Newark Mayor Cory Booker has made a name for himself as a politician, but the Senate-hopeful thinks that politics is just the first step in the process of improving America.
“We need to get out of the idea that politics is the end, that just putting people in office is what we should be aspiring for,” he explained to Rev. Al Sharpton on Friday’s Advancing the Dream: Live from the Apollo. “The end ultimately is about our own communities and our neighborhoods and how are we as a country living up to this ideal that no child, every child born in america, no matter where you’re born, should have an equal shot at making.”
Booker also urges Americans to become more engaged in their communities and politics, to help overcome the issues America faces.
If we have the grace and the blessing to call ourselves an American, then we, too, must be involved in politics. and it is a political action in and of itself to remove yourself from the process. I know the power of the people is always greater than the people in power, but yet because of the way we view politics now it’s becoming more and more of a spectator sport, where you just sit on the sidelines and root for your team, red or blue and see how they’re doing.
That’s just not how it should work. Democracy demands action, engagement and involvement from all of our citizenry. The only reason we have the vicious challenges we face now, stratification of income, an incarceration nation, putting more people in prison than any other country on the globe per capita. The only reason why we have massive and increasing child poverty in america is not because we do not have capacity to do something about it, we can. In fact, american history is a screaming testimony to the perpetual achievement of the impossible. We’re a people who can do anything. It’s not a matter of can we deal with the problems but do we have the collective will? Real leadership is not people that stand up and say, ‘Hey, follow me, vote for me.’ That’s not leadership to me. Leadership is the kind of people that inspire others to understand that they, too, are leaders and must lead.
Watch the full interview with Cory Booker above.