Opinionated Lewis thinking about getting into politics
Posted: Friday September 29, 2006 2:57PM; Updated: Friday September 29, 2006 2:57PM
Carl Lewis wants to go from the track to public office.
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Carl Lewis is sitting on the bleachers overlooking the track and field stadium at Santa Monica College. He is all smiles as he reflects back on his storied Olympic resume and talks about his current acting career, including his role in the film Material Girls. His smile, however, quickly dissolves as he pauses and watches a group of children running around the synthetic surface surrounding the worn out football field.
"I'm thinking of getting into politics," he says. "I'm sick of what's happening."
Although Lewis isn't sure when he'll run or even what office he would run for, he knows it's something he has to do. But first, he needs to catch his breath and sort through his thoughts.
"I have to calm down some," says the nine-time Olympic gold medalist. "I still got too much energy. People have told me, 'You'll never get elected because you're too honest,' but even if people at first want to tear you down, at the end of the day a politician should be honest. Be exactly who you are and they will know what they are going to get. Stick with what you believe in and say it. That's where the country is now. It's all this madness and compromise and crap, and what they really want is someone to come up and tell the truth."
Lewis has bitten his tongue in the past over his unhappiness with the current administration, but as he discusses the Carl Lewis Foundation, which focuses on the fitness of today's youth, he can no longer hold back his emotions.
"Why do less than half the schools in America have P.E. as an elective? Why are we taking money out of schools and programs and then complaining about them?" he asks. "I mean, no child left behind? That means every child is not mine. They don't care about the basic kids in America. They create programs that are under funded. I just saw a report today that pissed me off. Do you know in order to get No Child Left Behind funds you have to allow the government to come in and recruit for the military?"
The caveat in the program angers Lewis because he has been against the war in Iraq from the very beginning.
"It's unbelievable," he says. "We got people over in this invasion. It's not a war, we're not at war, it's an invasion in Iraq and here we are stretched to the nines and we're putting these types of stipulations. That's why it's under funded. If you create a program and under fund it, there's no program.
Lewis understands that his views on the war and President Bush might rub people the wrong way and may even cause some to put him in the same "un-American" category as The Dixie Chicks, but he doesn't concern himself with that kind of criticism since such thinking goes against everything he believes is "American."