Sunday, July 01, 2007
View Video of the Democratic Debate hosted by PBS and moderated by Tavis Smiley.
The video is broken into sections that you can find on the right of the video page.
There is not much that I can add to what has already been mentioned by the AAPP and others.
But a few things that stood out for me:
1. Richardson actually came up with an excellent proposal...something that I have thought about- and that is a minimum wage for teachers in this country. Raising the pay standard across the board could bring more of the best and the brightest into the profession, and could be a benefit to children- especially those in the inner-cities.
2. None of the questions from the moderators centered on the issue of U.S. foreign policy. The Darfur question only slightly focused on the wider foreign policy problem. How could Smiley and his colleagues not understand the connection between foreign policy and domestic policy? MLK understood this connection very well, and spent considerable time speaking on it particularly in 1967 and 1968. Unfortunately not enough Black journalists and commentators or "leaders" today seem to understand the connection.
But luckily Kucinich and Gravel didn't fail to cover this point, even when the question was not directly asked. They made sure to highlight the need to fundamentally change foreign policy in order to free up the resources to deal with domestic policy. The other candidates were mostly giving lip service. On one hand they have hinted/ talked about maintaining, or in some cases expanding, the American Empire if elected, yet they are making all of these domestic promises. DON'T BUY IT! They will have a hard time doing both.
Kucinich was right to change the focus towards domestic issues, especially healthcare and education. Kucinich basically explained how he would pay for what he talked about, while the other candidates made no such committment. Now I probably would not make drastic cuts to the military.... (we need to maintain a strong defense).... but even stopping the military adventures would be huge...without the 15% cut in the military. JUST STOP THE WAR...and don't make any new ones that we don't need. This war in Iraq has costed the U.S. nearly half a trillion dollars. Most experts believe that the final tally will be more than $1 trillion. And it has already lasted longer than WWII. Not to mention the loss of life among American soldiers, American contractors, and Iraqi civilians (who have suffered the most), and the shattered lives of friends, relatives...and particularly families here at home.
But Black America MUST come to understand the link between foreign policy and domestic policy. This forum could have and probably should have spent one third to a half of the allotted time on foreign policy issues. That half a trillion dollars represents money that could have gone towards funding domestic needs such as Universal Healthcare, Education, job creation for urban communities, job training centers all across the country, improving social security, making the U.S. more competitive in a more global economy, and so forth.
So I was disappointed about the lack of focus on foreign policy and how foreign and domestic policy are linked.
3. There was not enough time spent on outsourcing. Globalization and the outsourcing of jobs will probably impact African Americans the most. In the future....many of the entry level jobs that African Americans could use to enter the workforce will be less available... outsourced overseas for the cheaper labor. African Americans will also be impacted by the importation of cheap labor in the future, while good entry level employment will be shipped away at the same time. Black folks will catch hell coming and going.
I noticed that Tavis & Co. steered clear of tackling the immigration issue.
I was also concerned about the Supreme Court decision.... but I didn't panic. Justice Kennedy's decision was based on a few narrow issues. The Court didn't completely gut Brown Vs. Board of Education of Topeka. Perhaps we have reached a period where putting more weight on economics may be an even better factor to look at when determining how & where to teach children. In the 40's and 50's, when we first began chipping away at school segregation and unequal treatment... we were living in a world where race was the overriding factor for excluding us... The economic argument would not have worked then. But now.... I think economics may be the variable that is hurting schools and students most. African American "leaders" must also express the importance of education to African American families... and show it as an important ingredient for improving lives and achieving dreams. But we will surely be better off if the next President can nominate more moderate justices for the Supreme Court. Whether this decision is eventually reversed or not... the focus should probably shift towards economic background as a bigger and better determining factor for deciding how to educate children, especially those from poor communities.
And lastly, candidates actually got it right when they mentioned making education a Constitutional right.
Posted by Brian E. at 4:55 AM