Why So Many Negative Posts!

Texas State 5
Texas State University students in October 2015 at Party Politics US pilot kickoff of Chalkboard Conversations party ask questions to make a point.


By Atiba Madyun

My company Party Politics US’ secret group on Facebook, Chalkboard Conversations, had a member from abroad ask why so many negative posts.  The comment was placed on a post about the incident that occurred at a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Starbucks.   The group has over 4,000 members from all walks of life posting and commenting everyday.

It has diverse viewpoints and our members are in over 80 countries.   Members are allowed to discuss, debate even argue the issues, but never allowed to insult the messenger.   Our members speak highly of the platform, many saying it is the only one they are on that the conversation remains civil.

Below is my response to the question about negative posts.  It gets to the core of where we are today and if you want to join our discussions please see how to join read below.

“When this country lives out the true meaning of its creed “that all are endowed with the rights of liberty, freedom and justice” then you’ll see the posts change.

The expression of frustration are heightened when unarmed men, women and children are being killed because of the color of their skin.  The people in this country see that and there are far more people connected to the issues and sickened by the inequality. An idea of equality is preached in our schools, but in our society, it is not lived out in practice.

The negative posts will decrease, when healthcare becomes an inherent right to live…

And unequal pay becomes equal pay for doing the same job, you will see a change.

This country boasts of being the greatest nation in the world.  We invest more into our  military power than in cultivating citizens ability to be creative and innovative.

The posts are a reflection of that.

Our country like many others around the globe are filled with citizens that believe the opportunity our country promises is meted out to a few and denied to the masses.

Further, the structure of this nation has from its inception, denied the right of full citizenship, even to those who were here first.

What you see in the posts are the concerns of many.

There are far too many instances of irresponsible leadership and when that happens the citizens here and abroad should speak out.  We have that right in America and exercise it generously.

America is a form of democracy, yet the president of this great nation is not elected by the majority as we have seen in two of the last five presidential elections.

If our nation is to be a leader in the world and if it is to be a moral compass in this world, it must show in its example the power of human excellence.   All our institutions from government, corporate, small business, nonprofit to faith based must accept that responsibility.  To do this, we must use our power as citizens to exhibit the power of a great moral standard.  Instead, of that moral standard, our government leans on the power of our military and law enforcement to make people do what it says is right, not what is always morally right.  It does so to protect the oligarchs and today, we are under a fascist form of government.

We are better as a nation and the world when we show the power of our example is about fairness and opportunity for all.  And in our right as citizens, we are given the right to express our concerns.”

If you would like to join our online conversations, send me a message or better yet, find me on Facebook Atiba Madyun and I will be happy to add you.

Atiba Madyun is founder and president of Party Politics US that is putting the party before the politics by amplifying and attracting unheard voices using fun, innovative events to create safe spaces to make genuine conversations possible.

Chalkboard Conversation is a platform of Party Politics US, created in 2015.  It’s physical boards capture stories to share that generate conversations.  Today, it has more than 4,000 members.

 

Altering Perspectives: Life, Death, Military, Mental Illness and Kaepernick 

By Pete Rearden

I’ve had some…interesting experiences in the past 43 years. I’ve had some real high points, made some friends who are probably better than I deserve, and managed to live through it all so far. I’ve also had some incredibly low points, be it from costly misadventures, poor personal decisions, or poorly advised career moves. When I was just beginning my path through adulthood I started on a real low point. Within eleven months, eleven months to the day if we are going to be precise, I had buried both my younger brothers. The white sheep of the flock, Marc, was the passenger in a car destroyed by a freight train. My partner in crime, my fellow black sheep, my best friend, Paul, stepped between me and a crackhead mugger’s knife. He bled out in my arms on his second grade teacher’s doorstep.

My brother Marc and I loved each other, but we weren’t friends. Youth doesn’t always lend itself well to understanding. His death hurt deeply, but in comparison to later events, it wasn’t a deeply scarring trauma.

Paul’s murder made Marc’s death a veritable emotional cake walk. Seeing the blood pouring from his neck, seeing him fighting for air that wouldn’t come, watching his eyes glaze as the ambulance arrived…that broke, no, that trapped a part of me on a suburban street corner where it will always be October 13, 1995.

