tv The Last Word MSNBC November 1, 2013 1:00am-2:00am EDT
>> maybe. >> kent, i'm going to tell you the most important mistake you ever made after this break. so, kent, that mistake you made, that fundamental life changing error, that cosmic fail -- >> just tell me already. >> after this break. >> i will never achieve anything this cool ever again in my life. it's "the simpsons" sunday night. that does it for us tonight. happy halloween. now it's time for "the last word with lawrence o'donnell." have a great night. >> here's a halloween treat for you. an 8 year old dressed up a as a boston cop in 1925. he got a much bigger job than that when he grew up and, yes, that is his sister, eunice, admiring his uniform. you can see that picture of the 35th president of the united states at the kennedy library.
>> the american public is mad as hell. >> it's been a rough couple weeks in washington. >> they're not going to take it anymore. it's an american horror story politically. boy, is it scary. >> people are sick of even their own representatives. >> 63% want a new member of congress. >> it's a very negative review for everybody. >> the first shock wave hit the republican party. >> it's utterly maddening. >> will anything spook ted cruz? >> who is the top leader? it's ted cruz. >> that would be the end of the republican party. >> i think republicans have to be worried. >> those numbers freak people out. who cares? >> this guy is scary. >> the number they care about is the fund-raising number. >> boy, is it scary. >> now, in the meantime -- >> the rocky rollout of healthcare.gov. >> the website hasn't worked the way it's supposed to. >> i have a constituent that received this cancellation
letter. >> my constituents can't keep their health care plan. >> a subpar policy. >> ever since the law was passed, you got to replace them with quality comprehensive coverage. >> how frustrated is he? >> we're in this together. we'll see it through. >> we need to delay the mandate tax. we need to fix this problem. >> it's been a rough couple weeks in washington. >> the shutdown was so magnificent, run beautifully. i'm so proud of these republicans. >> it's an american horror story politically. >> happy halloween. >> now that raphael call me ted cruz, he might need to get his father to tone it down, too. >> the attacks not just come from the liberals. the attacks come from the other side too.
all these republicans in name only. washington is not used to what they have seen with senator ted cruz. as a matter of fact, one of those rhinos came to him within the first months like that saying, now, look, you're a junior senator. you're supposed to be quiet. and he said, i was not elected to be quiet. i'm not going to be quiet. >> was that john mccain that said that? >> i refuse to answer on the grounds that it might incriminate me. >> of course raphael cruz, sr. saves his harshest language for the president of the united states. >> we have our work cut out for us. we need to send barack obama back to chicago. i would like to send him back to kenya.
[ applause ] >> that was at a north texas tea party event about two months before mitt romney lost the presidential election and of course it was long after president obama had produced his birth certificate showing that unlike either raphael cruz, sr., or junior, he was actually born in the united states. joining me now are msnbc political analyst steve schmidt, senior adviser on the mccain '08 campaign and joy reid, nbc contributor. this latest video about him wanting to send president obama as he puts it back to kenya was pulled out today. it's been around. they highlighted it. and then the senator put out a statement saying he doesn't -- his father doesn't speak for him. >> it's so precious when the guy whose son was born in canada does birther jokes. that's adorable.
it highlights without the media officially there kind of the way conservatives are talking amongst themselves. and that really is the problem. the problem is even with the 47% video, this was mitt romney being asked by somebody in the audience how can we get those moochers to stop taking our tax money and living on the dole. he answered that question with 47%. the conversations taking place inside the conservative base shows ugliness outwardly. >> steve schmidt, the other thing in that video is a strong sense of superiority. we are superior people to the other people we're talking about, be it the president of the united states or anyone that votes for him. >> well, look, it's very damaging. when you look at the numbers the republican party image numbers
today after following the path laid down by ted cruz, you see the damage that that has brought. this is a bad day for this to be out there for ted cruz. clearly even ted cruz by standing up today and really for the first time acknowledging to his fellow senators, his colleagues, distancing himself from the senate conservative fund that i'm not going to raise money to attack you anymore. i think he understands that even his show while it is inspired some of these people in the tea party, you know, it's inflicting damage on him now and so very perilous political situation and again i think the issue with raphael cruz isn't that it's just a parent speaking, he's not the only guy in the country who might have a crazy parent out there, the issue is that he's been identified in many, many serious news organizations as ted cruz's senior political adviser and i think it's important that you communicate
clearly not that my father doesn't speak for me but what's wrong about that statement. the delegitimization of the president and that type of rhetoric has just killed republicans and obscures our ability to make a policy argument. it's terrible. >> to go to steve's point about the new polls. it doesn't have great news for any politician these days. president obama is at a new low for him with 41% positive rating. but that is almost double the republican party's positive rating which is at 22. i have to say i didn't know it could get that low. tea party is 23. that's where positive rating is, joy reid. i want to go to something that is in "the new york times" today. republican pollster on the issue of immigration reform is talking about that and he said he worried about the republican opposition to possibly being based in racism. he said racism may be a part of it.
