Princeton University's own Dr. Cornel West has been one of America's leading Black intellectuals for about as long as I've been around. The man writes books, for Pete's sake. I've even read some of them. So, why is it I find some of his most compelling work to date to be his tweet-up of the Poverty Tour campaign that he and Tavis Smiley launched a few weeks ago and bring to Chicago via St. Sabina tonight?
For example -
That twitvid is pure humor. How about this?
July 22nd - We hope to speak truths about the suffering of everyday people, so that poor and working folks are empowered by the legacy of Brother Martin
and his advice to President Obama:
July 26 - Be a thermostat rather than a thermometer. A thermostat shapes the climate of opinion; a thermometer just reflects it. http://ow.ly/5NQo1
Good advice. And it's important to remember that advice like this comes from a place of love. But after this week's debt ceiling madness, I think that he should've ended that tweet, "A thermostat shapes the climate of opinion; and God only knows where that thermometer has been."
But, this is why we're very different men.
So far as why I find Dr. West's tweets so damned irresistible, I suspect it has something the temporal element. Say what you want about Dr. West, but his watch is dead-on accurate. Now is EXACTLY the time to bring attention to America's poor - not next week, next month or with all "deliberate speed" whatever the hell that's supposed to mean. No, right now is the time for this campaign and I'm glad Father Pfleger chose to get involved as well. He described his contribution to the movement, and discussed new Superintendent Garry McCarthy on WGN (video).
This all leaves me with a few questions that I can't seem to answer satisfactorily for myself.
Was this last week really the opening shot in a full on war against America's poor, as Dr. West and Father Pfleger believe?
How can the poor fight back?
Can Smiley & West really begin a movement that brings the kind of justice Dr. King envisioned?
What do you all think?
Leave me your thoughts in the comments and if I get the opportunity I'll bring them with me to the Town Hall tonight!
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