Maxine Waters: No Silent River, Nancy Pelosi: No Political Walkover; But It’s Not Just Them! – #HometownChat

Hot Shot (Old-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
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Hot Shot (New-School): “Real Talk with Industry Players and Biz Leaders”
– Ne-Yo, Music Producer & Stage Performer

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

Recently there was a flurry of activity around the first 100 days. Some attended rallies or were at a convention and of-course D.C. networking events. In some circles there’s a war of words going on. For one thing, Maxine Waters is no silent river and Nancy Pelosi no political walkover. But it’s not just them!

Waters has been making her voice heard in a very significant way. ‘Queen Maxine’ has made strong statements about governing and the things that lead to communities rising. She’s got cred on the link between public policy and American history, based on her background and work in the trenches.

Pelosi made history years ago by becoming the first female House Speaker. Even as minority leader she’s leading the way as a gut check on things that might become a social train-wreck. For example, she sees the health and well-being of America as not just in taking care of a few but doing so for the many.

In a general sense the public policy debate throughout our history has been like a war for the soul of a nation. The battle these days isn’t just around Constitutional order but between the ‘pissed-off vs. stay-woke’ crowd for the sanity of the nation. This seems to go back and forth throughout America’s history.

In one corner are events around the Civil War. It was a protest flashpoint by those on a path that seemed like a more pissed-off union. In the other are events leading up to and during Civil Rights. It was a flashpoint for those who sought a more perfect union. This cycle shows up and affects us in new ways by:

  1. Challenging our understanding of Articles in the Constitution.
  2. Distorting the message of equality which led to the Emancipation.
  3. Stirring-up resentment on the subject of Immigration.
  4. Building roadblocks to a sense of community and trust in our Institutions.

Every game on the playing field has rules in the books. These rules are important to making sure that teams know what’s in fair play and what’s more like a foul. They help referees and umpires make calls that keep things moving. Without some basic rules a game would be more of an uncontrolled free-for-all.

The major rules of governing are found in the U.S. Constitution. This document has roles and responsibilities for each branch of government. Many public policy issues get tricky by challenging our understanding of these Articles in the Constitution. But things get messy when the rules don’t apply fairly.

That’s what happened after Independence, leading up to and during the Civil War. The Constitution made the slave reference as having three-fifths representation. This led to a distorted view of those Americans. That sentiment along with the Constitutional view of States Rights led to the confederacy spinoff.

But even after the Emancipation there was still public policy that created a ‘Jim Crow’ atmosphere. This prompted rounds of civil disobedience during the Civil Rights era. What we saw with public policy after the Civil War might be happening now after Civil Rights as a ‘new & improved’ version of ‘America in reverse.’

We find times in history where different groups are used as a scapegoat. Back in the day immigrants from some European countries were seen as a threat to American society. Now there’s a new stirring-up of resentment on issues of immigration. Pelosi and Waters might say the reasons are Un-American.

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The Statue of Liberty as a symbol of freedom was a gift from France for the mutual exchange during the American Revolution. Some want to view immigrants as a threat. This usually happens when a war of words feels better than a war of ideas. Thankfully, an inscription on the statue sees us as an asset.

Over the years especially between the Civil War and Civil Rights, whenever two steps of progress were made there was a step backward into shades of years gone by. That would be like a company improving a product and then reversing good changes. When people realize a feature is gone it causes a backlash.

In the case of social change the backlash can cause roadblocks to a sense of community. It creates a level of distrust in civic institutions the way consumers might begin to distrust a company acting shady. What’s happening nowadays helps explain the steadiness of protest and need for a Community 3.0 plan.

The ongoing confusion and whiplash feels like a professor describing a subject one way and a totally disputed way next day. This makes it harder to prepare for mid-terms or finals. Waters and Pelosi know that next year the focus will be on mid-term elections. It’ll be interesting to see who passes the test.

Late-night shows and cable anchors have their hands full each week. The material for political analysis and satire is overflowing. In between the laughs and the lessons is some food for thought on many social issues. But it’s good that other voices help us stay calm or keep things fun and lose until the pain is gone.

Block Talkback: Does Bernie Sanders have a point about the link between Wall Street and Government? What can be learned from the link between Progressives & Dems or Conservatism & GOP?

Groove-tracks: Daley ft Jill Scott – Until The Pain is Gone – https://youtu.be/_MrqznD97y0

Skip Marley – Calm Down –  https://youtu.be/eyq74jtdgnY

Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone Has Some Pondering Women’s History in Reverse #HometownChat

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Trivia: Which recording artist has been battling with her producer over future projects? (Answer below)

The back-and-forth between Hollywood and others has taken a new turn. First it was #OscarsSoWhite where black actors were left out of the running. Now it’s real talk from folks in the clubs, blocks & streets of #NotBlackEnough. With Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone some are pondering women’s history in reverse.

The original Writer/Director Cynthia Mort told Entertainment Weekly “There are very different visions of what the movie could have been and should have been…” Considering we’re in Women’s History Month, some have come out strongly against the casting of Saldana while others want to give the film a chance.

It’s possible the mixed feelings say something about how people interpret Simone’s life and legacy. It might even help explain the reactions people have about Saldana’s casting and how they interpret America’s history. It’s a question of whose version do they understand, want to believe in or rely on.

Whether in the current political climate or in matters of social justice they’re those who tend to see the history of America only in the eyes of prejudice. But learning from game changers of our past, in forging American history it’s important to see purpose too. Saldana might have taken the role based on this view.

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Simone’s music and impact were like the flipside to James Brown. She is described on her website’s official bio as a lyrical interpreter. A few of her favorite hits were remakes of prior written/recorded tracks of other well-known artists. They included Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday and Tina Turner.

It’s usually done with creative add-ons as artists do covers and actors do physical makeovers for a role. Recently, the artist Joe did his own take on Adele’s Hello. We’ve seen Robin Williams play Mrs. Doubtfire and Tyler Perry play Madea. Maybe Saldana saw this as a way to go deeper in her body of work.

A Simone bio quote says “…to make people feel on a deep level, it’s difficult to describe because it’s not something you can analyze; to get near what it’s about, you have to play it. And when you’ve caught it, when you’ve got the audience hooked, you always know because it’s like electricity hanging in the air.”

Is it that sort of vision that drew Saldana to the movie? It’s true for social change projects that make us feel a new sense of electricity in America. The current view is that things have gotten better over time. But there’s still a level of cultural uneasiness and displeasure that’s hard to explain/analyze as ‘strange fruit.’

Answer: Kesha

Groove-tracks: Jill Scott – Strange Fruit – https://youtu.be/OkXAxpzE6Gk?t=85s

 

Prince  – Baltimore –  https://youtu.be/Gx2PCJaisqc?t=50s