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tv   Disrupt With Karen Finney  MSNBC  June 29, 2013 1:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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efreshing. my mouth felt more lubricated. i use the biotene rinse twice a day and then i use the spray throughout the day. it actually saved my career in a way. because biotene really did make a difference. thanks for disrupting your afternoon. i'm karen finney. if you want to disrupt the political process, guess what. the supreme court just made it harder. >> the supreme court essentially knocked down one of the pillars of the civil rights movement. >> strikes down a key part of the voting rights act. >> it was a 5-4 decision with chief justice roberts joined by justices scalia, thomas -- >> i might not be here as president except for those who helped pass the voting rights act. >> the supreme court has
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declared the federal defense of marriage act unconstitutional. >> it cannot take up the challenge to california's proposition 8. >> one judge in particular making the difference. >> anthony kennedy, does he have some clerk that's happen to be gays? >> i thought our arguments were sound and every unelse's were insane. >> nobody in this country has ever been denied the right to get married. >> knock, knock. who's there? >> thanks for joining us this afternoon. it has been another busy week from a stand-off on women's rights to the trial of george zimmerman, the president's trip to africa and landmark supreme court decisions. it was a week that both answered and raised new questions about what it means to be equal in this country. we start with the big news at the supreme court this week. equal protection under the law. this week, lgbt rights took a
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huge step forward as the court affirm that same sex marriages will now finally be recognized by the u.s. government. at the same time, the court gutted the voting rights act by striking down section 4 which is essentially the heart of the act's enforcement of equal protection of voting rights for every american. within minutes, texas attorney general greg abbott demonstrated exactly why equal protections are still needed. he tweeted, quote, texas voter id law should go into effect immediately because scotus struck down section four of the vra today. he also announce ad redistricted map of texas designed specifically to dilute the strength and impact of minority voters would also soon go into effect. both measures have been blocked by the voting rights act during the 2012 election. this year alone, 82 measures in 31 states have been introduced and before tuesday, the voting rights act served as a protection against such measures. that's gone. gone.
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these states are now free to obstruct voting for minorities, college students and seniors. all of which tend to vote democratic. however they want. with me now, the co-corrector and founder of the advancement project. kenji, professionor at nyu and rashad robinson, director of color of change. thanks for being with me. i want to start with you. i want us to try to focus on where we go from here. essentially, the court said, discrimination exists but said to congress, go figure it out but there's really no protection in the meantime. if we look at what the current map looks like, what are the implications of this decision and where are the areas of real concern as we move forward? >> well, the area of primary concern is the south. starting in virginia, then going down to north carolina, florida, texas, mississippi. several of those states have
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pending or just enacted laws that would suppress the votes of people of color. and the justice department either had objected or was in the process of reviewing those laws. and now as you indicated, texas has announced that it is going to put its law in effect immediately. i think mississippi has also made an announcement that its voters suppressing voter i.d. laws going to be put into effect immediately. and virginia has a law that had not been submitted and now will not have to be submitted but will go into effect. >> they were, if i'm not mistaken, they were waiting in virginia for this decision before they move forward. >> that's exactly right. that's why they were able to move so quickly. >> so yesterday, the folks trying to obstruct are getting right to it. but then leader pelosi yesterday held a meeting. james clyburn, congressman from south carolina, will lead the effort on the house side and we had of course, john lewis. we'll take a listen real quick
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saying let's get to action. let's take a listen. >> what the court did today is stab the voting rights act of 1965 to its very heart. it took us almost 100 years to get to where we are today. so will it take another 100 years to fix it? to change it? i call upon my colleagues in the congress to get it right. to fix it. >> so what is congress going to do? how did they proceed now? >> yeah. i think they have lots of options. the question is whether or not they'll have the political will to pursue them. you can imagine a universal voting rights protection act or you can imagine the formula that said we'll study the jurisdictions where there is voting suppression. i think what is so tragic about this is that the supreme court made all these gestures of we're being restrained. we're handing this over to congress. it knew full well the. the congress is so dysfunctional
