Wake Up America! Here’s What to Do When Your Brackets Get Busted or Your Politics Gets Haunted


Social Commentary

Lots of folks woke up today with one of two questions on their minds. One is “what happens next, now that their March Madness bracket got busted?” There were upsets in the early rounds. Duke had a close call in winning by one point against UCF with a last second rebound, but the Sweet 16 looks strong.


Others woke up with the question of “what happens next with the Special Counsel’s report now that their politics got haunted?” The report is raising cheers in some circles and concern in others. It’s hard to know whether things will get swept under the rug or just swept-up in the frenzy of this political climate.

Those who study history and pop culture know there’s always been an aspect of the social/political back-and-forth where sports can help us see through the layers of the issues of the time. We see that in recent news of an agreement reached with the NFL on settling the collusion lawsuit filed by Colin Kaepernick.

For Kaepernick, the agreement didn’t come with as much money as some had hoped. But it closed a chapter in the collusion part of the story. It took a couple weeks before the agreement dollars became public. Some wonder what might happen in politics if the Special Counsel’s report isn’t made public.

To understand how sports helps explain social issues of our time, just look at the question of “what is collusion?” Maybe the settlement agreement between Kaepernick and the NFL didn’t quite explain that term. To satisfy the public’s need-to-know here’s why collusion isn’t a question that gets answered easily.

First, collusion is a kind of ‘wink wink’ that’s hard to describe. Kaepernick’s reason for bringing the lawsuit is to callout the league for keeping him out of the game because of his social justice protest. Now, exactly how they might have done that is hard to describe legally, just as in the case for a political campaign.

It doesn’t mean collusion didn’t happen. It’s just hard to describe and thus hard to prove that it happened. Second, collusion is a symptom that’s hard to diagnose. It’s obvious to fans that Kaepernick was kept out of the game unfairly. But how do you diagnose the effects of that action on the overall game?


Intelligence officials say a foreign power interfered with the 2016 Presidential elections unfairly. But how do you diagnose if that interference had a provable effect on the outcome of the elections? That’s the ‘grey area’ that makes the actions hard to prove legally even though it obviously happened in plain sight.

Lastly, collusion is a kind of bargain that’s hard to dismiss. Think about those times when you’re shopping, whether at the mall or at a car dealership. You see a sign on the store window that says, “closeout sale, everything must go, 90% off.” Or the car salesman drops the price so low you can’t turn away.

That’s some of what we see from the Special Counsel report. Those who flirt with collusion will settle for the lowest of lows in their actions as a ‘wink wink’ in the political game. Since collusion can be hard to describe, diagnose or dismiss, we might miss the fact that it can bedevil our culture/politics like a plague.

Tracks: Erykah Badu – Didn’t Cha Know  – https://youtu.be/Np21rH7Ldto

India Arie – Get it Together – https://youtu.be/QpiWkSa19eI

Doc Rivers Steps to the Mic on the Day ‘American Idol’ in Politics Left the Building for an Alternate Replacement #HometownChat


Over the past few months I’ve tried to observe the campaign season with two eyes: One looking at the concerns of those in Urban America and the other at resentment by those in Heartland America. I’ve been trying to figure-out and explain what’s going on these days. At times people want to throw-in the towel.

That’s why social media and local radio are buzzing. Sports radio too, as pros who played sports all their life are a little frustrated for how they’re seen by some fans and public figures. As if the spotlight on Colin Kaepernick wasn’t enough, now it’s NBA coach Doc Rivers who stepped to the mic on ‘locker room talk.’

There was a time we’d sit, watch and cheer our favorite performers. Not just as families watching American Idol on TV but also as citizens watching the Presidential debate. With Idol now a recent past, it seems the day we see politics as an ‘American Idol’ has left the building for an alternate replacement.

The voter frustration level can be hard to put into words. This leads people to throw logic out the door and attach themselves to things on an emotional level. In a sense that’s how the second Presidential debate went off the rails. It was over-run by Alt-Right venom and low-brow antics of insults and miss-information.

It can be entertaining to see insults fly. But it’s even more frightening to think how miss-information is a great threat to society. This makes it harder to learn much in civic affairs. Still, without the benefit of a real scientific poll, it seems the main frustrations of American voters include the following:

  1. The political system (i.e. stalemate) isn’t working for enough regular citizens.
  2. The social/justice system isn’t serving some communities fairly.
  3. The census demographic changes create fear that the country is becoming more diverse too fast.

Recently, President Obama had the first veto override in his Presidency. On the next day, sponsors and supporters of the Bill in Congress said it would need to be modified. It left some political commentators to think that this was just a way to have an override on record during the President’s two terms in office.


Even one of the Bill’s supporters laid blame at the President’s feet. This example of legislative wrangling was a reminder of how the political system sometimes seems to be more about posture than main purpose. It’s become a kind of run-around that isn’t working for enough regular citizens.

Then there’re communities that are left feeling like ‘nobody.’ This may go as far back as America’s early founding where the Constitution recognized African-Americans as having a three-fifths standing. It was a sort of ‘Class-B’ citizenship with ‘bogus’ reasons for unequal legal protection under the law.

