Summer tour kicked off for me with U2 in Los Angeles this week. Here’s what I wrote to my friend blackwellspace about the show:
Hey brother. You can turn off the news but please don’t look away. And please don’t stop resisting. You made a beautiful garden. Show someone how, talk with them about why. We need you.
They’re coming to Boston For 2 nights – June 21, 22.
I have no doubt, that most last night went back to their lives of fear, anger, resentment, selfishness and greed.
But I also know I saw people thinking, I saw people touched. I saw a lot of hope. I know, the vibe came home with them, it’ll be there when they go about their day today. That’s really cool, that’s the power of music.
Yes, Bono is a showman. He’s the first to say it. But after the lights come up Bono, The Edge, Adam and Larry are the real deal. They don’t need the money. They’re out there because they’re playing great and they have something to offer people.
Go see U2. They’re rocking. Their message is important.
Like so many, he’s turned off the news. I get it, it’s depressing. I was almost there. But I can’t stop. Because if I stop, then I’ll go blind. I think, U2’s message is as strong as ever. Their songs and lyrics are maybe more important now, than then.
A U2 show is always about more than music. Their shows are about using technology to make their songs, and their message, stronger.
The band didn’t let anyone down. Watch this video of “Staring At The Sun”. @ 3:30, powerful imagery in 4k was displayed of White Nationalists marching in Charlotte.
It was powerful. I was looking around, a lot of people were uncomfortable.
For sure, as I wrote to blackwellspace, when the concert ends so does the feel good vibe. The high fives and hugging are over, people go back to their lives. But walking out of the show it felt a little different. People were talking about the powerful imagery, what Bono had to say. Maybe it’s just my ever present half-full side, but looking at people’s faces I could see confusion. I felt that they maybe, just maybe, people were starting to think a little. Think that maybe growth at all costs isn’t so right? Think about the struggle. What if the seas rise? Maybe I should be kind? Maybe I need to pay more attention?
The next day at the hotel I talked to two women about the show. My guess is they were from the Mid-West. Both of them felt the same way I did about the show. We talked about how hard it is for people, how so many are living one medical issue from financial ruin. How hard it is, even for those with modest income’s, to get ahead. I couldn’t tell if they voted for Trump. But it also wasn’t clear to me they didn’t vote for him. In their conversation with me they made it clear – indirectly – that they’re now questioning their choices and beliefs. It was super cool. It was the power of music.
Yesterday I was down. Another shooting at a school. Each time I kiss my son as he leaves for school I can’t help but wonder if it’ll be the last time. My friend and partner Jeff wrote it good, he always does:
“…called me today from school about 9AM. I was in the shower so I didn’t answer her call. It’s odd for her to call from school. I wondered why she would be calling. Then I thought, what if there’s a gunman? What if she’s calling to tell me? What if it’s the last time I could talk to her? I got out of the shower and called. It turned out she needed me to email her an assignment from her laptop. How sad is that? Fear of a school shooting was my FIRST thought. This is parenting in America. We’re all just holding our breath and hoping. And again I’m going to have to talk to her about a school shooting and lie while I reassure her that she’s safe. Fuck. When is enough, enough?”
A moral rot has happened to our country. Trump isn’t to blame, but what he has done is given the mold a wet floor to spread. Roger Cohen wrote a great piece yesterday about it. He writes,
He traffics in slurs and untruths. The deepest form of rot is the erosion of the distinction between truth and falsehood. Totalitarianism was one big lie perpetrated on human beings reduced to the often hopeless quest for survival in a fog.
A universe where morality ceases is the one Trump is most comfortable in. “Mr. President, did you know about the $130,000 payment to Stormy Daniels?” Trump’s answer, on April 5: “No, no.” Except, as the president clarified in a recent financial disclosure, he did know.
This is Trump’s Ministry of Truth, the new American normal. It’s impossible to overstate the enormity of it. That’s why the Alliance is collapsing and Germany finds no basis for cooperation: Trump’s America stands for nothing. As Rex Tillerson, the former secretary of state, told recent graduates in a speech, going wobbly on the truth means “we go wobbly on America.”
Bill Maher talks about the rot each week. But last night’s “New Rules” was poignant:
“The Constitution only has two recourses for an evil President – the 25th Amendment which allows for the cabinet to remove a President who is crazy, incapacitated, which might work if Trump’s cabinet wasn’t crazy and incapacitated (picture of Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson, Scott Pruitt, Rick Perry, John Bolton)…Impeachment means nothing without conviction – which requires 67 votes in the Senate, which even after the best blue wave election ever would mean at least a dozen Republicans crossing party lines, not gonna happen. We’re on the honor system and Republicans are fresh out of honor”.