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that it won't be able to do anything in response to this unless we respond by saying, and i've said this until i'm blue in the face. forgive me for repeating myself. voting is different from any other rights. the supreme court has said that voting is a right that is preservative of all other rights. that makes sense. someone was tweeting to me today, the second amendment is that right and somebody else said, you voted for the second amendment. we voted for that. at heart, the entire constitutional order is based on the right to vote. so i think we have to look at congress and say if you can't do this. in some ways, let's put to one side all the other things you seem to not be able to do like gun control or immigration or what have you. if you can't do this, what can you do? >> to this question about a new form lark one of the things that struck me. this is my own sort of, i'm not a lawyer. i will say that now. it struck me if you look at how much we saw going on in 2008 and particularly, 2012, that needed to be stopped, prevented in order for people to try to vote,
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you still had people waiting in line eight and nine hours. is there a form la that could actually encompass the whole country? is that a possibility? it seems to me that we need more, not less protection at this point. >> right, yeah. absolutely. i think that the silver lining here to the extent that there is one and i really want to say the cloud is really big and the lining is really, really thin. so i don't want to oversell this. the one silver lining is that this might be a movement to say, okay, we'll take you for your word, supreme court. if your problem was that you saw lots of racism and restrictions on voting and noncovered jurisdictions, then congress can respond by saying, we'll have a blanket rule across the country that says these kinds of suppression tactics are impermissible. >> so talking about moving forward, i know at color of change, you've already started. looking down the road. talk a little about what you guys are doing to get your folks motivated and make sure that people understand, this is a call to action. not, you know, a arraign to just
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be sad. >> absolutely. this is a moment that requires a movement that is equally as strong and forceful. at color of change along with our friends at the advancement project, we've launched free to vote.org. a movement that is talking about a constitutional amendment for the right to vote but more importantly, trying on camden you are the energy of everyday people who are outraged by whammed and maybe we'll have an instant moment, instant reaction and go back to doing what we did before. we are capturing that energy. hundreds of thousands of people have already went to free to vote.org and signed up. we're hoping to move that energy into state efforts around the country for early voting, ending franchisement. registration. all the american purchases will open up and expand the vote. also continuing this longer and deeper conversation about how do we ensure voting is protected? we have a freedom to vote in this country that can't be put aside by our politicians. >> to that point, the last question to you, if the silver lining could get a little
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thicker, i wonder if part of what we might see, particularly through what you're doing with color of change. is this a moment where we can actually get people to come out and show the electoral power, that they showed in 2012 and remind people, i like to remind my friends in the progressive movement that you would not have a president obama without minority voters, without. so everyone is dependent on the idea that we protect these rights. >> absolutely, karen. an example of that right now is north carolina where people are getting arrested every monday and calling it moral mondays. and they are protesting the legislature that is attacking voting rights as well as other rights, unemployment compensation and medicaid. and i think it shows that there is really power still in protest, in joining the free to vote. and in voting. in 2013, not just in presidential years, what people
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have to remember, is you have to vote in every election every year. >> that is a great point. thank you so much for joining me. next, the other major ruling this week. the one that left justice scalia and so many others on the right scared. this is "disrupt" on msnbc. >> i want to thank the supreme court for finally setting my people free. it was a 5-4 decision with chief justice roberts joined by justices scalia, thomas, alito and dean. hey, look! a shooting star! make a wish! i wish we could lie here forever. i wish this test drive was over, so we could head back to the dealership. [ male announcer ] it's practically yours. test drive! [ male announcer ] but we still need your signature. volkswagen sign then drive is back. and it's never been easier to get a jetta. that's the power of german engineering. get $0 down, $0 due at signing, $0 deposit, and $0 first month's payment on any new volkswagen.
