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Friday, October 22, 2010


line of thinking

This morning I heard a song by John Lee Hooker accompanied by Carlos Santana that Lynn Worth put up on facebook. I don't know the title. It must have something to do with the words "things gonna change." That was about the only lyric in the song, things gonna change, over and over, one of those songs of just a few words repeated like Lou Reed's We're Gonna Have A Real Good Time Together. That's the words. Louie Louie. There are several songs of just a few words repeated over and over. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. When John Lee Hooker does it, it works.

What struck me about this particular song, was while he was singing it, of course, it rang an optimistic note of things gonna change for the better. I'm sitting here thinking, not necessarily. That there is and will be change goes without saying. He's speaking the hope of the black people, a kind of hope against hope. Hope that blues songs are sung about. I look at the change over the last 30 years and it's been a downhill change, a change from opening up to black people, giving them the hope of a chance in life during the 70s, then shut it down in the 80s and throw away the key. I'm hearing John Lee say there's gonna be a change some day, and sure enough there will be, but not necessarily one to look to with hope. Yet there is that underlying hope for a time of a change toward lifting centuries of racist oppression and giving the black folks a chance to make it some way other than tv sports and entertainment. The foot is in the door. Change is coming. Change is happening.

Social change is always slow. Recalling the "Sixties" where political naivete ran wild among college students who were politically active. I was there pulling for change for the better, annoyed by the slow process of social change, then realizing we can't get out of the war just because a protest group says Get Out Now. I learned then that protesting, which amounts to getting television news mention, was as fraudulent as the government side that tells us only lies. Recalling 1968 the March on Washington opposing Vietnam War, one side operating from naivete, the other from anti-democratic cynicism. That was when I learned the press is not even remotely independent. Top dog in government at lunch with top dog in news corporation tells news man what he wants told. News man gets on cell phone to the next one down the hierarchical ladder to tell him what the news will be. He spreads it down to the reporters who go to an event and report something that did not happen.

When I hear "things gonna change," I don't get too excited any more. Now that we have a black president who talks like he wants to make changes for the better for black people, he has an entire wing of our government absolutely opposed to anything that might benefit someone black. Dealing with Social Services after age 65 brings back what black folks were chanting in the 60s, "Givin me the run-around." I think it every time I have a dealing. I've had in my mind a painting for several years that I need to do for my own therapy. It's a flag, full frame, lots of dripping paint, and written on the flag in black spray can, Kill the poor. It's what we do in Iraq, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Africa, and when the troops come home, the poor better look out at home. When there are no wars out there, there is always potential for war at home. Gingrich and Rove are busy stoking the flames of political division by propaganda thru Limbaugh, Palin, Fox News, Glen Beck, Cheney, Alice's Tea Party, Congress, Senate and the corporate press, which includes tv and radio, not just the papers.

There's gonna be change all right. The Supremes made it clear to us a decade ago that democracy is not in our future. They also made it clear to us less than a year ago that the Fortune 100 rules absolutely, we the people have no recourse, the Constitution is an antiquated document irrelevant to a police state. This isn't conjecture about the future. It's how things went in the recent past that determine the nature of our future. What I see makes me glad I don't have a lot of years left. If I become subject to a hit for saying this, that's ok, too. A major change I've seen in my lifetime is that life has become cheap. From the time before television, when the people around me believed life had value, to now is a major alteration. Life is so cheap now that when a missile takes out 20 people to get one, the 19 are dismissed as collateral damage. No big deal. Suckers in the wrong place, wrong time.

Then, after some years as police state, fascism dependably always implodes on itself, carried away by power over the edge into self-destruction. Change will come again. Maybe this time for the better. When will that be? A quarter century? Half century? Century? Maybe in American history of the future, this time will be seen as the time the American people willfully disposed of democracy as too inconvenient a system. Corporations are not democratic institutions. They are hierarchical; the CEO rules, the execs quake. The ones at the top take everything for themselves in their tenure. America has always been more about money than democracy, such that when we're faced with a choice, money or democracy, it doesn't even require thought. Mammon rules. I and others who see what I see have chosen to stay at home, move inward, concern self less with big social changes I can't do anything about, and wouldn't know what to do given the opportunity. I'd rather pay closer attention to my friends, leaving out the influence of paying attention to propaganda, the bogus News.

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