In his Sunday NYTimes column “The People We Have Been Waiting For”, Tom Friedman rejoices in the role of Google and of MIT students in accelerating the work on energy problems and efficiencies. So far so good. Engineers see a problem and work on solutions whilst politicians argue. Each set doing what they are best at ;->

Friedman is especially intrigued by MIT’s Vehicle Design Summit where the “Linux of cars” may be being developed by distributed and social production. What Friedman loves most and what he uses to conclude his column is the VDS tag line “We are the people we have been waiting for.”

Friedman doesn’t quite get the quote right and he doesn’t credit the author of the phrase “We are the people we have been waiting for.” She is the late poet June Jordan. The phrase “we are the ones we have been waiting for” from Poem for South African Women (1980) was picked up by many graduation speakers (I may use it myself) and others including most notably the singers Sweet Honey in the Rock who made the phrase into a song and Alice Walker who took the phrase as title for her most recent collection of essays (2006).

I’ll have to say I was somewhat surprised, yet satisfied, to see June Jordan’s words taken up by MIT students but surprised and unsatisfied that Friedman missed the travels for the phrase entirely.

More on Jordan who has had a school named for her at her website BTW the poem is there too.