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it's only been nine years since massachusetts became the first state in the union to legalize same sex marriage. thanks to the landmark rulings this week, lgbt couples
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nationwide now have equal status under the federal law and can get married in the country's most populous state. just last night the two couples tied the knot. they were player made the service performed in san francisco by california attorney general kamala harris. and paul and jeff were married in los angeles by outgoing mayor antonio villaraigosa. while same sex marriages have resumed in california, the fight for quality is far from over. because the devil is in the details. as couples around the country are now having to figure out how to access 1,100 federal marriage benefits for the very first time. especially in those states that don't recognize their right to marry. now, president obama earlier this week said that his administration has already been at work sorting through some of these legal issues. >> although we hadn't prejudged what the ruling had been, i
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asked my white house counsel to help work lawyers across every agency and the federal government to start getting a sense of what statutes would be implicated and what it will mean for us to administratively apply the rule that federal benefits apply to all married couples. >> not to be surprised, meanwhile, opponents of same sex marriage also sprang into action this week. >> they attacked something they have no jurisdiction over whatsoever. the foundational unit of our society. which is marriage. that is something that god created. >> why not expand the definition of marriage further to include polygamists, siblings, 15-year-olds. >> what we now have today is a holy quintet who goes against the laws of nature and nature's god. >> a few people want to have
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their way of doing sex affirmed by everybody else. >> i will be working with my colleagues for a response to this. i think we have some options in order to do so. and again, a very sad day for the children of america. >> oh, please. look, despite the court's ruling, and a legal tab of roughly $2.3 million billed to the american taxpayers, the congressman is planning to file a constitutional amendment to restore doma. with me, the constitutional law professor at nyu. rashad, from color of change and joining me, long time gay rights activist and advocate, richard. thank you for staying with me. richard, i want to start with you. we've got 13 states and the district of columbia that recognize same sex marriage but we have three states that don't and a lot of legal issues to sort out along the way. what's next? >> i think what people will see and what this ruling now dramatically illustrates is that
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we have, you know, whether or not you have rights as a full american in this country if you're gay depends upon where you live. and i think that that, when people realize that it has so much to do with geography. if you live even in new york, but if you live across the river in new jersey, you don't have those rights. i think people will see the unfairness and inequality of that and see that's not the way we do things in this country, even though in other parts of the civil rights struggle in this country, we had two americas. so i think that the ruling granting federal benefits to those people who live in states where marriage is allowed is going to accelerate the pace of change throughout the country. >> and to that point, what about, this decision applies to marriage but not civil unions. so how does that affect people who live in a state where they have a civil union? do we think it may put pressure on those states to pass marriage? >> i think it will put pressure.
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i think we'll see a lot of couples bringing forward lawsuits and trying to figure out exactly how their state is going to ensure that they're able to love and protect and take care of their families. i mean, this is a civil rights issue. and i think that what we're also going to see around the country, and we saw it from the right with these attacks and we talked about it with the voting rights issue. is attacks to marriage. the gay rights movement can learn a lot from what the civil rights movement went through this past week in terms of the way that racial justice has been reframed as racial entitlement. and we're going to see sort of all sorts of tactics, whether religious exemptions and other things being put forward to try to attack this. >> one of the things that strike me, this feels very much as a generational issue. all those folks we just saw slamming the ruling were older and they were white and they were men. and if you look at republicans,
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democrats and independents, particularly among younger generation, this is a civil rights issue. a lot of people think this is their civil rights issue of their generation. i'm wondering what the folk that you work with is that passion to keep this movement going as a civil rights issue. again, whether you're gay or straight. is that part of what you're seeing? >> i think the powerful thing we've seen with the gay rights movement around the country is that it has been an allied movement in so many ways. you see folks taking up the call who are not necessarily impacted themselves. but see the fact that this injustice exists and wants to take up the call. that's what we've seen in successful moments all around the country. this movement like so many others is being led by young voices. and is tapping into culture and technology in ways that all of us can really learn from. >> one of the things that was interesting was that justice ginsberg said she thought it
