Watching Band of Horses perform on Austin City Limits I had the thought that we need to carry on making music, making art, making happiness. We have to carry on with life. With all of life, a whole, well-rounded life.
Yes! It is important we engage in peaceful protest. Yes! It is important we call and write our representatives and do what we can to be heard and act and resist for what we believe is right, fair, and just. Yes, it is important we share and discuss our concerns. We are in a training ground for honing good fact-checking skills, brushing up on civics and how our government is supposed to work. I may only be speaking to and for myself, but it feels like many of us have filtered out everything except one cause, or set of causes; filtered out even the day-to-day joys to be found in living a good life. I went through a period where I stifled my own posts because they seemed trivial in light of what is going on.
Healthcare, Immigration, The United Nations, The WALL, NATO, trade agreements, pipelines, waste in our streams…one right after the other steps back into an environmental dark-ages, insults heaped upon our allies, directives, firings, replacements…”Mr. Breitbart” himself given a role in the National Security Council, oh yes and at the same time the roles of the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff now limited, because what do they know about National Security…
Look at what President Trump is doing…he’s trying to run us ragged by driving us from one movement and protest to the next, rather like a parent trying desperately to tire a child out so he or she will simply fall asleep.
Let’s not fall asleep.
I worry that people may get so focused on President Trump and one outrageous action, that he may slip another in through the back door undetected. This may seem like overactive imagination, but I personally find myself worried that we’ll all be so focused on one thing that we’ll suddenly wake up one day to the groundbreaking of “Trump Grand Canyon Resort”. I worry people may get so focused on any of his outrageous actions that day-to-day joys and pleasures may disappear and life just seems dark. I’m guilty.
Then, I witnessed joy and comradery during this Austin City Limits performance by Band of Horses. I watched a close-knit group of musicians that are tight and work well together. I heard them create and perform great music with an interesting sound and spot-on timing. I saw the audience smiling, dancing and singing along. It pulled me out of that single-minded funk and reminded me: we need music, art, joy, connection, we need balance, we need hope.
We mustn’t become narrow, single-issue focused and as closed off as this President is trying to make our borders. We need joy and happiness. We need hope. We need to remember our values — and do what we can about protecting them and all of it. All of it. We need to apply those values not just outwardly, but to ourselves. We need to resist and push back in effective ways, not vindictive ways. We need to have balance to see us through without being dragged down. Hate breeds hate. Fear breeds fear. And those two feed on each other in an ugly and dangerous symbiotic relationship. We need to remember that fighting back with pettiness and name-calling only mean “he” “they” win. I seem to quote this a lot these days, but it is a good quote from Bob Dylan’s “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”:
“While one who sings with his tongue on fire
Gargles in the rat race choir
Bent out of shape from society’s pliers
Cares not to come up any higher
But rather get you down in the hole
That he’s in”
…and remember John Lennon’s “Revolution”:
“…Well, you know
We are doing what we can
But if you want money for people with minds that hate
All I can tell you is, brother, you’ll have to wait
Don’t you know it’s gonna be
Shooby do, Alright…”
Let’s keep up the good fight for what we think is right in a way that is right, with hope, connection, and balance.