Video: Kicking Off Our New Year With Some Junot Diaz

As Latoya mentioned at the time, we dealt with not only the holidays but some technical glitches to close out the year. Those are in the past now, thank goodness (and some folks who offered their help).

We’ll be rolling out new content throughout the week–expect a Django double-feature on Wednesday–but to get us started, check out this Moyers & Company interview with Junot Díaz, in which he not only revisits many of the themes of his keynote speech at Facing Race, but also touches on the choices in Star Wars that resonated with his immigrant experience and his wishes for the next four years of the Obama administration. A full transcript can be found here, but a small excerpt of the conversation is under the cut.

Moyers: So here we are, Obama has a second chance. What’s the story you want to hear him tell?

Díaz: God, I hope it would be a story that sort of is honest about the challenges that face us. I mean, listen, when’s the last time as a nation we’ve been asked to sacrifice, really come together and sacrifice? It’s been a long time, man. My nephews went to Iraq. My little brother’s a military kid. He’s marine combat veteran. I mean, we ask certain sectors of our community to sacrifice, but I think it’s about time we start talking to each other like we’re living in the same country. And I think for him a good vision would be, like, starting the conversation of, “Listen, we’re in this situation. We got an economy that’s floundering, but it’s getting a little bit better. We’ve got to start thinking about us as a civic entity, as a civic project. Let’s pull together. Let’s each make some sacrifices. And let’s see if we can get this thing together somewhere.” And again, if I was me, I wish I would see a little progressive activity around immigration. I wish I could see some progressive activity around our students, around our schools.

Moyers: What do you mean?

Díaz: Well, I mean, they only now noticed that my students are walking around with student loans on their heads, like, the size of the Himalayas? I mean, look, we got to do something about this. We can’t have an entire generation, two generations mortgaged to the eyeballs, man. We’ve got to figure out a way to deal with student loans and the proliferation of these loans. That wouldn’t be a bad place to start, you know? I mean, there are whole areas that I wouldn’t mind seeing Obama put his stamp on.