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moved too fast on row. >> my criticism of row, is that it stopped the momentum. i expected much more back and forth. much more dialogue among people who play in the political process. that would have been my ideal picture of how this issue would have gotten resolved. >> so does the nature of these two decisions and how they sort of worked together reflect that kind of approach, let's have the states continue its process? >> absolutely. i was at the oral argument for the prop 8 case. and one of the questions that justice ginsburg asked, we didn't go right to interracial marriage. we did a ruling that struck down fornication where there were disparity penalties whether it was interracial sexual activity or not. so what she was throwing to the other side was, should not we take this as incemetekr increme
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possible. it allowed the country to move incrementally. we don't actually have that far to kick the can down the road. the case is already percolating from the ninth circuit from hawaii and nevada respectively so the court can't defer this for the 12 years that it waited with respect to interracial marriage. >> to that point, there is the legal track, right? there is grassroots track. but also the political reality i think that republicans are confronting. for a democratic nominee for president, this is a no brainer. you have to be, you have to support it. but for the republicans, it, despite the rhetoric that we're hearing, it is a much more complicated issue. you have a growing number of republican who's support marriage equality. and that by not supporting that, pushes you farther and farther to the right and a smaller and smaller base. how will republicans handle this? >> that's the million-dollar question. on this issue on immigration,
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too, it is very avery difficult issue for republicans. so much of that party is captive to the tea party. and the tea party is not going to go along on immigration and they're not going to go on gay rights. but it is so clear, especially even more so on gay rights where the rest of the country is heading. especially from a cultural standpoint. even though politics are taking a while to catch up, if you turn on tv and you watch tv, you can see where the country is going. the country accepts that there are americans who are gay and lesbian and they want to be treated fairly and that's all we've ever asked for. the political process is way behind. this is a real challenge. i have some republican friends and this is what they, this is what keeps them up at night. >> good. >> and i think it is very unclear where they're going to go and how they'll get out of it. i would say even though the supreme court punted a little bit on this proposition 8 case, as kenji said, the language in
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the doma ruling is so strong and there is both, so the legal effect of that defense of marriage act ruling and the language in it will mean very quickly that the next case or two that percolates up will be a very sweeping ruling. and i think that it is, i think that there were big rulings and i think it will accelerate the pace of change, almost exactly the opposite of what justice ginsburg said happened around choice. >> i hope you're right. thank you. coming up, race and culture at the front and center of the george zimmerman trial. and a disruptor goes national. this is "disrupt" on msnbc. >> she remains standing in her pink sneakers for nearly 11 hours straight. >> bravo! >> that right there is the kind of athletic feet that will get you a product endorsement deal at the very least.
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don't forget to follow us on social media. you can tweet us at msnbc "disrupt" or find us on facebook where you can vote on our hash tag poll. "disrupt" or disruptors will be revealed tomorrow. coming up, the smears against rachel jeantel and post racial america. >> are you claiming in any way that you don't understand english? >> i understand english really well. >> you've spoken it all your life. >> yes, sir. she got a parking ticket... ♪ and she forgot to pay her credit card bill on time. good thing she's got the citi simplicity card. it doesn't charge late fees or a penalty rate. ever.
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after five days, one knock-knock jokes, 22 witnesses and hours of a contentious back and forth, it was testimony of the state's key witness that has sparked a national conversation. one i personally believe we need to have about race, class and equality. rachel jeantel. here's some sound from this week in court. >> pumps. these [ bleep ] holes always get away. >> knock-knock, who is there? >> you can can go. you can go. >> the persons on top in a mounted position. >> you don't think that creepy [ bleep ] is a racial comment? >> no. >> let's bring in our guest, jeff has covered the george zimmerman case from the very beginning for the orlando sentinel. and rich benjamin is a senior fellow at dimos.
