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Thursday, November 10, 2016

Take The Fork in the Road and Get on That "Peace Trail"

A Metaphorical "Fork in the Road"

While everyone is picking up the pieces, we here @ TW are looking forward to this weekend's Celebrations of Neil Young's 71st Birthday on Saturday, November 12 . Definitely something worth celebrating and rejoicing how lucky we are as music fans in this day and age.

As you may or may not have noticed, we put out a few thoughts last week on the 2016 elections. There were a number of key passages, but we'll just mention this one:
Basically, the best we can all hope for at this point, is the utter, complete destruction of the two party monopoly system. The demise of the Republican party is well underway, but this could be the final election for the traditional Democratic party as well. If that is the outcome of the Nov 8 election, than it will be for the good of all of us in the long run.
There's a lot of wailing going on right now. But the demise of the Major Parties is needed because they have absolutely zero concern for the interests of the "Ordinary People".

We supported Bernie Sanders during the primaries. And to be crystal clear, we did not any, way, shape or form support Donald Trump or contribute to his victory. If the Democrats had nominated the better candidate at the convention and run Sanders against Trump, we feel Bernie would have beaten The Donald. Hence our statement above, which is a logical follow-on to previous observations in May, 2016. (Just so you're aware of consciousness, full disclosure and total transparency).

But who cares what we think. From a comment by Ian:
I'll say this once: no matter who won or lost the election, there would have been plenty of sore losers on the other side. Kind of happens when voting between two monumentally unpopular candidates. Putting side all my other feelings for the moment, I think we need a time for healing and unity. I know, "as if"... but still, we have to try. Pretty much every four to eight years, we end up with a president that almost half the country wishes weren't there. No matter what side you're on, we've all been there before, to paraphrase David Crosby.

Congratulations if your man won, but those who voted for him will have to recognize that a substantial part of the elecorate does not like the guy you picked. It was true of Obama; it is true of Trump. Jabbing and taunting is not going to help mitigate hard for feelings, nor pave the way for the country to move forward together. While sore losers are unattractive and can waste lots of energy, it's just as off-putting and counterproductive to be a prideful, ungracious winner. That's why both candidates have striking a conciliatory tone in their public comments. Both victory and defeat should be borne with dignity, humility, and grace. Those words have been largely absent from this election cycle, but we need them now. The divisions in our country are especially clear when the candidate who wins in the electoral college has narrowly lost the popular vote, and that's not even giving voice to those who voted third party or "other". No matter who wins, it's almost never by universal consensus; it certainly was not in this case, and it's up to us as a community to acknowledge and take responsibility for this reality. It is incumbent on winners to show compassion and empathy. "Do you think that you believe in yours more than they do theirs somehow, when you see the flags of freedom flyin'?" All I'm really asking is for winners to acknowledge the feelings and concerns of losers as real and valid. It's hard to make progress when you can't even get that far. At the least, giving people a bit of space to come to terms may earn you some goodwill.

One more thing: there are just too many artificial divisions in this world. Whether it's by race, gender or sex, religion, or income--or elitists vs. "just plain folks". All of this grouping of people into "us" and "them" is false and damaging. We've been doing it for a long, long time and that's one of the greatest reasons we've gotten to where we are now. It's important to acknowledge and celebrate our differences, but also to realize what transcends these divisions: our common humanity, our Universal Self, that is much greater than the things that can seem to separate us and is ultimately unbreakable, even if we can't see it. Our brains and senses get confused, leading us to think that there is necessarily anything dividing us from our neighbors, but the further I go in life, the clearer it becomes to me that all of this divisiveness and duality is illusion. It's a powerful illusion, that has given rise to vicious cycles. But it is my hope that we can overcome this suffering and these seemingly fractured, confusing experiences. The first step may be for everyone to close their eyes at least once a day; try to drain from their minds the overwhelming stimuli of our chaotic external world for a time,; and search genuinely and earnestly to see what may lie within each and all of us.

