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Sun Sep 23, 2012, 02:21 AM

Re: Cornel West

“ Who wants to be well-adjusted to injustice? What type of human being do you want to be? “ -- Cornel West

On Friday night, my daughter had the opportunity to listen to Cornel West address a small group of college/university students. After the presentation, she got to meet with West, along with a few other socially-conscious student leaders.

Tonight, when I visited her, she told me that on the ride back from listening to West, the other students she was with said that the only weak point, in their opinions, was that West had not instructed them on exactly what tactics he wanted them to engage in. My daughter told her friends -- correctly -- that Cornel West is not the type of leader whotells others “what” to do.

If people are dependent upon some outside authority, she explained, than the Goodness of Truth had not taken root within them. I agreed. More, I know that there is nothing so harsh and cold as the Truth of Logic (or “Logic’s Truthes “). And so I am happy tonight …..happy that those students, with their young, probing minds, had the opportunity to experience conversation with a man that I consider one of the most powerful thinkers of our era.

Perhaps by coincidence -- though “coincidence” does not exist -- the night before, I took a copy of my favorite Cornel West book with me to a school board meeting. I like to arrive early to any and all public meetings; more, I value every few minutes I have to read. Hence, the book.

During the meeting, the most conservative of the school administrators noticed the book. He said that he had had the chance to listen to West speak last week. “You know,” he told me, “although I disagree with him on lots of things, he is so polite, and so well-spoken, that his intelligence forces you to think.”

Also, as we do a “book club/review” each month, the superintendent passed out copies of a book he wants all of us on the board to read. When he saw my West book, he said, “Let’s do that one next.”

I am confident that our society can not only benefit from the Power of Thought delivered by Cornel West, but that if we listen closely enough, we’ll figure out what it is we want to do. And that will define what type of people we want to be.

65 replies, 6272 views

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Arrow 65 replies Author Time Post
Reply Re: Cornel West (Original post)
H2O Man Sep 2012 OP
grasswire Sep 2012 #1
H2O Man Sep 2012 #2
Solly Mack Sep 2012 #3
H2O Man Sep 2012 #10
Solly Mack Sep 2012 #14
Manifestor_of_Light Sep 2012 #4
H2O Man Sep 2012 #11
DeSwiss Sep 2012 #5
H2O Man Sep 2012 #21
goclark Sep 2012 #6
Citizen Worker Sep 2012 #7
PDittie Sep 2012 #8
H2O Man Sep 2012 #12
msanthrope Sep 2012 #23
Comrade Grumpy Sep 2012 #16
just1voice Sep 2012 #20
JackRiddler Sep 2012 #54
malaise Sep 2012 #9
H2O Man Sep 2012 #28
bigtree Sep 2012 #13
H2O Man Sep 2012 #29
bigtree Sep 2012 #30
lunatica Sep 2012 #15
H2O Man Sep 2012 #43
proud2BlibKansan Sep 2012 #17
msanthrope Sep 2012 #22
H2O Man Sep 2012 #39
proud2BlibKansan Sep 2012 #57
H2O Man Sep 2012 #61
Whisp Sep 2012 #18
proud2BlibKansan Sep 2012 #24
Ikonoklast Sep 2012 #32
H2O Man Sep 2012 #36
kwassa Sep 2012 #50
H2O Man Sep 2012 #51
kwassa Sep 2012 #52
H2O Man Sep 2012 #53
kwassa Sep 2012 #55
H2O Man Sep 2012 #56
kwassa Sep 2012 #58
H2O Man Sep 2012 #60
H2O Man Sep 2012 #34
Whisp Sep 2012 #41
H2O Man Sep 2012 #44
Sirveri Sep 2012 #19
H2O Man Sep 2012 #37
AngryAmish Sep 2012 #25
H2O Man Sep 2012 #38
ismnotwasm Sep 2012 #26
H2O Man Sep 2012 #40
sabrina 1 Sep 2012 #27
H2O Man Sep 2012 #45
spanone Sep 2012 #31
H2O Man Sep 2012 #46
OneGrassRoot Sep 2012 #33
H2O Man Sep 2012 #47
Zorra Sep 2012 #35
H2O Man Sep 2012 #48
Octafish Sep 2012 #42
H2O Man Sep 2012 #49
bluestate10 Sep 2012 #59
H2O Man Sep 2012 #62
David Zephyr Sep 2012 #63
Zorra Sep 2012 #64
G_j Sep 2012 #65

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 02:26 AM

1. which of his books did you have at the meeting?

