A Presidential Perspective I
When I intially wrote this (7/10/04) my editors told me I couldn't publish this item because it was controversial. They told me as a journalist I couldn't give names. I've always tried to give honest assessments of the Black Political Process because few do. Check it out and then view Presidential Perspective II which was sanitized. Guest what? My editors thought that was too controversail. You be the judge and tell me which one you like.
The ultimate horse race of the year is apparently set. The Republicans have their standard barer and Senator John Kerry has picked Senator John Edwards as his running mate. Does anybody see anything wrong with this picture? Look real close and you will note that there is an absence of color, gender and that so called mosaic that we call America.
Can only white men offer solutions to the myriad of problems facing the United States? I doubt it. The citizenry needs to get over it’s obsession with the patriarchal society. Let’s get some new ideas into the mix in both parties. I for one am getting tired of the also rans in either party. Electibility seems to be this year’s mantra. Whoever wins this year’s Presidential election should end the stranglehold of "Caucasian men only" for the top office in the land.
By the time 2008 comes around new names need to emerge who will break the mold in both parties. Conventional wisdom will tell you that money is the key to launching a national campaign. I’ve argue that ideas are the capital that will sway the electorate. These new national names don’t have to be at the top of the ticket, but need to "be in the mix" when it comes time to select a vice president.
Jesse and Al please stay home, your time has come and gone we need new blood to rally behind. In the GOP, Alan Keyes, go get a real job. We are into our third generation of politicians. Brothers and sisters permeate every stratum of politics and business. Few will volunteer to run so I’ve drafted potential people who have varied experiences to run for the highest office.
As I see it there are four categories from which to pick.
1.) Career politicians – noted for their current and previous experience in political office.
Alexis Herman – Former Labor Secretary – strength is she knows Black America and would give Black women something to rally behind.
Togo West – Former Secretary of Army – strength military background an important commodity in an era global terrorism.
Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. – one of the outspoken critics of the house who will join with republicans on some issues. Ford thinks outside the box.
Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick – he’s America’s "hip-hop mayor" who can roll with the punches. Last year there was a black out in Motown, people didn’t riot because the mayor told residents to chill with barbeques and candle-lit dinners.
Marc Morial – Urban League President – The former mayor of New Orleans has made the Urban League a strong political and vocal force in the African-American community. President Bush appears to favor the Urban League over the NAACP to speak, but he gets the same message when he’s in a private room with Morial.
Barack Obama - Initially when I wrote this he wasn't on this list. After interviewing him at the DNC and seeing his speech in Boston I can honestly say he is the real deal. I know he frieghtens Republicans and emblodens Democrats. In four years he will have worked in the U.S. Senate (trust me, he will win in Illinois) and that gives him clout. He's is a coalition builder and would shake up this nation.
Joe Rogers (Former Colorado Lt. Governor) – A back to basics politician. Rogers is tough on crime and punishment. He championed education when few in his own party would.
Michael Steele (Maryland, Lt. Governor) – Who would have thought that the first black elected statewide in Maryland would be a Republican? Steele has kept his roots in the Black community which would serve him well in a national campaign.
2.) Business – proven themselves in marketing their companies not just to the African-American community.
Kenneth Chenault (President & COO, American Express) – in the business world he is a genius. If you own their stock you should thank Chenault. With its multitude of services and products he could maximize government and its services.
Sylvia Rhone (CEO, Electra Entertainment Group) – Rhone has it all beauty, brain and brawn. She can look at the big picture and create a strategic plan that will make improvements.
Earl Graves (CEO, Black Enterprise) – he’s trumpeted solutions in the pages of his magazine so let’s give him a shot (Steve Forbes, Forbes Magzine, thought he knew how to be president).
Joshua Smith (Pres. Maxima Corp.) – Smith has been ahead of the technology curve for years. Let’s take some of that talent and put it to good use.
3.) Academia/Non Traditional Jobs – These are people who’ve reached the zenith of their chosen professions and are looking for new challenges.
Dr. Ruth Brown (President, Brown University) – Dr. Brown has been breaking down barriers all her life and this would be the ultimate challenge.
Donna Brazile (Former Al Gore Campaign manager) – Brazile is the ultimate democratic operative. She’s setup her own consulting business and has a book. Isn’t that how most politicians start a campaign?
Rev. Floyd Flake (Allen A.M.E Church) - Left congress and returned to the pulpit. His church in Jamaica, New York not only preaches the gospel, but self help. Democrats and Republicans recognize how effective he is in community building.
4.) Unknown Quotient – They are loud, bodacious, and unconventional. They reach a constituency few people tap into on a regular basis and could challenge any traditional party leader.
Shoshana Johnson – America’s first celebrated Black Female P.O.W. – War hero, single mom, she’s got something to say.
Russell Simmons- Co-Founder of Def Jam Records and founder of Rush Communications - Simmons introduced rap music and hip-hop culture to mainstream America. Let’s see if he can run a country.
Sean Combs – CEO, Bad Boy Entertainment – The ultimate producer of hype. He could fire up the hip-hop nation. Talk about fundraising all he would need is a tour.
Jim Brown – Activist – Brown has been challenging the status quo since his days as football player when he was re-writing records. No need for additional security his advocacy for former gang members has endured him to a population that needs a voice.
I’m quite certain that my list may not measure up to your own personal choices, but let’s not wait until 2008. If you want add some names I missed have at it, post them on this blog.
Now that you've taken the time to check out this one try Presidential Perspective II