#120 From Political Disgust to Action: Eric Liu

So many of us are furious at President Trump, Congress, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, The Democrats or the news media-- name your poison.

Two thirds of Americans say they are dissatisfied with how things are going in this country today, compared with fewer than three-in-ten who are satisfied. This is a dramatic change from the 1990's, when most people had a positive view of national conditions.

This show is an empowering response to anger and disgust. Eric Liu, founder and CEO of Citizen University, says that you're more powerful than you think. We discuss the stories, strategies and ideas raised in his timely book, "You're More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizen’s Guide to Making Change Happen"

The key to fighting back successfully is to have a strategy and know how to read and write power,” but most people have no understanding of power and how to use it.   

“I think the reality of American life, right now, is that so many people have neither the motivation nor the ability to read or write power,” Eric tells us. “They lapse into this “House of Cards” or dark conspiratorial vision that all politics are like "Scandal,” and out of that are born people like Donald Trump as President.”

Eric's solutions:

  • Learn how power is organized. Instead of spending your life online, join others who share a similar passion for change.
  • Exercise your "we muscle.”Join a club or group and learn how to work with others on game-changing ways to improve the odds for a cause or a hobby that you care about.
  • Vote. In his book, Eric Liu writes that voter turnout (in general) is rarely above 60 percent (at best).
  • Keep it local. Eric argues that too much attention is given to power politics in Washington D.C. Often the best way to bring about change is in the neighborhood or city where you live.
  • Schools and colleges should improve civics education, giving students a much clearer understanding of grassroots democracy. 
     

#119 A Conservative Cure for Climate Change: Bob Inglis

 

 

Climate scientists warn that Hurricanes Irma and Harvey are examples of extreme weather that will become much more common in the years to come. 

But Trump Administration officials ridicule any link between this month's devastating storms and global warming.

 

 

 

Without a change of heart, most conservatives will continue to resist an overwhelming body of scientific evidence on climate change. Congress will fail to pass needed reforms.

Enter former GOP Congressman Bob Inglis. He argues that while Republicans are part of the problem, they must be part of any solution. This small-government Christian conservative from South Carolina believes in a free-market answer to climate change. He supports a revenue-neutral carbon tax, combined with a cut in FICA - the fee paid by workers to pay for Social Security and Medicare.

"Until we hear the information from somebody we care about, it's hard for us to change our minds," says Inglis, who argues that respect rather than ridicule is the best way to win new converts. "If you get into the discussion and past the shouting we can find solutions," he tells "How Do We Fix It?"
 

#115 Refugees Are Just Like You: Ahmed Badr

Far too often refugees are thought of as "the other"-- a mass of people who are victims of war, persecution or natural disasters. President Trump has added to the problem, making negative, harsh comments about immigrants.

This episode with 19 year-old Iraqi-American refugee Ahmed Badr, looks at how to fix the way we view refugees and migrants. We look at their personal stories and what they bring to enrich the lives of the communities where they now live.

Through writing about his own life, Ahmed, now a student at Wesleyan University, realized that his blog helped others see him in a more personal light. Today, he is empowering others to do the same. His art and poetry site, Narratio, is a growing platform where young people from around the world use creative expression to share their unique experiences. Ahmed is also the host of "Together", a soon-to-be released podcast about refugees and migrants.

"I've learned other people tell their story versus just telling my own," says Ahmed. "A global citizen is someone who is willing to entertain the other side, no matter how much the other side hurts us to listen to or witness."

Ahmed was 7 when his family's home in Baghdad was bombed during the violent aftermath of the invasion of Iraq. The family was uninjured and moved to Syria. In 2008, they came as refugees to the U.S. through a resettlement program run by IOM -- the U.N. migration agency.