Thursday, November 8, 2012

Paint America Blue

4 more years of sanity
I realize that jazztruth is by and large a blog about music. While my political leanings seep in from time to time, I try to keep the focus on jazz and jazz related topics. However, if you have been following our Western Civilization, you might have heard that we had a huge election this past Tuesday night. First of all, not only did President Barack Obama get re-elected by a good portion of electoral votes(popular vote was close), but the Senate picked up a couple of Democrats; the House of Representatives, while still a Republican majority(some of which is due to redistricting.....booo.....), also picked up some Democrats. Secondly, many major league progressive ballot initiatives passed: same sex marriage in Maryland and Maine, and  legal marijuana in Washington and Colorado. It's good to know that there are still progressives out there! Maybe this is a real turning point for the U.S.A.

I voted for Obama enthusiastically in 2008, and while I believe that in many ways he did not live up to the outrageous expectations that his supports put upon him, I believe that he easily deserved a second term. My logic is simple: Bush REALLY messed things up over the course of 8 years. It might take another 8 or MORE to fix Bush's mess. Reversing course now would be a disaster. Thank goodness Obama won.

I have never understood folks who voted for Obama in 2008 and now say because Obama didn't "fix the economy" fast enough, they voted for Romney. Romney is the exact opposite of Obama in terms of economic policy; the little that we knew about Romney's tax proposals featured(what a surprise!) tax cuts for the rich and not much else! (Supply side economic policy has already wreaked enough havoc on our country. This even dates back to the Reagan years. The trickle down philosophy is extremely tired. And it's been proven that it doesn't benefit the middle class.)

Obama, or Romney?
My point is that voting for Romney just because he's different is pure insanity. This is akin to the following analogy: let's suppose that you are trying to get healthy and lose weight. You drank fresh juice, cut your carbs, stopped drinking alcohol, cut out desserts, and exercised 4 to 6 times a week for 2 months. And let's say your goal was to lose 20 pounds. OK, so you only lost 10 pounds. You lost some weight and you feel a little better. But objectively, you didn't meet your goal; you were 10 pounds short. You failed to lose weight fast enough. Would you now try the opposite approach? Would you eat at McDonald's 4 times a day, drink two six packs of Guinness every night and sit on the couch all day eating bon-bons and watching the Food Network? Why not start smoking crack just to really go all the way? This is what this sort of logic looks like to me. Heck, why not just call up Bush and tell him he can have his old job back? (Where is that guy, by the way? I betcha it's been four years of Miller Time, wherever he is.....)

"You're Fired!"
Not only am I happy with Obama, who happens to be African American, but more importantly, happens to be somebody who has an inspiring back story which gives him a perspective on how the 99 percent in America live. Mitt Romney is , again, the opposite of this. Romney was born wealthy and not only lives a life of incredible privilege, but made a fortune by preying on struggling businesses, saddling them with debt, and then getting a consulting fee for suggesting that these companies help the investors by increasing layoffs. I can't imagine how someone like this can sleep at night. He's the poster boy for obscene wealth and privilege. Romney has been in a bubble his entire life and it would only make sense that he would have no interest in actually helping the poor and middle class. He has no relationship with that sort of reality. It's sad that not only would his policies really just help his friends in the 1%, but the fact that he and many Republicans in the campaign seemed to demonize the middle class and poor is even more sad. Romney and friends basically kicked us while are down. And this is one of the things among many that cost them the election.

Now I want to make it clear that I don't hate conservatives. I am disgusted with many politicians and corporate swine who put the general welfare far below obscene profits. But if you are middle class and you tend to vote Republican, I don't hate you. I have more sympathy for you than anything. We can debate as long as we speak about actual FACTS and that you don't resort to name calling. (I don't like how progressives have been widely accused of "hating America" and "blaming America first" and all of this nonsense. That's the name calling.) In terms of facts, the problem I have with what passes for much of the conservative thought in this country is that it not about differences of opinion. The problem is that much of the so-called argument is pure fantasy: global warming doesn't exist, evolution is a myth, this is a Christian nation, Saddam Hussein is linked to 9-11, deregulation and the free market is the best way to make our nation great, we don't want single payer healthcare, Bush was a great President, Obama failed, Obama is a muslim-nazi-socialist-antichrist-atheist-gay-coke dealing-racist-apologizing for on, etc.....This is like trying to argue about whether dogs can speak English. (OK, pal..... you think your German Shepherd can speak English? Fine, I'm going to walk over to THIS side of the room, where the air is a little less INSANE......)

What does the blue tilt mean for jazz? Well, for starters, the more people who are voting for a black president makes me think that the country is becoming more diverse and less racist. And that means that jazz, which is at heart Black Music, can find more acceptance. Obviously, there is a long way to go, especially amongst White America. Yes, there are no longer separate drinking fountains and lynchings; however, the appearance of a black president brought a lot of dormant racism to the surface. When white people say they "want their country back", I don't ASSUME, but I can't help but wonder if it implies wanting to "take it back" for white folks. (If anybody should want their country back, it's the Native Americans, but hey, that's another long dicussion....) And if you want to get inside the mind of the typical "Romney voter", watch this video if you can stand it.....
mmmmmm, I'm voting for Romney.....
After watching this, my first thought was " Gosh, I'm nauseous...". After drinking a case of Pepto- Bismol, I thought, "these are definitely not jazz fans." And this is why there is not much jazz touring in the U.S. anymore. A still very large portion of the nation is made up of people similar to the folks in the video. These are people who, with all due respect to their humanity, just don't seem to be all there. I'll refrain from calling them stupid. I think they are somewhat close minded, misinformed, unintellectual, and maybe weak-minded from having a diet that is 80 percent made up of Slim Jims, Doritos, and Hostess Fruit Pies(mmmmm, 450 calorie Hostess Fruit Pies....). And let's face it, these people probably aren't waiting for the latest Robert Glasper CD to drop, let alone the the latest Kurt Rosenwinkle CD.....

However, on Tuesday night, as I watched the swing states turning blue and breathed a sigh of relief, I thought that this might be a glimmer of hope for a more obscure reason then dodging the Romney bullet. I thought all along that the right wing media was going to fix it for the GOP; that the propaganda of Fox, CNN, and all the drive time conservative radio was going to turn everyone against Obama. And it didn't. At least, it didn't turn everyone against him. I wonder if maybe it's because, thanks to the rise of laptops, wifi, and tablets, most people don't just turn on Fox News and get all their info from one source. Maybe they surf around and actually try to get their information from alternative sources. Say what you want about computers, but there's no denying that the internet is an interactive medium. Television doesn't come close, even if you have 500 channels.

My theory is this: if minds are being opened in terms of politics, they can be opened in terms of music. Perhaps the next generation won't just follow the crowd; they'll find their own way by exposure to many multitudes of ideas, and form their own opinions and taste based in fact and truth, not on hype and marketing. Maybe they'll eventually make our system more than a two party political system. Maybe young Americans will become curious about music other than Taylor Swift. After Tuesday, I'm more optimistic than ever.

I think the mainstream media, especially Fox,  thought that it would have a bigger impact on this election. Maybe this is proof that revolution truly WILL NOT BE TELEVISED.......

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