Michelle Obama and Tracee Ellis Ross Had a Heart-to-Heart Chat on Becoming a Better You, A Better Me and A Better We

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Who’s ready to meet America’s newest pop star? Well she’s already America’s lady love but now it’s without the White House strings attached. As former First Lady Michelle Obama kicked-off her book tour, she’s sharing some previously untold stories behind the curtains as well as her life of Becoming.

Sometimes referring to herself as a “Southside girl” she takes us through her journey and the pages of the book with her signature down-to-earth style. It’s as if she’s talking with a full-house of her closest friends. Even joking of feeling like saying “Bye Felicia” as she departed the White House for the last time.

During her sit-down with Tracee Ellis Ross she had a heart-to-heart chat on going from modest means to being on the biggest stage in the world. Her ‘pop star’ message of choosing people over politics wasn’t just about her childhood dance-steps but also on becoming “a better you, a better me, a better we.”

She’s made clear that running for office isn’t on her bucket list. But she still plans to advocate for those who approach public service with love, honor and service for a common cause. These days it seems there’re those who see public service as being about money, power and fame by any means necessary.

This has been in the spotlight since the Obamas left office. America has its own ‘becoming’ story where progress happened in leaps and bounds but sometimes with backsteps. Much of what we see today seem more about ‘fear and hate’ than about ‘hope and love.’ So our ‘becoming’ needs to deal with:

  1. Voter Suppression
  2. Democracy Subversion
  3. Racial Division
  4. Truth Destruction

Imagine if Doctors today decided that they’re going to make it harder for women to give birth. It would be like doing things that made childbirth harder on mothers and families. When it comes to voter suppression, that in a sense is what we see with some politicians in making it harder on citizens.

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It took a revolution to give birth to the nation. Ever since then the work has been about moving towards a more perfect union. But when some make it harder to vote they’re messing with a key aspect of what it means to be a democratic republic. Democracy subversion gives rise to a breach in trust in government.

Some might remember as a child playing with marbles. The marbles had a certain color swirl to their makeup. Some had more color filled-in while others were clearer in appearance. No matter how a marble looked we didn’t approach one over the other with a supremacy mentality. They were all just marbles.

A mindset of people over politics is one where we appreciate all the marbles. But when racial division gets stoked it’s like trying to separate the marbles or act like there’s ‘color supremacy.’ That feeds into the idea that one color is better than another color. In God’s eyes we’re all just different color marbles.

As kids we also played the telephone game. We’d tell someone a phrase and they’d tell the next person. Usually by the time it got to the end of the line it wasn’t what was first said. But there’s a difference between miss-information and truth destruction where folks make stuff up to deceive and destroy.

That’s where Mrs Obama draws the line. With voter suppression we might have to recall the Voting Rights Act. But with truth destruction our democracy and personal security are at stake. So whether Brooklyn or the Bay Area, Tennessee or Texas we’re still on that road of becoming “a better you, a better me, a better we.”

Tracks: Arrested Development – Tennessee  – https://youtu.be/6VCdJyOAQYM

Lou Rawls – Lady Love – https://youtu.be/a-CwWMXpsX0

Beto O’Rourke vs Ted Cruz and A Sore Spot in America: What Elections Reveal About The Character and Climate of the Country

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Social Activism

On the day after midterm elections in America, the dust is still settling. Scores of history-making results are being celebrated far and wide. The impact of women in the political process continues to break glass ceilings. Even Muslim candidates and Native American voters stepped-up their game across the land.

But the Senate race in Texas between Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz might be a sore spot in America. Lots of effort was put into giving O’Rourke a shot at winning. Some big-named celebs tossed their support in his corner. This moment made us consider what elections reveal about the character and climate of the country.

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The final push leading up to the elections had a flurry of ads that were sometimes more negative than informative. There was even an ad that was pulled by a few news outlets because it was too blatant. Plus, when the message was checked-out, there were more wrong things about it than there were right things.

In the rush of going about our daily lives it’s hard to get a handle on what the ads are saying that the candidate is for or against. The sum-total of the message doesn’t give the sum-total of the candidate. That can only be understood based on how they plan to serve people, policy, purpose and process.

There were major gains for those who want to put democracy and accountability back in its rightful place. But there’s still more ground to cover in response to those things that added a toxic strain to the character and climate of the country. The road ahead might be best understood and travelled by dealing with:

  1. Threat vs asset
  2. Racist vs pluralist
  3. Divider vs inspirer
  4. Darker vs brighter

When O’Rourke was asked about the NFL kneeling protest, his response went viral. This told us much about how he would serve the people. His take showed great awareness or ‘wokeness’ as some might say. But it also said something about how he prefers to see others as an asset and not as a threat.

One problem with politics these days boils down to if we see those around us as ‘others.’ If viewed as a threat, then a more racist approach is applied to policy. If viewed as an asset, then a more pluralistic approach is done. A racist-view tends to see ‘others’ as a threat. A pluralist-view sees ‘others’ as an asset.

When you study great leaders the ones who stand tall above all are those who inspired a generation. An inspirer is someone who adds hope, value or esteem to their role as a leader. A divider usually does the opposite. We have to watchout for those dividers who’re like wolfs dressed in sheep’s clothing.

The difference is seen in their campaign style & process.  Think of it the way a ‘worm’ might be used for fishing or for hacking. The worm on a hook helps to catch a fish. A fish is a good thing. But a ‘worm’ inside a computer system is a bad thing. A divider uses a bad ‘worm’ process in how they campaign.

Sometimes at a fast food restaurant when you place your order you get asked whether you want to supersize your meal. That usually means you can add to your order at a small price. Where we are in our politics today, we need to ask whether we want to supersize our values and ideals as a nation.

If we don’t answer right, then the wolf will try to bring in other wolf-minded figures. They will swoop in and try to divide and even Trump-etize those values and ideals. With the small price to pay of our vote, we can revert to a darker time or move towards a brighter day for our kids. O’Rourke will be back because he’s made for now and for a brighter day!

Tracks: Kirk Franklin – Brighter Day  – https://youtu.be/itbi6V9oFIk

Janet Jackson – Made for Now – https://youtu.be/seh_fZJqB94