The rot and the mold is going to spread. It’ll get worse before it gets better. The mob is in control of our country and Trump is the mob boss. Trump is MacPhisto.
But as Bono and U2 sings, “There Is A Light”.
There is a light
We can’t always see
If there is a world
We can’t always be
If there is a dark
That we shouldn’t doubt
And there is a light
Don’t let it go out
Are you tough enough to be kind?
Do you know your heart has its own mind?
Darkness gathers around the lights
Look no further than today’s Royal Wedding of Harry and Meghan. Harry married Meghan Markle, a girl from “the wrong side of the tracks“, as Rachel Johnson wrote. Meghan’s mother is black. Turns out Meghan has a mind of her own, her mother taught her to be an activist.
‘I’m American. I Hug.’ Meghan Markle’s Looming Impact on the British Monarchy
I’m giddy about Meghan. Because I can’t help but think that black girls everywhere are looking at her, going, “I can be a Princess”. I can’t help but think that black people everywhere saw today’s Royal Wedding as another step forward for them, which is a step forward for us.
Two more super cool moments from the wedding.
Bishop Curry’s sermon is a must listen.
His sermon is everything I long for in religion, but rarely see. I think if Jesus were alive today he’d be like, “What did you do to my teachings? You screwed it all up”. Bishop Curry is a rock star. If he was nearby I’d bring my family to church. The fact that 81% of Evangelicals voted for Trump says it all about today’s religions.
Here’s a link to a Sermon the Bishop gave a few years ago, “We need some crazy Christians”.
Michael B. Curry: We need some crazy Christians
The second, blew my mind moment was Karen Gibson & The Kingdom Choir doing “Stand By Me”. I always thought Stand By Me was a pure love song, it’s not. It was written in the civil rights era.
From a piece on time.com:
A song about enduring love, “Stand By Me” is, of course, a popular wedding tune. But for many, its lyrics also pack a deep political message. When “Stand By Me” first rose to popularity during the civil rights movement, it was used as a rallying cry for solidarity amongst people of color.
Stand By Me, by Karen Gibson & The Kingdom Choir
So yeah, it’s dark right now. But there is a light. Turning off the news can mean giving license to the mob. Hating those we disagree with is antithetical to Dr. King’s teachings. Got to be tough enough, to be kind.
The steps from here are there. They were laid by Dr. King, they’re preached by Michael Curry. We just need to walk the path, and listen.
What a great start to summer tour!
James Blackwell says
A few comments – particularly in light of this morning’s episode of “Evil People Ruining our World” featuring Facebook & Drumpf. Been meaning to add a few notes on this post for a while now! You’re spot on here, as usual, in so many respects:
• M & I are looking at U2 tix for later this month… but might need a 2nd mortgage to afford them. Damn, Edge – can young parents get a discount like retired people get?!?
• In regard to school shootings: my daughter is going to have a drill when she gets to kindergarten next year. A 3rd grader came to school with a loaded gun – that he thought was a toy – a couple towns over from us. And it looks like scientific analysis is telling us that the desire to commit these acts is contagious. The system is broken, and we need change yesterday.
• The royal wedding was kinda fun. Visuals matter a great deal… especially when it comes to equality – just look at Disney: http://www.cc.com/video-clips/20ox2o/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-frog-princess
I thought Bernie hit the bulls-eye last week with Bill Maher in his analysis of why the 2018 midterms are so important: anyone who doesn’t understand that our president is a pathological liar who makes up the rules as he goes along just isn’t paying attention. The disconnect is tough… as #44 put it in his conversation with Letterman: if you’re watching Fox News these days, you’re living on a different planet. The Upside Down!
My comment to you about turning off the news? Was actually in response to an article you sent me about Roseanne, big homie :) I wouldn’t ever dream of checking out… or ceasing to resist. There are certain fronts where it simply isn’t worth fighting – because that isn’t how you’ll change minds. These are lessons I learned studying the Civil Rights movement of the 60’s. You have to SHOW people that LOVE is stronger than anger… or pride:
Much love. Talk soon.
P.S. for what it’s worth: I also vote with my wallet because you taught me how important that is, hermano
P.P.S. in regard to Roseanne… there’s someone I really, really don’t give my attention. However, I’m (finally) reading David Carr’s memoir. Did you ever read it? Know who one of his big running buddies was, back in the day?!? Tom freaking Arnold!!!