Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick, Rep. Bennie Thompson On “Change,” Obamas

Hey! I get to do some “real” reporting of sorts on this trip!

Gov. Patrick and special guest Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi opened up the fifth annual Harvard Black Policy Conference at the Kennedy School of Government.

Both made some great points about politics, public service and the Obama Administration. I thought I’d like to share a few (and the horrid picture I took, but it’s hard to be aggressive reporter/photographer and gracious lady person at conference at the same time.)

Patrick compared partying at the Obama White House versus the Bush White House during the governor’s dinners. Joking that with Bush you were always out by 9:15 p.m. He said at the most recent shindig where Earth Wind & Fire played when the slow songs came on to wind the party down, President Obama approached Deval, his friend, and said, “this is when we make our move.”

“This is when I knew change had come,” he joked.

Despite the spare joke or anecdote, Gov. Patrick was largely serious, adding that, “Change didn’t happen just because of the election of Barack Obama any more than change happened just because I was elected.” Adding that things will be hard, uncomfortable, erratic and full of zigs and zags because so many “like it the way it is.”

He told the room of mostly young black professionals, “We need your talent, creativity, energy” whether you  were a “Black person or a person who happens to be black.”

“The press will try to put you in a box, people will try to put you in a box,” he said. “Let you make that decision … Start reinventing, rebuilding our infrastructure (investment for the long term). Change that lasts. Change that’s meaningful. A Renewed community.”

Quoting a young man from a troubled neighborhood, Patrick said:

This is our community. If there’s a need. Send me. That is the spirit that used to characterize the South side of Chicago. It is not about or only about policy or leglisation but leadership and recognizing leadership in the form of service. Bring talent, creativity and will to that and I believe our best days our ahead.

Rep. Thompson also offered his own quotes on “change:”

Over time change will come and you here are part of that change. Become a part of what the president talks about. His bench team. A bench team in this incidence is not a put down. A bench team is being prepared to be put in the game.

Be part of that best and brightest. Woodrow Wilson said if you ever want to make enemies try to change things so I hope by the time you finish this program you make a whole lot of enemies.

2 thoughts on “Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick, Rep. Bennie Thompson On “Change,” Obamas

  1. We Americans will criticize Muslims for being stuck in the past and afraid of change. To a lesser degree, we’re the same way, firmly locked into the accepted ways of doing things–even when they’re no longer working–instead of bravely trying new approaches to problems.

  2. The rhethoric is fine and dandy for what it is for the opening introduction of a conference filled with proud people who all may feel like catalysts that made CHANGE occur. But I think what was said was a coded recruitment speech for fattening up an elite Black contingent to fill the ranks that are needed to be put into place to carry-on the campaign for 2012 and beyond. Stock holders are even given pep talks to not question the executive administrations of companies with talks just like this. It’s all strategy intended to solidify, strengthen, and pledge tenets of what is all defined as Obamaism–not progressive Black policy.

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