callin' on maceo
(CAMBRIDGE, MA) If the average American voter isn't suffering from campaign fatigue yet, just give it a few more days. If the folks in Iraq and that other war front can moan about not having their own soundtrack, just think about what recovering political junkies are going through.
With a tad of imagination we can wrap the presumptive republican nominee in Pink Floyd lyrics, e.g. taking "... a walk on part in the war for a leading role in a cage". Film buffs can take a leap and imagine what Goddard would do with an updated Porgy and Bess on the democrat side of the spat. With the junior senator from Illinois' forthcoming loses in Pennsylvania, Indiana, and perhaps North Carolina, "My Man's Gone Now", (the Nina Simone version) may be appropriate. A few weeks ago, some thought Coltane's "Giant Steps" might be in order, but the Bee Gees and Travolta were probably more on the arc in southern asia and the 50th state than 'trane.
So, progressives really are Tangled Up in Blue/Blues... regardless of the passions of middle-class, middle-aged white, educated white women in search of a visual boy-toy until the next election cycle.
I've been wondering, where's our own Vacal Havel. With the sophistication of our academic, cultural, and social institutions, how did we come up with such a crop? The choices, ½ brother; ½ woman; and what's left over of a man. Yo, even the French got ½ of a relationship which is far more entertaining. Just ask Clapton or Jagger, yes?
Jimmy Baldwin, when faced with a similar dilemma some years ago, crafted "Notes From the House of Bondage". It hasn't been so relevant and glaring since. In that work Baldwin delineated the options the thoughtful voter had. Now, however, we find ourselves tormented by attempts at emotion and, yes, change. Gosh, we can use the latter, but aren't the lot of us seeking more than a 3:am pizza delivery, Peter Pan in blackface, or the Manchurian Candidate? The 2008 American presidential election has evolved, or devolved, into a choice of lesser, of who can do the less damage. And that's a real and dangerous drag.
Reflect for a minute. Part of what "Carmela" Ferraro said was on target. If the junior senator from Illinois wasn't Black, he'd not be a contender. If the junior senator from New York wasn't a wife of a mediocre head of state, the finances for a "fight" wouldn't have materialized... revisit Shirley Chisolm and Pat Collins on that one. And if the gentleman from Arizona wasn't an eager participant in an illegal and immoral war in Vietnam, he'd have probably just garnered a decent education at a fine institution and maybe participated in space exploration or at worst contributed to sustaining Boeing or the like. To quote Santino Corleone, "Pop, had Genco. Look what I (we) got." That in the nutshell is it.
Where, then, do we go from here? This writer recommends several fronts. First, smother our youth with a sense of thoughtful commitment. With volunterisim and public service and critical thought. Second, challenge old, tawdry approaches. Think out of the box. Act out of the box. Dare. Listen. Third, resist... resist wrong and bad shit. Teach notions of playing well and together in the sandbox, early on. And last, "give the drummer some". Call, like James Brown, on Maceo for help, when needed, and don't hesitate to take "stuff" to the bridge... and drop it off.
When compared to Axelrod, and Penn, and Rove... I'll take Maceo anyday... and Mr. Havel.
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