I consider him an oracle.

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Response to grasswire (Reply #1)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 02:43 AM

2. "Cornel West: A Critical Thinker"

He is outstanding.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 03:09 AM

3. K&R

“ Who wants to be well-adjusted to injustice? What type of human being do you want to be? “ -- Cornel West

Precisely.

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Response to Solly Mack (Reply #3)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 11:50 AM

10. Thanks!

Long time, no see, as the old saying goes. How are you?

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #10)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 02:40 PM

14. I'm well. Hope you are too.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 03:21 AM

4. I read his "Brother West" autobiography.

After a while it got ridiculous.

All his friends were wonderful, his family was close-knit and supportive, his church was supportive.....it sounded like a fantasy of no conflict & no setbacks.

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Response to Manifestor_of_Light (Reply #4)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 12:00 PM

11. Interesting.

While I don't know West -- other than from reading and seeing him on tv -- I'll offer a possible explanation, based upon someone I do know.

If a person reads Rubin "Hurricane" Carter's autobiography from the mid-1970s, "The Sixteenth Round," they are confronted with the anger and agony of a man who is unjustly sentenced to "triple life" for a crime he did not commit. And if that same person reads Dr. Rubin Carter's follow-up autobiography from this year, "Eye of the Hurricane," they are treated to a very different description and interpretation of his life.

Both are accurate. It's just that they were written from very different points of view.

(I still have the cassette tapes that Rube made, as an inmate, that were part of the writing process. I also had the opportunity to discuss the second book while in process. Hence, my ability to say each is an accurate reflection of who he was/is at the time.)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 04:20 AM

5. Free will is......

...the right to Awaken in your own good time.

- Your daughter has it right. All the answers we seek, can only be found within.......

K&R


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Response to DeSwiss (Reply #5)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 08:40 AM

21. Thank you.

I never buy more than two cantaloupes at a time.

Beatle George's song "Within You/ Without You" remains a favorite.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 04:25 AM

6. last I checked he and his buddy Tavis

were complaining about My President.

Unless they stop that...in this tough Race....I don't trust anything they say.

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Response to goclark (Reply #6)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 05:15 AM

7. The record speaks for itself.

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Response to goclark (Reply #6)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 07:53 AM

8. They might not be mistaken.

Sorry. I realize that can be construed as heretical here.

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Response to goclark (Reply #6)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 02:21 PM

12. I've yet to hear

Cornel West "complain" about the President. He has accurately pointed out things that the President has said that he would do and hasn't. And some things that he believes President Obama can and should do. More, President Obama said early on that he welcomed such conversation. It's a good thing, all around, and that would be especially true in times of close electoral contests -- though I don't think this election appears to being a nail-biter.

Indeed, if one wants college & university students to be active participants in today's society, then West's points are essential. One can hardly make a pro-democratic statement that claims that young folk should be good cogs, and faithfully vote once every two- or four years, without examining all the issues involved in each contest. What a horrible idea that is. No, we want active, thinking, rational participation. Too many "adults" have failed that test of citizenship. I'm mighty thankful that West continues to speak out.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #12)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 09:02 AM

23. You missed his rant on his seats for the Inauguration? Epic fail for him. nt

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Response to goclark (Reply #6)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 02:50 PM

16. Party line myopia.

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Response to goclark (Reply #6)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 01:48 AM

20. Who's your president? Their president is Obama

 

Do you have a different president? Perhaps you're Canadian?

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Response to goclark (Reply #6)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 09:48 PM

54. "My President" - ?

Seriously? I thought this was supposed to be a secular, representative democracy based on rational principles, not fealty to Big Leaders. Are you a Democrat or a Followercrat?

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 07:54 AM

9. Nice thoughtful post Waterman

Rec

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Response to malaise (Reply #9)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 02:08 PM

28. Thanks!

I think that my OPs are becoming more nice and politely thoughtful as I get older and moldier. But I am even surer that as I continue, I'll come out with a splattering of angry, hostile, and increasingly meaningless ones! (smile)

How the heck are you? What's new in your neighborhood, my Wonderful Friend?