In 1996, the burst of blinding rage, the hyper-vigilance, the nightmares, and the long sleepless vigils were given a name: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD.

It has shaped who I am, both in terms of what President Abraham Lincoln called the “lighter angels” of my being, as well as the darkest demons. Over the years I’ve learned to ride the horse rather than simply clutching the reins. Sometimes you lose your grip on those reins though.

As the years went by, I lost more friends to the grave too early. I saw death up close. Sometimes it was at a car wreck, sometimes in a medivac chopper flying in and out of firefights, sometimes in hospitals, sometimes on street corners after the world had turn to all heat and noise and smoke and screams.

Each death made me a better rider of the pale horse I’d saddled that night in October all those years ago, but it also made that pale horse a little stronger as well.

I can’t see a needless death of a mother’s son on a quiet street, a child struggling to breathe through an oxygen mask as their body shakes from the chlorine they’ve breathed, or any other number of tragedies so frequently on display in the news without the parts of me that were trapped forever in the darkest moments of my past screaming out.

It makes me mean, it makes me cruel, it makes me vicious; not physically, but a sharp tongue can cut deeper than the sharpest blade.

I’m lucky. I don’t drink myself to sleep. I’m not strung out on pills. I don’t have traumatic brain injury as well as PTSD. I’ve learned to know my demons and how to keep the harnessed for the most part.

There are men and women who’ve served us who aren’t so fortunate.

Rather than talking about Colin Kaepernick, why not start a conversation about our veterans, as they are the ones the flag worshippers are claiming to be defending the honor and dignity of.

49ers-chargers-football
Colin Kaepernick takes a knee during National Anthem. Photo  by Chris Carlson/AP

This is what angers me. When it is convenient for them, many of those on the right – and make no mistake, this is a behavior peculiar to the more conservative voices in our nation – will fetishize our veterans. Sadly it is never convenient to fetishize and adulate when a veteran can’t find a job, when the part of a veteran trapped on a battlefield half a world and half a decade away drinks him to death, when a veteran sleeps on the streets cold and alone, or when a veteran sees his own death at his own hand as a blessing.

This disingenuous and hollow hero worship is sickening. Claiming that a man refusing to worship what at times has been little more than an American swastika as you turn a blind eye to the veteran slowly dying on the street is beyond hypocritical. It is the act of a callous and callow opportunist. To those who know intimately what these men and women deal with in the privacy of their own minds, it is a disrespect to our veterans far greater than refusing to worship a symbol.

Why don’t we turn the conversation away from how Colin Kaepernick is a bad person for respectfully protesting injustice, and turn the conversation to how we are all, regardless of race or creed, the agents of a great injustice.

Why don’t we see and talk about the injustice Kaepernick, and an increasing number of athletes are protesting with far more dignity than a person waving a trite sign on a corner, with an eye on the marginalized people who these athletes are protesting for.

To use the service of others as a political tool is a dishonor to their service. Why don’t we leave our soldiers and veterans out of this fight. They’ve fought enough.

pete Pete Rearden is a photographer, photojournalist, and opinionated commenter on America. Photo by Steve Watkins.

Terror on the Streets 

I had a dream last night about the urgency  of now and importance of addressing police officers terrorizing young men. In my dream, there was an image of my nephews walking in a world where police officers and young men are at war. Then I woke up.  It wasn’t a dream, that nightmare is real.  It is happening every day. Young men are killing each other faster than the officers are.  Why aren’t we talking about it.

I saw my 15 year old nephew’s Instagram page with the photo of a young up and coming rapper DC named Swipey who was killed a couple of days ago.  I didn’t know who he was.  But I was intrigued that my 13 year old niece and another fifteen year old nephew commented on the post.  Their comments read RIP with sad emoticons.

I felt instant sadness.  I held them not too long ago in my arms as babies and now as teenager their innocence has already been stripped away.  This young 18 year old was killed by possibly four or five young men who ambushed him with guns. Why? A robbery? An argument? Whatever it was, amounts to nothing important.   What is important, Swipey is gone. Where is the outrage about his death?  Had he been killed by the police, there would be outrage, marches and such.