the republican party needs to stop pandering to that, which i think is what we just saw raphael cruz doing. the republican party needs to throw in the towel on the immigration issue. >> the thing that's sort of interesting about when republicans try to recruit minorities and bring them into the fold, what they wind up doing is bring in people who sort of primarily feature -- one of the primary features is repudiation of their current group. it shows that they're pure of principle and better than other african-americans and they recruited ted cruz. initially marco rubio was the tea party guy who doesn't bring hispanic to the republican party. he goes back to hispanic and says i'll bring you conservatism until he did immigration reform. once marco rubio stepped toward immigration reform, he was seen
as a trader to conservatism. ted cruz is himself a latino who says, no, i repudiate the thing that 70% of my fellow latinos want and that gives him that within the conservative movement but it makes him useless to him as someone to broaden the party's base among hispanic. they get someone they like who can make other white republicans feel good about supporting a minority but who can't help bring in more minorities. >> steve schmidt, you hear someone like raphael cruz to talk about sending the president back to kenya, if you want to look at an anti-immigration frame that might have racial components to it, it seems to me it's right in there. >> look, there's no doubt. it's old news at this point that the republican party can't win national elections if it can't do better with latino voters, if it can't do better with asian voters, with minority voters.
and so the damage here is being caused by ideologues and ideologues are destructive in any political party, in any political organization because an ideologue brings with them the capacity to look at the red wall and insist that it is blue and we're following ideologues down a policy path that will ultimately lead to the destruction of the republican party's ability to compete as a national party. it will remain strong as a regional party but not as a national party. and so when you look at the 22% caused by the way because of republicans for following this path that ted cruz laid out when it was abundantly clear from the beginning it was one achievable, it was unpopular and that there was no plausible exit strategy from it and at a time when republicans have opportunities
to really define the policy deficiencies, i would argue in obama care, we're once again talking about distractions caused by ted cruz tonight so a lot of republicans i think tonight look at ted cruz and wish ted cruz would go back to canada. >> joy reid, everything steve just said is what both raphael cruzes call establishment republicans trying to go left. i listened to steve carefully. i don't hear leftism in steve schmidt. >> ted cruz is perfectly following the conservative model of rush limbaugh and other talk radio hosts. they constantly prick at the sort of hurt feelings and anger and range of their listeners to keep them hopped up and excite and listening all the time every quarter out they got to keep rolling them over. ted cruz follows that model. irony is that people like rush limbaugh and ann coulter are happy to have a democrat to beat up in the white house. this he don't have an interest
in winning elections. it doesn't do them any good to have a republican in the white house because then what would they talk about? they would have to become devoted to that president which doesn't help their ratings. ted cruz is following the model of the people who least want to win elections, but he's using and claiming that could help win elections. it's so ironic but the reason why people like steve schmidt lose credibility among the base because they believe rush and it will help to us win the white house when clearly that's not what rush probably wants. >> steve schmidt, the backlash seems to be under way by establishment republicans in washington against ted cruz. >> there's no glory in losing election after election and there's no glory in committing yourself to strategies that are self-evidently defeating the purpose of trying to build a majority that can win elections. so i think that people want to see a healthy republican party advancing conservative principles making conservative
policy arguments not to see conservatism generate into a cult of personality and if you look at those polls as bad as they are, there's no evidence to suggest that they're not on anything but a downward trend line. i think as my former boss john mccain used to say, it's always darkest before it's completely black when it comes to some of these numbers. you know, i think there's every expectation that they would be on a trend line to go lower and so when you consider the damage that's been done and people's ambition to see a republican president again, i think it's important to despite all of the terrible news in these polls, there's going to be a governor re-elected on tuesday in one of the bluest states in the country with ultimately good numbers in a lot of communities where we have systemic failure across the country. it will be interesting wednesday to try to find that silver cloud up there.
