[DAVID] GREGORY: You go home to Watts and you go out there and you see young people--the fact that we have a black president, that means something.I'm really feeling hopeless about David Gregory as Tim Russert's replacement on MTP. No follow-up question? Does he even listen to what the guests are saying?
REP. WATERS: Well, of course it means something. He's absolutely a role model. I was watching the young boys from the Ron Clark school who have a--they were in a choir, and they have created a song about Obama. And I was watching their faces. And certainly if there's one thing you can say about this historic election, it is that he has created hope. He has, you know, let young people know and young black boys know that you can, you can indeed succeed.
Let me tell you about this parenting issue. I have--or we just had a Black Caucus retreat, and parenting emerged as the number one concern in that retreat. Now, as a public policymaker and a legislator, I think about ways by which we can be helpful in bringing about the kind of public policy that will assist families. And so parenting is one thing that I'm going to spend a lot of time on, because I think that we should dedicate personnel in our public schools to work with parents and to get parents involved. The PTA does not do that. But the teachers cannot do that, the teachers cannot be concerned about what is going on in the classroom and follow the kids home. But if we have a component in the school that's dealing with going to the home, finding out what is happening with this child, what are the circumstances under which they are living, and be able to direct resources toward that family and give families support, I think we can use parenting as a way to begin to deal with these very serious problems where children drop out and children are already considered failures before they reach high school.
Waters just said that the teachers can't follow the kids home, but that there ought to be "a component in the school" that — what? — follows the kids home? What sort of "component"? I'm afraid of these components! What is Waters proposing, and does Gregory have any capacity for critical thinking? How is it acceptable for government authorities to intrude into the home this way?
Then, Bill Cosby is going on about service:
... these Jesuits, I — they have an answer, and they make their boys go out into the community and give service... One of the things I've heard... is that when a person gives, when a person does a service, that there's something that happens to them emotionally. I've heard people in prison working with prisoners talk about prisoners breaking down and crying because they taught another prisoner, they mentored another prisoner to learn how to read. And that the, the mentoring person started to cry. You can't--as a policeman, as a policeman said to me -- make a man cry by punching him in the face. They don't cry. But here this man is, and it's something emotional about us giving to each other, teaching each other. And that's what this family's talking about.Again, no follow-up from Gregory. Is Cosby suggesting that the government — like the Jesuits — should make their boys go out into the community and give service? A public-service draft? Could Gregory give some critical push-back?
Or was Gregory patronizing black people? Not only was he sparing his black guests any challenging questioning, he also abysmally failed to see the libertarian interests of black people as those guests went on about following black kids home from school to check on whether their parents are decent and forcing young black men into service. If those proposals had been made in a way that seemed to extend beyond the "black community" with its "deepest problems," would the light bulb in Gregory's brain turn on? What exactly are you talking about doing? How would you respond to those who would argue that this is an unacceptable — perhaps even an unconstitutional — burden on individual liberty?