Recommentunde - Still in Spain - Week of June 23 2019

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The Recommentunde Newsletter

For the week that began June 23 2019

I managed to listen to both democratic debates but don’t have much to say since I’m on vacation and just happy to have a broad array of competent, non-criminals seeking the office of the U.S. presidency. My next stops are Berlin and Prague, but meanwhile in Spain...

As Elizabeth and I were walking down a street in the Gracia neighborhood of Barcelona, I saw some graffiti on the wall which read, “La Manada somos nosotros” which translates to “We are the wolfpack.” On our first full day in Spain the Supreme Court here had ruled that a group of men who gang raped a woman at the running of the bulls, had in fact, gang raped her. They called themselves The Wolfpack (La Manada). The incident kickstarted Spain’s version of the Me Too movement leading to the largest women’s protests in the history of the country, but as this article points out, it also ushered in a right wing backlash. The rules of political physics are still at play. For every action, there will be an opposite (if not fully equal) reaction.

In fact that back and forth push and pull is getting more volatile as people around the world turn to the streets to have their voices heard by governments, both democratic and autocratic. From Hong Kong to the Czech Republic (where I’ll be in a few days) folks are going beyond the ballot box and taking to the streets. Maybe if Netflix kills that five-second auto play, we Americans will take to the streets more as well. There’s certainly ample evidence that our political process is neither representing the will of the majority nor protecting the interests of minorities.

In the meantime, you see that even when American Republicans lose in a democratic contest, they refuse to concede as these Oregon lawmakers literally fled the state to prevent a climate change bill from being passed. Vox climate reporter Dave Roberts has this harrowing Twitter thread about the likely devastating effects of conservative climate response + right wing extremism.

You’ve heard so many people put their faith in young people to deliver a more accepting and progressive future, but you remember that young people can be really shitty too. There is a humbling report which shows that LGBTQ acceptance among young people is on the decline. Good ideas don’t just naturally get absorbed by new generations. We gotta work, people.

But listen, you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired about the state-sanctioned mass child kidnappings happening in the name of Americans at the southern border, so you check out how you can help reunite migrant families.

You’re exhausted from the terrible news about the climate crisis, and you find some good advice in this article on how to talk to children about climate change, because relative to Planet Earth, we are all children.

You’re ready to shift from ideas expressed through words to something more sensory and uplifting. Thanks to Tricia Wang for reminding me about the dance movement work of Jon Boogz and Lil Buck in “Love Heals All Wounds.” Check the YouTube video on the homepage.

And now, here are some of my favorite inspiring speeches recently published on the internet:

Tyler Perry at the BET awards (2 minutes)

Jonny Sun: You are not alone in your loneliness | TED Talk (10 minutes)

Jon Gray: The next big thing is coming from the Bronx, again | TED Talk (10 minutes)

Suleika Jaouad: What almost dying taught me about living | TED Talk (17 minutes)

And my own TED talk is now here on YouTube where you can read some super trolly comments, yay Internet!

Finally, this past week I learned of the death of a friend who was a key member of our Harvard 1999 class and an even more central pillar of the black community in that class. Dr. Jason B. Phillips, the funniest person I had the pleasure to know, is no longer with us. His colleagues at Rutgers where he was about to defend his PhD thesis have established a foundation which you can learn about and support.

Peace and Love to you.