i think we're going to see it. >> silver cloud of chris christie. steve schmidt and joy reid, thank you both very much for joining me tonight. >> thank you. >> coming up, another episode of obama care horror story debunked and did you hear about president obama's big, big win in syria this week or america's rapidly decreasing budget deficit? you haven't? it's coming up. and everything you need to know and everything alec baldwin needs to memorize about the new faa rules on using electronic devices on airplanes and there will be a clip from "the west wing." [ horn honks ] [ male announcer ] once in a while, everything falls into perfect harmony. [ engine revs ] and you find yourself in exactly the right place
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pay now under obama care? >> i'm currently paying $293 a month. under obama care, depending on the plan that i go with, it's any place from $478 to $500 a month for a "comparable" plan to what i have. however it's not comparable in that i cannot go to my doctors or my hospital. so explain to me how it's better for me? >> deborah was asking the wrong person. a "los angles times" reporter watching her on television decided to call her and compare the health insurance she had to the health insurance she could get and it was found as reported in his article headlined "another obama care horror story debunked" was the assertion that there was nothing affordable about the affordable health care act as she put it on nbc channel 4 is a product of her own misunderstanding embedded by
uninformed and incurious news reporters. joining me now, business columnist for "the los angeles times" and the author of the recent book "the new deal on modern history and wendell potter, a former health insurance executive with a new ebook coming out december 6th entitled "obama care what's in it for me." tell me what happened when you got her on the phone and started comparing the plan she had to what she could get? >> it was clear to me when i listened to her when i read about what she had said and looked at the clips that she wasn't telling the whole story and probably didn't understand herself what her options were. so i had her on the phone. i had covered california in our state's exchange app and she was surprised to learn this 400 some
odd dollar a month plan she was pitched was not the best plan she could get. she could get a better plan than she had for much less money than she was paying because she had as many people who have had policies canceled have had, she had junk insurance. it didn't really cover very much. under obama care she was eligible -- first of all, she was eligible for $200 a month in income subsidies, premium subsidies and she could get a bronze plan far superior to the plan she had for much less money. she was perplexed. she was amazed. she was quite taken aback. >> i don't want any of this to sound critical of her. i think shopping for these kinds of plans is very difficult and comparing apples to apples is difficult. never easy for consumers to do this. i want to read how you summarized what she's eligible
for. she's eligible for a good silver plan for $333 a month after the subsidy. $40 a month more than she's paying more but the plan is much better than the current plan. the deductible is $2,000 not $5,000. the maximum out-of-pocket expense is $6,350 and not $8,500. all visits would be covered, not just two, which is all her current plan had covered. wendell potter, these kind of comparisons, i believe, are absolutely necessary in every news story anyone wants to present about how someone is "losing" under obama care. >> you're exactly right. more reporters should do exactly what michael had as done. it's what we're seeing is reporters generally not doing that at all and they're not looking at what insurance
companies are doing and also to misinform people. aetna has been sending letters out to current customers suggesting that they can enroll in plans early to avoid obama care. and people are just not aware of the fact that they probably can get much better coverage starting now for 2014 than they've been able to get in the past. >> i want to put up a visual here. a chart of the so-called winners and losers under obama care and a loser is being described as someone who might have to buy a slightly more expensive plan but will also have more benefits to it. there's only 3% that come into that category. 80% the big section of it unaffected. largely people who will have employer plans preserved as is. there are 14% clear winners under this currently completely uninsured people who will gain
access to health care they would not have had. there's a group of no real consequences at all about 3%. so this is the -- the 80% there is basically the group that the president was talking about when he was campaigning for this saying if you like your health insurance you can keep it. i want to you talk about the journalistic responsibilities in going into these stories and presenting these people as witnesses against the affordable care act. >> well, frankly, it's been pretty demoralizing to me to see these people who are basically innocent. there's a lady in winter haven, florida, trotted around by a lot of tv shows who is supposedly also in the same boat. she had junk insurance as it turns out. she's eligible for a lot of subsidies and she'll do much better.
