A Heads-up to American Politicians on Seeing Eye-to-Eye with Everyday Citizens

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Trivia: What did Michael Jordan say was his dream job if he didn’t play NBA basketball? (Answer below)

Over 50 years ago Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in a pivotal speech said “I have a dream that’s deeply rooted in the American Dream.” His speech was given at a time of heightened concern for civil rights. It was also a “Memo from Martin” as a heads-up to American politicians on seeing eye-to-eye with everyday citizens.

Dr. King felt that to fulfill our nation’s destiny or move past urban challenges/frustrations, involved having individual dreams rooted in the American Dream. This implies a social-capital infrastructure that moves us from dreams deferred to dreams deserved. So could this mean seeing “Citizens United” in a new way?

His speech was one of prophetic insight. He hoped that all races might sit at the table of “brotherly love.” It might also have been a speech with overlooked policy proposals. So here’s why his dream being rooted in the American Dream was like a mirror for “The Establishment” being linked to “The Community.”

In the mid-1950s the U.S. began an ambitious project that would eventually become the interstate highway system. It was seen as a way to invest in America’s infrastructure and be an important link for moving military equipment across the country. This road system moves millions of cars and cargo daily.

Then in the 80s another project came into the public domain as technology innovation. The Internet started out as a military computer system for inter-agency communication. Today the Internet is pretty much everywhere and is an important link for all forms of internal, external and global communication.

These “road and tech innovations” are in place. We move resources in leaps and bounds across towns, cities and states. So in 21st century America we should invest in a social innovations infrastructure that moves not only “The Establishment” but also dreams, communities and generations to the next level.

Presidential candidates have been debating the issues, trying to gain more traction. They want to overtake the frontrunner by sharing policy ideas for reform in immigration, the tax code, criminal justice and entitlements. Well, let’s hear what’s said about political or socioeconomic reforms and the Dream.

Answer: A Weatherman

Groove-tracks: Big Sean ft Kanye West, John Legend – “One Man Can Change The World” – https://youtu.be/GBVotNefYME

Kelly Clarkson – “People Like Us” –  https://youtu.be/yWbMz_aBlMU

What America Needs Besides Politicians with Bravado and Cases of Celebrity Justice

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Trivia: Which U.S. Statehouse will have a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. on its grounds next year? (Answer below)

Donald Trump thinks he’ll be the best U.S. President ever. NJ Governor Chris Christie would like to think he’s ready for the top job. He recently joined the list of ‘ready to shine’ politicians running for higher office. But who’s going say what America needs besides politicians with bravado and cases of celebrity justice?

Many civil rights advocates have called for some kind of plan in urban renewal. It would need to focus on opportunity, justice and unsung dreams. It should also address senseless violence and civic accountability. A noted historian thinks FDRs ‘New Deal’ is a template for the next steps and next level.

Those programs got to the heart and soul of America’s post-Depression era. They helped spawn a ‘middle class rising’ before income inequality took roots. In today’s times of ‘post-Recession blues’ we need to champion an ‘Urban Change Now’ effort that treats blocks, brands and budgets as social assets.

The concerns in urban communities are less about ideology and more about sociology. There’s a need for greater investment in social capital. Many don’t have the opportunity to just declare themselves fit for a job. So as the political class finds campaign money, they should also find resources for backyard issues.

Maybe there’s money to be found but not so much a ‘heart for people’ or the will to change. That’s why many citizens become turned-off, disconnected and in some cases disenfranchised. Some are hoping for a political revival that replaces newsmaker grandstanding with a sense of calling to public service.

It’s almost as if being unemployed or underemployed in the political class allows them to shop around their résumés. They believe their next job will land them in the White House. They’re the connected and relatively privileged who want us to support their platform. So how should we expect them to support us?

Dr. King proclaimed a time where “justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.” So as we celebrate America’s Independence, it might be a good time for working on a ‘Mighty Rising.’ Otherwise we’ll simply be discussing a candidate’s poll numbers or debating another civilian uprising.

Answer: Georgia

Groove-tracks: John Legend ft The Roots & Melanie Fiona – “Wakeup Everybody” – https://youtu.be/iJgxJ6JrPkc

Bruce Springsteen – “The Rising” –  https://youtu.be/6i-fiRgbpr4