Ferguson/Chokehold/Torture – by Bob Lefsetz

This is how the sixties started.

We’ve been told to trust Big Brother, that the government and the corporations know more. That the rich are smart. That we should be thankful we’ve got flat screens.


They’ve scared you. Frightened you into believing your life is at risk from external forces only they can protect you from. If the government doesn’t scan your phone calls and your e-mails, doesn’t break every law in the Constitution, our whole nation will go under and you with it. The truth is it has. We’ve lost our country and we’ve got to take it back.

There’s a fiction that musicians will lead the way. But they’re usually last. It’s the abused, those unjustly affected by the system, who revolt first. That’s right, the sixties began with civil rights demonstrations. Which is why high-paid NFL players protest the chokehold but no musician with millions of Twitter followers has written a song about it. Oh, you wannabes, don’t forward me your Ferguson song. You’re doing it for you, to get noticed. That’s what’s wrong with this nation, all the individuality, we’re only powerful when we come together.

Like with unions. Imperfect organizations, sure. But now the corporations have scared workers to the point where they refuse to organize. They’re just gonna move the plant elsewhere. To some state that will bend over backwards with tax incentives.

And I don’t want to hear any of this right wing Republican b.s. about downsizing the government, it was under your watch, under Bush and Cheney, that this torture took place. You’ll pay zillions for “safety,” for military equipment that ends up in your hometown, all the while bitching that somehow the government must be stopped from providing a safety net, I mean which way do you want it?

As for how long it’s taken…

One can argue strongly the sixties didn’t begin until 1966, when the antiwar movement took hold. It’s six years after the recession. How’s your job? How’s your lifestyle? Things improving for you?

And I’m gonna get tons of hate e-mail. But this too is no different from the sixties. When those drinking the kool-aid just couldn’t believe we were involved in an unwinnable war, that state governments were institutionalizing racism. Those who scream loudest wake up last, never forget that.

Artists have been marginalized in an economy that’s all about money. But those in Ferguson had no money, they were protesting based on what they felt, what they perceived. Why is it that only those with nothing to lose will stand up for what’s right?

Something is happening here and it’s sure not exactly clear.

But the truth is we haven’t seen protests like this since the sixties. Police abuse in Ferguson and NYC is emblematic of a police state wherein there’s a camera on every corner and you’re guilty until proven innocent. Just ask a black man, he’ll tell you.

And you’ll tell the black man that he’s not working hard enough, that he doesn’t have family values. But you’re clueless as to his plight.

As is the Supreme Court, which dismantles voting rights laws saying racism is dead. Rings a bit hollow now, doesn’t it?

As for Snowden… Someone’s got to break the law. Because sometimes the law protects the guilty. Because life is gray and when the institutions trump emotions you’re screwed.

So we’re fighting around the world to bring our lifestyle to them. It’s time we look in the mirror.

Oh wait. We are!

Just not anybody with a dime.

And the sixties taught us you’re either part of the problem or part of the solution. If your wealth is based on shipping jobs overseas, you’re part of the problem.

Right now the internet is driving the generation gap. Oldsters are all on Facebook when their progeny have moved on to Snapchat. As it always was. They were listening to Perry Como while we were listening to the Four Seasons.

And then the Four Seasons were trumped, overnight, by the Beatles.

And then the San Francisco bands raised money for causes as opposed to putting it in their coffers. Believing what’s right is most important. Knowing that music comes before money. And that personal expression is everything.

So while you’re sitting there in your cubicle, or at home dreaming up your app, ask yourself, what are you doing to improve our country, what are  you doing to help your brother, what are you doing to make tomorrow better than today?

We asked those questions every day in the sixties.

People are starting to ask them now.

Visit the archive: http://lefsetz.com/wordpress/


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