Editorial License

Rob Hammerton, music educator etc.

Send A Message

[Ed. Note: I published this on my Facebook page tonight. I’ve heard too many cable-TV-news pundits gleefully point to polls which suggest that only a small percentage of young Americans will actually vote in the midterm elections tomorrow. I’d like to hope – after Parkland, after Kavanaugh, after children in cages, after a host of awful current events that seemed to awaken a great many American high-school and college students, over the last two years – that there are indeed a great wave of new voters who will end-run the corporate media’s bleatings and the various pollsters that only contact landline-based Americans, and give American representative government a well-deserved kick in the rear. May it be so.

[So here’s that Facebook piece, which I wrote while thinking of all the fine folks who have been students at the public schools and colleges and drum major clinics where I’ve taught, all of whom I’ve been able to watch, via social media, turn into people whom I’d trust to run this country.]

 

All right, my fine FB younger friends — a legion of wonderful people with whom I’ve had the pleasure of sharing a music classroom, or a rehearsal stage, or a high school or college football field, or a DMA parking lot: pull up a chair while I do my Wise Old Sage Of The Desert act.

I beg you. I mean it: I beg you — prove the pundits wrong tomorrow. There are people who go on the TV and pontificate because they’re paid to convince you that they know something about the world, who say that only a handful of young voters will actually engage in the political process. MAKE THEM EAT THEIR WORDS.

Forgive me, but I don’t think it’s hyperbole to suggest that tomorrow’s election — at the all levels, federal, state and local — boils down to a very simple idea:

Empathy vs. selfishness.

Regarding virtually every important issue facing our country right now — climate change, health care, gun violence, public education, women’s health and rights, rights of people of color, LGBTQ and transgender rights, freedom of (or from) religion, immigration (CHILDREN ARE STILL IN CAGES), the Supreme Court, simple human decency, and oh by the way Congressional oversight of this corrupt bunch of pirates masquerading as an executive branch …

… the current Congressional majority and many Republican-held state legislatures have consistently and repeatedly demonstrated BY THEIR ACTIONS an utter lack of human decency and empathy.

So vote them out tomorrow (if you haven’t early-voted already). Vote in such overwhelming numbers that Russian meddlers won’t matter, that voter-suppression schemes won’t matter, that the corporate media’s obsession with pretending that “both sides are equally horrible” … JUST WON’T MATTER.

And at this moment in history, I’m sorry, but it’s more important to vote within the context of the political system as it is, rather than as we wish it were. Which means, I’m sorry again, that independent candidates can’t help us in this election. Down the road, perhaps; but not tomorrow.

Mark Twain once said, not without cause, “I don’t belong to an organized political party. I am a Democrat.”

BUT … this time around, Democratic Party majorities in the US House and Senate are the only way to throw the brakes on this miserable Republican-Party-led executive branch (yeah, That Guy). The current Republican Party majorities in the House and Senate have, through their actions, proven themselves willfully incompetent at governmental oversight, and indeed at representative government at all.

So go to the polls. Stand in the lines when you have to. Send a message … to our elected officials, and to the rest of the world (most of which has quite honestly been watching us for the last two years with horror) — that we’re not going to just sit here and take it. That we’re not going to let selfishness win out over empathy.

If you ask me: vote blue. Vote Democratic. But in any case: vote.

My young friends, all of whom I’ve held in very high regard whenever I’ve had the privilege of enjoying your company … this is your golden opportunity, TOMORROW: to take this country back from the (mostly) rich old white guys who have used their control of the government to gather all the riches to themselves, right now — AND to work diligently to make life harder for everybody but themselves, both now and into the future.

Make the Women’s March and the Science March and the March For Our Lives and the Families Belong Together March seem like mere whispering tiny preludes.

VOTE.

Advertisements

November 5, 2018 Posted by | civil rights, current events, Facebook, government, news, politics, social media, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rage

I could go on for seven, or seventeen, or seventy paragraphs specifically about yesterday’s Senate hearing.

