Saturday, October 27, 2018

Songs of the Times - Going to a Town

rufus wainwright

In 2007, Rufus Wainwright released a song that I've always thought was the most complete in capturing the post 9/11 Bush era of sadness and impending doom. It would be one more year before we entered the supposed era of hope under Obama and while that hope was real no matter how imperfect, the stage had already been set and the racist backlash against Obama and the deeper entrenchment of the far right pulling everyone with them has proven to be unstoppable. Now, 11 years after its release, and particularly this week - the push to rob transgender people of their identity, the racist lies about an impending caravan of immigrants from South America, bombs sent to prominent Democrats, the right dismissing it as a hoax, and then today a shooting at a synagogue - "Going to a Town" is even more prescient than it was in 2007.

This song has always made me cry, but the other day, driving home after reading a few bits of information about the bomber (I won't use the cutesy, catchy name based on the president's shitty motto, fuck that) and other miscellaneous chaos, and thinking about how fucked the country is and the whole world because of it, it really got to me. I've never been a patriot by any stretch of the imagination. As a matter of fact, imagination is good word because my guiding principal - if I even have one - when it comes to countries, religion and isms in general is John Lennon's "Imagine," no matter how much of a hypocrite he was. But even though I've never really felt "America" in the way that people do, I do know that I'm deeply "American." I've benefited from it and do enjoy the lofty idea of it. Where I've always drawn the line is in any sort of allegiance or deification of it and its principals. Or any one country's for that matter, because I'm also a Trekkie. That being said, its loss is still sad and that's what this song is about.

I'll leave it at that because going on any more of a depressive rant about the state of the world would just be too damn much. Over on Saint Audio, we posted 2 (so far) Halloween playlists that touch on how we're feeling as well. It's kind of hard to shake, really. It's either completely forget about it or be consumed with feelings of helplessness. My choice for now is to, symbolically at least, go to a town where I'm more present with my family and enjoy what we have now - NOW. And if the revolution does come (and that is it what it will take, don't kid yourselves), great, but I'm not optimistic. What does that mean for the day to day when human rights and lives are at stake? I don't know that either.

A few weeks ago, I was driving to work and on the side of the road there was a guy standing next to what I guess was some kind of Buddhist monk, in full robes - in Davie fucking FL of all places. The monk was calmly holding the man by the shoulders and seemed to be trying to ease his turmoil - whatever that might have been. The man seemed a little agitated, but glad to be listening, glad to be heard, glad for some kind of connection and understanding. There were no other pedestrians, and this is not an area where this sort of thing would ever happen. There is no Buddhist monastery anywhere near there. So it was way out of left field to see this. I don't know what it means or if I was reading way more into it because of my state of mind, but either way, it stayed with me. All I know is that if there is anything positive that has come out of the severe state of fuck the world is in it has been in how ordinary humans of certain mindsets have sort of stepped up their game in terms of every day kindness - whether it's too late or not. That's the town that I'm going to, because I am sick and fucking tired of "America."


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