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 02:38 PM

13. thanks for the story

I identify very strongly with Brother West. The Truth you wrote of flows freely from Cornel's throat on the way out from his large, large heart. It ALWAYS pays to stop and experience that Truth, as Brother West lays it down so generously in front of us.

. . . I was marching in one of the anti-war protests one chilly day - a bit down the street from the White House. The had given us a permit to march pass the front gate. and I looked beside me and there he was; by himself, looking a little chilly with his trademark scarf obscuring most of his face. It hadn't been that long since he had been treated for cancer and he looked somewhat frail, but, we were marching. I know I was tired and beat, I can just imagine . . .

I struck a conversation . . .small talk about the crowd. The most substantive remarks were about the surprising and gratifying number of youth who had taken time to attend. We agreed that was the most important part of the day.

We reached the front of the WH and Jesse Jackson and Cindy Sheehan joined the march from the side by the park for the photo-op . . . I shrank back and lost my marching friend. Very memorable day, nonetheless . . .

Very nice to hear about the youth in your story. Thanks for sharing.

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Response to bigtree (Reply #13)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 02:12 PM

29. Of all the responses

on this thread, I like your's the best. I've been thinking of how to best respond to it ...... and all I can come up with is, "Thank you"!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #29)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 02:22 PM

30. :)

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 02:47 PM

15. I have a great deal of respect for Mr. West

He has a brilliant mind without the usually accompanying conceit and disdain for lesser intelligent humans.

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Response to lunatica (Reply #15)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 08:49 PM

43. Right.

I admire his ability to convey respect for others. It stands out, in my opinion, even more so when he is engaged in debates on television shows ..... where respect for the "opposition" is largely missing.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 02:54 PM

17. I've admired Cornell West for years

As for your book club, have you read Diane Ravitch's The Death and Life of the Great American School System?

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #17)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 09:00 AM

22. Cornell West? CORNEL. Pet peeve of mine, and no thread on him fails to deliver. nt

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #17)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 04:35 PM

39. While I haven't

read it yet, I definitely will. And I am sure that I'll recommend it to the others on the board, and administrators and teachers.

Thank you. I really do appreciate the recommendation. For years now, I've found that DUers tend to recommend good boojks ..... and that the DUers who I have the most respect for tend to suggest the very best reading material. So I expect this book to be "top shelf" outstanding -- just like you.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #39)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 10:34 PM

57. You are too kind.

Thanks for the props.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #57)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 11:46 PM

61. My comment was

right on target.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Sun Sep 23, 2012, 03:00 PM

18. calling the President a “black mascot of Wall Street oligarchs and a black puppet

of corporate plutocrats.”


yeh, so polite and well-spoken he is.

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Response to Whisp (Reply #18)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 11:10 AM

24. That may not meet your definition of polite

but it's definitely well-spoken.

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Response to proud2BlibKansan (Reply #24)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 02:28 PM

32. If I had said that very same thing, I would have rightly been called a racist.

West gets a pass, however, although what he said was indeed a racist comment.

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Response to Ikonoklast (Reply #32)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 04:14 PM

36. I respectfully disagree.

On the part about West getting a pass. First, because I don't think the comment, in context, is at all "racist." Hence, reasons 2 through 10 are not necessary.

Still, I think that to be accurate, we should refer to President Obama as brown. He's as close to white as he is black. But the wide span of public perception includes many points of view that -- sadly -- have great difficulty with brown folks, especially those with one white and one black parent. Discussing that can be difficult, due to numerous factors in our culture.

This, of course, is merely my opinion. It's based upon life experience, as well as reading and listening to Cornel West. I recognize that others, such as yourself, have just as much right to your opinions.

Peace,
H2O Man

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #36)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 09:16 PM

50. Obama self-identifies as black

Identify him the way in which he chooses to be identified.

I don't think West's statement about Obama is at all racist. It is a stupid statement, however, and identifies West as an enemy of Obama. I have in the past, and still think West, and Tavis Smiley, practice an old and tired form of black politics that have been usurped by Obama's success. They are not handling their diminished role as self-appointed spokesmen for black America very well.

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Response to kwassa (Reply #50)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 09:23 PM

51. I've heard

President Obama speak of his mother. I respect that.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #51)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 09:37 PM

52. Your point?

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Response to kwassa (Reply #52)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 09:38 PM

53. Listen to

Lennon's song, "Serve Yourself."

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #53)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 10:11 PM

55. sorry, haven't the time.

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Response to kwassa (Reply #55)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 10:18 PM

56. We all make choices.

There are three "released" versions of the song. You would benefit from listening to each of them. But it is up to you.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #56)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 10:47 PM

58. You would do well to make your own point directly.

John Lennon has nothing to do with this issue.

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Response to kwassa (Reply #58)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 11:46 PM

60. Right.

Hence, I did not suggest that you read a Lennon biography. I did recommend that you listen to a specific song, for a very specific reason. You would do well to do so.

The ball is in your court.

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Response to Whisp (Reply #18)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 02:47 PM

34. I am interested

in the context that this particular quote comes from. I have heard him say either this, or something very close, in a way that was not offensive to me.

Every President in modern times has worked for Wall Street and corporate plutocrats. The only two that even attempted to do otherwise were FDR and, to a lesser extent, JFK.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #34)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 05:08 PM

41. West said that around the time everyone was piling on the President

and the likes of Jane Hamsher and those of her kind ruled most of the topics on DU, how Obama was a caver, do nothing President that sold us all out to Wall Street and deliberately and solo passed on the Public Option. Even the pundits that largely support the President now (msnbc) had their piece of him because it was the fashionable and easier thing to do. I remember.

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Response to Whisp (Reply #41)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 08:54 PM

44. I'm not questioning

your memory, your sincerity, or your intelligence. I apologize if it came off sounding like I was.

I do think that it would be possible for us to hear the same statements, and interpret them in a different manner.

That a US President works for Wall Street et al is not surprising to me. If a person works for McDonalds, from janitor to manager, they work for the corporate owners. If they forget that, they lose their job. Presidents work for the corporate owners of America. That isn't to say that there is "no difference" between candidates/politicians. Indeed, the difference between Obama and Romney is the difference between sugar and shit.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 01:02 AM

19. I think there is a difference between asking to be told what to do,

and being given ideas on what to do.

"I want to achieve social justice, what do I do."
It's just short form for asking the person what techniques they have identified that they think work. Some might want to become soldiers taking marching orders, but isn't that their choice to make?
It is one thing to desire to fix an identified problem, but it is useless unless one also has the tools to combat the problem and knows how and when to use those tools.

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Response to Sirveri (Reply #19)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 04:14 PM

37. Valid point.

Thank you. Much appreciated.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 11:16 AM

25. I had the weirdest dream about Cornel West

In the dream I was friends with him for years. But he would never buy lunch. I always had to do it. I woke up pissed at Cornel West.


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Response to AngryAmish (Reply #25)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 04:17 PM

38. I would hesitate

to call that a "dream." Thus, I strongly suggest limiting your meals out with West to either breakfast or supper.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 11:20 AM

26. I had a friend who thought she could get last minute tickets recently

To one of his speaking engagements, I knew she wouldn't be able to-- he's extremely popular in the Seattle area, but I didn't want to shatter her hopes. She expressed her disappointment later and I just sighed with her I'd love to hear him in person. I even have the version of "The Matrix" where you can watch the movie with his analysis In the background.

But I haven't read that book, I'm going get it right now. Thank you

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Response to ismnotwasm (Reply #26)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 04:45 PM

40. Interesting.

My daughter said that she was surprised that there were actually many empty seats there, when she saw him. I would expect that more often, tickets can be hard to get.

Your story reminded me of sometime from long ago. Rev. Jesse Jackson was speaking at SUCO in Oneonta. Myself and three political associates made the drive. On the way, one person was saying that Jesse was a con man, and another agreed with him. I said that he was, like each and every one of us, sad and weakly human -- but that at that time, he was doing God's work. The two then made fun of me. So I said, balancing the utmost seriousness while holding my tongue in cheek: "We will see a sign tonight."