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rich, i want to start with you. the racial undertones, six and a half hours on the stand and a contentious back and forth as i mentioned. and very uncomfortable i think for a lot of people in this country. that's what sparked this conversation. it was race and class. give me your thoughts about it. what you saw. >> it was horrific to watch for me personally. a lot of this testimony, because it is coming in the context of this week. and we've seen the vra case decision. we've seen the paula deen case. so the reactions to the trial specifically against rachel, they had a lot of dog whistle racism. you have to listen to hear it. it made people's nerves raw. >> one of the things, i want to follow up. it was sort of middle age white men versus jeantel. rachel wrote for the global
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grind this week and she says, quote, it seems the middle aged white men on both sides of this case are totally unaware of what raef else's life is like. a 19-year-old high school student of haitian descent who knows nothing more than the few block radius she has grown up in. the cultural difference are exponential. the point that you're making, part of what struck me is, i don't know that everybody understood the dog whistle politics. but certainly i think people understood that there was just a clash of cultures, a clash of understandings that was at times very tense. >> of course. and if you have a poor case on your hands, then strategy is going to put her on trial and make her seem xotic and incredible. she was meant to be the incredible witness. it seemed like they were trying to otherize her. >> that's how you make her unreliable. to make her otherized, as you put it. >> and we have seen some otherizing of our president and
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other prominent african-american and minority figures in this country. for some of us, it was painfully familiar and for others, it may have been an introduction to what that means and what that looks like. >> it is. for many people, it was painfully familiar. this thing when you're trying to speak, you're trying to bear witness to your friends who have served an unjustice or done an unjustice and then you're being made to look like a monster. for many people it was. we saw this across the social media, the twitter feeds and the facebook. people standing up for her thank goodness. >> jeff, you've been following this case from the very beginning and it has obviously had a real impact on the state and the community. specifically to jeantel's testimony, do you have a sense how that is playing with the jury? all women. five white and one minority. >> it's very interesting. race has been bubbling under the surface of the case since the trial started. the prosecution wasn't allowed to say that trayvon martin was racially profiled themselves
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just said profiled. it came up again when they introduced zimmerman's calls to poli police. the reaction was all over the case. at first people seemed to be almost ridiculing her or thought that don west, the defense lawyer was ridiculing her. as the testimony went along, it was so clear she was uncomfortable being there. she revealed that part of reason why there was this barrier between her and don west was not english was not only her first or second language, it was her third language after creole and spanish. the reaction completely flipped. this poor young woman on the stand testifying and just kind of being grilled by this defense attorney. i saw a lot of support for her in social media. >> other thing i thought was interesting. she came off at least to me as very sincere and she seemed scared. again, this was part of why i feel like this is the part of
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cultures was not just racial. this felt like, this is somebody who has not dealt with sitting in front of a court in her daily life. this was a unique experience. she talked about how embarrassed she felt about not going to the funeral but how she didn't want to see the body. it was clear this was a painful experience for her and one that she has been thrust into in many ways. >> right. the thing is, we've been calling her the state's star witness for months now. she testified on the stand that she didn't even realize at first that she would be a witness at all. she thought if she would be part of the case, that the police would could not tack her rather than the other way around. she didn't realize when she was giving her first statement to trayvon martin's attorneys, that that was going to be a key piece of evidence in the case. kind of the line of all her testimony and the explanations nor why she said she was in the hospital when she wasn't during trayvon martin's wake was all about reluctance. she didn't want to be part of this case. she said it over and over again. this was not where she wanted to be, the key, the important
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witness. >> i thought it was interesting. it felt a little bit, the demeanor toward her seemed hostile that she wasn't so comfortable being there. then there was another witness who followed, who also seemed like a reluctant witness. and he had a different experience. i want to shift gears. there's criticism within the african-american community as well of rachel. and some came to her defense and some were very critical. i want to put in a full screen of what was written for everybody any. the quote says, what many african-americans in our social media secretly wanted was for her to code switch. remove the vernacular from her vocabulary directly rooted in this young woman's experience to make her more appealing to whites and less, quote, embarrassing to the guardians of acceptable blackness. when i hear things like that, who gets to define what is acceptable blackness? >> when i saw that type of
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criticism, karen, i have horrified. that says more about the people who are being critical than it does about the young lady. in other words, when you have the status anxiety about how you fit into america, then you will lash out at poor black people or people perceived to be poor. that says more about your own status anxiety than about her. >> i think within the black community, we can't do that to each other. we can't let, we have to be willing to expand the definition of what it is to be an african-american. >> this woman speaks three languages. that speaks to immigration reform. we have a smart woman, tri-lingual. she is not black in the upscale sense of black but she is trilingual. she doesn't spend her life in a courtroom. people attacked her. >> i think we as a community need to look inside ourselves. thank you very much for your time today. next, the woman who really got under rick perry's skin and galvanized men and women across the country. this
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this is "disrupt" on msnbc. >> she didn't come from particularly good circumstances. what if her mom had said, i just can't do this. i don't want to do this. at that particular point in time, i think it becomes very personal. ] research suggests cell health plays a key role throughout our lives. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day 50+. it has 7 antioxidants to support cell health. did you i did. email? so what did you think of the house? well it's got a great kitchen, but did you see the school rating? oh, you're right. oh hey babe, i got to go. ok. come here sweetie, say bye to daddy. bye daddy! have a good day at school ok? ok. ...but what about when my parents visit? i just don't think there's enough room. lets keep looking. ok. i just love this one, i mean look at it... and it's next to a park i love it i love it too.
