Friday, January 20, 2017

Two black guys, a Jew, and Paul Wolff walk into a Thai restaurant…

There we were, together at a table in a strip mall; in an Laos restaurant with 837 reviews on yelp and 4 solid stars; on the eve of the illegitimate inauguration of the worst man to ever run for president. A scumbag like no other, a rich bully out of touch with anyone beyond his family and circumstances, a white supremacist, an antisemite, a proud rapist, a con man, a tax criminal, a man guilty of treason, a man that speaks of ‘banging his own daughter’, and so much more. As we ordered dinner, all of us minorities… (and Paul), the conservation turned inevitably to what we now faced: a reality too horrible to fathom, and an undeniable end of the United States of America. It is a conversation that has gone on for over a year now; one that intensified after the election. 

At approximately 3:00am EST on November 10, 2016, when the election was called in favor of this awful human being, WE collectively stood at the edge of a cliff. Paralysis took over our motor skills, disbelief occupied our mind, we were unable to breathe… What next? Do we jump now? Do we slit our wrists, THEN jump? Do we tie a rope to a tree, put a noose around our neck, THEN slit our wrists, and THEN jump? Most of us just stood at the edge, stunned, staring hopelessly into the flaming abyss. Many people, (I will not out them) made plans and took actions. I know several people personally who have established citizenship in other countries since that night. And then there were the activists… (many of whom didn’t even fucking vote) YOU STAY AND FIGHT would become their battle cry.

The reality is, we the people have very little control over what has just happened, nor what is bound to continue to happen. While most of us (especially the poor and people in the arts) are worried about losing healthcare, there are much larger moves being made on the chess table. Putin, Netanyahu, Trump… all buddies. Think about that for a second. Please, I beg you. I am very pro-Israel because I am not a schmuck. I cannot be blind to how anti-semitic the world and the UN are. But Netanyahu? Complete bully and douchebag. The three of them together can make up their own axis of evil. Not to mention all the extreme rightwing leaders around the world now joining them in a joyous hora around their cauldron of death. (google hora my goyish friends). This is one of those moments in history where almost nothing good can come from where we stand. And at this sobering moment, I am very grateful to be surrounded by friends and artists right now. I will not turn on my tv today, and I  will turn off news notifications. Later today, I get to perform on stage with my friend Larry Mitchell at NAMM and that is a great honor and privilege. Larry is one of the sweetest and most talented human beings on the planet. Great friend, great man.

As I write this, our finest and classiest president, Barack Obama and his beautiful wife and family just left the White House for the last time. (until Michelle is elected). I am so proud to be a citizen of the world. Proud to have compassion for people of all races, faiths, and sexual orientations regardless of their socio-economic station in life. (THANKS MOM!) I am proud to stand up and fight vigorously for the rights of those who do not yet have ‘equal rights’ and to call any conservative a bigoted asshole when they say ‘those people’ want ‘special rights’. But this morning, and many other mornings over the last year, I find myself deeply ashamed and flat out sickened to be an American. Here’s the thing: REAL patriotism will make any decent American share that feeling at this moment. (Fuck you Lee Greenwood and your confederate fans) I know so many of you good people are out there. And I share in your shock and mourning for our nation. The United States of America had such great potential. But it is officially over. We have no moral authority… anywhere in the world. Not home, not abroad. And in 4-8 years, we may have no world left. 

I urge you all to do something I did (though quite accidentally). When I almost died 15 years ago, that illness effectively ended my artist career. It altered the course of my life, and left me with the gifts of PTSD, depression, and insomnia. For a couple of years I was suspended in a cryogenic state, unable to move, think, make any forward progress in my life. Then, somehow, I was able to wake up. I was reborn. I had a level of drive and energy I never knew BEFORE I got sick. And I started to truly LIVE. Every day, every year, every moment. Nothing was wasted. Nothing was put off. I began to travel the world. To live fearlessly. To just GO FOR IT in all of my endeavors, no matter what the IT is. It is intimidating at times. When I think about how I have lived over the last 15 years, I think how is that possible? There is no way I can do it (But I did do it). LETTING GO OF FEAR was a side effect of almost dying and truly part of a much greater internal ‘fuck it’ movement. 

We get one life. That’s it. It can end at any second. And we cannot let the folly and bigoted ignorance of this country define our personal worth and value. There is a whole world out there. Explore it while you still can. And yes… FIGHT… FIGHT like hell for the people who don’t have it as good as you do. Don’t be a selfish asshole. If you see someone you can help in some way, it doesn’t matter that you are saving money for a new guitar, or a vacation, or addition to your house. Your soul will thank you much more for helping where you can. While today might mark the end of our country as we know it, it does NOT have to mark the end of our humanity and dignity. Donald Trump, he does not represent anyone except himself and the bigoted white supremacists who support him. But he does not in any way represent America. Not me. Not my family. Not my friends. And not anything close to the majority of this country. 

World: we are truly sorry for this scum we have elected by default and for the evil things he has already done and will continue to do. Some of it is irreversible damage. But please know that we are mourning WITH you. We are huddled with OUR families too, wondering what the heck to do next. How to make sure OUR children are safe and have a future to look towards. This is a dark day for the entire world, not only America. A dark day for women, for Jews, for Muslims, for blacks, for gays, for Mexicans, for recent immigrants, for REAL Americans (again, fuck you Lee Greenwood and your ignorant fans). There is no turning back. We have fallen off the cliff into a deep, dark valley. There is only walking forward. And since there is no light to walk towards, it is up to all of us to create that light.

Please join me today in turning off your news feeds, turning off your TVs and radios, and taking quiet moments of reflection and meditation. 

Ponder this question in those moments:
How can I be a source of healing and light in this world?
How can I be a source of healing and light in this world?

Then meditate on this theme:
I am the source of healing and light in this world.
I am the source of healing and light in this world.

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