There was a long line at the Student Union building. When we eventually were "next in line," the couple ahead of us learned that there was only one ticket left. She bought it. gave it a second thought, and then gave the ticket to me. She politely refused my offer to pay for it.

As I had drove, my three associates had no choice but to wait for me. They opted to watch Jesse's presentation on a screen in the next building. And, on the ride home, the pair who had been so negative had changed their opinion of Rev. Jackson.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 11:42 AM

27. We seem to have very few thinkers in our society, but Dr. West is one of them.

"Who wants to be well-adjusted to injustice".

A good question. And the more that question is asked, the less likely we will be to remain a society which appears to already be far too well adjusted to injustice.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #27)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 08:56 PM

45. Agree, 100%.

Well said. Thanks for that.

I was hoping for intelligent and thoughtful responses to my OP. There are many here. And, as always, your's stands out.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 02:26 PM

31. k&r...

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Response to spanone (Reply #31)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 08:56 PM

46. Thanks!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 02:34 PM

33. Wonderful! K&R n/t

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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #33)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 08:57 PM

47. Thank you!

Keep on fighting the Good Fight!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 03:10 PM

35. “Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public”

“To be a Christian is to live dangerously, honestly, freely - to step in the name of love as if you may land on nothing, yet to keep on stepping because the something that sustains you no empire can give you and no empire can take away.”

“Since justice is what love looks like in public, you can't talk about loving folk if you're not fighting for justice.”

― 3 quotes ~ Cornel West

Looking for it is step one. Figuring it out is step two. Putting it into practice is step three.

Figuring it out is step 4...




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Response to Zorra (Reply #35)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 08:58 PM

48. Beautiful!

I sure enjoyed reading your response!

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 05:44 PM

42. ''The Goodness of Truth.''

Amazing Children, Yours.

Thank you, H20 Man!

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Response to Octafish (Reply #42)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 09:01 PM

49. Thanks, My Friend!

I'm mighty proud of those four, myself.

From time to time, I like to remind my wife that my Grandfather had the last two of his 14 children while in his early 70s. She tells me to "go slam it in the car door." I'm not sure what she means by that .....

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Mon Sep 24, 2012, 10:47 PM

59. Ok. I will be the proverbial smear of shit on the shoe.

Cornell West can't tell someone what to do because he hasn't figured that out himself. It is easy to be a complainer, making a real, tangible difference is much tougher. President Obama has long made and still is making a concrete, immediately tangible difference in people's lives. Cornell West writes books, gives speeches and at the end of it all, the people that follow him just have ideas spinning around in their head with no fucking idea of how to make those ideas into realities.

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Response to bluestate10 (Reply #59)

Tue Sep 25, 2012, 12:02 AM

62. I respectfully disagree

with you on your first two points, and agree with you on the third.

You aren't a shit smear on a shoe -- you are not like Paul Ryan at all.

Cornel West is in a very different position than any/every politician. I'd note that Minister Malcolm X stated that he would not run for political office, because he felt he could do more from the outside, than on the inside. Malcolm was a teacher, not a politician. West, too, is engaged in the role where he believes he can do the most good.

President Obama -- who also writes books, and who worked as a teacher -- believes he can do the most good as a politician. And almost everyone, including his strongest supporters, find one or two things, however small, that they think he could or should do differently. That's human nature.

In reality, President Obama is doing exactly what he can do -- and in the current circumstances, he could not do otherwise. For "things" to change, people must necessarily change first -- including Barack Obama, his supporters, and yes, even the Democrats and members of the Democratic Left who demand change. And, before people can change, their thinking must change -- not only the way they view the world, including politicians, but also themselves. All of humankind's great and nearly great and almost great teachers have understood this simple Truth. It was Malcolm's central message. It's the common point of all theology and philosophy. And it is, of course, exactly what Cornel West is teaching.

Yet human beings -- precisely because they are human -- resist that simple Truth. They want conditions to change, while they stay the same. Hence, the value of both West's patience, and sense of humor.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Sep 25, 2012, 12:40 AM

63. Cornell West.

Heart with brains. I love reading your posts.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Sep 25, 2012, 12:55 AM

64. I loved your OP.

There was a lot to love there.

Thanks.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Tue Sep 25, 2012, 01:56 AM

65. although it may sound cliche,

the term, national treasure, certainly applies.

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