Kyrie Irving & Susan Rice Show Why We Need Civic Engagement in a Fractured Country – #HometownChat


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

It’s been a wild ride since the Trump Administration rollout. There’ve been Executive Orders flying across his desk, twice as many as days of the week. The theme so far seems to be Make America Constipate Again. So Kyrie Irving and Susan Rice show us why we need civic engagement in a fractured country.

Irving recently spoke out on one of the hot button issues. He told ESPN he wants to be remembered for more than being a pro basketball player. He surprised many in saying he has Native American blood-lines in his upbringing. Meanwhile, Ambassador Rice’s thoughts on current affairs: “This is stone cold crazy.”

During the campaign one of Trump’s sons said running for President was a ‘step down’ for his father. It’s not clear if he meant step down in prestige or difficulty. So far it’s been more like a step down in empathy. Plus, his administration is ‘governing by crowd’ as if still campaigning as opposed to graciously serving. It’s still not clear whether Trump’s governing style is to disrupt even if having to destroy or destroy as a way to eventually disrupt.

One way to understand the rush of Executive Orders is seeing them as ‘love letters’ to his core supporters. But they’ve also been ‘chaos letters’ to the rest of the country. Over the short time in office Trump’s administration created a bond with Russia and a ‘beef’ with a majority of the American people.

So what else might Irving and Rice want to #LetThePeopleKnow about the Presidency and public service as a step up or step down? What’s the difference between governing as a campaign and governing to serve?  We’d like to see service from the White House to the heartland where:

  1. Politicians make policies and solve problems through net impact not just net service.
  2. Leaders make change their friend and purpose something for which they’re a fan.
  3. Communities make Martin Luther King Jr more than a city boulevard but also a social beat.
  4. Societies make people better not just make better things for people.

The term ‘net service’ means the number of years a person has worked for a company. Usually, the larger the net service the bigger the net pension. The general public isn’t as interested in a politician’s net service as they are in their net impact. They’re more concerned about net-value results than net ratings.

Experts wonder out loud if Trump is serious about solving problems. During the campaign and right up to now he’d repeatedly fall back to his old TV habits of ‘drama ratings,’ with a love for all the media attention coming his way. To some policy makers like Rice, his Executive Orders are starting to feel like ‘net crazy.’

Change is usually good for the better. For example the anti-Obama protests of the past opposed change in healthcare that helped people. But the recent days of anti-Trump protests oppose change in immigration that harm people. There’re important clues when campaigns about ‘change’ get a closer look.

Some leaders say ‘we do it this way, that’s how we do it.. period!’ Others say ‘we do it in new ways as a fresh way of doing it.. let’s go!’ If it weren’t for Steve Jobs saying ‘let’s go’ we’d not have iPhones, iTunes & iPads. However there’s bad ‘change’ leadership of letting ignorance look smarter than competence.

In cities all across the country you’ll find a block that surrounds Martin Luther King Jr Boulevard. From Harlem to Atlanta, these streets are significant to the heartbeat of the community. There’s a legacy to uphold and a dream to unfold. These streets are like military stripes in the life of community responders.

But military stripes can be viewed as net service as well as net impact. Kyrie Irving says he’s going to speak up more on issues, thus earning his stripes as an engaged citizen. That should give us reason to step up as well to earn our stripes not only as pop culture trend-setters but also as social change-makers.

There’s that old saying of “we didn’t leave the stone age because we ran out of stones. We left the stone age because we made new things.” The benefit of more ‘bells and whistles’ in our cars and homes is a result of us inventing new things. But it’s not enough to have better things without making people better.


In a sense that’s what protesters are saying across the country. The actions by high ranking politicians during the Obama years were guided by ‘obstruct.’ The actions by everyday people since the start of Trump’s term are guided by ‘resist.’ The history of Mandela & Martin, Maya & Marley (and others) shows the lasting good in people who protest out of conscientious resistance.

So take a flashback to high school math and those days of trying to find the ‘greatest common factor.’ This is a high multiplying effect between two or more numbers. What we need these days is to find the greatest common formation. This would be a high multiplying effect between net service and net impact.

Sports teams have offense, defense, scorers and role players in formation. We see these same multiplying factors in community as activists, advocates, reformers and commentators. If we add shared purpose and special teams to Community 3.0 we’ll make greater strides together towards more history.

Groove-tracks: Beyoncé – Formation –

Anderson Paak – Am I Wrong? –

What’s It Gonna Take to Turn the Corner or Change Lanes on Senseless Violence in America?


Trivia: Which Hollywood actor ‘threw shade’ at Ashton Kutcher’s Steve Jobs movie role? (Answer below)

Washington D.C. is often seen as the seat of power within the halls of government. It’s where elected officials meet and work to make things happen for the country. When national problems arise they find solutions. So, what’s it gonna take to turn the corner or change lanes on senseless violence in America?

The comparisons to other countries or even to terrorism fail to move them into action. The statistics speak for themselves. A part of the problem is our country is affected by some kind of blind-spot. In addition, there may be certain ‘objects in the mirror’ that are preventing politicians from changing lanes.

After each occurrence they tweet condolences and give avoidance speeches. Then things return to where we left off. It’s easy to lose faith in our representatives when they’re clearer on what they can’t do than what they can do. Maybe this is as good a time to see our politicians be brave, not just bench warmers.

Some of the needed changes are a matter of process reform. There’s a process for a police academy recruit to be armed. Trainees are checked-out to have the right background, training and temperament. But for everyday citizens, being armed is like drive-thru service. What does that say about our system?

There’s a process to get a driver’s license or to vote that’s more thought-out than to make a weapon’s purchase. Plus, we have a situation where those who fall through the cracks seem to fit a pattern. To change lanes means taking a closer look at what’s causing them to choose powerless and purposeless.

Navigating the road to change is not just about blind-spots. Running for office has become an episode of the ‘Dating Game’ on campaign trails. Once in office, some officials become so ‘married’ to the same-old ‘Special Interest’ music in their ear. Then for regular folks it’s hard getting politicians to feel their pain.

When major events threaten our shores, economy or citizens we take decisive actions. This might involve deploying military or other resources, or enacting reasonable security measures. Yes, there might be temporary setbacks but we usually bounce-back. So, surely there must be something we can do here?

Answer: Michael Fassbender

Groove-tracks: Sara Bareilles – “Brave” –

India Arie – “Brother’s Keeper” –