I understand why the “Bernie Or Bust” movement has left a lot of people bewildered and resentful. But like so much out there in our political orbit, an ability to momentarily alter perspective is required, in earnest and without caveats, in order to even begin to understand the thinking of others. It’s a difficult thing to do and something we are, as a culture and society, not often propelled to do. Achieving this requires a degree of separating immediate emotional responses and impulses from the “bigger” picture. That’s a hard thing to accomplish under normal circumstances. It’s a seemingly near-impossible one when there are institutions and organizations whose very existence is not only dependent on, but who are wholly dedicated to keeping you in a reactive state of near-constant emotive retaliation.
However, empathy is fostered in many areas of our culture, and it thrives in pockets despite many attempts to deride or discredit it as a form of “weakness.” Artists, art, and artistic communities, for example, are dependent on a measure of empathy for art to exist. By definition. But even within those communities and those cultures, there is the notion that one must become “hardened,” that success is dependent on learning to be cut-throat, a shark. Walk into any art class with an industry bent and you have a 50/50 chance of being taught that those who “make it” are the ones willing to walk over the bodies of their classmates. Ask any actor who has made the rounds of acting classes in Los Angeles.
Continue reading “Understanding “Bernie Or Bust” and the Theory of Critical Realignment”
The presidential “race” in America has turned into something that has been brewing for decades and is finally coming to a head. But it’s not just the Republican Party that is crumbling under the weight of its own shifts to the right and its years-long stoking the flames of discontent and anger.
The Democratic Party has also been wildly divided this election cycle and age-old resentments and indignations are surfacing and the vitriol surrounding it is immense. Which isn’t to say that the anger isn’t justified. It is. On all sides, if you ask me. It’s what we do with that anger, that outrage, that will define our future.
We’ve seen the anger and discontent on the Republican side play out in the form of racism, homophobia, xenophobia, fascism/intolerance, and misogyny. This is, in my opinion, a wildly misdirected and highly manipulated response. But the emotions that lie at the base of it – the social, cultural, and political disaffection – isn’t imaginary. But where the powers-that-be point their fingers and exclaim “It’s their fault!” is. That kind of manipulation has been with us since the dawn of recorded history. From Aaron using fear and distrust to convince the Israelites to embrace false idols and reject Moses at the base of Mt. Sinai, to the Salem Witch Hunts to Adolph Hitler to Joe McCarthy to the age-old gross manipulation by entire governments and political and religious parties across the globe that so effectively and efficiently turn neighbor against neighbor.
Continue reading “Gender-Shaming & Scapegoating: It’s Not Just For Republicans Anymore”
In the continued expression of ideals, values, disappointments and frustrations being shared and vented across the internet and elsewhere surrounding America’s presidential election, I have found many voices calling again and again for unity. But not unity as a country. Unity for the party.
The problem I see with this that I don’t think is being expressed or articulated properly – or is simply falling of deaf ears – is that the two major parties that represent the presidential race no longer speak for a vast number of this country’s citizens. I’m talking millions of people.
I’ve been told by friends that if Hillary is the nominee and I don’t vote for her and instead decide to write in “Bernie,” they don’t think they could ever talk to me again, that our friendship would be over. Understand, I haven’t made up my mind yet about my vote in the general if Hillary is the choice. And yet that indecision alone is SHOCKING, unforgivable even, for many.
Continue reading “IS THERE MORE TO BEING A DEMOCRAT THAN TOWING THE PARTY LINE? To Vote Or Not To Vote…”
New doc JAZZ NIGHTS: A CONFIDENTIAL JOURNEY’s sax player and composer extraordinaire, Geoff “Double G” Gallegos and JAZZ NIGHTS’ director Hal Masonberg were this week’s guests on Chet Hanley’s 3-hour TV show JAZZ IN THE MODERN ERA from April 5, 2016.
There’s a lot of music and extraordinary archival video to listen and watch on this episode. And weaving in and out of those, Chet Hanley interviews Double G and Hal Masonberg about both JAZZ NIGHTS and Gee about the saxophone and his lifelong influences.
Continue reading “Double G & Hal Masonberg on Chet Hanley’s “JAZZ IN THE MODERN ERA””
To my Hillary-supporting friends who insist that it is wrong and irresponsible, or even irrelevant, to have a hard time voting for Hillary (even though some of us will do it anyway, and others will not), please recognize that you, too, have another option:
Since you are clearly upset that there are Bernie voters who are NOT willing to vote for Hillary, AND many of you continue to insist that the difference between Hillary and Bernie is minimal, AND that most every Hillary supporter is ready and willing to vote for Bernie if he is the nominee…. And since the message I keep hearing over and over is that the only REALLY important thing here is to keep the Republicans out of office (more important than anyone feeling like they have the right to vote their conscience instead of your conscience), then maybe you should be voting for Bernie.
Continue reading “The Difficulties Of Voting The American Conscience”
I’m not a supporter of Hillary’s from a political standpoint, but I think Gloria Steinem’s analysis of responses to Hillary in her The Guardian article “Why the White House needs Hillary Clinton” is spot on.
Where I disagree with her is in that I believe there was quite a bit of difference on the campaign trail between Hillary and Obama. In fact, one of the things someone said to me that summed up my disappointment in the first half of Obama’s presidency was “Obama got elected, but we got Hillary anyway.” Politically speaking, that is.
I think having a woman president would bring to the surface the misogyny in this country in a way even more revealing than what we see now, which is already astronomical. In the same way Obama’s presidency brought America’s racism even more front and center. While terrifying, it has allowed us to address it more directly, call it what it is, and start responding to the need for change even more aggressively. I believe a Hillary presidential win would do the same for opening up the conversation about misogyny even more and allowing us to genuinely start to address this issue seriously as a national conversation. It would also offer an opportunity for many women – those Steinem terms “Hillary-Haters” — to address and recognize the role they play in that national conversation and start the healing process. No small thing.
Continue reading “A Response to Gloria Steinem’s Guardian Article on Hillary Clinton”