long as his poll numbers was over 50% none of them said a word. When he slid to the mid 40’s then they felt they could show the hate.

    I have no respect for any of them. He have enough people who have taken off their hoods, claiming the new name teaparty, bashing him. They don’t need to help the naysayers.
    President Obama is going to be just fine without them. He always bounce back.

  119. Thanks Donna for posting this video, I was looking for a video of the service.

    And thanks BWD for making this site. I love it here 🙂 so calm and refreshing.

  120. ^”…There is a lot of work to do…”

    T67, yes there is! And, our President cannot do it alone because
    the GOPTeaParty (along w/FNC and their co-horts), at the local,
    state, & federal-level, want to return America to the 18th/
    19th-century when people of color had no rights (civil rights,
    voting rights, etc.):

    One Day In, and the GOP is already disenfranchising People of

    Fulfilling Father’s Campaign To Segregate Public Schools, Koch
    Groups End Successful Integration Program In NC…

    How can we help him?

    What can we do to help him?

  121. “Would anarchy necessarily flow to utopia?”

    Only if our populace suddenly becomes compassionate, thoughtful, educated, informed, imaginative, creative, and most important of all, willing to take responsibility for its own fate. I don’t think we’re there yet.

    Meanwhile, where have all these critics been for the past century? There has been no President who has not needed to work within the system and the system, at this point in time, is beholden to the military-corporate complex. Much as I would like this not to be so (as Wittgenstein says,”The world is all that is the case”), I cannot see how we can just jettison all of this without putting something else stable in its place, which is a job demanding patience, persistence, cooperation, compromise, and convincing the American populace that it is both worth it and possible. We’re not there yet either.

  122. I so love this discussion today.

    This is directed to Mr.West and Mr.Smiley from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’ “I Have A Dream” speech.

    “But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of BITTERNESS AND HATRED. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of DIGNITY and DISCIPLINE. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with SOUL FORCE.”

    When MLK said that he had been to the mountaintop and seen the otherside. I truly believe that God gave him a vision. Mahalia Jackson cried out from the crowd below and yelled, “Tell them about the dream, Martin!’ and he set his speech aside and improvised.

    Oh Lord, what a blessed man he was. He is looking down from heaven and saying, “We are movin along, yes, we are movin along.”

  123. The Tao of Pooh, the Te of Piglet?

    I have wondered what certain radical civil rights thinkers would do once there was a fulfillment of Dr. King’s Dream. They have spent their lives imagining what it would look like, it arrives in a package unfamiliar to their expectations, and they are not ready to claim victory. They have too much invested in constantly proclaiming defeat, or dream deferred.

    I was a civil rights attorney at one point, my law partner and I did a lot of good work, but at one point I felt that civil right work was becoming a played out string of a much larger struggle of the past. I told my partner: if you want to stay in civil rights you have to find people who are being hated and join with their cause: represent Muslims.

    She did not agree with that assessment but two years after I went on to other kinds of practice she ultimately quit it too. I do not consider that a failure, I considered it to be proof that we had won. (Now, consider that I also live in a western state with one of the smallest African American communities in the nation and where Whites-we say Anglos- have never been a majority). I am not saying that civil rights litigation is no longer necessary elsewhere, but at some point you have to recognize when you are winning the fight.

  124. I just came from a wonderful MLK service. This is the one I go to every year. I did not expect it to effect me the way it did–very emotional and tears throughout much of it. I kept seeing flashes of our new bi-racial granddaughter and Pres. Obama….almost like a video before my eyes. The things that were said; the songs that were sung…with this following so closely on Tucson….hit very “close to home.” This day and the service always is meaningful, but it was truly powerful to me this year.

  125. Hi Sheila – Happy MLK Day. The Screamers on both sides never think things through. Thinking is hard work. In fact, WORKING is hard work. I discovered so much that disillusioned me on past blogs. The biggest mouths always seemed to be on their comptuters on election days. I’d go off to HQ with them screaming “don’t be complacent” or some such, and come back later that day, to the same posters posting the same exhortations.

