If Congress can move President's Day, Columbus Day and, alas, Martin Luther King's Birthday celebration for the convenience of shoppers, shouldn't they at least consider moving Election Day for the convenience of voters?
I see the war problem as an economic problem, a business problem, a cultural problem, an educational problem - everything but a military problem. There's no military solution. There is a business solution - and the sooner we can provide jobs, not with our money, but the United States has to provide the framework.
Our children lost our direction because they have been compromised. They have found freedom at the ballot box, and then they have taken on plastic chains around their minds and souls and mortgage their future on credit cards. They have to learn better - they have to learn the value of ideas and health as opposed to wealth.
Most of my teachers wanted to send me to the principal's office. But my fourth-grade teacher once put her arms around me and said, 'You sure write well.' And I've had good penmanship until this day. She was the only one who ever said anything nice to me. That's the kind of motivation that students need.
I have committed my life to helping the poor, and I believe that if more companies followed Wal-Mart's lead in providing opportunity and savings to those who need it most, more Americans battling poverty would realize the American dream.
When people ask where I studied to be an ambassador, I say my neighborhood and my school. I've tried to tell my kids that you don't wait until you're in high school or college to start dealing with problems of people being different. The younger you start, the better.
If I wanted to develop a scenario to destroy America, I would do what the Republicans are doing. Take the brightest and best young black men off the streets, put them in jail, make them meaner than hell for 8 or 10 years and then turn them lose in a society where there are plenty of guns for them to play with.
Profits should be for a purpose. Profits should be productive. You should make money for producing benefits that make the world a better place. Making money is a good thing when it is made in service to humanity or the democracy.
Having personally watched the Voting Rights Act being signed into law that August day, I can't begin to imagine how we could have all been so wrong in believing that more Americans would vote once they were all truly free to do so.
What we forget is that African Americans made the largest contribution to America, economically, before the Civil War of any sector of society. I read that the railroads were worth about $2 billion, but slavery was a $3 billion asset.
Some kind of affirmative action is important in a democracy and for economic competitiveness and national security. The Army was the first to realize that you had to have desegregation of a military to have it working properly.
Everybody in America has been dependent on the government at some time. We owe everybody in America the right to vote and access to capital. What I say is, let's make America work, let's make democracy and free enterprise work for everybody.
I wasn't predicted to be anything. I just followed an inner spirit, and it put me in the right place and the right time. I didn't want to be the mayor of Atlanta. I didn't want to run for Congress. I didn't want to work for Martin Luther King Jr. I wanted to work close to him and be a writer and write about the movement.
When I took the SAT, I didn't get accepted into a single white school that I applied to. Now I've got honorary degrees from a lot of those schools that rejected me. Things are different now, but not that much different.
Egypt's problem is that you've got an economy that works for about 40 million people, only you have 90 million people. The answer to the Egyptian problem is not guns, but jobs. We've got to find a private-sector, nongovernmental, aggressive way of creating jobs. That's not America's role totally.
My solutions are to include Africa in the global economy, and not African charity, AIDS research, but African infrastructure development. And I think that Africa can import and needs everything the whole world can manufacture. And they have got enough money to pay for it. It's just that the money is in the ground.
There is a sense in which the United States ambassador speaks to the United States, as well as for the United States. I have always seen my role as a thermostat rather than a thermometer. So I'm going to be actively working... for my own concerns. I have always had people advise me on what to say, but never on what not to say.
Any racial reconciliation we've had in this country has come not out of confrontation but out of a spirit of reconciliation. If we continue to practice an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, we'll eventually end up with a land of people who are blind and toothless.