Abandon Text!

W. H. Auden once said: "Poems are not finished; they are abandoned." I have been abandoning writing projects for many years, since only the pressure of deadline and high expectations ever got me to finish, or even start, anything of merit. This blog is an attempt to create a more consistent, self-directed writing habit. Hopefully a direction and voice will emerge.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Juan Williams pulls civil rights back from the brink

I heard an interview this morning with Juan Williams about his new book, Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It. It was a little surprising, at first, because I'm used to listening to Juan speaking from the other side of the news desk, asking the probing questions but not stridently putting out his own opinions.

Thank goodness they are really good opinions. Juan is the epitomy of the well-spoken, well-educated black man, surpassed only by Barak Obama in smoothness of tone and intelligence of thought. (But, then again, Barak Obama is beating everyone at that game these days. God, I hope he runs for President.) It comes as a relief to me that he has some very common-sensical (i.e. conservative) views on the issues facing the black community. As a black man, he can get away with pointing out the obvious -- that Al Sharpton is a fraud and a fake, that Marion Barry is a corrupt son-of-a-wood-louse, etc. -- without immediately being branded as a racist. The cadre of sell-out politicians Juan attacks might try to stick him with the "Uncle Tom" label, but I don't think that will stick to him either, given the generally even-handed-to-liberal leanings of NPR. But they may have an even stickier label: "Fox contributor." In the popular liberal imagination, anything and anyone who appears on Fox News is suspect. There is also the question of his son, Antonio Williams, who is running for office in Washington, D.C. . . . some more cynical commentators might see the book as merely providing cover-fire for Antonio as he dashes to a city council seat and prepares for an ultimate bid for mayor.

I haven't read his book . . . yet. But I hope it becomes a lightning rod for some serious conversations in black politics.



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