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Politics Aside, President Obama Just Beautifully Articulated What America Is

I'm not suggesting that I agree with all of Barack Obama's policies. In fact, I think a good number of them are detestable, ineffective, and sometimes even frightening. I believe in being relentlessly critical of power, no matter who wields it. You might even say I'm something of a cynic. That, however, is why even I couldn't help but giggle with delight at most of the President's second inaugural address. Really, he is an outstanding orator — one of our very finest. And he gets just about everything right in this speech. Sure, you might say, it's just empty rhetoric, just some pretty but shallow words floating above the reality of broken government and a divided America. But hearing the President speak so confidently and righteously about this country… well, it gives me hope.I know, I know — that's, like, his “thing." But there's so much more truth in this speech than vacuous slogans or shallow public image-crafting that even cynics like me are forced, begrudgingly, to remember that hope is real and reigns eternal. If you don't, you're doing it wrong.

Politics Aside, President Obama Just Beautifully Articulated What America Is




At 2:08, and with a charming turn of phrase, President Obama humbly reminds us Americans that the Constitution isn't some computer program that the Founding Fathers simply pressed “Run" to make magically work forever.




At 3:29, to the shock of everyone except Alex Jones, Obama admits he is a Marxist-Leninist revolutionary and intends to establish something he calls “Socialism with American characteristics." Just kidding. Actually he just says that America isn't about letting oligarchs gamble away the nation's wealth while letting disadvantaged people die in the gutter, all in the name of some mutated “liberty."





Plus, at 4:00, he basically says that conservatives are right about a lot of things.




At 6:27, he says some really reasonable things that reasonable people probably all found really decent and reasonable. Too bad those sorts of people don't have a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.




At 7:10, Obama delivers a really great line that atheists and believers alike will swoon at.




At 8:15, you can hear the sound of every member of Congress's mind being blown, all at once.




At 9:13, you can hear the sound of every Ayn Rand-worshiping economist's mind being blown, all at once.




At 9:52, President Obama says something really important and good that you should agree with unless you don't understand that scientists aren't, in fact, magicians who conjure up whatever they want.




At 11:07, President Obama says something about “perpetual war," and every human being should hope he's being sincere.




At 13:22, he says something so amazingly beautiful and good that he spontaneously blasts off from the stage and up into the Canon of Great Orators.




At 14:27, President Obama acknowledges, finally, that the struggle of LGBTQ* folks are irrevocably part of any broader fight for civil rights. If only I could make text roar with applause.




At 16:30, President Obama drops some truth on our miserable Congress yet shows some stunning humility.



No matter what ideology you subscribe to, no matter what you think of the President's policies, this speech is worth watching and worth taking seriously. Watch it, share it.

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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Wikiimages by Pixabay, Dr. Jacqueline Antonovich/Twitter

The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.