Saturday, May 9, 2009

I Remember Jack Kemp

Jack Kemp came into my consciousness a few years ago while watching him as a guest on Tavis Smiley show on PBS. He definitely made an impression on me in less than 15 minutes of what he was talking about the then 2006 fate of the Republican party.

I was too young of a kid playing with my toys and watching Sesame Street to know what he did during Reagan era but after watching him that night, I read a few articles featuring Jack Kemp not because I cared about the party he represented but because of the person he was.

This was a man with a tremendous civil rights record. He has openly apologized for not doing enough while he was an NFL Quarterback for the Buffalo Bills in the 60s - at the height of the civil rights unrest. But he made sure he spent the rest of his life making up for it by shining the spotlight in the inner cities and working with civil rights greats like Andrew Young and John Lewis. Did I mention Jack Kemp was a Republican?

After then Sen. Barack Obama won the election for President, Kemp wrote an Op-ed as a letter to his grandchildren and an admonition to his party. Here's part of the letter: "As president, I believe Barack Obama can help lift us out of a narrow view of America into the ultimate vision of an America where, if you’re born to be a mezzo-soprano or a master carpenter, nothing stands in your way of realizing your God-given potential . . . My advice for you all is to understand that unity for our nation doesn’t require uniformity or unanimity; it does require putting the good of our people ahead of what’s good for mere political or personal advantage."

His party will remember him well and perhaps get back to its winning ways if it takes heed to what Kemp said. RIP Kemp!

Tag: Jack Kemp