I could quote the line from the movie “Bananas” about how these proceedings were “a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of a travesty of two mockeries of a sham” … but it would be a Woody Allen quote, and that may not be the top thing at this moment either.

So instead I’ll briefly summarize what I’ve read on my versions of Twitter and Facebook, about yesterday’s hearing.

 

In response to the Senate Judiciary Committee’s behavior and attitude toward each of the witnesses…

In response to Dr. Ford’s testimony…

In response to Judge Kavanaugh’s testimony…

In response to the comparison between the two…

In response to those testimonies, in the context of the life experiences and backgrounds of each of the witnesses…

In response to what it all said about where we are as a country, on the subject of abuse and assault and women and men…

What I’ve read in those social media posts has been horror and despair, yes.

But, in great measure: rage.

 

What to do with the rage?

At this moment, the only thing – the ONLY THING to do:

Focus that rage.

Channel that rage.

Carry that rage. In a specific direction.

Carry it into the voting booth.

Don’t assume that other people will do so.

Do it yourself.

Make your statement.

It might be our last chance to do so freely and fairly.

The Senate majority has displayed – boldly, without reservation, without hesitation, without shame — just exactly how much they care about their constituents who are women.

The amount of care they have displayed is zero.

The political party with which they are affiliated is the Republican Party.

As the Congressional majority, according to the Constitution, they decide what the Congress does or does not do; hears or does not hear; what policy it makes or does not make.

Do you want to see this change?

It is therefore simple.

Vote for anyone – ANYONE – affiliated with the Democratic Party.

In other times, I might have said “vote for anyone not affiliated with the Republican Party”, leaving the door open for third-party-candidate voting as a “protest vote”. But I don’t now, [1a] because it’s the way our political system is constructed in this moment, [1b] because in the short term that will not change, and [2] the foreign influences who wish to affect our elections (both via hacking and via social media public-opinion influencing) will promote third-party candidates as “protest votes”, because of course Both Sides Are Equally Bad.

Which has been proven, this week, in one Senate committee alone, to be not the case. Which party pushed for proper FBI investigations and which did not? Which party’s members hired a “female assistant” to ask questions of Dr. Ford because for various reasons they didn’t want to be seen asking those questions themselves? Which party’s committee membership was comprised exclusively of older white men and which did not?

Both sides are not equally bad. Both sides do not do it.

 

So, as the saying goes — Vote Blue No Matter Who.

That’s your protest vote.

Bring your friends. Bring their friends.

Vote.

Vote on Congressional races.

Vote on state legislature races.

Vote on stage gubernatorial races.

Vote on local races.

Vote in such overwhelming numbers that no Russian bot or election-machine hacker can have its intended effect.

Vote for Democratic-Party-affiliated candidates.

Where at all possible, vote for female Democratic-Party-affiliated candidates. And people of color.

But Vote Blue first and foremost.

Because the Red side has shown us, this week at the very least, who they are and what they believe in – and whom they don’t believe in. (Take five minutes, go to someplace like ballotpedia.org, do a little research, find out who they are.)

(In my home state of Massachusetts, the actual ballots don’t say which party any candidates are affiliated with; they just list their home addresses. Once, I got into the voting booth without having done the reading, as it were, and had no idea which parties were represented on the ballot. Never. Again.)

((And by the way, y’all – no matter what Fox News and right-wingers say, “Democrat” is a proper noun, NOT an perjorative adjective. Jackwagons.)

So vote.

Elections have consequences. We’ve seen this in the last two (or six) years with an awful connotation. We can see to it again, in a month or so, to a far better end.

 

Take the rage that has gone from fulminating and seething and roiling to exploding out of all our pores … and DO SOMETHING WITH IT.

Vote.

Vote Blue.

Vote Blue No Matter Who.

Carry the rage.

Focus the rage.

Use the rage. Save the Republic.

Vote. Tuesday, November 6.