i think the responsibility of the reporters interviewing these customers, these citizens, is that they need to educate themselves. journalism is an educational process. as a reporter you have to educate yourself and then you teach to the best of your ability your readers or viewers as to what you learned. the reporter is who put these people on the air or quote them in newspaper articles aren't doing that. they basically have someone -- they are following a narrative and narrative is people are suffering sticker shock and they get somebody who says, well, geez, i'm going to pay a lot higher premiums, i have sticker shock and that's the furthest the reporter goes and that's really not competent or responsible journalism when you keep in mind that premiums people pay is just part of the cost of insurance and medical care so nobody in the press or on the air seems to be looking
at this saying, well, what do you get for that premium? what are costs going to be if you get sick and how much better are you going to be with obama care compliant plan that's got limited deductibles, limited out-of-pocket expenses, free preventative treatment, all of those things compared to what you've got which covers two doctor visits a year, that's got sky high deductibles, huge out-of-pocket expenses, if you're not doing that, you're not competent to cover the transition from the old era of health insurance to the obama care era. >> wendell potter, any additional suggestions you would make to reporters who are covering this kind of analysis? >> for one thing, give me a call. >> let's start there. that's a good one. >> i spent 20 years inside the insurance industry. i can point reporters to what
they might want to be looking at to cover this from perspective they haven't covered it from before. >> thank you both very much for joining me tonight. >> my pleasure. >> coming up, scenes from what some reviewers are calling the best movie about slavery ever made. "12 years a slave" with the screenwriter john ridley. orbiti. afghanistan in 2009. on the u.s.s. saratoga in 1982. [ male announcer ] once it's earned, usaa auto insurance is often handed down from generation to generation because it offers a superior level of protection and because usaa's commitment to serve current and former military members and their families is without equal. begin your legacy. get an auto insurance quote. usaa. we know what it means to serve.
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business standpoint. we're reforming a broken health care system and as a consequence health care costs are rising at the slowest rate in 50 years. we cut our deficits by more than half since i took office and they keep going down. >> the spotlight tonight, good news for president obama. seriously good news. the government shutdown aftermath in affordable care act glitches have overshadowed some major stories on two of the president's top priorities, national security and the economy. a new report from the treasury department shows that the federal government's deficit is the smallest it has been since 2008 before the president took office. the 2013 fiscal deficit stands at $680 billion or 4.1% of gross domestic product. 680 billion is about 51% less than it was in 2009 when the deficit hit a record high of 1.4 trillion. in other news, syria has met a major deadline in the process of getting rid of its chemical
weapons of mass destruction. the organization for the prohibition of chemical weapons says syria completed the functional destruction of critical equipment for all of its declared chemical weapons product facilities and fixing/filling plants rendering them inoperable. they said the remaining two sites were too dangerous to reach for inspection but chemical equipment had already been moved to other sites that experts visited. the next target date is november 15th when inspectors and syria must agree to a detailed plan of destruction including how and where to destroy more than 1,000
metric tons of toxic agents and munitions. joining me now, steve clemens, editor at large for "the atlantic" and richard wolffe from msnbc.com. it turns out there's been some real progress. >> i think it was on your show that said if president obama could trade a messy war for getting syria to become part of the chemical weapons convention and we can get back on somewhat on the same side with russia on trying to deal with global problems, that would be an enormous strategic success the president could say we've checked off a box and we're not going have another trillion dollar war. >> and richard wolffe, i'm not hearing any complaints from those who are saying the president seems indecisive on syria. they don't seem to even notice what's happening in syria. >> they were so passionate about the victims suffering and they forgot about that suffering.
refugees are camped out in the horrific conditions but politics have moved on because they have got another whack a mole to go hit. the people that say they care should be consistent. >> a report that u.s. officials confirm that israeli military forces destroyed missiles that the syrian government was reportedly prepared to deliver to hezbollah. that's the latest development. >> those were in part russian missiles that have come in and supplies and syrian missiles and u.s. officials have confirmed that over two strikes the israelis have come in and destroyed this. they've done this previously. engaged in monitoring those sophisticated systems that could find their way to hezbollah and then be aimed at israel so in this kind of fog of war, israel has kept its eye on the ball with things that it cared about even though it's a complicated date and even though syria has been compliant on other things. it's still a major risk to israel.
>> i thought having tracked all of the republican comments over the last several years that we were facing this budget armageddon, unsustainable debt that was crushing our children and their grandchildren and everybody else and it turns out not so much. you would think people that care about fiscal responsibility so much would at least acknowledge how we got here. maybe try to take credit for it themselves. apparently they don't care. >> let's listen to what senator corker said today about syria in this hearing. >> do you feel good about what our country is doing with the opposition right now to allow them to have some sort of say so in the future of this country? >> there isn't a person on my team at the state department who doesn't feel frustrated, frustrated by the syrian problem in general, but i have to say we do provide support to help them against the regime.
we provide a lot of support. ultimately, senator, syrians must fix this problem and ultimately, senator, it's going to require them to sit down at a table. >> steve, it is a calmer discussion now. >> it is a calmer discussion. you heard bob corker and senator mccain express dismay and lament that we didn't have to some degree a fighting force out there with the syrian opposition engaged in the civil war. they need to remember back to labor day weekends when they were talking to constituents who wanted nothing at all to do with the deeper integration into the civil war. the success that obama has succeeded in achieving is a strategic success with chemical weapons but it doesn't mean problems will be solved militarily. there's a warm and fuzzy side of the syrian opposition and nasty side to the syrian opposition. we're trying to get the peace process that russians are
hosting to look at how can you have some deal between the syrian assad regime and the moderates so that they can basically come into control. that is where everything needs to go. i would hope senator corker and others would look at that as incremental evidence we may get out of syrian mess eventually. >> is there any way for the white house to get credit for what's going on in syria in this current media climate? >> i think it's a risky position for them to try and engineer because there's going to be another moral outrage in syria. there will be more cries and more innocence killed and people will say something must be done. if they try to say we achieved something, the syrians will have another outrage and do you really want to be out there saying we made it better when it gets dramatically worse and it will get worse. >> there's something to be said on the diplomatic end of this as long as things are going well, why make public statements that
may provoke assad. >> we're talking to the russians about having peace talks. a month ago we were not. we were basically on a collision course not only over syria but other global problems. i look at this as a very positive trend. i think they're handling it fairly deafly in the white house. >> thank you both for joining me tonight. >> thank you. >> coming up, in the rewrite tonight. toby zeigler, alec baldwin and the new rules for cell phones on planes. [ female announcer ] it figures...on your busiest day you see the gray. try root touch-up by nice 'n easy.
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you should not start humira if you have any kind of infection. make the most of every moment. ask your dermatologist about humira, today. clearer skin is possible. the faa has finally, finally rewritten the rule requiring you to shut off anything with an on/off switch before the plane pushes away from the gate. the announcement released today said the faa has determined that airlines can safely expand perm use of electronics during all phases of flight and is immediately providing the airlines with implementation guidance. the fda issued their own top ten list of things passengers should know about expanded use of p.e.d.s on airplanes. listen up, alex baldwin. number one, make safety your first priority. i think we can all agree on that one.
number two, this one is very important. changes to p.e.d. policies will not happen immediately and will vary by airline. check with your airline if and when you can use your p.e.d. number three, current p.e.d. policies remain in effect until an airplane completes a safety assessment, gets faa approval and changes its p.e.d. policy. number four, and this is the most important one. cell phones may not be used for voice communications. so you still cannot make phone calls on a plane after it pulls away from a gate. devices must be used in airplane mode or with cellular function disabled. and number seven, during the safety briefing put down electronic devices, books and
newspapers and listen to the crew members' instructions for the first time ever. number eight, it only takes a few minutes to secure items according to the crews' instruction during takeoff and landing. i don't know why number eight is even in there. seems not to add anything at all but the faa felt they needed to say that. number nine, in some instances of low visibility 1% of flights some landing systems may not be proved p.e.d. tolerant so you may be asked to turn off your device. again we're talking 1% of flights here. there's a 99% chance it's not going to be your flight. and finally, always follow crew instructions and immediately turn off your device if asked. after the faa issued the new rules today, the white house tweeted "you're welcome, toby zeigler."
