Calling the election of Barack Obama a new era for “change," "choices," and "challenges,” comedian and author Bill Cosby urged personal responsibility and self-sacrifice within the African-American community on "Meet the Press."
Reflecting on the task ahead, the legendary comedian said, “I believe he's asking us to look around and see in all honesty what we can do.”
Cosby spoke movingly of his personal experience voting for the Democratic presidential candidate. “I took my father’s picture,” he said. “I took my mother’s picture, and I took my brother James’ [picture]. He died when he was seven; I was eight. I took the three of them into the voting booth in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, and I pulled the curtain, took their pictures out and I said, ‘Now we are going to vote’ … And I did that ... it was wonderful."
Cosby called on the nation to unite and celebrate the diverse roles that the president-elect plays: An involved father, a committed husband, and a role model with a vested interest in the success of others.
“What I have to do is give credit to Michelle [Obama] and to Barack and the beauty of what they’ve done with their children, with their lives,” Cosby said.
Arguing the case that the entire nation — rather than just the black community — is living in a time of inspiration, Cosby said that “the important thing about [this moment] is what he’s doing with this country, for this country. The beauty of his story … is that it hits all colors, all religions, all races.”
Dr. Alvin Poussaint — a fellow guest, and Cosby's co-author for the book, "Come On, People: On the Path from Victims to Victors" — echoed John F. Kennedy’s historic words from his inaugural address in 1962 when he reiterated Cosby’s call for selfless action, rather than passive reflection. “I think we should ask what can the black community do for Obama, and in fact use his inspirational messages to build on, to help us move us forward politically and socially.”
When asked by moderator David Gregory what they had achieved in their collaboration, neither backed down from previously provocative statements. “I think Alvin and I have produced a book [about solutions],” Cosby said. Poussaint added that the underlying point was “don’t succumb to being a victim … If Barack Obama thought of himself as a victim, he’d never be president of the United States.”