Friday, 25 October 2013

What is a Socialist?

What is Socialism? I ask because the word has been thrown around a lot as of late, mainly by those opposing President Obama. I won't repeat the other words I've heard, and read, concerning our president. I'm sure you've heard them too. But back to Socialism. It evokes memories of Dr. Zhivago, and rotten potatoes, and frost-covered windows. It evokes something beautifully violent that was too idealistic for its own good, something that must have been appealing to starving masses, but when delivered, became the same old program of lost distribution. Most importantly, when I hear the word Socialism I think: dictator. I think of a figure who will rule a country for endless years, someone who will invade our privacy, who will rewrite history to justify their agenda, someone who will—ultimately—rein society into reflecting all attention toward them, because they are vain and shallow. None of that sounds like President Obama to me. I suppose it would if I allowed my brain to wander in that negative direction. But as a general, cerebral and emotional response: no. But since so many have allowed their brains to go there and now see him as nothing but a Socialist, I must make comparisons. Jesus was a Socialist. He fed the poor, touched lepers, made statements calling those around him to give up all earthly wealth in favor of heavenly riches. Come follow me. Yep. Sounds like a Socialist. He wanted people to be fed, to be healthy, to know love in all its untainted, unrestricted glory. Doesn't sound that evil to me. But he definitely fits the bill. I'll bet if he was here today he would try to convince people to distribute their wealth, help the sick, feed the hungry, or worse, say nice things about immigrants. George Bailey was a Socialist. A big one. Oh sure, he ran a bank and acted all cool about business dealings—in the beginning. But it wasn't long before George decided he was in the money field for a deeper purpose. Look at all those houses he sold to low income families with mortgages they could afford and which were not much higher than the price of building costs. Sure made that old Cheney—I mean—Mr. Potter mad. Why, George even gave up his honeymoon cash so that his customers could afford living costs while things stabilized right after the Stock Market Crash of 1929. That's just . . . NICE. I guess people these days would call him something evil for doing all that, but back then they seemed to appreciate it. The community responded with overwhelming support when things got bad and he needed help. You know how they say: When the going gets tough, the tough get going? Well in this case it would be: When the going gets tough, the kind people get Socialist—or something like that. You get the point. I think It's a Wonderful Life was a Frank Capra film, and most of his films had that same sort of 'troubled man has revelation and tries to save society with truth and justice' kind of vibe. They always fit in well at Christmastime. Or perhaps we should call it, Socialistime. Yes, that leads me to my next big violator of kindness: Old Saint Nick himself. I don't know where he got the idea to give toys to little kids, but he gets by with it every year. And get this, you have to be a good kid to receive toys and candy. Oy! I know, I can hear all of you moaning over that one. What is this guy teaching?! Rewards for good behavior, being kind . . . There was a recent poll which said folks dislike Christmas because they feel it forces them to be kind. It must be such a struggle being kind. I always thought it was a good trait for a person to have, and not that hard to utilize, but I guess I was in dreamland or something. Now I know the personal hell people are going through every year. When I see someone smiling now, or they say, "Happy Holidays," I will cry inside, because I will know their pain. I'll just name a few more Socialists, just for fun. Ghandi, Martin Luther King, John Kennedy, John Lennon, probably everyone in the Justice League, The Easter Bunny, my grandmother. Oh! My kid gave me a cookie the other day, so she must be one too. And I must be one, because I just put a dollar in the Salvation Army bucket outside of Walgreens. Is this a new definition? Do the right-wingers know something I don't? Has dictatorship been reformed into *kind guy who has great ideas for a better world and just wants a fair financial system where everyone is taxed equally*? Is that what Socialism is now? Well, if it is . . . I love it! But I'm afraid it won't work. America, for all its beauty and glory (I love this place so much!!!!) can't handle new, big ideas. We like them later, but not in the moment of painful, skin-shedding metamorphosis. New ideas are like new puppies. Some people are overwhelmed with love and acceptance, others want to send their puppy back with the dirty, shredded newspaper they came with. If only we could all accept the good stuff. The fresh ideas. If only we stopped referencing the things we are afraid of, and just tried something new. If only we had faith.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Goodbye Dan Peek

In a bit of sad news, I read that Dan Peek from the band America passed away just a few days ago. You have probably heard me rave on and on about Peek's guitar playing and songwriting. More than that, he was an amazing human. After I read the news, I promptly went into the bathroom and cried my eyes out for five minutes. I still feel like crying. Dan's guitar playing was, for lack of better words, mind-blowing. He wasn't perfect, but he had thunder and lightning. He had that sort of phychadelic grace, like Hendrix, but wasn't showy about it. Peek reminded me of Jim Morrison and Neil Young mixed together, with a little bit of Buddy Holly to complete the picture. He was suave. He had a brillant mind. I wanted to see him perform live someday, and perhaps that's why I cried. I don't know. I just loved him, and like any fan before their idol, it hit hard. Life takes the good ones, it really does. My heart grieves to say this . . . Goodbye Dan Peek. You are missed. You are loved. You'll always be loved.

No Hate

One thing I think people should remember is that Hate is not an option. No matter how you feel about a person or a system or a society you have to remember that you cannot hate, and if you have a dialogue in your head that allows you to think hateful thoughts, or to say degrading things, you need to fix that. Whatever you do in your life, learn to fix your hate. It's poison, and it will only end up hurting you more than the object you're directing it at. They funny thing is--it IS you that you're rejecting. We don't always realize it, but usually when we dislike something, it is because it is the something in US that we've never accepted and that we can't stand. So we need to fix it in ourselves and accept it in others. Remember to have grace and to extend kindness to every person you meet. Do not waste a minute on negative thoughts. Always, always find the positive and leave the rest behind.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

More Who

I'm still stuck on The Who. I'm sorry, but I am completely addicted to music and it's all I want to talk about most of the time. I used to listen to Tommy over and over again, and I remember when I bought that cassette and thought to myself, "I now love someone else as much as I love the Beatles." It was a real revelation, because I didn't think such a thing was possible. The sound Townshend created with his guitar, and Moon's incessant beating of the drums; Daltrey's huge, whiskey voice, and Entwistle's lightning speed bass did something wonderful to my ears. And never mind the insanely genius song structure and lyrics. Beyond that you had the most wild, to this day, group of rockers that ever exited. They were rebellion, but somehow made it classy, probably because they had a good fashion sense (per the era). Anyway, thinking about Moon so much the other day led me to this video which I'm sure everyone else has seen. It's so crazy, and it makes me excited and happy. Unfortunately, I read this is how Townshend lost part of his hearing. I guess Keith kept adding more and more explosive powder to a set up he had inside his kit, and BOOM, the usual guitar smashing had a bigger ending than anyone anticipated. I love how John Entwistle keeps his composure in the chaos.