Then it was on to the convention floor, where I interviewed Stephen Baldwin. "We need a president who is God-fearing and understands morality," said Baldwin. I told him I was stunned a Baldwin was supporting this president. "Bad genetics," he said, referring to his brother Alec's outspoken liberal support.
The next day we're on the floor of Madison Square Garden. Politicians are glad-handing the media. Fans are cheering Andre 3000, who leans forward and asks, "So why are you a Republican?" (It's a recurring theme.)
I told him about how most black people in the ghetto don't even know about affirmative action, or how it works. The people using affirmative action to gain admittance to colleges end up being the well-to-do who don't actually need it. For them, affirmative action has become an entitlement. They have been conditioned to feel they are owed affirmative action, not because of their socio-economic situation, but by virtue of their skin color.
This is sad, I tell him. Affirmative action was not supposed to be about convincing perfectly competent, intelligent, and fairly well-to-do blacks to believe they are victims. It was not about cultivating a mean sense of entitlement among the bourgeois, or conditioning our children from a young age to believe that they are, by virtue of their skin color, owed a handout. Yet, that's precisely what affirmative action has become.
His camera people intone in unison, "Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah."
The next night I'm on the convention floor, getting ready to listen to the president's speech. Someone gives me a big bear hug from behind. My feet are literally dangling above the ground. I turn around. It's Andre. "Thanks for giving me something to think about," he says, before disappearing back into the crowd.
I smile and look around. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Serena Williams, Tina Brown and President George H.W. Bush, all talking and laughing. For at least one week, it is a happy political universe.