Today, some citizens are seen as a threat instead of an asset. For example, how is it that an alleged terror suspect known to be armed and dangerous is captured alive, but an innocent unarmed Oklahoma resident whose car is disabled doesn’t get to see another day? This creates a social strain in community.

Other things might not be obvious but sure seem curious. Increasingly there’s a different despair that’s floating in the Heartland America air. As a broader set of immigrants enter our shores there’s a fear of the census demographic changes. It’s as if America’s diversity is seen as a threat instead of an asset.

Pittsburg Steelers fans know something about the ‘Terrible Towel.’ It’s a way they rally the team with a wave of towels in the air. Sometimes the fun of the game is also seeing fans create a ‘rolling wave’ around the stadium. This might start off in one section of the stands and roll around in a complete circle.

Maybe that’s the kind of vision we need from the next leader of the Free World. This would mean having public policies and hometown synergies where citizens participate in a ‘Great Wave.’ It might start from one end of America’s shore and travel around the coastline to the other end. This way more people get to experience the full fun and ethnic flavor from rolling together.

Groove-tracks: Common – The People –  https://youtu.be/S7B2VgRShew

Alicia Keys – In Common – https://youtu.be/4HazJhPnrB8

The Colin Kaepernick Effect: How ‘Made in America’ is More Than Just a Designer Label or Stamp of Approval #HometownChat


A simple way to describe my immigrant journey is “Born in Jamaica, Made in America.” This means at various times in the year you’ll find jerk chicken or fried turkey on my dinner table. I just haven’t been able to do the ‘afro thing.’ But I’ve come to learn how ‘Made in America’ is more than just a designer label.

As the NFL season got going many wondered out loud on social media about the Colin Kaepernick effect. His taking a stand might not be seen as a halo but it certainly isn’t hell either. Somewhere in between is a lesson for how ‘social labels’ prevent us from seeing through the fog of a culture clash to live higher.

There’s a certain sense of pride that comes with designer clothing labels. They can provide some with the feeling that they’ve got socio-economic status. But these labels might also be used in another way that could appear self-righteous or condescending. Maybe that’s some of what’s going on here because:

  1. History shows we sometimes see things through a prism of prejudice.
  2. Oftentimes a select few people get to experience things in a lane of privilege.
  3. We are distracted (fooled even) by believing things through a parade of ‘false promises.’

These days we have the Internet at our finger tips. Who knows, maybe human progress is taking us down a path where we’re becoming technological adept but socially inept. This could be part of Kaepernick’s message. But it’s also the scope of efforts to get prejudicial flaws out of the criminal justice system.

Interview with sister of Terence Crutcher

Prejudice seems to raise its ugly head in ways that affect the legal protection of African-Americans under the law. How else can we explain the unwarranted death of Terence Crutcher in Oklahoma. Think about how the social theory of ‘Broken Windows’ or Rockefeller drug laws unduly harmed urban communities?

These measures created a strain/stain for some but political/professional gain for others. Wearing the label ‘Made in America’ shouldn’t just be about padding our pocketbooks. It should open our eyes to these inequities, injustices and inconsistencies. This way we’re not looking down on others with prejudice.

If flawed laws are a leading force for fixing social ills, then that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Below the surface are other stories made possible out of privilege. Just think about Ryan Lochte being on Dancing with the Stars or Brock Turner who served little time for rape. This wouldn’t be possible for just anyone.


Social privilege could be a factor in what Kaepernick is trying to express. He’s lived in a bi-racial environment which allows him to connect with the privileged side of America. But he’s also seeing how others get left behind in the political games that stiff & stifle the less-privileged treated as second-class.

This may be why there’s a bubbling frustration across the country for how some past and present election campaigns make a joke of the process. So there’s a growing tide of ‘We the People’ turning into modern-day populism. But things seem to have gotten out of hand where it feels like Politics Gone Wild.

It’s like the beekeeper in charge of running a bee yard. Then an outsider comes in and stirs up the bee hive. Now the bees are distracted from working towards shared purpose. Instead they’re driven by shared chaos. That’s some of what has happened where citizens are being stirred-up by the buzz of chaos.

Have things become more of a race for ratings and a parade of false promises? That’s a self-starter question that will be on many minds between now and November. In between the halo and hell of this presidential campaign season is figuring-out whether what’s good for ratings is good for America’s reality.

Marvin Gaye once asked “What’s Going On?” Well, Kaepernick might not have everybody’s stamp of approval, but he could help spread shared purpose. Dr. King gave us shared purpose with the words ‘I Have a Dream.’ JFK did it with the goal of a moon landing. We can propel shared purpose by how we handle social issues, system flaws and pursue truth promises.

Groove-tracks: The Black Eyed Peas – Where’s the Love? –  https://youtu.be/YsRMoWYGLNA

John Legend ft The Roots & Melanie Fiona
– Wake Up Everybody – https://youtu.be/iJgxJ6JrPkc