As a youngster, I watched the Iran-Contra hearings on television. I have always been captivated by government and politics. My dream as a child was to major in Political Science and/or law. Then I realized that I love color and needed to be very creative.
As a teenager, I acquired a strong affinity for Canadian sketch comedies on CBC (that is how I learned about the Canadian government), PBS, NPR, and C-SPAN (Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network.) Man o man, do I love the C-SPAN or the SPAN, our term of endearment. My dad and I would watch C-SPAN on the weekends. I was quite miffed when I learned that there was a C-SPAN 3, but the station was not on the local cable channel listings. I am glad Mr. Maven likes C-SPAN as well. When on road trips, we find ourselves listening to C-SPAN on XM between the 2 Amy Winehouse CDs, India Arie, Lemar, Terri Walker and Musiq. One time, we listened to a great program with African-American historian, John Hope Franklin being interviewed by Brian Lamb, CEO and founder of C-SPAN. That was 3 hours well-spent. He told a fascinating story about meeting W.E.B. DuBois. DuBois did not even bother to look up from eating to acknowledge him. He recounted the story later to him and DuBois did not remember meeting him. It goes on…. watch C-Span.com for the rest of the story.
C-SPAN is great because the programming is varied: from Senate and House committee hearings, to legislation sessions, symposiums, conferences, lectures, and my favorite Prime Minister Questions. (That is some funny stuff to view.) I love the book fairs. We saw Al Franken get into it with Bill O’Reilly. On the SPAN, We “met” Molly Ivins (RIP), heard Dr. Mae Jemison, Dr. Cornell West, Rep. Keith Ellison et al speak the truth, noticed that someone’s lawyers last names had my first and last names.
Tavis Smiley, the King of Verbosity, hosts a wonderful all-day State of the Black Union conference each February. The panelists include Black leaders in academia, politics, religion, law, entertainment, and activism. The purpose of the sessions is to create real solutions for problems plaguing the African-American community. Check out Smiley’s The Covenant with Black America and The Covenant in Action.
Interesting to say the least!
I implore in you in these trying times we need to be an aware and educated electorate. We need to stop listening to menial sound bytes and begin to read and learn for ourselves. We must stop confusing being affable with competence.