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to rescue efforts. go to facebook.com/dawnsaveswildlife. find out how the little things you do can make a big difference. if we could have order in the chamber so that the members can cast their vote -- >> a disruptor in pink running shoes gets the play of the week. during her 11-hour filibuster, state senator wendy davis stood up for the equal rights of women in texas. in doing so, she reinspired pro-choice men and women across our country. because what's happening in texas, strict republican anlt choice laws that actually would take away a woman's legal right to abortion care, is being taken to new extremes. >> this legislating is being
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done, voted on. look around the room. primarily by men. you can imagine, or maybe you can't how a woman feels to be told that her feelings on these issues, that no matter how difficult, no matter the circumstance that she's dealing with, if she can't fit into everyone of these little square pegs, she is not going to be able to exercise her constitutional right. what is so disturbing is that we don't seem to care. >> you know, davis is a hero, not just because she took a stand but because her story represents exactly why letting women have the right to make their own choices actually matters. a single mom at age 19, she was able to make the choices that were right for her. those choices, her hard work, took her from harvard law school to the texas state senate. now mother to two daughters. the point is, it was her
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decision to make. and just as you would expect, governor rick perry was not going to be outshined by a woman. at least not without trying to smear davis. >> even the woman who filibustered the senate the other day was born into difficult circumstances. she is the daughter of a single woman. she was a teenage mother herself. she managed to eventually graduate from harvard law school and serve in the texas senate. it is just unfortunate that she hasn't learned from her own example. that every life must be given a chance to realize its full potential and that every life matters. >> no, governor, you haven't learned. pay attention to wendy and you just might learn something. >> honestly, i think it demeans the office that he holds. women's health, if this bill were to go into law, truly is put at risk. i would say to him that i have
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the privilege of making a choice about the path i chose for my life. and i'm so proud of my daughters. but i could never for a moment put myself in the shoes of another woman confronting a difficult personal choice. and it really isn't for him to make statements like that. >> now, let those pink running shoes remind you how much it matters who you choose to vote for. be sure to tell us what you think about what happened in texas this week. tweet us at msnbc "disrupt" or find us on facebook where you can vote on our hash tag poll, disrumt or disruptors. don't go anywhere. we'll be right back. need helpr digestive balance in sync? try align. it's the number one ge recommended probiotic that helps maintain digestive balance. ♪ stay in the groove with align.
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the outpouring of love shows
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that this speaks to something very deep in the human spirit. the yearning for justice and dignity that transcends boundaries of race and class and faith. and country. >> that was president obama today in a press conference in south africa. he also met privately with the mandela family. in deference to the family, he said he will not be meeting with nelson mandela himself. the president is in south africa for more than sentimental reasons. it is part business trip and it may be overdo. as the president pointed out at the press conference, six of the ten fastest growing economies in the world during this past decade are in africa. presumably that's why the chinese president already went to africa in march and why african leaders have been visiting china since. obama may find inspiration in africa but he is also following the moyer. joining me are congresswoman karen bass from the subcommittee on africa, global health, global
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human rights and national organizations, and journalists and author, charlene. thank you both for joining me. i want to start with you, congresswoman. it feels like this trip is overdo for a lot of reasons but i think we don't underscore enough the economic and national security importance that africa can play. >> absolutely. by the way, congratulations on your show. you are so right. in a way, i think the united states is late to the party. if you look at india, china, brazil, turkey, a lot of countries are very, very well aware that you know, the african continent is over 54 countries. over a billion people and we have economies now that are much more stable, a growing middle class and the united states needs to be very much involved. and i think it is one of the areas where the president has had a lot of accomplishments but it has gone unnoticed. so i'm very glad he's there now. >> you know, the president spent some time today at a town hall
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meeting with young people. and obviously, young people have played such an important role in south africa's history. what is the mood of young south africans today? as optimistic as they were before? >> well, you have more of them going to school today than prior to 1994 during the apartheid era but it is not a good picture. i was so happy to see the president trying to inspire and the young people responding. some of them also demonstrated. but it is 50% of the population in south africa are young people. and yet 71 that he is of those ages 15 to 34 are unemployed. not all of them would be. someone recently wrork unemployedness, undereducatedness equals unemployability. and i think that's the challenge that south africa is facing now. what to do with these kids who by the time they get to fifth
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grade are behind. they're not passing their high school, they call it matric. and many get to college for the first time in their lives are unable to complete it. so you've got a situation where you have a vast majority of the population and the future generations as michelle obama said today, challenging them, are not going to be prepared for the roles they need to assume. >> one of the things we've heard in other parts of africa, when he there is not opportunity, that can create havens for negative impacts like terrorism, other forces to come in. what does american investment in africa, south africa, how do we help turn that around? >> i think it is true in many parts throughout the continent. if you think about our cities here, when you have young people who are unemployed, if people can't survive in an economy legally, they will survive illegally.
