Cornel West and Tavis Smiley on Democracy

October 12, 2011

Philosopher Cornel West is one of the most visible public intellectuals in the U.S.   Tavis Smiley is -- after Oprah -- the best known black media figure in the country.  They co-host a weekly public radio talk show, in which they frequently take on the mainstream media and the political establishment.  Both of which they blame for ignoring the disenfranchisement of the working poor.  Steve Paulson talks with them about the state of American democracy.


For years now we had the Best Democracy Money Can Buy. And Money "will kill Democracy" eventually. Who in this Great Contry of our's WANTS TO HEAR THE TRUTH?Lies are easier to follow,even "smart people" believe the lies.

Cornel West and Tavis Smily forfeited a significant opportunity to discuss with Paulson (who could have interviewed more current thinkers) why not addressing the socio/economic problems in African American and other minority communities will eventually undermine American democracy as we understand it.

The issues that most threaten this country - underperforming schools, unavailable, inadequate and expensive healthcare, urban environmental challenges, high unemployment among our youth and a struggling economy- are endemic in these communities. And, it is already apparent that these unaddressed issues are adversely affecting this country’s global competitiveness. We can’t afford to neglect the problems and challenges facing minorities.

Instead of once again highlighting and isolating the stereotypical “historic disadvantages of being Black,” West and Smiley should have taken advantage of the broader platform; one with more significance for all of us.

I want to say thanks for this awesome series. I know the Cornel & Smiley piece was a replay, but it's so powerful it made me cry, even the second time. thank you for this much needed journalism.