Former President Barack Obama Delivers Speech At 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture | TIME - YouTube →

I joined the live stream about half way through, but what I heard was extremely refreshing after yesterday and the last (almost) two years. We need more of his words and leadership going forward -- I hope this is a signal he's re-entering public life.

Putin’s playbook for discrediting America and destabilizing the West →

Ukraine, Brexit, Syria, Trump, promotion of fascist candidates in European elections (Le Pen in France), support for fascism in the US…it’s all right there in the book. And they’ve done it all while barely firing a shot.

All happening right before our eyes.

(h/t: Kottke)

Undemocratic

Voter fraud is rare to nonexistent, yet there are ongoing attempts by a certain party to limit the pool of voters in America. To make it harder to vote. All of these rules disproportionally impact the poor and people of color. They count on you viewing the rules through your lens of privilege to get their agenda through the system.

Longtime Republican consultant Carter Wrenn:

"Look, if African Americans voted overwhelmingly Republican, they would have kept early voting right where it was," Wrenn said. "It wasn’t about discriminating against African Americans. They just ended up in the middle of it because they vote Democrat."

Everyone should be able to vote: auto-registered at 18, voting day should be a federal holiday, etc. It's not difficult.

Voting should be easier, not harder. Anyone celebrating or advocating for anything else is undemocratic and un-American.

What Happens When a Bad-Tempered, Distractible Doofus Runs an Empire? | The New Yorker →

History repeating itself:

One of the many things that Wilhelm was convinced he was brilliant at, despite all evidence to the contrary, was “personal diplomacy,” fixing foreign policy through one-on-one meetings with other European monarchs and statesmen. In fact, Wilhelm could do neither the personal nor the diplomacy, and these meetings rarely went well. The Kaiser viewed other people in instrumental terms, was a compulsive liar, and seemed to have a limited understanding of cause and effect.

What’s Next?

Like many people, I woke up today in shock and still exhausted from last night’s election results. I went to bed angry and disappointed, thankfully falling asleep — probably more from sheer exhaustion than anything else — after spending a short time pondering how I will explain this to my three daughters in the morning. The three daughters that were so excited to go vote for the first female presidential candidate. The three that went to bed with an 83% chance of waking up to the first female president in US history.

This morning, they ran into my room excited to hear the news, but like many of us who witnessed it live, their hopes were dashed and confusion set in…

“If he says mean things and isn’t a good person, why did so many people vote for him?”

That was just the start. They were profoundly sad, gracing me with many hugs to help with their (and my) disappointment. I’ve been a mess ever since…

Since school drop off, I’ve spent time reflecting with other like-minded people, reading great posts like Anil Dash’s Forget “Why?”, it’s time to get to work , pondering the most bizarre and contradicting exit polls I’ve ever seen, and attempting to temper my fear since Trump really didn’t run on anything but adjectives, a wall, and locking Clinton up (and I doubt the last two will ever happen.)

We don’t know what the next couple years will bring from this government led by an extreme narcissist — and while I don’t imagine much good coming from it for anyone who isn’t a white male, I do know that we can continue down the path we started on…

That means we will continue teaching our girls about love, empathy , decency, politeness, and inclusion — giving and expecting it back in return. It means continuing to teach them to think beyond their immediate needs, when they have enough (and what enough means), to consider others less fortunate. It means continuing to work with the amazing Girl Scouts of WNY to help the poor and marginalized, whether it’s helping food pantries or marching in the Pride Parade. It means supporting local businesses that are run by or support women, minorities, people of color, and LGBT.

There’s a lot we can do to lessen the impact of a Trump presidency for future generations. The most important moment starts today. Let’s show our kids that bullies and fear don’t win in the end.

Tomorrow

#ImWithHer for them.

Tomorrow, we take our three girls to vote for President for the third time in their lifetime. The first two were for the first African American President. Tomorrow, the first female President.

The best part is they know no different. This diversity is normal to them. It’s so amazing to know that their generation is already off to a great start.

Now it’s up to us to keep setting good examples. Examples free of inequality, prejudice, hatred, abuse, degradation, and violence.

Let’s get this done.

An Amazing 10 Days for America

Early February was an amazing time -- absolutely amazing -- to watch the performances from two highly talented African Americans, on the highest profile stages in American culture, that so perfectly captured Black Culture and Black America in 2016. Even better that they took place in the midst of one of the most insane Presidential election cycles America has ever seen.

It all started with Beyonce's Formation video:

And her performance at the Super Bowl:

Killer Mike, Margaret Cho, and Bill Maher had a great conversation that perfectly dissected that song and performance:

My favorite quotes started with Killer Mike:

White people, it's not always about you.

And then Margaret Cho at the end:

Black Pride doesn't have to take anything away from White Culture. It doesn't have to take anything away -- it can exist on it's own. I think this is what Black America needed. It's what all of us needed. It's really important.

Then a week or so later at the Grammy Awards, Kendrick Lamar delivered a performance that not only stole the show, but was quite possibly the most thought provoking and important live musical performance by an African American that I can remember.

Killer Mike's quote above is applicable to pretty much everything in life: it's not always about you. You can get offended at these performances or their anger, live in denial, or nitpick over imagery or words. It's wasted energy. Just because you don't understand or want to believe someone's feelings and/or experiences, doesn't make it any less true or any less important to that person.

Its an important (and hard) lesson to learn and a key to developing empathy and compassion. We all need to do more to turn that empathy and compassion into change. We need to show more support and stand up to racist bullshit: speak up, write more, vote for equality, vote with our dollars, and vote with our time and attention. After all, Desmond Tutu said it best:

If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.

It's why I was so excited about Obama and now Bernie Sanders. I would much rather live in a world with less inequality, less hatred, less exploitation, less short-term thinking, and less selfishness. It's not always about you. We live in a modern, extremely inter-connected society that has the ability to provide a little more and put everyone on a better path -- whether it's on a racial level, gender, sexuality, or economics. Small sacrifices by many can improve our society as a whole and make us a greater nation. (And we are already pretty great, despite Trump's asinine campaign slogan.)

Let's all do more in 2016 and beyond.