Welcome to the first AfterBuzz blog of The Last Sip. Here I will recap my thoughts, learnings and what stood out for me in each of our shows.
As host, my mind is being opened along with yours. Even though I have researched and in many cases spoken to the guests before the show, there is always something new and unexpected which comes up for me during these conversations. Because our show is about new perspectives and new ideas I want to be a part of the ongoing conversation that our show will spark. And you should always feel free to talk back in the comments section below. I’ll be responding.
The buzzword for me this episode is “power.”
As former Obama aide and Founder of Common Thread Strategies Jesse Moore laid out, Paul Ryan used his power to undermine opportunity for millions, take actions that would lead to a downgrade of the US credit rating, and push through a massive tax cut to help the few.
How people use power reveals a lot about who they are. And Ryan seemed to be willing to go to massive lengths to do anything to help a small number of people, including looking the other way at the potential misdeeds of Donald Trump. That’s why former Bush speechwriter David Frum wrote in The Atlantic, “Ryan and Trump struck a quiet deal. Ryan got his tax cut; Trump got impunity.” Ryan seems to have had his way and the rest of us will have to pick up the pieces.
In our second segment, racial wealth gap expert Alexandra Bastien of PolicyLink laid out all of the ways in which the tax code has been used to undermine the wealth and economic power of people of color for decades, such that white wealth is 13x higher than black wealth. Luckily PolicyLink has some systemic remedies which can be enacted to change the power balance if not this Tax Day then perhaps by future ones.
And Damayan discussed ways that the most marginalized of the marginalized, namely workers that are trafficked into the United States, can use worker cooperatives upon their freedom from de facto bondage to keep the wealth of their own labor; taking back power from companies and other hierarchical employers.
Speaking of taking back power Marielle Franco, the Brazilian councillor who was assassinated four weeks ago, was reclaiming the time of her entire community from the growing authoritarianism and militarization witnessed there since the Rio Olympics. Glenn Greenwald noted that until her election to the Rio City Council that “there hadn’t been a woman on the Rio City Council in ten years even though Rio is 50 percent black.” Her recent naming to a commission to invest police brutality seems to be a major reason for her killing.
And Associate Professor Erica Williams of Spelman College spoke about ways that she and a group of black women academics are using the power of their voices to extend Marielle Franco’s legacy in both the United States and Brazil.
Finally, this week Janelle Monet with her new video PYNK is encouraging women to embrace the power of our bodies as a response to misogyny and patriarchy. And she does so in pink vagina pants in the desert which makes all the more femme, fierce fabulous.
But all the guests in this episode gave me a lot to contemplate as we move into a busy week after Syria, with Tax Day on Tuesday and more importantly in the wake of Beychella (you gotta stay on the good side of the Bey Hive…for real.)