Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Poppy Was Right

Retrospectively, George Herbert Walker Bush was right, at least on two counts.

First, he correctly identified Ronald Reagan's economic policy as "Voodoo Economics."

Enough said about that.

Second, he was right about the "Thousand Points of Light" but in an unintended way.

Republicans contend that The United States would function better, if not perfectly, if there were less government intrusion.

Less tax, less regulation, less Federal involvment. "Less is more."

And they seem to be right. Because of the policies of the Reagan and both Bush administrations, we have a ground swell of grass roots organizations creating noise and having effect. Populist fervor is taking hold.

From "Occupy Wall Street" and "Bank Transfer Day" to the protests last year in Wisconsin, the people are rising up and making their feelings known.

Now the disconnect between the action in the street and the Republican philosophy is this: the reason that the people are taking to the streets is because the policies of the GOP have created the opposite of what we were sold as a part of the "Trickle Down Theory."

The only thing that has trickled down is what usually flows down hill...and you know what that is, dear reader.

The wealthy have just gotten more so and the poor have increased their ranks by welcoming the former middle class. There are more Brooks Brothers suits on the soup lines today then faded jeans. SUVs can carry a lot of scrap metal and blood, blue as well as red, is selling like sausage.

So the irony of the tale is that the NeoCon thinking of the recent past has yielded the very thing it adverstised, only in reverse. Rather than more prosperity across the board, it has created real class warfare. Less government has brought us civic action and may yet bring us much needed "change." Real change, mind you, not the slogans and empty rhetoric of the Obama campaign. And that change may not be pretty.

So the "light" is coming from a "thousand points."

But the dowagers had better guard their jewels. The natives are restless and the cauldron's getting hotter by the minute...

Monday, November 7, 2011

Argh...The Sixties?

In the sixties there was peace, love and understanding.


We had spoiled rich kids spending their parent's money getting stoned, laid, listening to very loud music and avoiding responsibility.

Some kids went to, and either died in Viet Nam or came back messed up for life.

There were protests in the street and some people got their heads cracked open or killed.

Sure, some good things came out of the sixties. Social awareness was raised in some quarters and some legislation was enacted that made some people's lives easier.

But we also got Richard Nixon and "Law and Order"...and I don't mean the TV show. I mean we got more cops and a governmental attitude that protestors...protesting about anything...were the enemy and should be treated as such.

So what's happening now with the "Occupy" movement seems eerily familiar. We have people who claim to be disenfranchised marching on Big Business because they see the excesses that exist on Wall Street. Gabillionaires are yachting and cruising in million dollar cars while the other 99% are homeless and hungry.

But the tide seems to be turning. Just like in the sixties.

In the sixties the energy coalesced around Viet Nam. That was more about the direct risk that young people faced from the draft than it was about some high falutin' sense of morality.

And then the Hippie crowd was infiltrated by the bums. People looking for a free ride. Folks who didn't give a damn about movements of any kind but only wanted to participate in the free sex, drugs and rock and roll extravanganza that was going on.

"Spare Change?" "Can I crash at your place?" "Got any dope?"

Those were as much the catch phrases of the sixties as "Hell No, We Won't Go" and "Give Peace a Chance."

So now the pure, elegant, populist message of the "Occupy" Movement is being corrupted by the usual hangers-on. Agitators who love a good ruckus. Anarchists who only want to disrupt. Losers who need something...anything...to be a part of because their lives are so shallow and meaningless.

"Occupy Wall Street" is a wonderful thing. It is a ground swell of energy focusing our collective attention on the grwoing inequality in our society. The lack of fairness that is evident in our daily lives, in and out of government, has created a level of frustration that is boiling over.

But here comes the violence. Oakland and Seattle represent this generation's Berkeley and Chicago.

And those of us old enough to remember can tell you that the violence of the sixties, Chicago in particular, gave us Richard Nixon in 1968 and then his landslide in 1972.

No one was paying attention, anymore, to the social issues that the protestors had raised. The citizenry was concerned with domestic safety and a return to the order of the tidy, picturesque fifties.

What the "Occupy" movement may give us is the same result.

The government is already geared up for violence as a result of 9-11.

There is already a highly trained, and well equipped, infrasturucture ready to take on any and all comers, whether they look like Osama bin Laden or Richie Cunningham.

History does repeat itself and those with a lack of a sense of it are doomed to be the ones doing the repeating.

Those of us who came of age during the sixties owe it to our childern (and grandchildren) to educate them to the dangers that lie ahead of them.

We should tell them to take their cues from Gandhi and King and not from Rubin and Cleaver (and I don't mean "The Beaver"...)

Violence will change the focus and distract from the message.

All it will get us is another Richard Nixon.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

No Way In Hell!

I am NOT stodgy. I may be old but I am not stodgy.

Yeah...right! Tell that to my daughter...

Over the years she has tried to get me to listen to "her" music. I have tried and, in most cases, I have, in a word, hated it.

I must admit that I was surprised by the Jonas Brothers, the occasional Miley Cyrus hit and one song called "Forget You" (I think) by some R & B guy.

Other than that the hip-hop/rap stuff she enjoys has left me cold. I am a musician and really love all music, from opera to country, but rap seems so redundantly boring...musically.

I was impressed by The Last Poets and by the late Gil Scott-Heron but modern music is much too processed and posturing for my taste. It's more about attitude than it is about music. The songs seem to be almost completely devoid of originality and, in some cases, the shameful, almost plagaristic, sampling reduces the songs to mere copies and not very good ones at that.

But then something happened to me recently.

I worked at a Chris Brown concert.


It was one of the best concerts I've ever been to. I saw Sly and The Family Stone. Twice. I saw Billy Joel. I saw Poco. I saw Aerosmith. And all of those shows were in the sixties and seventies when those bands were new and fresh. They were wonderful events.

But this Chris Brown guy. OMG! LMAO! POS! HOLY COW!!

He can dance (oh boy can he dance!) and sing and is a great entertainer. His dancers were wonderful, the band was unbelievable and the sets, lights, videos and special effects were terrific!

I even liked most of his material. Still not my favorite but pretty damned good nonetheless.

I am a convert. I am a believer. I AM A FAN!

(Note: Whatever has been going on in his personal life doesn't detract from his talent. I'm not even sure of the details...violence of some sort. If true, I don't approve...but his private life has nothing to do with his abilities which are almost overwhelming!)

So, if you see a gray-haired guy, about 5'9" tall and a bit overweight, walking down the street with his hat on sideways and his pants falling down don't cross over to the other side.

It'll be me. It will be up to you to decide whether I'm being hip and "rappish" in all of my "gangsta" regalia...or just being old...and stodgy...!