    We need somewhat who can work brilliantly WITHIN the system, and thank heaven, we have him.

    I’d like to pretend I’m doing CS today, but..uh..going out for chili dogs with my sister 🙂 I do have a Health Fair for Kids coming up though – will be womanning a booth.

  126. Just want to say I love everybody here so much and I hope FLOJO doesn’t feel disheartened that the discourse was mostly against her argument. I am someone who’s internet feelings gets hurt easily so I can understand how she might interpret the debate. I hope she sees that nobody was angry with her personally, just that the prevailing feeling is, to put it in ordinary speak, Mr. West is a tool.

    Lastly, reading that Huffington woman was on the panel is a disgrace. The same woman who was too busy to lunch with the leader of our nation but certainly has time to show up at any envelope opening, ready to peddle her book. Same woman that takes to calling America a “third world country” now that this black man is leading us. How low Mr. Smiley has slithered that he had her on a panel on civil rights.

  127. Hi,

    I listened to the meeting at which Dr. West made his remarks. What I heard him say was, “President Obama is not THE fulfillment of Dr. King’s Dream but he is A fulfillment of Dr. King’s dream”. I would have to agree with him.

    Dr. West lives in Academia and a world measured against an a perfect model. President Obama lives in a world of rough and tumble politics where choices as to where to compromise for the long term benefit have to be made. MLK was a preacher and spiritual seeker of justice. Personally I think it is important we have Mr. Obama around for the long haul. I have great faith he will continue to learn on the job and become a better and better leader. The trouble with going for the middle is that both ends of the spectrum are mad at you without having traveled in your moccasins.

  128. Seems they expect perfection from our President, when the most they should ask for is excellence, he is after all a mere mortal, abliet an extraordinary one. President Obama for all his gifts will not be able to fulfill The Dream. That is for each and everyone of us to live up to, and become united in. Dr. West is asking to much. President Obama is an enormously important section of the road, that we travel, directing us toward the ultimate destination.
    I think he is doing a remarkable job, leading us to that higher ground. Dr. West can keep pushing, but should be mindful that, if in fact, his contributions are indeed pushing us in the same direction, or if he is creating detours and unnecessary bumps along the road.

    Celebrating MLK day with all who honor and contribute to the realization of the Dream. Blessings be to all.

  129. This is an email I received from @SenatorReid…

    Four words that changed a nation


    “I have a dream.”

    These four words and an unwavering devotion to their promise are why today we honor the life, the courage, and the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Dr. King envisioned a better America, courageously leading our fractured nation to achieve the greatness he saw within. And though we still grieve for his untimely death, Dr. King’s faith in our boundless potential to join together and raise ourselves beyond the ordinary is a radiant legacy that will never dim.

    Today, violence and tragedy have cast a pall over our country. We mourn together for the families and friends of Arizona’s victims and rejoice in the news of each recovery. And on this day of remembrance for one of our country’s greatest heroes, we are reminded of the heroism carried within each of us as we recognize the bravery of those who walk amongst us every day.

    As we honor Dr. King’s memory, let us work together to achieve his dream by being a little bit kinder, a little bit more compassionate, and a little bit more forgiving. Let us become the America he knew we could be.


    Harry Reid

    But, let’s not be naive… The GOPTeaParty (and their cohorts) are a party of apathy not a party of empathy like the rest of us! lol

  130. Thanks for sharing that personal background, Tao.

    And Poo was better!

    In Social Work we used to define success by the client no longer needing us.

  131. I think that this is a very reasonable and accurate comment, flojo. I just differ in that I don’t think that West/Smiley have limited themselves to articulating just this. But thank you for sharing your thoughts. I think that all of us in this thread is in agreement with 95% of the substantive issues.