A sense of urgency to call out the injustice and insensitivity of law enforcement is necessary.  Did you watch the video above of a ten year old chased by police who thought he was a twenty year old?

On my company, Party Politics US chalkboards, people have written that criminal justice, black lives matter, protecting all lives, race relations and racial stereotypes are things they want the next President to work on. I agree with them, do you?

If so, this means all of us no matter who wins the election have to work with the next President to address policemen who are terrorizing our young men.  It means, taking responsibility and having intolerance for the people on the streets carrying guns.  Killing one another on the street and even in church over a seat.

And it means calling this what it is, an American issue.  Power, entitlement and selfishness all a part of America, have brought about this epidemic. America has cultivated this since our inception. It’s not a game, it’s real life. But for some who have no feelings of remorse, whose hearts are so hardened and desensitized, this is like a video game.

A week after the Newtown shooting I said that Wayne LaPierre of the NRA made valid points in his press statement.  Many criticized me.  Looking back, the timing of my thoughts may have been hasty.  The wounds were too fresh.   You were right then. But I still stand by what I said then. We have to listen, doesn’t mean agree, with what he said.

The gun culture alone is not the problem. We are! In his remarks he said “there exists in this country a callous, corrupt shadow industry that sells and sows violence against its own people.” Before you disagree consider this.

Have you ever innocently bought your child a toy gun, water pistol or super soaker that looks like a gun?  If you are like my parents, you never did.  But somehow, my siblings and I figured out how to shape our hands into a gun and pretend to shoot at each other.

How about this?  Ever purchased video games like Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat, Splatterhouse, or any war games?  Even played them yourself?  You may not have, but a neighbor or family member may have.  Somehow, no matter how hard you tried, your child learned about guns and the power to kill. Unless, you completely shield them from television, movies and school American culture has a way of putting guns in the minds of our children.  It has for a long time.

Even our politicians engage but there role is far greater.  Yet, it still sends a signal that guns and power permeate our society.  Consider that most members of Congress have never fought or served in the military.  Yet they have been empowered to send our young men and women off to war in places we have no business being in.  Then we see the names of loved ones, or those we have never known listed on the news and in newspapers.  In some cases, on the walls of memorials.  We create a police culture abroad with our military and here with our police. This isn’t something just created, it’s been developing a loooong time.

Here’s something else to consider.  Name a country that has had not one, but four Presidents that were killed by shooters since 1865?

Malcolm X said after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination that his assassination was a byproduct of hate, and “the chickens are coming home to roost.”  We have a precipitous environment of hate in America.  The wars abroad have taken out attention off the war at home between the hate between our police forces and the young men killing each other on the street.

Do you want to address this issue? Or do you want your child, nephew, grandson, to be traumatized like this 10 year old who was chased by police who were looking for a twenty year old? I want to address it. To achieve anything, means having some hard long conversations.  That means talking not yelling.

Hot heads don’t solve problem. Now is the time to open our hearts so that we can hear one another. Now is the time to sit down and let cooler heads prevail. If we don’t sit down and talk, nothing get accomplished.

In the video, did you see the young man’s mother talking to her son.  I am certain her heart was racing.  Anger boiling.  And yet she asks him, what are you feeling.  That is a mother’s love and relief that her son lived to tell the tale of what happened. But what about the next time?

We all know, the officers were wrong!  But yelling at them accomplishes what? That is no different than what we accuse our politicians on both sides of the aisle for doing.  The urgency of the moment calls on us to sit down to talk before more young men like this ten year old are traumatized.

Some of you may want to make it about race. I see it.  I see modern day slave catchers kidnapping free black men and selling them into slavery. Instead, today they see no value for their life so they are killing them.  These young men are expendable to them.  They use the excuse, I thought he had a gun.  Knowing that if it goes to court, like the white man that killed Emmitt Till, Medgar Evers and many others will walk out of court a free man.

Here’s the reality.  One stark difference from then and now.  Today, we can vote for people who can change policy.  Unfortunately, we don’t vote or we vote straight party without looking at the positions of all the candidates!  We all can be smarter in our approach and find that while we have differences, there may be some significant things we can work on together.