"These experiences are fleeting; they come and they go. Bear them patiently, Arjuna. Those who are not affected by these changes, who are the same in pleasure and pain, are truly wise..." (Bhagavad Gita 2:14-15).
Thanks you Ian! And especially that quote from Bhagavad Gita.

As everyone knows, the Bhagavad Gita ties into Neil Young, of course.

And why the heck is a music blog discussing politics, heaven forbid?!. Or religion?

Maybe because life is complicated? Or have we just taken the less traveled fork in the road on our journeys?


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12 Comments:

At 11/10/2016 04:09:00 PM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

Thanks for the spotlight, Thrasher and Thrashette! I have to apologize, too, though, about all the typos/missing words I spotted as I scrolled through this post. Evidently passion got the better of me, because there's more than the usual quota. I hope it doesn't impede my message in any way.

As far as this blog discussing politics and religion, I began to take that for granted a while ago. The subject matter is inherent in much of Neil's music and we should be able to have these kinds of free-wheeling discussion, after all. How can you talk about Neil Young without mentioning politics? His convictions are so much a part of his work, and our responses to it, that the overlap seems natural to me.

 
At 11/10/2016 04:29:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

No worries Ian.

We've always found that blog comments written in the passion of the moment to be much more authentic than the well polished screed.

that's kinda why we've always liked gonzo bloggers like Hunter S Thompson who was gonzo bloggin' decades before the Internets. :)

“The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs.

There's also a negative side.”

~~ Hunter S. Thompson

 
At 11/10/2016 08:43:00 PM, Blogger John EH Connelly said...

Plenty of great quotes from intellectuals of the past , I figure some of those same intellectuals were blindsided by the more powerful singular statement of the everyday person's quote of the vote .
Good ta see democracy is strong .

 
At 11/11/2016 08:33:00 AM, Blogger Mr Henry said...

Great Comment, Ian. Thanks so much!

"Do not learn how to react. Learn how to respond."
--Buddha

I smile when I’m angry
I cheat and I lie
I do what I have to do
To get by
But I know what is wrong
And I know what is right
And I’d die for the truth
In My Secret Life

Hold on, hold on, my brother
My sister, hold on tight
I finally got my orders
I’ll be marching through the morning
Marching through the night
Moving across the borders
Of My Secret Life
--Leonard Cohen

The song is gentle
But the song is now
Something's missing
But something is found
--Neil Young



For Richard, Hal and Norman
Happy Veteran's Day
We all miss you and
Love you so

 
At 11/11/2016 12:53:00 PM, Blogger Liz Dennis said...

You made a wonderful statement. The loss of dignity the division and lack of common social civility is most disconcerting.

 
At 11/11/2016 02:42:00 PM, Blogger Dominic Holdem said...

gimmie a fucking break with the "bernie would have won" bullshit. here are six words that should scare the living shit out of anyone with half a brain...and make them realize that they were YUGE differences between the two major party candidates.

secretary of the interior sarah palin

 
At 11/11/2016 02:58:00 PM, Blogger Thrasher Wheat said...

@Dominic - sorry, maybe you missed the point here? Because of the failure of both the D & the R parties, we might have Ms Palin in the Cabinet.

If that doesn't clarify it for you, go back to the pre-election post linked above.

But we think you're lashing out in anger when that anger needs to be channeled into something much more useful.

As many, many have said: Now what are YOU going to do? Riot in the streets? Or something positive & productive?

We know what we're going to do here @ TW.
peace

 
At 11/12/2016 01:47:00 AM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

@Mr Henry and @Liz Dennis-- Thanks, guys. Glad this found its mark.


