Sunday, January 11, 2009

Being on Meet the Press II

Last week I wrote about Being in the Old Guard after seeing the pictures of Senator Harry Reid, Senator Dick Durbin, and the presumed Senator Roland Burris. The point essentially was where are the fresh faces in Congress who can bring a new voice? Listening to the venerable Bill Cosby, Dr. Alvin Poussaint, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters speak on the African American community, on "Meet the Press" today, I now essentially ask the same question. Where are the fresh faces on relevant issues to the African American community?

Adrian M. Fenty, the Mayor of Washington D.C., was a part of the discussion and he had some good things to say. But overall the language, examples, and stories were all told in such a way that I felt as if there were no new ideas; I felt as if I was watching "Meet the Press" of the 60’s, even though the ideas centered around the first African American president in the 21st.

"Meet the Press" is prime time. The conversation could have been much sharper and the ideas more innovative. While some issues are systemic, thereby not new, the ideas surrounding them need to be new if we are to see change. The African American community needs fresh ideas to spark innovation in education, healthcare, diet and exercise, and jobs. With such a platform, the discussion seemed less then brilliant.

(I sincerely hope this does not sound disrespectful to any of the panelists, as I honor them for paving the way for me. But something new has to happen now and it's not only the election of the first African American president. Innovate now!)


Bob Foster said...


I agree with you completely. The entire U.S. is very short of new ideas and new leadership—across the board. This morning I watched This Week on ABC and the panel was composed of Newt Gingrich, Thomas Friedman, Pat Noonan, and George Wills…not many new faces there. Of course, we should not dismiss the wisdom and ideas they present, but it certainly would be nice to hear some new ideas from a more diverse group.

More importantly, I think, is the dearth of intellectuals speaking out for any of our communities. Over twelve years ago I watched a 2-hour TV Special consisting of intellectuals from the African American community discussing how to better prepare African American kids for entering the business world. It was one of the best business discussions I have ever seen, and I thought how lucky the U.S. was to have people like this leading the young. Sadly, I never heard of these folks again….. Nor have I seen anyone speaking for the Hispanic, Asian, or any of the other communities in this diverse nation.

Obviously our new President has strong leadership qualities, as well as lots of new ideas. Unfortunately, because there is little leadership below him, his job of leading the lawmakers in Washington will be less leading and more akin to “herding cats.”

John O'Leary said...

"Where are the fresh faces on relevant issues to the African American community?"

Well, uh, one of them is the person asking the question. It's time you answer the phone. Washington is calling.

judith ellis said...

Thanks for your comment, Bob. I always appreciate them here and on Tom Peters' blog. (I also like your blog; it's relevant and smart.) While I respect and honor the experiences of many of the people we have spoken of, I am really feeling like many should be in a supportive role at this point. There time has come. Not because of their age, but because of their ideas that do not seem relevant or passionate enough to bring about change. Stagnation abounds and a since of entitlement looms.

Regarding President-elect Obama, I am incredibly impressed with him. (I am also very impressed with Michelle Obama.) But he will not be able to do this himself. Yes, we all have to do assist in the turnaround. But when I look at Congress, even with the sweeping victory, I cringe. I am just really tired of politics as usual coming from all sides, black and white--and everything in between, Democrats and Republicans, and those who have been a part of the Old Guard.

Anybody who really knows me will tell you that I honor elders, simply for being such, even when they are not honorable. (Age should teach wisdom but it often does not.) But I think this particular time in our history calls for something that we have not as of yet seen on both Democratic and Republican side of Congress-- a passion for ideas, and the responsibility, accountability, stamina, courage, and integrity to lead in the innovation necessary.

judith ellis said...

John - Thanks for your vote of confidence. I believe that I could do a lot of good and I would be interested in going to Washington. In what capacity--dunno. Probably not in any offical capacity. I'm assuming that it would be far too difficult to bring about positive changes from the inside.

John O'Leary said...

"I'm assuming that it would be far too difficult to bring about positive changes from the inside." I tend to agree, but maybe the Barack man can do something about that.

judith ellis said...

Ah, wouldn't that be great?! While I have been concerned about the high excpectations we, and the world, are placing on this one man, I believe that he is well able. It is for such a time he has come. And, it is for such a time that we are here. What will we do?