We can work together in ways we couldn’t just sixty years ago. We can’t do that if we remain trapped in an abyss of hole of despair. As a legislator told me, if you want to get out of the hole, stop digging!

Young men killing each other is digging us all into a deeper hole.  They don’t appear to put much value on their own lives.  How do we expect the police to value them.

I don’t know why those young men killed young Swipey. But my heart aches for him, his friends, girlfriend and my niece and nephews.

I don’t for the life of me understand why those police officers chased this ten year old.  My heart aches for him and his mother.  My heart is open.  But I can’t blame him if his heart hardens after this experience.  This is part of the narrative we aren’t talking about. The cause and effect.  That’s why many of these young men are killing each other.  Who has valued these children’s lives.  If you don’t see it in the video, trust me, that hurt will manifest itself soon into another hardened heart.  His innocence was just ripped from him, no differently than the young slave boy or girl who was pulled away at a young age to work in the fields instead of playing like little kids should.

If you’re still reading this now and you’re white, or Republican and conservative, close your eyes and imagine, what if this ten year old was your child.

To my young friends, disenchanted with the voting process. Don’t give up. To those who say #BernieOrBust let your voice be heard at the ballot box. There’s another election in two years and another presidential one in four.

If you think not voting is an option, don’t complain about the injustices that are happening. But if it is important to see change occur, remember that we have a checks and balance system in our federal, states and cities. President is not the end all. We need you to vote not just for president.

We need you to vote for congressional, state and local elected candidates who believe like you and me that policy must change. This election is about more than Clinton and Trump. It is about the people. It is about ensuring that we don’t have another fiscal cliff crisis. Or another threat of a government shutdown. It is about creating policy that protects us all from another housing, auto or banking collapse.

My dream last night was about the urgency of now. And the need for all of us, no matter what race, religion, sex or sexual orientation, to recognize that this election is a referendum on human values. Guns add nothing to that value. This election is about human dignity. It is about how we live with each other. How we treat one another. How we love one another. How we value one another.

Surely we can do better than what these officers did to this young man?  If you agree, please share it with your friends and family and talk about it. Join me and others on our Facebook group Chalkboard Conversations where we are having daily discussion.  Together we can make a change.

What do you think?

 

To read Wayne LaPierre full text statement after Newtown http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/full-text-nra-remarks-gun-control-debate-newtown-article-1.1225043

Video of Wayne LaPierre statement http://youtu.be/iusoultZYSs

Learn more about Party Politics US at http://www.partypoliticsus.com and/or join our daily conversations on Facebook in the group Chalkboard Conversations.

headshot Atiba Madyun is President of The Madyun Group (TMG), a Public Affairs firm in Washington, DC and creator of Cognitive Relevance (CR), founder of Party Politics US and Associate Producer on The Framing of OJ Simpson.  Follow him on Twitter @atibamadyun or Atiba Madyun on Facebook.

In Case You’re Wondering, This Republican Is With…

http://www.independent.co.uk

My friends, this election is going to be great! Believe me awesome, the greatest we’ve ever seen!

We will see the highest turnout in the modern day era.  Believe me, it’s going to be great seeing so many people, of all walks of life, rural and urban come vote!   It reminds me of the images of South Africans once disenfranchised, standing in line for hours to vote for Nelson Mandela in 1994.  We and the world may we see that this year in America. A lot of people who usually stay home, will come out to vote!  That doesn’t mean we will all agree on who to vote for.  Our nation is split right down the middle.  Nevertheless, we all need to vote!

http://www.faculty.newpaltz.edu

No one can stand on the sidelines for this one.  No one should.  Why, because this election is going to be great and all votes will matter.  I promise you, they will really matter. Remember the 2000 voter debacle in Florida?  If you think there were issues then, wait til you get a load out of November 2016.  There will be voter issues, so know your rights!

On one side we have Donald Trump who has energized his base.  A reality television celebrity, he’s got a solid base. On the other, we have Hillary Clinton.  A woman in the public eye over forty years running an historic campaign as the first woman of a major political party to win her Party’s nomination.