@Dominic Holdem--While I don't completely disagree with you--I was frustrated by the difficulties the Democrats had in rallying around their eventual candidate, while understanding of how Clinton's flaws were a part of the problem and, ultimately, I thnk both major parties muffed it.... majorly--I suppose I'm trying to transcend all of that right now, at least for a few moments. Honestly, when it comes to politics and spirituality, I have strong feelings on both and it can be hard to find a balance. How do I reconcile my strong ideological convictions--which I know can cause conflict and act as a barrier between me and people who don't share my ideas--in the context of my ultimate belief that all life is part of the same beating heart and that we must, in spite of our considerable differences, learn to come together as one human family? How do my abstract, sweeping beliefs find grounding in coherent, pragmatic, doable policy concepts? How can I even be politically involved while saying that the material world is bathed in illusion? Sometimes being politically active feels like participating in the illusion, perpetuating it. But if I don't stand up for what I believe is right, I feel that we're only going to get further away from being able to understand and penetrate the illusion. And of course anyone who sees the world as one family, sees every individual as being connected to the whole and sharing a universal Self, cannot possibly countenance the wars, the suffering and dying, the destruction that happens because, ultimately, of the illusion's corrupting power. One cannot countenance human hands continuing to damage our planet through the forces of climate change and human-manufactured pollution.

These are the questions I wrestle with at times like these. There are no definite answers in life; as I like to say, one thing I know is that I don't know. The near-impossibility of being certain (of anything) is one of the great existential struggles, which in turn is why people have developed philosophical and spiritual belief systems.

On somewhat less elevated matters, Sarah Palin as secretary of the interior would honestly be fairly low on my list of concerns at this point. Trump is smart enough to sideline damaged goods (see: Chris Christie--there are reasons he's been repeatedly snubbed for any significant position with Trump). And even if he does bring in Palin to further pacify the monster raving tea party faction, it's still going to be small potatoes compared to things that may already be set in motion. VP Mike Pence guarantees the religious right is embedded in a Trump presidency, and I'm still getting over the fact that the nation has elected a man endorsed by KKK publications, but I digress. Lest we forget, "interior" in this case principally means national parks, monuments, etc. (if I'm remembering my civics correctly). Even Sarah Palin *might* be able to handle that without major damage. As long as he doesn't commission a Trump Monument, I'll hold my outrage for now.

Oh, and happy birthday, Neil!

 
At 11/12/2016 01:58:00 AM, Blogger (D.) Ian Kertis said...

@John EH Connelly-- I appreciate democracy in action, but it does get murkier with the US's electoral system. In the shock of the Trump victory, it's been overlooked that Clinton narrowly won the popular vote. Trump just won the most voters in the right states to dominate the electoral college. Then factor in all of the people who voted for third party candidates or others, and even those who may not have noted at all because they were disgusted or because it felt futile. I just think it's oversimplifying the matter to view Trump's election as clearly and unequivocally the Will of the People.

 
At 11/12/2016 08:03:00 PM, Blogger John EH Connelly said...

Hey Ian , last year , up hear in Canada the free voice of the people elected a Prime Minister , that previously was a high school drama teacher and a bouncer @ a bar .
We had 24 parties on the official ballot with a margin of victory of just over a million votes . He was able to mobilize free thinkers to vote .
His first order of business was to help 30,000 Syrian refugees a safer life at a cost of 1.6 Billion dollars , an honourable gesture .
My point being , that I disagreed with this , not because I'm a racist , or a bigot .
My thoughts were that we have Indigenous , First Nations people that do not have fresh drinking water and a suicide rate 6 times greater than non Indigenous communities .
I realize this may seem impertinent to your present unrest , but in the whole , relevant in that the pendulum gets pushed back and forth over time , and with this democracy is strong .
Not too much push back allowed in China and Russia .... Eh !
Was reminded of this yesterday , at a Remembrance Day ceremony reflecting on the sacrifices of our forefathers .
" Democracy is the worst form of government , except for all the others "
Winston Churchill



 
At 11/13/2016 05:38:00 PM, Blogger Pocahontas said...

Bernie wasn't a democratic he was an independent when he ran so why would the DNC have paved the way for him. The parties reward hard work and loyalty within the party. Don't under estimate antisemitism. Bernie could not get elected.

 
At 11/14/2016 06:26:00 PM, Blogger Pocahontas said...

Agree Dominic and don't understand why you're knocked here. If you don't drink the koolaid your on the outs. This place is too stifling for me and I'm outta here

 

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