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so that's the concern. i think that we have to make any investment. i was excited to hear about the president increasing and expanding his young leaders' program. you know one of the announcements he made. the program has been going on for a while but he announced there will be 500 young leaders from around the continent who will be invited to the united states for mentor shims with organizations, corporations and universities here. so contributing to the overall leadership development of t mme continent i think is key. i'll give you one example. general electric, for example, is involved in 22 countries on the continent. when they go to the continent, they are not bringing u.s. workers. that's one of the things that's different with the chig he's. the chinese sometimes bring the work force with them. as our corporations are involved, we need to be making sure we are employing the local people. that's a contribution we can make. >> i want to switch gears a little bit.
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obviously we can't ignore major event, that is the health of president nelson mandela who has been such a rare figure. not just to africa but around the world. he inspired me as a high school student. i think a lot of people have their stories of how he inspired. what will his legacy be in south africa and around the world? >> i think that he stood for reconciliation. he stood for fairness and justice. he stood for, you know, bringing people together. the rainbow nation. and i think that this younger generation that we're talking about needs, they're born-frees. some of that legacy, they don't even know what he stood for. i think it is important to put that out there. his vision will be there. now whether or not the country can live up to it, because the rainbow nation has a lot of rain falling on it right now.
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and so the importance of stressing that vision i think is really clear. one other thing. people keep talking about him being on life support. i'm told by sources close to the family that he is having oxygen given to him. he is not on life support at this point. and more over, we might begin to discern something about his condition once they allow him to go home. i do not think that he will transition while he is in the hospital. he wants to be at home. his family would want to be at home. that's just my gut instinct -- >> tradition. >> right. >> last question to you. that transition is going to mark an incredibly powerful moment in south africa's history. because obviously his presidency was a powerful moment in south africa's history. what do you think his legacy will be? >> well, first of all, what he meant to me as a young activist
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in the anti-apartheid movement who fought for his freedom halfway around the world, he meant a huge amount to me and he means a huge amount to me. and i think his impact, his legacy is international. in anything i learned from him, it was patience. anybody who could be ill prisoned for 27 years and still fight for social and economic justice, i have no right to be impatient. and i think that people in south africa as much as they love him, also know that they can't hold on to him forever. and i do believe that south africa has some challenges right now. they really do. but i do believe they will continue to be strong and move forward. >> one of the things that always struck me about his leadership. he also understood the country couldn't hold on to him forever. he had a very clear succession plan once he became president and the idea the country would need to move forward without him. which i think many leaders could take note of that. >> absolutely. >> that generosity of spirit and
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greatness. i want to thank you both for joining me. >> thanks for having me on. >> that does it for me. plays don't forget to share your comments. make sure you visit facebook. cast your vote on which official #twitter we should use for the show. we'll tally the votes and announce the winner tomorrow. thanks for watching. don't go anywhere. the ed show is up next. sorry, i have gas. but you relieve gas, no? not me... that's his job. true. i relieve gas fast. [ male announcer ] gas-x is designed to relieve gas. gas-x, the gas xpert.
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