Well Tavis, you finally did something I was beginning to doubt you were capable of doing - you told some unvarnished truths about yourself and your motivation behind the thankfully concluded, eerily voyeuristic, Poor People sight-seeing tour. This minor miracle occurred on the August 12th Smiley and West broadcast. At the outset of the show, you boasted that Dr. West and yourself had been "... all over the national media", after which, you confessed that was "... as we'd hoped for" and further admitted that was the "... plan all along." Although it didn't take a Yale or Princeton professor to deduce that was the clear intention behind this bus tour (by now, bus tours are uninspired, unimaginative, worn out attention grabbers), it was nonetheless refreshing to hear you acknowledge this to be the case so forthrightly. Of course, you tried to rationalize this obvious, vain attempt at self-promotion as being a way to draw attention to the plight of the poor as opposed to raising your own profiles, but that myth was effectively unveiled when Dr. West spoke of the many "magnificent, dignified" poor people you had encountered during your intrusion into their lives. If these people were as he described, and I have no doubt they were, sincere interest in having their plight recognized would have led you to insist media organizations with an interest in providing coverage actually interview the poor folks themselves, as opposed to your rushing into any media studio that would have you so that you could engage in a few more moments of self-aggrandizement at their expense. Your actions belie your true desires, and your exploitation of the most vulnerable segment of our society, while actually pretending to advocate on their behalf, is amongst the most reprehensible acts imaginable.
But you continued your exercise in self-revelation during your comments at the Chicago Town Hall Meeting. During your statement, after strategically spending time extolling the heroic virtue of telling the truth, you revealed your belief that your “calling”, your “vocation”, your “purpose”, is to use the “bully pulpit” of the national media to speak truth to power. Simply put, you believe that talking about what’s going on in the world is what you were meant to do. Just prior to making this statement, you clarified that you were not the President, or a Congressman, or a Mayor, or a leader in that sense. In other words, you’re not someone who seeks and accepts the responsibility of actually doing something about the problems of a particular municipality, district, or nation. Rather, your sole function in life to talk about what people who occupy those positions are doing or not doing (with a stalker-like focus on President Obama to be sure). In the book of Matthew, Jesus speaks frankly about those who are always talking but never doing. In Matthew 15:8, he says “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” More current versions paraphrase the verse as they honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Later, an even more salient warning occurs. Matthew 25:41-46 quotes Jesus as saying “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” Essentially and simply, these verses, taken together can be taken to mean, among other things, “Talk is Cheap!”
To address the final truism you uttered during this broadcast, we return once again to your comments at the outset of the broadcast, where you facetiously referred to the Poverty Tour as your “small, feeble way” to draw attention to the issue of poverty in America. While this may have been your attempt at false modesty, it was instead an apt description of this pathetic effort of two men more and more driven by envy, petty jealousies and imagined slights, to demoralize the African American and liberal electorate in 2012, thereby vanquishing President Obama, your tormentor in your minds, by frustrating his re-election efforts. The truth is Tavis, the “haters” weren’t the folks in Detroit who spoke up in support of the President, they are the guy you saw every morning on your luxury bus when you looked in the mirror and the guy perennially in the black three piece suit and scarf that rode with you.
Yeah, I've also been there, decades ago...it took some years to get stablized again, but it helped prepare me for becoming unemployed in my early 50s (which makes one virtually unemployable). I'm financially OK, secure for now.
Most of the people I know are fairly comfortable, although money worries figure into quite a few of their lives. Most of them are "sympathetic" to the poor...however, only a couple of my most long term friends, and none of my relatives (outside my immediate family), truly get it, because they've not been in it.
Christine R. Rickett said:
I whole point of mentioning it is that people can't really sympathize with homelessness and poverty unless they lived it at one point or another. A persons heart cannot feel what a homeless person heart feels as they are trying to find a job or safe place to stay or next meal to eat. It the same with the middle class. Only middle class people can understand how another middle class person may feel when everything is lost - home - 401k etc...
Point is - How can any of them really care - unless they lived it before? They will forget about the poor after the elections.
Most of the people I love don't get it either, except my siblings. We were raised after my father became ill for several years in the ghetto. Sometimes there was only coffee and bread - no meat. But - we witnesses others with less than us. Yet, those were the most happiest times in my life because our poor community stood together and looked out for one another when we could.
I saw another side of poverty and homelessness 10 years ago. I was shocked! Not enough housing for the homeless or food in pantries. No government agencies to help people. This was when I went to help a friend in Colorado Springs. As I passed through Richmond Virginia in 1998, I saw a scary shelter surrounded by vacant/boarded up homes. In fact, surrounded by an entire community of boarded homes. It was awful. I wondered why the government couldn't buy up these homes and fix them up for the homeless. But, enough about the things I've witness.
Byard, I know you understand and sympathized having seen it yourself.
But, back to Tavis and West. I'm not against them or anyone else. I just tire of everyone pointing fingers and trying to prove points, yet the homeless will still suffer when everyone is done whatever it is they are doing.