I just listened to:
AMY GOODMAN: Tavis, let’s go, in your special, your PBS special that’s airing on Wednesday night, to your colleague, our colleague, Cornel West, the professor of religion and African American studies at Princeton University.
CORNEL WEST: Here he was shouting, a voice, prophetic voice in the wilderness, and he knew the sleepwalking was increasing. What he didn’t know was that the sleepwalking would get thicker and thicker during the age of Reagan. And what he didn’t know, that there was a black man on the way to the White House in 2009, and was hoping that there would be some awakening connected to his legacy of focusing on poor people and working people and jobs and homes and studying war, no more, not because a president would be pacifist, because it upset me when I heard my dear brother Barack Obama criticize Martin on the global stage, saying that Martin Luther King, Jr.‘s insights were not useful for a commander-in-chief, because evil exists, as if Martin Luther King, Jr. didn’t know about evil.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was fighting terrorism. He was an anti-terrorist who was fighting Jim Crow and James Crow. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew something about evil, more so than many of us, including our beloved president. But he also knew that if you don’t break the cycle of domination and bigotry and hatred and try to exemplify some alternative, then that cycle would be reinforced in such a way that you would be a pro-war president, pro-war citizen, and not giving peace a chance.
CORNEL WEST: Well, I think that they’re in very different lanes, and they have very different callings. Barack Obama presently is the brilliant, charismatic, smiling, friendly face of the American Empire. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the courageous, sacrificial, smiling, friendly face that was crushed by the American Empire. The latter is a prophet. The former is politician.