Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A random cassette takes me back...

My students hear a lot of jazz these days. I love the ones who protest because I know that I have them where I want them. Yes, it is not a democracy when it comes to the music, though at times I am willing to loosen up a bit. In fact it is looking at those who protest that inspires me to say, "Do you want to listen to some jazz? I can do that for you." Than as they mock my music I head to the stereo.
One student used to say, "Why can't you listen to rock music?"
I would say, "I am no longer an angry young man."

Saturday night I picked up Bruce Cockburn's World of Wonders cassette. It sounded awful like many of our cassettes, but those first moments of the first song took me back to 1986. I was an angry young man.
Am I still angered by what is called democracy. I think I am. But instead of working for political change I can be seen carrying bags of canned goods down the block to my church. I am glad there are folk out there working hard on issues I care about, but after a day of teaching, I don't need rallies or meetings. I need music, conversation, glass, exercise, prayer... I need to feed my spirit, so that when my music is mocked by an angry young man or woman, I don't respond like I sometimes did when I was an angry young man.
The lyrics...
Call it Democracy

padded with power here they come
international loan sharks backed by the guns
of market hungry military profiteers
whose word is a swamp and whose brow is smeared
with the blood of the poor

who rob life of its quality
who render rage a necessity
by turning countries into labour camps
modern slavers in drag as champions of freedom

sinister cynical instrument
who makes the gun into a sacrament --
the only response to the deification
of tyranny by so-called "developed" nations'
idolatry of ideology

north south east west
kill the best and buy the rest
it's just spend a buck to make a buck
you don't really give a flying f...
about the people in misery

IMF dirty MF
takes away everything it can get
always making certain that there's one thing left
keep them on the hook with insupportable debt

see the paid-off local bottom feeders
passing themselves off as leaders
kiss the ladies shake hands with the fellows
open for business like a cheap bordello

and they call it democracy
and they call it democracy
and they call it democracy
and they call it democracy

see the loaded eyes of the children too
trying to make the best of it the way kids do
one day you're going to rise from your habitual feast
to find yourself staring down the throat of the beast
they call the revolution

IMF dirty MF
takes away everything it can get
always making certain that there's one thing left
keep them on the hook with insupportable debt


  1. I can go back to '66, Wayne, in the Navy, married with one child, in Adak, Alaska, but having just left my second 12 month residence in Monterey, California. The U.S. was one big sea of unrest, racial marches, hippies, flower children, campus shootings, me yet a mess in many ways, seeing the world from my own perspective, which, for the most part, was simply nothing making sense. It would be '72 before sanity came to me in any real degree, learning that Christ was peace in it all and that hate and anger and vanity merely made me that which I so opposed...

  2. Jim---- don't think we can stop from having feelings of anger (though we can see that some things are not good cause for anger), however, what we can do is learn different ways (hopefully less destructive) of responding to it. I would not argue that a relationship with Christ can help us to be more peaceful.

  3. Stratoz, do you know of Ben Sollee?

    You might like this.

  4. Oh Wayne, I have so much anger....much of it destructive, yet I do believe anger is not always bad and can be used in positive ways.... (If only I could cage it and tame it and use it so....)

    And I also think, for many a soul, it is a place where it is necessary to go in order to grow... and change....

    And I do believe many of us do what we are able to do....

  5. Mrs M.--- I am sure I would know of him if I was young and hip ;') Very cool stuff. I also found the video of the song with the quotes of President Obama in the background. Thanks.

    Giggles--- we have three main choices, destroy ourselves, destroy something other than our self, or harness the anger to try to change the situation. or take a nap.

  6. Lots to think about in this post. I was in DC last weekend and there were signs about road closings due to IMF meetings. We left before they started so I'm not sure if there were any protests.

    Christ and peace is going to take some thinking through. The call to action is so strong that sometimes it feels like a drumbeat forcing me to confront and take action against social injustice.

    Maybe I'll have to try some of that jazz.

  7. Kathryn--- I am all for being called to action, and my job is part of that. My town has some political intrigue going on right now, and I am glad some friends are involved (who also worked hard on Obama's campaign), but I am not up for council meetings.

    If what we think we are called to do leaves us empty and exhausted, I doubt it is what we are called to do. So for now, I will keep my front yard beautiful, so that folk who live in my town can gaze upon it.


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