that refers to the fictional white house staffer played in "the west wing" by richard schiff. >> we ask at this time that you turn off all electronic devices and return your seat backs to the full and upright position. we'll be landing shortly at washington dulles airport. >> sir, i need you to turn off the computer. i need you to turn off your laptop, sir. interferes with our navigational systems. >> when you say that it sounds ridiculous to most people. >> mr. zeigler, a message was patched up to the cockpit for you. i'm not sure i got it right. >> you got it right. >> you can't use your phone until we land, sir. >> it came off the line 20 months ago and carries a tracking system. are you telling me i can take
this down with something i purchased at radio shack. >> you can call when we land, sir. >> also, i never got my peanuts. >> and then richard schiff tweeted to me and other "west wing" alumni, fiction wins. not so fast, toby zeigler. remember rule number four. cell phones may not be used for voice communications. >> you can't use your phone until we land, sir. >> it came off the line 20 months ago. carries a transponder tracking system. are you telling me i can take it down with something i bought at radio shack?
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that's why you take charge of your future. your retirement. ♪ ameriprise advisors can help you like they've helped millions of others. listening, planning, working one on one. to help you retire your way... with confidence. that's what ameriprise financial does. that's what they can do with you. ameriprise financial. more within reach. the movie "12 years a slave" opens in theaters nationwide tomorrow and is already generating oscar buzz. the film is based on the true story of solomon northup who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. he published his story as a book entitled "12 years a slave." the book was published eight years before the start of the civil war.
"12 years a slave" is easily the greatest feature film ever made about american slavery." >> survival is not about certain death. it's about keeping your head down. >> days ago i was with my family in my home. now you're telling me all that's lost. don't know who i am is the way to survive? well, i don't want to survive.
i want to live. >> joining me now screenwriter and executive producer of "12 years a slave" john ridley. this had to be a very difficult adaptation working from that material, working from the language of that era in the book. how did you approach it? >> really in some ways, lawrence, i looked at it as kind of a restoration project. the source material -- i encourage everyone to read it -- is one of the most powerful documents that i've ever read and i tried to really approach it with an invisible hand but to be as reductive as opposed to additive. as a person of color in 2013, i didn't want too much of me in the story. reading and feeling the power of solomon's words. i wanted it to be about him. it is his story. >> let's look at another scene. let's watch this.
>> take comfort. in his own time, you could learn to manage them all. the curse are a poor example of white plantation class. this is nice. >> a couple of things about that one. it's nice because she has basically become a mistress who is given a much better way of life. >> it's a very interesting scene. one of the things for me in telling this story, if it's going to be at all enthralling, it has to be informative and say something different. a lot of people didn't know certain aspects of slavery. you have this character who married her way into a slightly better lifestyle and to have this moment, this oasis, this respite, for these other slaves
who could go to her and get aid and comfort on a sabbath which is only day they had free, was a really beautiful scene. people coming into it thinking that slavery was only one thing. there were degrees and variations of it. none of them particularly great but just different. some tonality in the story. >> and incredibly difficult choices every slave had to make about how to survive, how to move forward. let's look at one more scene. >> have you stopped crying for your children? you make no sounds, but will you ever let them go in your heart? >> they are my flesh. >> who is distressed? do i upset the master and mistress. do you care less about my loss than their well-being. >> master ford is a decent man. >> under the circumstances he's a slaver. >> i survive! i will not fall into despair!
i will offer up my talents to master ford! >> ford is your opportunity? you think he does not know that you're more than you suggest? he does nothing for you. nothing. you are no better than prized livestock. >> john, such a remarkable scene in so many ways. the language in the scene, how much of that were you taking directly from the book? >> some of it comes directly from the book. a lot of it again was researching the language trying to make it match and not be overly theatrical in its presentation. that scene was very, very powerful. the character talking about her children that were torn from her at a slave auction. one of the phrases we always hear is talk about traditional family values and it's a catch-all phrase. for people of color, the traditional value of family as a character in there says extends to the length of a coin. those are things that people don't think about or understand
when we talk about slavery and its impact even today about how families were looked at, about the impact of individuals with their family and how that resonates time after time, year after year. >> and the impact on family for generations to come after the slavery was over. >> well, you have to remember as i know you know, slavery is the vast majority of history of this country and the evolution of it. slavery was for the brought to this country fully formed. when that lasts for several hundred years in this country and we get to 2013 and we have views of class, it came from all of us. the only way to get past that is to have a concept of understanding of our history, our shared history. this isn't just african-american