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

Bernice King & Elizabeth Warren on How We Persisted Then and Can Do it Again – #HometownChat


#HometownChat – “Smart Community, Special Service, Civic Dreams”

“Sistas how ya feel? Brothers you alright?” These words from a popular song are good for lyrics and civics for what can be achieved in the next phase of social engagement. It’s a lead-in to the kind of intro that Bernice King or Senator Elizabeth Warren might use on how we persisted then and can do it again.

King and Warren recently began setting our sights and setting the stage for new rounds in dignity, excellence and justice. They know two key things for going where we’ve not been before. It takes a destination and a map. Without a map we’re just winging it. Without a destination we’re just blowing it.

It’s a message Dr. King and President John F Kennedy wanted us to know in the short letter dug-up in ‘lost & found’ and recently posted on social media for the world to see. In a speech King gave in 1967 to Philadelphia students he asked them to consider having a blueprint that would be useful for being fruitful.

A blueprint is just as important for Community 3.0. Think about what a microwave has done for meal preparation. It’s improved how we thaw, heat and serve food. So King and Kennedy might #LetThePeopleKnow Community 3.0 has a blueprint to thaw tensions, heat dreams and serve smarts in:

  1. What we do to encourage ourselves during those vexing times.
  2. How we empower blocks & beats in the community.
  3. When we explain the in-and-outs of politics of the day.
  4. Ways we entertain people’s fun-side for more good times.

Since a recent online post, Bernice has been giving reminders for handling those vexing times. Just imagine the things she saw growing up as a child in the King household. With all that was happening around them and even happened to them they kept their eyes on the prize and hands on the wheel.


The steps taken then might apply today. They focused on fighting the good fight, representing the race (plus shaking-up the place) by keeping the faith. That’s the formula used to overcome throughout our history. It’s how slavery chains got lifted, Jim Crow clouds cleared & homegrown conspiracies shutdown.

One of the ways a community might do this is in how we empower blocks and beats using a blueprint. Among the highest rated episodes from Oprah’s daytime show was when she gave away a car to each member of the audience. It was up there with the most talked about and uplifting pop culture moments.

The buzz was ‘you get a car, you get a car, er’body gets a car!’ That might work just as well in Community 3.0 if instead of a car it’s letting blocks get a ‘P.E.N. & C.L.U.E. Blueprint’ as People Engage Notes in a Community Letter Uplifting Everyone. It’s like a social postcard and stamp for getting from here to there.

This way for block after block it’s more like ’you get CLUE, you get a CLUE, er’body gets a CLUE!’ It would help do what Dr. King told us in his speeches, moving towards achieving more hometown respect and personal satisfaction. It might also be a CLUE in explaining the ins-and-out of politics of the day.

At times it’s hard to know if we’re being ‘played’ by some in government. We get ‘talked to’ but not ‘talked with.’ It’s not even clear when we’re ‘talked with’ if we’re actually being ‘talked over.’ The political machine seems more focused on voters who’re core nationalists, unsure working class and pure party loyalists.

Where some fall short Community 3.0 stands tall. As in the past it’s how community players and recording artists become a voice track of our days and groove track of our lives. We can let things become ‘played’ like a broken record or press the social impact ‘microwave buttons’ of change, progress and greatness.

This might also mean new ways to entertain people’s fun-side for more good times. How we entertain today in Community 3.0 was seen with recent Grammy performances. So as Mission Ready Blocks (MRBs) we gotta let purpose move hearts. With Mission Rockin’ Beats we gotta let the groove move feet.

That’s what happened back in the day when we tuned-in to watch Soul Train hosted by Don Cornelius. It was a time to rest, reflect and rejuvenate with some R&B. The dance moves were kinda like a bonus feature. Cornelius would end each broadcast saying ‘until next time, wishing you love, peace and soul.’


We learn from and are inspired by our cultural icons of old and those we now hold. Warren as a champion for consumer protections walks in the shoes of John F Kennedy. While Bernice walks in the shoes of Martin Luther King Jr. as a champion for her mother’s voice, father’s vision and parent’s legacy.

In Martin & Coretta we have closing thoughts on giving the people what they want and serving them what they need. She once said “Women, if the soul of the nation is to be saved you must become its soul.” He said “If you can’t fly, run. If you can’t run, walk. If you can’t walk, crawl but by all means keep moving.”

Groove-tracks: Soul II Soul – Keep on Movin’ – https://youtu.be/1iQl46-zIcM

John Legend – Get Lifted – https://youtu.be/MSpPpLDYZeQ