The Way Biden Can Excite Us [Recommentunde - 1 Dec 2019]

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The Recommentunde Newsletter

For the week that began December 1 2019

Signature photo from the movie, Queen and Slim. Get to a theatre and see this ASAP.

I’ve been practicing in my mind what it would feel like to support Joe Biden.

I’m not against Uncle Joe. I’m just more excited by others. Watching his debate performances has made me cringe in frustration and confusion, but after the article I shared about his stutter, I have a more compassionate response now. Hearing him describe marijuana as a “gateway drug” gave me 1990s flashbacks, and not in a good way. However, I will support whoever is opposite the current president on the ballot next year. That even includes life forms like Michael Bloomberg or the ghost of internet cat sensation Lil Bub — both would be far better representatives of the American people than the unstable, walking bag of traumas that currently holds the office. But, should he get the nomination, I want to be fired up and ready to go for Biden, and that will be made much easier by his choice of running mate. So if his people are listening, pick Stacey Abrams.

I’ve had the privilege of seeing Stacey Abrams live multiple times in the past year. I even got to introduce her at a DC event and tried to vote for her right then and there even though she wasn’t on any recognized ballot and no elections were then happening. Abrams is grounded and real. She understands the deep structural threat that voter suppression represents to our democracy. She ran a real campaign for Georgia governor that activated black voters and welcomed rural and white ones as well. She is comfortable in her skin and doesn’t have to initiate every public appearance with an apology. For a refresher on her refreshing voice, re-watch her response to the State of the Union in February of this year.

Biden played an important role for President Barack Obama and thus, for the country. I think he made certain voters more comfortable. He certainly could advise the young president on the ways of Washington. Now we are in a different time. Biden can’t play VP once again, but he can pave the way for the next generation of inspired leadership. He can help bring a woman into the White House. He can give voters a reason to cast their ballots with excitement and not merely resentment or resignation. Biden and Abrams could complement one another perfectly, and I think she would make an excellent president. How beautiful would it be for Joe Biden to have served as second to the first black president and first to the second black president?

That’s just poetic. So think about it.

And now, back to your regularly-scheduled content.

RACE

All eyes are on Newark to see if it can avoid the fate of every other revived city in modern American. The question is, As Newark Rises, Could Black Residents Be Pushed Out? | The New York Times

Last week, I plugged Queen and Slim, a film written by Lena Waithe and directed by Melina Matsoukas. I saw it the day before Thanksgiving, and I’m doubling down on my recommendation. On Instagram I concluded, “Queen and Slim feels as good as it hurts.” Since then I’ve read this deep profile of the director: Her Own Space | The California Sunday Magazine. The money quote: “There is in it a fullness of black life. There is hope, and there is action and freedom as this film reflects Americans back to themselves.“

Also, that soundtrack.

In the solutions department… I got a chance to meet Antionette Carroll at TED in 2018. She’s the founder of Creative Reaction Lab, which centers equity in a design-thinking approach to solving community problems. Basically, her organization helps communities solve their own problems instead of depending out outside saviors to descend upon them with solutions. Her five-minute TED Fellows talk is worth watching. More important, buy gifts from the organization’s online store to support its work.


ENDORSEMENTS - GIVING TUESDAY EDITION:

Are you looking to spend some money on a charitable organization because you're thinking, "I want to help people," or "My accountant said this would help me with my tax strategy?" Either way, here are some organizations worth supporting that I also support.

  • BUILD. Uses entrepreneurship to get high school students more invested in education and prepare them for the world.

  • The Brooklyn Public Library. Sixth largest system in America, you can also think of this as WeWork, but for free and without the massive fraud masquerading as business.

  • Just B Yoga. This is Michigan’s only donation-based full-time yoga studio since 2010, and it's founder is my sister, Belinda! Most of you don't live in Lansing, but you should support her model, especially the trauma-sensitive program she runs. (donation link in the right column on that page)


CLIMATE

There’s plenty of doom and gloom news in this department, but I’d rather share this: “The North Carolina county has removed 460 structures and replaced them with absorbent grasslands, winning national praise as a prototype for regional flood planning that anticipates the impact of projected development and the growing effects of extreme weather.” To address climate change, Charlotte is buying out homeowners and demolishing flood-prone houses | The Washington Post.

There’s more where that came from in the Washington Post’s Climate Solutions section.

TECHNOLOGY

Just gonna stick with Amazon this week. They are big enough to cover this section for years. There's Prime Mover: How Amazon Wove Itself Into the Life of an American City | The New York Times and Amazon shipping: The wild journey your package takes to get to you | Vox

DEMOCRACY

A nice primer on why the U.S. has impeachment in the Constitution and what it means. Alexander Hamilton saw this coming | Los Angeles Times.

Sometimes an outsider has the clearest view of us. So it is with Australian podcast, The Signal, which assessed Mike Bloomberg’s entrance into the presidential contest and asked, Can you buy the US presidency?. Here it is on Apple Podcasts

TREATS

SIGNING OFF

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Peace and Love.