Cornel West is no stranger to harsh language, and harsh is the most appropriate word to describe the words he had for Barack Obama and several black political pundits on a recent episode of Democracy Now. Dr. West was asked to weigh in on the issue of poverty in America, a topic that was oft-neglected during this election, in lieu of the astronomical amount of money that was spent on campaigning this year — $6 billion.
Not one to mince words, Dr. West went straight for the jugular when host Amy Goodman asked him how he feels about the spending that took place this election season.
“I think that it’s morally obscene and spiritually profane to send $6 billion on an election, $2 billion on a presidential election, and not have any serious discussion—poverty, trade unions being pushed against the wall dealing with stagnating and declining wages when profits are still up and the 1 percent are doing very well, no talk about drones dropping bombs on innocent people,” Dr. West said. “So we end up with such a narrow, truncated political discourse, as the major problems—ecological catastrophe, climate change, global warming. So it’s very sad. I mean, I’m glad there was not a right-wing takeover, but we end up with a Republican, a Rockefeller Republican in blackface, with Barack Obama, so that our struggle with regard to poverty intensifies.”
Tavis Smiley was interviewed alongside Dr. West and insinuated that political thought leaders like Melissa Harris-Perry, Al Sharpton, and Michael Eric Dyson, who have been vocally supportive of the President, need to push him to have a stronger stance on certain issues. Dr. West was nowhere near as PC, telling Goodman:
“I love Brother Mike Dyson… but we’re living in a society where everybody is up for sale. Everything is up for sale. And he and Brother Sharpton and Sister Melissa and others, they have sold their souls for a mess of Obama pottage. And we invite them back to the black prophetic tradition after Obama leaves. But at the moment, they want insider access, and they want to tell those kind of lies. They want to turn their back to poor and working people.”
And when it comes to a statement Dyson made in which he called the President progressive, Dr. West said this:
“In the president’s forward motion in the second term to establish a legacy—and I don’t think that being president ought to be about a legacy; it ought to be about advancing the best for the American people. But in this conversation about his legacy, I want to see what risk he’s going to take. Is he going to put himself on the line for poor people? Is he going have an honest conversation about drones? As Doc said earlier, you know, is he ever going to say the word prison—the phrase, “prison-industrial complex”? Reagan wouldn’t say “AIDS.” Bush wouldn’t say “climate change.” Will Obama say “prison-industrial complex”? I mean, I want to know where the risk is that equates to being the most progressive president ever. That’s the—I don’t get that.”
Well, say it like you mean it.
Check out the full interview here. What do you think about what Cornel West had to say?