President Obama Gave a ‘Hope & Change Remix’ with a Vision for America’s Next Phase – #HometownChat

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

As time winds down on President Obama’s term in office, there’s mixed feelings across the land. Some remember where they were when he was first elected as America’s first African-American President. So as part of his farewell speech he gave us a ‘hope & change remix’ with a vision for America’s next phase.

Obama campaigned on a message that he felt spoke to the heart of what it means to keep America moving forward. He said there’re times when it feels like we’re taking two steps forward and one step back. But the net result is becoming a more inclusive nation that widens the arc of justice and equality.

In a packed room of some 20,000 friends, family, staff and well-wishers he again tried to capture the imagination of an engaged citizenry. He reminded us in the simplest way that the U.S. Constitution is just a piece of paper with words. But it’s the people who bring life to those words through the political process.

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The farewell address by the outgoing President is a tradition dating back to George Washington. Obama even referenced Washington in his speech as a book-end to sharing four things he wanted to #LetThePeopleKnow as he prepares to go. Before shedding a tear talking about his wife, he told us this:

  1. Affirm the ideal that we can work towards a more perfect union.
  2. Challenge the rise of fear, cynicism and despondency.
  3. Watchout for ‘political IEDs’ that can damage the legs of our democracy.
  4. Do our part in America so that it can continue to do its part in the world.

One of the earlier paragraphs in the Constitution speaks to ‘We the People’ working towards a more perfect union. This ideal has become an ongoing tireless process of give and take, discovery and heartbreak. But it’s one of the clearest ways we might think about how we fulfill our nation’s destiny.

Over time we’ve seen where ‘We the People’ working towards a more perfect union has been derailed by those who seem to be working towards a more pissed-off union. This happened pre Civil War when there was fear of a shift in economics. It happened during Jim Crow when there was fear of a shift in politics.

And it happened in the recent elections driven by fear of a shift in demographics. So Obama told us to challenge the rise of fear, cynicism and despondency. But also to watchout for political IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices) that can damage the legs of our democracy. These get planted in different ways.

They’re part of a new arsenal of political WMDs (Weapons of Mass Dah) that are used as direct acts of hindrance or direct accounts of hogwash. Sometimes it’s a string of deception to make people believe fake news and deny real news. Other times it’s to suppress, depress, oppress, or confuse the electorate.

As the speech came to a build-up it’s as if Obama was channeling Dr. King. In what became King’s last speech in Memphis he talked about having been to the mountaintop and seen the Promised Land. He said he was confident we’d get there because his eyes had seen the coming of the glory of the Lord.

Obama wanted us to know that it was an honor having served eight years as our President. During that time he’s been to different events in the life of our nation that were mountaintop experiences. He still believes in hope and change today as he did then. That’s why we must do our part in America so that it can do its part in the world. So maybe Obama’s good if we choose to remix #YesWeCan with #YesOurCountry because ‘we are the ones!’

Groove-tracks: Will.i.am – We Are The Ones – https://youtu.be/ghSJsEVf0pU

Bruce Springsteen – Land of Hopes and Dreams –  https://youtu.be/hXrT8rQ0axM

Mitt Romney Rocks the GOP with a Statement of Conscience beyond Politics

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Trivia: Which two former NFL player and NBA player have said they’ve still ‘got game’? (Answer below)

“It can’t get any worse than this!” That’s how some people felt upon hearing news of the tragedy in Charleston, South Carolina. As details unfolded, the alleged suspect and motive became clearer. So without mincing words Mitt Romney rocked the GOP with a statement of conscience beyond politics.

His comment on Twitter regarding taking down the confederate battle flag was a surprise in some circles. The question of whether the flag represents heritage or hate should be simple to resolve. The same is true for other similar hot topics like senseless gun violence and related matters of political stalemate.

Maybe the flag is like a scab on history. Just think about what happens with a cut on your body. Before the area fully heals there’s a scab that develops. That scab must then fall off to complete the healing process. To further heal in race relations Romney is saying the scab (the flag) has to leave the area.

Regarding senseless gun violence look no further than a few decades ago of a high rate in highway fatalities. It became such a public health/safety concern that authorities took steps to require motorists wearing seatbelts. Maybe our approach to the 2nd Amendment needs a real paradigm shift as well.

Those hot topics can be fuel for heated debates. But there’re some hot-button issues that seem to be overlooked. When the events of Charleston or Baltimore or Newtown or other recent major tragedy are considered in total you’ll find a few common threads. So our ideas have to go from ideology to solutions.

A ‘We the People,’ response needs to move beyond politics or small talk to lasting change as follows:

  1. Demand a ‘Purpose Curriculum’ in schools
  2. Reinvent an opportunity-sharing strategy in communities
  3. Engage an integrated plan of empowerment in social groups.

Some describe the actions of the Charleston shooter as evil. But his manifesto also shows a kid who was lost for purpose. After repeating 9th grade and dropping out of school he didn’t have a handle on his place in society. Some tragedies in other cities were carried-out by those who might have been lost for purpose.

While mental health is a factor, prejudice is not mental illness but more a mentality. Moreover, the effects of racism are usually seen in systems, structures and matters of self-sufficiency which can contribute to an opportunity gap. So income inequality is not just about the Stock Market but also the ‘Block Market.’

There are hundreds of groups that the Charleston shooter could have joined. It seems he choose to align with ‘hate group noise’ on the Internet. There’s no denying the power of social media. But the timeless context for social change and empowerment is found in squashing misinformation and spreading hope.

On Sunday, 21 yr-old Jordan Spieth took home $1.8 million for winning the U.S Open Golf. A few days earlier a judge issued a $1 million bond to keep the 21 yr-old Charleston shooter locked-up. What’s different? A sense of purpose, exposure to opportunity and empowered sense of contribution to society.

Answer: Herschel Walker and Michael Jordan

Groove-tracks: Common ft. will.i.am – “A Dream” – https://youtu.be/XBa55sDTIiA

Imagine Dragons – Dream –  https://youtu.be/s-9KQJuLBgs