I haven’t been posting as there has not been much to talk about with regard to music. As everyone is aware, the entertainment world (specifically live music) dried up in the wake of the global pandemic that we are living through. Like a lot of people I have been holed up at my house, working the day job from home, and trying to interact with other people as little as humanly possible so that I am not contributing to the spread of this virus. I will continue to maintain this inaction for as long as it feels like the right thing to do for my safety as well as the public safety. There’s not much that I can do to help beyond just being responsible for my own actions so I’ll take the little win where I can.
I have, however, started rehearsing again with my wonderful band The Soul Searchers. It’s been really good for my soul to make music but even that has been tempered with serious caution. Masks are in play and keeping a respectful distance from each other the whole time we are together is critical to me being able to participate without feeling stress about being around other people. That’s the good news.
As I sit and write this I’m listening to the bad news about the protests in Minnesota. A human being with a documented history of mistreating other human beings that he had authority over mistreated (on camera, watch the video) another human being most likely due to his appearance. All things being equal, it’s most likely that he mistreated him to death. That’s really what it boils to and it’s an old story that we hear over and over. It doesn’t mean all law enforcement are bad and it doesn’t mean all people of color are good. It means that this one human mistreated this other human and he ended up dying. That’s what actually happened.
In this day and age you really have to be finicky with your news. When I was a kid it seemed more straight forward. You turned on the news and you got the events that happened that day without color or bias. People took pride in the fact that they didn’t offer you their opinion during the news, they just reported what happened. Somewhere along the way things changed. It’s almost easier now to get a truer sense of what’s going on if you turn off the sound and just look at the pictures. For instance, there are a lot of people around a police building in Minneapolis tonight and that building is now on fire. So are a couple of other buildings that belong to people that had nothing to do with the death of this human being, they just happened to be in close proximity to the police building. Somewhere along the line a group of people went from protesting an injustice to breaking store windows and taking things. Recite whatever sound bites you want from whatever misinformation dealer you want. This is a fact. This happened. Different outlets are painting the situation differently depending on who is pulling their strings but this is what happened.
This meaningful outrage at the unjust death of a man is being sullied by people taking an opportunity to grab some free stuff and burn some shit down. I wish I could say it’s unbelievable. I wish I could say that I’m shocked. I’m not though and that maybe makes me sadder than anything else.
I grew up in a military family which, for my generation at least, meant that everyone was the same. No matter what color, nationality, whatever…everyone was the same and everyone dealt with the same crazy life of moving all over the world every 3 or 4 years. You had to adapt and make friends where you could with who ever you could. That really affected how I look at people. Couple that with spending my formative years in Europe, not the United States of ‘screw those guys’ and it becomes not about what color or religion or nationality you are but who you are.
If you take any group of people, regardless of what type of group makeup (race, religion, political belief, favorite type of music, nationality, language spoken, etc), you will find that there are a couple of really amazing people in that group. You will also find that there are a couple of real assholes in that group. The majority of the people in the group will fall somewhere in between but there will always be some angels and some complete bastards. I have found this to be true in my 47 years on this planet. Your experience may vary but if you’re being honest…haven’t you noticed the same thing?
And that’s the problem with everything. It’s the problem with trying to take care of a nation of disparate groups of people, trying to fix education, trying to stop global warming (seriously…just read a book and shut up…it’s happening), or anything else. There’s always a couple of assholes in the room that don’t want to do the right thing.
- You want to have a protest because this man was killed unjustly…great. Then some assholes start looting stores. It’s not related to what the problem is. They just caused harm to someone that had no part in the root issue to get some free stuff and wreak a little havoc.
- You want to get someone decent elected as president of the country, cool. You work and try to identify someone that maybe doesn’t have all the answers but at least arguably cares about what’s good for people and isn’t hung up on pretending like our country is part of a global community (which it is and should be and needs to be…again, read a book). Then some assholes start lobbying and advertising and spinning information to color facts depending on who you are and where you live. If you’re poor, they’ll tell you that the person is going to take advantage of you. If you’re rich they’ll tell you that the person wants to take your money. If you’re from Texas, they’ll tell you that the person is coming for your guns. (Viva La Tejas!) (No seriously..that’s where I’m from…mostly).
- You want to try to contain a virus that is spreading like crazy and has literally killed more people than two of our nations previous wars…cool. You stay home, you minimize your exposure to other people. You try to educate yourself as to what you can do to lessen the chance that you’re going to get sick or worse, that you’re going to infect someone else that’s then going to die. And then some assholes start to complain about not being able to get a haircut, or go eat out at a restaurant, or any other of a number of reasons. So they protest, not in a responsible way mind you…with masks and staying apart from each other, but they just show up shoulder to shoulder in shorts (it’s a nice day, why not) and drag their little kids (so many little kids, some that may not even be able to read the assholery on the signs that their parents put in their hands for the photo op) out into a sea of other assholes that may or may not be sick (how would you know? have you been tested?) spouting off great wisdom like “well, if I get sick I get sick…that’s my choice”. Cool, you just infected 10 other people this afternoon and 3 of them are kids. One of those kids has an autoimmune disease that their idiot parents don’t know about because science is dumb. That kid is not fighting off a virus like this. Great job asshole. You do have the right to choose to get sick. You do not have the right to choose to get anyone else sick. This is basic stuff. Who do you actually think you are?
- I could go on and on. Corporations, some religious organizations (not all, I said some), some politicians (again I said some, not all). You get what I’m saying.
I have friends that are gun people. I have shot handguns and had a great time. I’m not anti-gun. I’m anti-asshole. I have friends that have small businesses that I’m really worried about. I have friends that make their living playing music that I’m worried about. I’m not anti-opening up. I’m anti-dying. I have friends that are non-white (I’m in that camp myself though you probably wouldn’t guess that at first blush). I don’t often think about it because I don’t look at people that way. Again, it’s asshole/not asshole pretty much across the board for me. It’s a simpler way of existing. If someone is Muslim or Jewish or whatever…that doesn’t affect me directly. If that person is an asshole….you see where I’m going with this.
We have allowed our avarice as a nation, and it’s not everyone mind you…see above if you’re unclear what I’m saying here, to erode what it means to be an American and that makes me sad as well. You have the constitutional right to be an asshole. But why do you want to be? You also have the constitutional right to be good to other people. Or just neutral to other people. Neutral is good enough, I’ll take that over asshole any day.
I don’t expect many people to see this and even fewer to take the time to read the whole thing but I historically don’t express my views on the world publicly and I think that’s over. I write songs about being a human, not about being a Cis White Male (again, I’m actually pretty brown on paper). I have some pretty solid beliefs about how people should treat each other and some absolute beliefs about how people should NOT treat each other. If you like what I do, what I write, then you like it and that’s great. If you don’t like my songs because you don’t like me or don’t agree with the things that I believe to be true that’s ok. That is one of the joys of the modern world and specifically the Internet age…there’s someone else’s songs you can listen to instead. Have a good time. I do hope you that take something away from this though and the take away is this:
Get up everyday (morning, afternoon, whatever) and try your absolute best to not be an asshole. To anyone. No really I mean it, anyone. Rinse, lather, repeat.