Trevor Noah & John Legend Give Voter-Advice That Would Make Us Winners on Jeopardy and at the Polls

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Common Good

It’s hard to watch your favorite show these days and not see political ads in between. With the mid-term elections season in full effect, candidates are trying to make the case to earn our votes. Some ads go negative while others seem fact-based. Then of course there’s commentary that might add some spin.

Even a late-night comic like Trevor Noah made a few points in between the laughs. He and John Legend find time to give voter-advice that would make us winners on the TV show Jeopardy and at the polls. Noah has some experience on seeing politics at its worst from growing up in Apartheid South Africa.

Maybe some of what we see today is media-spin that’s packaged as a PR strategy. Noah might relate to what happens when the politics of a nation has lost its standard and its way in serving the common good. It’s as if living by lying has become the new normal and the political show is more important than integrity.

Then there’s that old saying of ‘cleanliness is next to godliness.’ But with politics at its worst it’s more like ‘hollowness is next to corruption.’ It’s where acts of stupidity get sold as profiles in courage. Just look at what happens when the Oval Office gets turned into a side show and you wonder how low can things go.

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Noah helps us see through the fake of politics. Legend helps us get through the fog. They continue to be advocates for change and models for citizens at their best. It’s one thing to have a PR strategy but they are more about an RP Strategy of Real Power in our roles as engaged citizens. They’d say to:

  1. Use your vote
  2. Raise your voice
  3. Build your vision
  4. See your village

The vote is the best way to represent your interests. Noah says (jokingly) that if votes are suppressed, then folks should register with the other party to avoid being purged from the voter rolls. In a sense it’s how you use your vote the way folks in the ‘60s used their dollars through boycott to effect change.

How is it possible that in at least two statewide races for Governor that a candidate can affect the outcome through actions taken by also being the Secretary of State? That’s not right much less fair. We raise our voices in the public square to show that politics at its worst will not outlast citizens at their best.

That’s what Dr King was trying to achieve during the March on Washington when he gave his ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. He was building a vision around economic evangelism, social activism and hope over skepticism. His vision statement said ‘I have a dream that’s deeply rooted in the American dream.’

King was trying to help us see our village. Someone once said “look at a person the way they are and they remain the same. But look at them the way they could be and they become what they should be.” As you build the vision and see your village you see the skyline and success-line emerging in the distance.

Take ‘Politics at its Worst’ for $100, the answers would probably cheapen the value of public service. Take ‘Citizens at their Best’ for $500, the answers would raise the value of our civic duty. History shows that sometimes we have to reach-out and touch and sometimes we have to fight the powers that be.

Tracks: Yolanda Adams – Reach out and Touch  – https://youtu.be/OnLZZW1HCgs

Isley Brothers – Fight the Power – https://youtu.be/8QZvoOqUkqw

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Ava DuVernay & Lin-Manuel Miranda Speak on Winning a Game but not Losing Our Civil Liberties – #HometownChat

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

“Hey Martellus Bennett, Patriots just won the Superbowl, what are you doing next?” That question might remind us of those past ads for Disney. Bennett’s not planning to do the usual stuff. He’d probably love to hear Ava DuVernay or Lin-Manuel Miranda speak on winning a game but not losing our civil liberties.

While Monday morning quarterbacks broke down the game, other folks were happy seeing the Obama’s back in town. During their two-week vacation there was even a sighting of BO’s look-alike ‘cool Barry’ with his cap turned backward. They returned just in time to settle into Washington’s business as ‘Reality TV.’

What we’re seeing these days is just a new look of some old ways. That’s what a doctor might say when examining a patient or a historian might say when examining the political, social and economic system. We’ve gone from slavery to Jim Crow to an emerging system condition that could be called John Crow.

It’s called John Crow because of a certain far-away bird that takes advantage of the death, misery and ‘lost way’ of animals. This system has a new set of ‘isms’ (along with WMDs – Weapons of Mass Dah) to benefit from death, misery and lower socio-economic status. So to #LetThePeopleKnow when it’s a John Crow is to:

  1. Check the system for signs of ‘Vulture-ism.’
  2. Churn (agitate) the establishment for the acts of ‘sham-ism.’
  3. Challenge the laws against rounds of social schism.
  4. Cheer the people to avoid the pitfalls of fake realism.

Executive Orders recently issued by the Republican Administration appear to have a negative impact on the everyday citizen. Vulture-ism is seen when perks for Wall Street dig potholes on the roads for Main Street. It’s when concerns for poverty and income inequality are stunted by policies of ‘purge & reward.’ We’ve got to save our streets from being attacked by a ‘republic of vultures.’ (Is it just coincidence that Trump’s middle name is John?)

Even the idea of possibly taking Iraq’s oil to pay for U.S. troop deployment in the Middle East is like a John Crow beast preying on the least. The thing to watchout for is whether the shifting administration policies are really about ‘Make America Great Again’ or adding more power and prime rib to their plate.

These efforts to undermine & override are not being overlooked by ‘people in the know.’ Maybe that’s why Nancy Pelosi made the statement that Trump Advisor Steve Bannon is a shot-caller for white supremacy. Howard Stern saying he feels Trump ran for president to get more money for hosting The Apprentice.

By putting those two thoughts out there some political observers have concluded that we’ve got to callout the administration for the acts of sham-ism. A ‘sham’ is a thing that is not what it’s advertised to be. There’s reason the establishment has more explaining to do on their proposed policies and procedures.

In his letter written while in a Birmingham jail Dr. King outlined the issues of his time. He challenged those who questioned his non-violent protests against laws that protected Jim Crow but oppressed, suppressed or distressed John & Jane Doe. King was saying ‘Yo, that’s some social schism.’

Fast-forward to John Crow today with policies that threaten 1st Amendment rights to a free press and religion but protect 2nd Amendment rights to bear arms. The administration wants weak vetting on cabinet picks but extreme vetting on immigrant visas. We find them shutting down Obamacare signups while saying a replacement won’t be ready until 2018. Does that mean they’d rather have people die, denying them insurance while delaying them any chance for a supposedly better plan? Yo, that’s some social schism right there.

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So DuVernay and Miranda are doing their part to rally the people against losing touch with realism. She recently quoted James Baldwin who said A civilization isn’t destroyed by wicked people. It is not necessary that people be wicked. Only that they be spineless. Another philosopher once said Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. (Is there a ‘true dat’ or amen?)

These notes are reminders to take off any ‘blinders’ that cause citizens to be tone-deaf, street dumb or side-eye blind. They might even suggest it’s a time to have ‘antennas up’ to get the reception and record straight. Smart community understands the past in order to better relate it to what just happened last.

When an Ohio minister says a ‘Chicago gang wants to work with Trump’ it makes people say, really? Then 24 hours later he walks it back, saying he miss-spoke as he was still tired from the recent campaign. He’s not the first minister with the campaign ‘trying to keep it real’ but showing straight-up fake realism.

The job of media, Congressional leaders, constitutional experts and engaged citizens is to keep the ducks in order. Some have committed to doing their part to fight the power as well as ‘floss Trump’s tweets’ (and the rest of his team) because the words in-and-out of their mouths can affect America’s future well-being.

‘Alternative facts’ is the new WMD in the John Crow system used as a cover for miss-information. We’ve been here before in Jim Crow times. So as we rise, let’s not be weary but stay true to realism. We’ll know if what we’re seeing will lead us to a place of more ‘still waters’ or towards a storm of some rough waters.

Groove-tracks: Isley Brothers – Fight the Power – https://youtu.be/KdJ0uv6oMRU

Solange – Rise/Weary – https://youtu.be/mKwxz23H5UY