Trump has fired a wall of division into the air.  That’s made some friends on the Republican side nervous and they haven’t embraced him.  They also find it hard to back Clinton.   Then there are my friends who despite his wall of division are embracing Trump. These are not just White, uneducated voters as some on the other side seem to think.  These friends are of all races and very educated.  And they’ve taught me a lot.  One is to accept their choice. Know what, they’re right!  I’m okay with it. I love them even if I disagree with them.  That’s what makes America great!  We can agree to disagree.

That’s why, my friends who don’t like politics, I’m not asking you to change and like politics.  I am asking you to be engaged.  If you don’t stay engaged, if you don’t vote, a narcissistic, pompous bigot is going to occupy the White House and destroy years of progress.  After years of gridlock in politics, maybe that’s what America deserves! I don’t believe that, but if people don’t vote, that is what we are going to get.

Believe me, I promise you, it’s going to get nastier when the debates begin.  My fear is Hillary will not do well in those debates.  Not against Trump.  This man believes any lie he makes up.  How do you combat that? One person can’t, but many can.

This election is about American values. How do we ensure everyone has equal access to education, healthcare and jobs. I’ve been on this soapbox for years. When we don’t vote, we get politicians who take us into an economic recession, fiscal cliff and government shutdowns!

Heard the saying, We get the politicians we deserve. That’s why Congress is mired in gridlock and state legislatures battle over ObamaCare and education funding. We get what we deserve when we don’t vote.

We get them when the Kardashians, Honey Boo Boo and sports programming takes our attention away from the real reality television show – politics, where politicians decision impact each and every one of us.

Do we deserve Trump? If we don’t vote and stay informed, unfortunately, yes we do. We’ve seen what happens when we can’t  vote.  Isn’t that what we saw in slavery when Blacks and women were not allowed to vote?  And through segregation, when Blacks died for the right to vote?

I know, its not easy, but I promise you, believe me, the alternative, not staying engaged and voting  is a lot worse. If we all vote, those for and against Trump, it will be great for America.  A Clash of Titans!

Who will win? I don’t know. I believe, the diversity of our nation, the merging of our cultures, the fabric of our values are intact.  For that, I have hope that Hillary Clinton will win.

As a descendant of slaves and slave masters, I am inextricably linked to the origins of our nation once mired in slavery.  That origin evolved into segregation and from there other issues emerged like immigration, women’s right to choose, sexual orientation and identity.   More of us are on the side that recognizes #BlackLivesMatter.  And we know that #BlueLivesMatter because by extension we all believe #AllLivesMatter.  But right now, we need a leader that understands why this is important today.

I’m with her because, for whatever mistakes she made or decisions she made in the past, she’s consistently chosen to be on the side of the majority in good and bad times. There are more of us together on these issues than ever before.  And we need a leader who has the courage to address and change when the times call for it, because she listens to the people.

For that, I believe if we stick together on both sides, what will emerge is a referendum on our past, and a signal to all of us that CHANGE happened in 2008. And when it’s all said and done, she’s the best leader for all.  Despite the gridlock in Congress and our state legislatures, as a nation we are moving FORWARD in the right direction. That’s why it’s up to all of us to VOTE!

And it’s why I’m with Her!  Whether you are with her or not, will you please, Vote?

#Hillary

Enough is Enough

Atiba

by Atiba Madyun

Very saddened to hear about the shooting in Charleston.  Unfortunately, it reminded me of the church bombing in Birmingham in 1963.

The gun culture in America has to be reformed.

America’s history is entwined so much in violence. Our country was created and founded in a document of war declaring our independence from England.

It took a war within to end the culture of slavery in our nation.

When we seek to level our playing fields ie. women’s right to vote and to end segregation it often came after a fight to end its oppression.

All of this including reading today that police officers (who carry guns) in Alabama with links to the KKK have been suspended.

The culture of hate in our nation is not spiraling, it is out of control. To those who believe every citizen has the right to bear arms I agree with you. But I don’t believe that every citizen or any citizen needs to own a gun. More and more, I believe most police officers should not be armed with a gun.

As a nation, we are at times respected and at times feared and at other times hated because of the power of our weaponry.

