Alec Baldwin’s SNL Skits Were a Strange Omen for How People See the World Through Their Own Experiences #Hometown Chat


It wouldn’t be a stretch if I said there’re lots of raw emotions these days after one of the most contentious periods in American politics. My eldest daughter was a first-time voter so there was much explaining we had to do before and after. But there’s even more we can learn about America’s social ‘stars & stripes.’

This year will go down in history as one of triumph and of stump. With the past summer Olympics athletes like Simone Biles and Michael Phelps seen as champs. Then we had the Presidential elections. Alec Baldwin’s SNL skits were a strange omen for how people see the world through their own experiences.

As professors, pundits and fanatics try to explain the sequence of events they might consider an Alec Baldwin quote which said “I was taught in college that Americans choose their President like they choose laundry soap, with a knee-jerk brand loyalty devoid of reason.” That makes us go Hmmm (or Amen)!

This might also be a case where race and ratings took the day. It was like a pendulum swing in ‘swing states.’ It was also a case of the election results confirming our social biases, media preferences & pop culture tendencies. People were drawn to the ‘Reality TV’ aspects and if there’d be a train wreck.

Winning or losing the election is like flipping a coin. So we still have to keep rolling as a country. We still have to function and not lose our minds. In order to not become too cynical or counter-political, it’s important to ask ourselves ‘What are we looking for?’ in the next season of governing.

  1. Are we looking for a Superman to fly-in and save the day?
  2. Are we looking for a Scapegoat to blame for not wanting to play?
  3. Are we looking for Solutions to address the broader challenges that are in the way?

There’re many moments we’ll remember for how this campaign unfolded. One group bought into the superman model where what they saw gave new excitement to what they hoped for. Another group bought into the public servant model where the history-making they believed was in what they’d received.


The model that came out ahead was the one the pendulum swing helped to win the day. More people saw themselves with Superman because of wanting to save their town. Plus, when people see their lives in someone who acts, talks and is crudely ‘uncut’ like them they’re less likely give Superwoman a shot.

Over the past eight years effective governing was blocked by partisanship (I wonder why). It was a state of gridlock. But as the holiday season approaches, traffic experts know there’s a difference between gridlock and obstruction. Gridlock tends to happen organically. Obstruction tends to happen intentionally.

There’s a danger in thinking the ‘obstruction favor’ should be returned. Is that a scapegoat response for not wanting to play? Life isn’t fair. Politics isn’t pretty. If we depend solely on politicians there’ll be enough disappointment to go around. So let’s see how ‘decide & prosper’ fairs against ‘divide & conquer.’

There’re issues in our country that have been around for years. Elected officials offer promises that spin our minds like a merry-go-round. What we think we want gets fed to us like candy, sweet for the moment but fades over time. We have a build-up in excitement. But with obstruction, things fade into frustration.

What we need in order to address broader challenges whether in Urban America, Heartland America or Rural America is a social structure similar to how a software company handles change. There’s a platform that handles how things interconnect and there’s an operating system for how things work and play.

Political scientists and pollsters will be pinpointing the results for years to come. The next few months will likely be a bit fragile. But lest we get stuck in a depressed feeling consider this, #YesOurCountry. Yes our country is built on many groups that contribute to its greatness. So we should stick closer to the values and visions for a ride on the ‘Nation One’ love train. It’s been around longer than any other political campaign train.

Groove-tracks: Hall & Oates, Billy Ocean, Maxi Priest – Love Train –

Faith Evans – Fragile –

What the Olympic Games & Presidential Campaigns Say About The American Dream in ‘Spaghetti Gymnastic’ #HometownChat


The America I’ve come to know isn’t quite the America I first knew. Some of this is from a false image of ‘streets paved with gold.’ Now that I’ve emigrated here for 35 years and seen the streets, I’ve come to my senses. So let me explain using a couple top stories from the Olympic Games & Presidential campaigns.

The dust hasn’t quite settled yet in Rio. Many athletes have returned home to big cheers. That wasn’t the case for Ryan Lochte who’s doing damage control. Meanwhile, the Presidential campaigns have been like a roller coaster of fact checking. So how do the Games & Campaigns jibe with the American Dream?

The Games were exciting. The Campaigns have been mind-blowing. This might seem absurd but who really feels Lochte was robbed? And who really thinks that the best way to handle immigration is to build a wall? What we’ve learned from these situations is the difference between straight-shoot and street truth.

As we look at the Olympics through the ‘media engine’ we see a commercial bonanza. But when we look through the social lens we might wonder about the ‘citizen effect.’ It is the citizen effect that tells us the street truth. For some communities the American Dream feels less like a commercial bonanza and more like ‘spaghetti gymnastics’ because:

  1. They feel like they’re competing against a system of inequities.
  2. They’re faced with setback after setback of event injustices.
  3. Their emotional sanity is challenged by repeated inconsistencies.

A recent report revealed American towns where local authorities use excessive enforcement to balance their books on the backs of citizens. The net result is a build-up of animosity and distrust. Then after a while the pressure cooker boils over into skirmishes and civic disturbances that catch officials by surprise.


Much attention is given to what’s happening on Wall Street. It seems there’s so much on the line. Others are pretty concerned about Front Street in support of small businesses. But maybe the folks on Back Street USA feel left-out or overlooked. Maybe the word on those streets gets lost in ‘campaign hustle.’

Some might say building a wall is a closed-door old-school approach. Others might see it as a gated-community ‘Wall Street’ kind of solution. Either way, in local communities it’s seen as another way of speaking over or speaking around the real issues and not addressing chronic social injustices.

It’s hard to explain to those on Back Street why folks from the other side of the tracks can catch a break but they don’t. That’s how some people felt on social media regarding Lochte. If it wasn’t for video he would have been believed. But even with video, folks on Back Street USA get the short end of the stick.

These days political campaigns can put us through ‘spaghetti gymnastics’ in trying to separate straight-shoot from street truth. Yes, straight shoot might be unscripted and happening in ‘real time.’ But it pulls us in conflicting directions. Street truth is what Dr King gave us 53 years ago with ‘I Have a Dream.’

So while the American Dream is alive and well in Olympic stories, it feels out-of-reach for others. We celebrate those who made it to the biggest event on the world stage. But for folks whose streets aren’t paved in gold, there’s a potential disconnect with the Games, Political Campaigns and living in America.

Groove-tracks: James Brown – Living in America –

– Dream On –