Monday, April 30, 2012

Superheroes, and guilt...

"He that is of the opinion money will do everything may well be suspected of doing everything for money" - Benjamin Franklin 

I just watched the "Superheroes" documentary, made my Michael Barnett, for the second time.  And again, I finished watching it with an odd feeling of hope and inspiration.  For anyone who hasn't seen it, the film follows small groups of civilians, and in all honesty, nerds...who dress up like their own unique superhero and attempt to stop crime and injustice in their cities.  Everything from confronting drug dealers in a park, putting up flyers to raise awareness about a local "groper", and a lot of community outreach to the food/water/hygienic products and most importantly, a connection to people who don't look at them like second class human beings. 

I initially wanted to pass this off as hokey.  And it is, there are a lot of people who help who don't put on costumes and make a difference in their communities everyday.  But these are total randoms, people with nothing to do and instead of squandering their money on nonsense, or idealizing pop stars and actors and rappers who don't give a shit and have zero sense of social conscious.  They decide to put on funny outfits, and walk the streets at night, doing good.  I can't hate on it, and even find myself inspired. 

I mean, I'm a drummer in a moderately successful rock band.  I have 30 college credits and about 4 hours of volunteer time to my name.  All I really did, was meet 3 guys who are also capable musicians, and worked trying to write good music and get it out to a lot of people.  In reality, a mostly self-serving task.  And yes, I've been trying the way I know how, collecting cans of food at shows for  years and trying to divvy up some of this new found reward to charity and what/not.  But something like this film puts a rock in my stomach, one that's there because my life is getting better, and if I decide to open my eyes everyday, so many people need help.  And the difference between me and them is typically an odd twist of fate, something that we have no control over that put me here and put them there. 

Luckily I have a job that effects people in a positive way.  And a singer who writes things who inspire people.  I recognize that, and this is one of a few career choices that I find worth in.  That doesn't mean what people do isn't worthwhile, this is just my personal set of unfounded expectations for the world.  You have to do what you have to do to get by, and a self-righteous point of view doesn't always fit into that.  But if there is anything this little documentary taught me, is that we ALL can be doing something more.  No matter what position you're in. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Angry Americans...

"Divide and rule, the politician cries; unite and lead, is watchword of the wise."
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I was supposed to try and relax today. My back hurts, I have this tingle in my fingers, and I'm 5 days into a coffee and green detox. But as I argue with borderline racist, self-righteous neo-cons on news websites I can feel my body tense up and my blood boil. The Zimmerman/Martin situation has really brought the nuts out of the nuthouse. And it's highlighting how unbelievably divisive and intolerant the nature of Americans today are. It's truly frightening, from both sides.

It may be part of this new red state, blue state phenomenon that has swept us up. I don't even remember this before 6-8 years ago. Until we started covering elections like NFL fantasy draft boards and providing the country with 24 hour, up to the minute, truly content-less news. Someone, somewhere seems to be benefiting from the American "line in the sand." This side or that side. Yes or no. But the whole concept of democracy in action is finding some middle ground between the voice of ALL people. Not over the top, morally guided policy. Again, on either side. That's where the 99% people are dead on. Many parts of the constitution are designed for us to defend against the tyranny of government and limit the exclusivity of power, not to better equip its own people to destroy each other. We need a leader who knows how to cross that bridge, not build another one. Sorry...bad metaphor.

But, you know what? Obama does come off pompous and over-schooled. When I read his comments on the proposed GOP budget today, I had a little bit of mouth throw-up when he called it "thinly-veiled social Darwinism." Seriously dude? After driving around all corners of this country for 15 years, I truly understand how half of America can not find common ground with a man like this. Just how the other half could not believe that George W. Bush could win, twice. I voted for Obama, and typically agree with many of his policies and social stances. And just like Texans wanted to have a beer with G.W.B, I'd love to shoot hoops with Barack. But I've lost significant faith in his ability to lead ALL people in this country.

If there is any case I can make for a guy like John Kerry, or Mitt Romney that their thought is malleable. If a guy caters, and changes what he says to appease the people he represents, maybe he's a good politician. I'm starting to see less harm in that. How has it been going since we started nominating people with their own rigid, social and moral agendas to put in place?

Don't worry, I'm not switching sides. I'm just mad at everyone right now. I wish we just all had donkey hearts...with elephant balls.