As a leader in the global community, it will take our citizens as we have many times before, coming together to end the gun culture as we know it.

It will take citizens coming together to champion for a society not predicated on violence, but one reformed by the recognition that if we don’t…..we will continue to have shootings like New Town, Connecticut where innocent little children and teachers were killed.

Or Arizona, where former Congresswoman Giffords was shot.

Or more Columbines and Virginia Techs. Or senseless killings in Chicago, DC and NY of innocent citizens and innocent police officers.

Or more shootings of young people like Tamir Rice, Oscar Grant, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin or Walter Scott.

Or more shootings like the one last night in Charleston, SC…..

Enough is enough. Let’s not make this one about race even if it is!

Let’s make this about the billion dollar gun culture in America that makes people think they have power over someone else.

Let’s not make this about hate. Let’s make this about the serious mental illness we have in this country.

Let’s make this about something bigger than what we see on the surface.

Let’s make this about US. A nation seeking to become a more perfect Union.

May God Bless The United States of America!

#CharlestonShooting #AllLivesMatter #America #Guns

Atiba Madyun is President of The Madyun Group, a Public Affairs firm based in Washington, DC and creator of Cognitive Relevance (CR) and Party Politics (PP).  Follow on Twitter @atibamadyun or Like Atiba Madyun on Facebook.

Part I: Sweet Apple Pie — Happy 237th Birthday America

Part I: Sweet Apple Pie – Happy 237th Birthday America                       

I remember reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in school. My favorite line is, “One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

America, on your birthday, I remember that over two centuries ago, brave men gathered to write the Declaration of Independence. I am grateful for that document because it inspired our United States Constitution. A document used in many facets of life to right many wrongs, and some will say, to uphold some. Each time our Supreme Court releases its decision in a landmark case, I am reminded of how fragile and yet powerful a document it is.

I appreciate that document more when I see mass demonstrations for freedom, like the one in Egypt that ousted its president. As President John F. Kennedy said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

So each year on your birthday, I look back on our history. And while we have come from a humble beginning, I know we have a ways to go, before we achieve our founders’ goal of being the United States of America.

But America, I can’t blame you.  I blame our citizens for holding us back. Too often, we point blame at everything and everyone, but ourselves. Yet it is us the citizen, that send representatives to elected office. The divisions over race, women’s rights, same-sex marriage, fair pay, education and health care funding are easy to repair, if we let go of our bitterness and division and sit at the table to enjoy some sweet apple pie.

Division seems to go away, when we are attacked, or a natural disaster hits our states. They go away every four years, when we cheer on our athletes of different races and religions representing America at the Olympics. But they appear so quickly when elected officials and the media use talking points to divide.  Unfortunately, it is too easy to divert our attention from the idea of getting to the table, to have some of your sweet apple pie.

Instead, we focus on what we cannot do, not what we can do. We pay too much attention on what the rich or the poor are getting. Like a child saying his piece is bigger than mine! He got more than me. We focus on what community got the bigger share of the pie. Trivial issues get our attention like George Zimmerman, the N-word, Housewives or the Kardashians. In these moments, we forget about our own problems.

We spend more time watching the television, making others wealthy, sending them our share of the pie. Too much time talking about who got what, or what someone else did with their share, instead of pursuing our own happiness, instead of getting our share of sweet apple pie. Before we realize it, someone else has taken our place at the table and eating sweet apple pie.

As a business owner, I have ups and downs. Every day is a grind, a race to get my piece of the pie. To get it, I have to run faster, get up earlier, last longer than others trying to get their piece. That’s what America is about. It is the American story.

That pie is why so many come from other countries.  From their shores they smell that sweet pie, they see it on TV and they want their share.  Can you blame them? They see us fighting one another and they see a path for themselves if they can just get here to get their share of the pie. So rather than fighting, we should all be working hard for our share.  Instead of sitting at home complaining about politicians, talking about the Kardashians or the Housewives, or pointing fingers at who and what, instead of sitting at home waiting for the government to give whatever crumbs might be left, we should strive to get our share of sweet apple pie. 

Next Part II: One Nation Under God – Happy 237th Birthday America