I was honored to be a guest on Democracy Now!, meeting anchors Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez and amazing fellow guests. I also got to do News 12 Long Island with Elizabeth Hashagen, though briefly because the Pope spoke to Congress at such unexpected length. Three quick observations.
One. Live TV is choreography and these anchors are dancers of awesome skills, coordinating bodies, ears, eyes, hands and words to make it work. They improvise on split-second notice!
Two. The best part of that Democracy Now! episode was not the Pope but rather the Young Lords — a segment on the little-known, short-lived but hugely influential and effective Puerto Rican radical movement of New York City founded in 1969. They occupied churches; they had women leaders; they had a bureau for gay and lesbian affairs from the start. The picture here is of anchor Juan Gonzalez himself (in the sweater) when he was Minister of Education of the Young Lords. If you watch the show’s second half (linked above), you can see a clip of fantastic Christian pedagogy. You sound like Pope Francis, Amy Goodman says. No, I just paid attention in church, Gonzalez replies.
Three. The best part of Pope Francis’s rich speech to Congress was, for me, the call to avoid “simplistic reductionism” and “fundamentalisms of any kind.” It encouraged me to get more publicly nuanced (even in sound-bite media) about my reserve about the pope on African and Native history in this land, and my stance on women’s ordination. That’s all on Twitter for now. Stay tuned for more later, maybe.