Let ’em have it.

RAGE VOTE.

September 28, 2018 Posted by | current events, government, news, politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On This, All Depends

What’s tomorrow mean?

It means we have to vote.

We have to encourage everyone around us to vote.

Doesn’t matter whether they’re passionate or not.

Doesn’t matter whether they’re holding their noses.

It means we have to get people out to vote, because the more people vote, the better life is.

It means we have to make sure that the Short-Fingered Vulgarian doesn’t get elected.

It means we have to vote properly in the down-ticket elections — for the US Congress, for state legislatures, for state governors, for local dog-catcher.

But it means we have to vote properly for President, because SUPREME COURT.

There’s already one open seat in the row of nine Supreme Court justice chairs. And there will likely be one, two, or possibly three more.

It means we have to vote for a President who will have a remote prayer of appointing one or more justices who will rule in cases on the side of the common guy and not on the side of the corporations.

(As regards the down-ticket races … it means we have to vote properly so as to turn the US Senate blue so the President has a faint prayer of confirming any Justices.)

It means we have to ensure that the Court will vote to overturn Citizens United, which is only a first step toward getting dark money out of politics, but ya gotta start somewhere.

It means that once Citizens United is overturned, billionaires and corporations (who don’t even “live” in the US) will have less opportunity to affect elections, which will mean less influence on one particular issue: education; specifically public education.

It means that once billionaires and corporations don’t have such a chokehold on elections and on influencing education policy, we can get to work rebuilding education (and the morale of educators).

It means that once education is influenced chiefly by people who have experience in it and genuine care for it, we’ll begin to rebuild an educated population.

Because the uneducated (and economically unable-to-commit-time-to-learning-about-important-issues-through-no-fault-of-their-own) population currently is not equipped to cast educated votes.

It means that once Citizens United is overturned, we have a prayer of loosening the death grip with which the National Rifle Association currently holds so many of our elected officials, which will mean less influence on one particular issue: gun control … so that gun control legislation has a prayer of passing.

It means that perhaps we may be able to finally apply ourselves to the horror of military-grade weapons in the hands of any civilian anywhere for any or no very damn good reason.

So it means that this is a Cliffs Notes, quick-hit, flash-learning educational opportunity.

It’s an opportunity for me to suggest to you that if you [a] can’t conceive of voting for the Orange-Hair Jackwagon; or [b] wish you could have voted for Sen. Sanders but can’t and are really disappointed and are just not sure about Secretary Clinton; or [c] are thrilled to vote for Secretary Clinton,…

…it is vitally important that you vote for Secretary Clinton.

I cannot afford to sugarcoat this. And I cannot word this strongly enough.

Be it resolved: that a vote for Secretary Clinton is (but is not exclusively) a vote against the Vulgar Talking Yam, and that’s good for the health of the Republic and likely the survival of the three branches of government, not to mention our country’s reputation around the world.

Be it resolved: that a vote for Secretary Clinton is (but is not exclusively) a vote for the first female President in our history; and while that ought not be the only reason she gets a vote, that’s still good since it catches us up to a number of other major countries (England, Germany, India, …) … finally.

Be it resolved: that a vote for Secretary Clinton is (but is not exclusively) a vote for someone whose stated policies have been pushed rather distinctly toward the left by her strongest competitor, which honors him and bodes well (or better) for little things like civil rights and such.

What’s all this mean?

It means that voting for Secretary Clinton may work out to be one last opportunity to remain a viable democratic republic.

That is not remotely close to hyperbole.

Vote. Vote vote vote.

Vote IN the best person to responsibly lead this country in this or any time. Vote OUT the people who offer “thoughts and prayers” but no constructive solutions. In fact vote OUT the people who joined government for the expressed purpose of de-funding, dismantling, and de-legitimizing government.

On this, all depends.”

Heaven help us, either way.

November 7, 2016 Posted by | civil rights, current events, education, government, news, politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment