From time to time I will post pieces like this that will examine the ideas and motivations behind the songs on my new album beneath a flagless moon.
THIS CRAZY WORLD
The initial spark that led me to create this song, I think, was taking in all that is happening politically in America right now. It’s beyond stupid. Mindless is a word that springs to mind. Uncaring is another. America has always valued success. It is a country built on free enterprise and entrepreneurial drive. But then somewhere along the road, relatively recently, those things became so single-minded that all sense of community and society was thrown out of the window. By one political party at least.
I have said before I feel sorry for long-term, old-style Republicans because their party has been stolen by narrow-minded, religiously-blinded, racist extremists. I know how hard it is to give up on something that meant a lot to you but if this country is to survive with anything like the humanity the founding fathers built into it from day one, we have to deliver not only the presidency but also both houses of Congress and as many state governorships as possible to the Democrats in November. It's as simple as that. Because any notion of shared power and shared responsibility will not work. It’s what has pushed President Obama into some unfortunate compromises during his first term. His intentions were always better than the legislation that ended up being passed – purely because of the bloody-minded negativism of the Republicans, not only in Washington but, at its worst, at the state level. Governors will be recalled – which is great – but we have to learn from the horrendous mistakes this country made in November 2011 when people used local appointments to complain about a president who was “failing” only because their own people were blocking him every step of the way.
If you believe women are second class citizens, who should be popping out babies (preferably Republican babies) at a rate to rival the original baby boom, if you believe black Americans should return to being second class citizens, if you believe that the children of illegal immigrants, born here in America through no choice of their own, are second class citizens – or rather should never be citizens – then you are a Republican. If you answered no to any of the above, you are not. A realization that I hope millions of Americans come to before November of this year.
So, you can see why I called my song THIS CRAZY WORLD! It truly is. Issues we thought were resolved decades ago have somehow come roaring back. Blatant racism masquerading as protection of American freedoms. Blatant corporate crimes masquerading as the American belief in free enterprise. The rich getting richer while the poor get poorer being, incredibly, defended as the American way. It’s hard to know what to say or how to turn this fucking disaster around.
I was sitting watching another beautiful New Mexican sunset when the idea of days being “burned” came to me. “The sun comes up, the sun goes down, another day is burned.” It was then a logical step to ask what we did with that day that we can never get back again. “Our eyes open, our eyes close, another lesson learned?…no”
It seems, right now, that we have learned nothing. I hope I am wrong and that we will soon see a demonstration of what we have learned unleashed with a sweeping return to caring for our fellow citizens and non-citizens alike in this country.
“Nothing seems to change, we’re still the ones to blame, and this crazy world goes on just the same.” The second line of the chorus changes every time to match the verse before it but it essentially captures the heart of the song – nothing seems to change. And we are still the ones to blame because change comes from each individual heart. You cannot – although many do – blame President Obama for not delivering the change he promised when you directly or indirectly prevented him from doing so. Anyone who voted for any Republican last November has absolutely no grounds for complaining. Anyone who sits on their ass this November and doesn't vote, equally has no right to complain. We decide government before it can decide anything!
The second verse is more personal. Surrounded by seemingly contradictory religious noise (Christianity teaches care for your fellow human beings – but you wouldn't think so listening to the absolute crap spouted by some of its followers) I took a slightly more Buddhist theme in writing, “A child is born, an old man dies, the circle goes around. A great oak falls with no one there, so doesn’t make a sound.” It’s all part of what I then call “the endless cosmic game.” It seemed to me that this sense of progress followed by inexplicable people who want to return everything to how it was a century ago is indeed a game. It’s as if we don't actually want to achieve a peaceful, rewarding, productive life for all the citizens of earth because there’s too much money to be made from not getting there! It would be easy to say that each generation has to repeat the mistakes of earlier ones, to learn for itself, but right now we have implausible, unjustifiable thinking from people old enough to know better - old enough to learn from the mistakes of the past.
“A wise man speaks, a fool speaks too, and promises are made. But which is which, and what is what, it’s all a sad parade.” I think I'd just heard Newt Gingrich pompously and with no possible chance of delivering on his promise, say that if he were elected president, gas would be back down to $2 a gallon. Why Newt should have any more influence over the global buying and selling of oil than anyone else including the president baffled even his fellow Republicans (well, some of them at least). Absolute unmitigated bullshit – from someone who thinks he’s qualified to lead this country! I happen to think the word “wise” is quite applicable to Obama. Yes, a little inexperienced at first, but essentially a wise man who learns fast. I would not use the word “wisdom” in a sentence containing the name of any of the Republican challengers – and certainly not when describing Mitt Romney, the apparent winner of that embarrassing contest.
For a man who does not believe in god, that entity makes quite regular appearances in my writing. This time around I thought I’d deliberately upset some of the more traditional believers by referring to god as “she.” Forgive me my little bit of fun. The second line is a little more serious – “We don’t need a god to see how far the apple fell.” You would think that people of religious faith would be the first to see how inhumane some of the attitudes (and would-be policies) are that are currently being espoused by the Right. Returning to a rich white male dominated America is, according to them, the only way to save this country. May their god forgive them – because I won’t.