  132. This week a white Catholic Republican judge, is murdered on his way to visit his friend and congresswoman, a Democrat and Jew, her life was initially saved by a 28 year old Mexican American college student, and eventually by a Korean American doctor, the event was eulogized by an African American president.

    Christiaan Frederick Beyers Naudé (10 May 1915 – 7 September 2004) was a South African cleric, theologian and the leading Afrikaner anti-apartheid activist.

    Whenever the Apartheid Regime, through their paperwork, asked for his race, he would write: “human”.

  133. Zero-sum politics is incongruous with the complexities of the issues we are confronted by. To insist on all or nothing, moves us nowhere. Which is quite different from saying this is not enough, lets take what we can get, and keep moving.
    I don’t know Dr. West’s motivations, but he seems inclined toward exclusionary thinking and projecting that unto our President. Problem is, as many have stated, that President Obama must act as leader for the entirety, the “whole ball of wax”.

  134. I hope so too. I thought that for such a touchy subject, the conversation was respectful and well engaged. I don’t want people to be afraid of engaging is debates that are a bit more controversial. After all, we’re dealing with deep emotions. But i have to say that I’m proud of the overall tone of the discussion, and hope that no one would feel like they can’t express their opinion, even if it’s in the minority sometimes.

  135. Amen!

    You’re creating a great space here BWD.

    I think one of the biggest losses with the kind of dialogue we so often see is that people think that its not OK to disagree.

    We know that disagreeing is part of the political process. Its how you do it that matters.

  136. please people don’t tune into Sarah Palin. Don’t give her a voice. Here again on this great day she will spew her hate.

  137. I heard the same thing. Dr. West should NOT be lumped with Tavis Smiley. Tavis has been an Obama HATER since the primaries when he supported Hillary Clinton over Pres. Obama. Cornel West is an academic and a critical thinker and with due respect to everyone here, of course Pres. Obama is not THE fullfilment of anything. He stands on the shoulder of his ancestors and he is rung on the ladder of progress and change. He is representative of one of the wishes that our ancestors held but not the culmination. That is what West was talking about.

    I think that it is incumbent on everyone to read the FULL sentences and contexts of what people say. I think that this is the only way to ensure that we are civil and truly informed in our discussions.

  138. This is how we are suppose to discuss things. I don’t no one here is ever offended. i respect all opinions and you gave us a place to have a civil one and see thing from different points. Everyone i encounter here is very civil and I enjoy everyone. I feel that we enjoy each other. One thing i can say if i don’t know something i know where to go to get the info without biases.

  139. Bwd i was watching that event on span if was a tavis smiley forum and there was a lot of Obama bashing what professor west said was true and not disrespectful imho to Obama he said full quote that is a fulfillment of MLK’s dream not the fullfillment and he went on about ending world poverty and said MLK was on help of a dreamer

  140. Honestly ok you are right, but what has any of them done. when they are able to lead on the issue, then i would consider what they say. show me where any of them has come into the sinner cities or approached the gangs about what they do. How many meeting have they had. where have they come and talked to children in the inner cities schools. Im sorry IMO they are all talk and no action. Tavis sold books on issue that he wanted to see. they are now in place and he can’t put his ego aside and say well done Mr President. Please. In order to get scholarship its a who you know type thing. They same thing they are preaching against they are doing. Tavis is in bed wells fargo, why has’nt he called them on the carpet about those sub prime loans.

  141. I find West and the far far left disturbing. I also find someone chastising the posters on this thread for group think disturbing. Leave the lecture out of that post and I dont even respond.

  142. I disagree. BWD got it right. But that is what is great about this nation, we have the right to disagree without being disagreeable.

  143. “qmastertoo

    Jealousy? Bitterness? That’s all, you are being kind today”

    Ain’t that the truth. BWD even said a prayer for the man. and in the words of Dr. West himself, what is being said on this post, “is being said in love.”

  144. on point. I want to make clear that there is no issue at all with disagreeing with the President. It is how you express those disagreements that matter. Is it fact based, is it reasonable, is it something you would apply to any sitting President or is this only reserved for President Obama.

    Other than that, work hard for the change you want to see. Be a part of the solution, not the problem.

  145. BWD. Thanks for doing this. I appreciate you providing an opportunity to hear from all sides on a topic and respectfully discuss the issues. Only then can we learn from each other. This is an awesome space.

  146. Sorry C.S Stone but Cornell West and Tavis Smiley are the epitome of petty, small, envious, self-aggrandizing, shit-stirring, exploitative a**holes…

    To contend that Cornell West and Tavis Smiley (a painfully mediocre, pathetic, self-serving and inarticulate idiot) are somehow to be considered “heroes” with a “purpose” is the biggest joke I’ve heard in a while…

    Messrs West and Smiley only serve the distinct “purpose” of forcing themselves into the conversation in a bid to stay relevant and only for the sole purpose of monetary enrichment for themselves and a bit of “power” to help them exploit & manipulate, wherever they can grab it…

  147. That video was beautiful and it brought tears of hope to my eyes.

    After a solemn and disturbing week last week and President Obama’s speech asking us all to help heal the rifts in America, that video was especially poignant.

    Thank you, as always, for your positive vision and fortitude.

  148. Dear C.S. Stone:

    Obviously President Obama is not the same person as Dr. Martin Luther King. For some of us who are gray behind the years, and who were active during Dr. King’s time, we knew the greatness of Dr. King. But we also know that Dr. King, like any other mortal, was not perfect. Nor was his vision frozen, as the myth makers would have us believe, to his soaring rhetoric of his “I Have a Dream” speech of 1963. Any serious student of Dr. King knows that there were many instances where he compromised (e.g. the 1967 Chicago campaign), and there were other situations when he was not so heroic (e,g. the 1962, Albany Struggle). By the way, by 1966, many of the young people, especially those in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) no longer subscribed to Dr. King’s philosophy and tactic of nonviolence. Bottom line is that Dr. King, though a great man, was not perfect.

    While I agreed with your premise that we should respect each man, Dr. King and President Obama, for his accomplishments, I see no problem, nor do I think it is “uncool” in making a case that President Obama “validates” Dr. King’s dream. Obviously Dr. King was never elected President, to preside over 300 million people with diverse political and ideological positions. So, in my judgement, it is silly to try to compare Dr. King and President Obama. What I do find comparable between the two leaders are the following qualities: empathy and deep compassion for all human beings; emphasis on building bridges across racial, gender, ethnicity and class backgrounds; uncompromising optimism; pragmatism, and above all the ability to inspire people to aspire to higher goals. As much as I respect Dr. West for his scholarly achievements, I think he is caught up in viewing Dr. King as a mythical person who was all perfect. Yes, It is true that Dr. King, in his soaring speeches, articulated grand visions, but in his day to day practices, Dr. King made many compromises just to advance his agenda. That is why I reject any criticism of President Obama by those who invoke the “mythical” Dr. King, who had all the answers to all the problems facing African Americans and poor people.

  149. I agree with a lot of what you have written. My only problem is that Dr. West, who is, without a doubt, an accomplished scholar, bought into what I call the “MYTHICAL” Dr. Martin Luther King. I think a thoughtful scholar should have been able to show the similarities and differences between Dr. King-a civil Right Leader-and President Obama-who presides over three million people of diverse political, ideological, racial/ethnic backgrounds. A critical thinking scholar has an obligation to critically analyze topics of discussion. Personally, I was disappointed that Dr. West did not clearly point out the different roles played by Dr. King and President Obama. What was equally missing in that discussion is the exploration of the qualities that the President shares with Dr. King, if any. Unfortunately, the fact that Dr. West seemed to diminish the President as not worthy of being viewed as a “fulfillment” of Dr. King, can easily be used by those who viciously continue to bash and denigrate this President.

  150. Thanks BWD for this site. It is a source of fresh air. I deeply appreciate all the respectful and well informed comments. I also appreciate many of the links posted here that enable me to access valuable info. that I may have otherwise missed. With all due respect to the critics of this President, including Dr. West, I personally think that the country is very lucky to have this President. Obviously, I don’t know what Dr. King would have thought of President Obama. But, I think, given Dr King generosity of spirit, his emphasis on love and reconciliation, and his pragmatism, he would have been very impressed with President Obama. Obviously, that’s a conjecture on my part, but it is no less credible than the conjectures put forth by people, like Dr. West, who claim to be able to divine everything that Dr. King believed in, and would have done, were he elected President. Moreover, I think Dr. King would have appreciated the fact that the President and his family were out, on his designated day, engaging in community service, instead of going around giving speeches, or appearing on television, pontificating about why Obama is no Martin Luther King.

  151. Cornel West’s jealousy has been obvious for a long time, such as that of Earl Ofari Huchinson and Tavis Smiley. It’s tragic, but the historical loss will be theirs to have and to hold. Rather than actually doing something, like educating and organizing young people towards common democratic causes, they bash President Obama every opportunity they get. Cornel West has actually been diminished from a highly-respected professor and orator to nothing.

    Whether you’re religious or not, the Cain and Abel story teaches all of us that jealousy is one of the most powerful emotions possessed by mankind.

  152. Tavis Smiley and Cornel West… lets forget about them, they are rather insignificant!

    Jealousy, the green eyed monster has reared its ugly head!!! These two cannot stand the fact that Barack Obama is the President of the United States. Its painful to listen to either of the two, the hatred they spread is unbearable.They fit the typical description of crabs, sell-outs,frauds, demonizers and uncle Toms. They have nothing of significance to offer, they are irrelevant in this political climate. Smiley and West are desperately trying to put the spotlight on themselves, but their gimmick will have a one day cycle. Like it or not, they better accept that President Obama is the President of all Americans, including the haters which they are. I have no use for these losers.

    Ilove my President, may God bless and protect him always.

  153. I support our president. I believe he has done a lot of good work. I also believe he has fallen short on some issues, in terms of his leadership and direction. His economic policy has been very pro-Wall Street and has done little to help the housing market, the middle class and below. HAMP was a failure and more attention needs to be put in revitalizing families and communities hard hit by the recession. He had and has continued with a very pro-Wall Street economic team. This has been rather disheartening. I believe a lot of this is reactionary so that he can keep big business happy and be re-elected. But at what cost? Elizabeth Warren has been a great help to his administration. However, I do believe he could do much more to lead the country in understanding the havoc the financial crisis wrought on everyday people and take a moral stand–in the legacy of Dr. King. One of the ways I support my president is to express myself when I don’t agree with certain policies. I also learn from people like Tavis Smiley and Cornell West. It helps stretch my intellect to include viewpoints I may not have considered. You are preaching a kind of “for or against” mentality here that I believe is more destructive than constructive. I think we are better than that.

  154. I don’t “preach a “for or against” mentality” – this is an outrageous accusation. That’s all I’m going to say. Have a good day. Thank you for visiting.

  155. With respect, there is a lot of demonization of progressives on your site. No political position is perfect, and there will always be differing opinions, even amount Democrats. I think you can support your president without saying things like Tavis Smiley and Cornell West are jealous. That is destructive and not constructive. I really do think you are better than that.

  156. With all my heart AND intellect, I do not believe President Obama puts the interest of big business above the American citizens.

    “For or against” mentality on this blog? I know other blogs well, as I imagine you do, and there is no dualistic, black or white, polarizing, attitude here. Most of us deplore the statements made by the two men in question. You do not. You can draw no conclusions beyond that, other than most of us here share certain POV’s. This blog DOES celebrate the positives of our administration.

    I don’t know who “we” are, but I’ve always found that a presumptous, somewhat patronizing comment.

    Thank you for listening to my response.

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