Washington—and indeed the country—is engaged in a great conversation about the government's role in our health care system. That's an important debate: changing government's role in health care will affect the lives of just about all Americans.
Yet, while most of our public debates focuses on public policy, government's role in determining our life's outcome is relatively small. It's the decisions that we make as individuals that set our life's course. It's families and communities that have the responsibility to give children the tools they need so that they can make the right choices and build a positive future.
That's the message of Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors, written by Bill Cosby and Alvin F. Poussaint. While acknowledge the real challenges that plague many Americans, particularly those living in poverty, Cosby and Poussaint urge people to recognize the opportunities that they have and to make the most of them. Their message focuses particularly on the African-American community, but it's a message that applies to all society.
People are urged to get themselves an education: it is never too late to learn to read and pursue a degree, and there are institutions such as community colleges that exist to support adults in their educational pursuits. Cosby and Poussaint, who is a medical doctor, encourage people to take better care of themselves: the physical problems that plague many, some of them preventable by healthy living, contribute to mental problems, such as depression, that make it all the more difficult to take steps—such as getting an education or a job—that will build a better life. They highlight the importance of gaining job experience, careful stewardship of finances, and ridding your life of violence and drugs.