This month’s column is going to look in depth at a volatile situation that threatens the future of our country, and thus, the world: rightwing and liberal knucklehead musicians who talk politics on Facebook.
I know, it seems trivial, but truly it is a microcosm of our country, and its evolution and progress. A lot of you follow my political posts on Facebook and other social media, and are aware that I am slightly to the left of Bill Ayers and Abby Hoffman, am one of the last holdouts on the ideals of the ‘60s and ‘70s counterculture, would still like to see the White Panthers on the ballot, and I see the GOP as the enemy of not only our country, but of life itself. I hope I’ve made that clear. The only reason I included liberals in the subject of this column was to throw them a crumb. There are no liberal knuckleheads.
Some of my oldest and dearest friends have, for some unfathomable reason, chosen the other road, and preach jingoistic RIGHTWING – not necessarily Republican – rhetoric like trained parakeets, feeling every bit as justified in doing so as I do in spouting mine, which – this being America – is as it should be.
A lot of you read and comment on our posts, either taking a side or choosing the old “both parties suck and are beholden to the corporations and the elite, so why try?” option.
And I guess “why try” seems like a logical way to look at it… Except for the fact that that is exactly what these assholes are aiming for: the lumpenproles to give up, take their government football and go home; to only see the corruption and failure, the shitty end of the stick; to settle for not just less, but for nothing at all.
Make no mistake about it, our government sucks, is corrupt, and is run by corporations and the CIA, among other shadowy entities that only those at the very top know the names of.
My guess is that after a president is elected, he gets a personal visit from some very scary people who explain to him just how much power he actually has, maybe with visual aids like photos of the view the second gunman had of JFK’s head from the grassy knoll, and maybe the six other bullets from RFK’s assassination in a baggie, or recent photos of his family in crosshairs, stuff like that. During a campaign, the other party digs for dirt, plays dirty, and uses it to its advantage in order to win. These guys REALLY go through your underwear drawer, and go after you personally, where you live, no trick too dirty, and no blow too low. They aim to OWN you once you’ve won, not just make you lose a silly election.
And so guys like Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama have their ideals and dreams for this country shattered before they’ve even had a chance to sit behind the desk in the Oval Office, and guys like George Bush and Dick Cheney and Mitt Romney are assured that their parent’s money is doing its job and greasing the machine toward totalitarianism. You play the game or you die; just ask Bill Clinton.
Back to me and my rightwing/leftwing knucklehead musician friends. We tear each other new assholes daily on Facebook, no holds barred political debate. Granted, I shoot them down nine times out of 10, and I can say that because this is my column. They are welcome to rebut in their columns.
That felt good! Damned good. Hehehe.
The funny thing is, when I see these same knucklehead musicians in person – where we have time to hang out and debate and tear each other new ones in person – guess what never comes up? Politics. Never; maybe a quick aside or joke, but not seriously.
What becomes immediately apparent is how much we like each other despite our politics. How our long friendships stand the test and strain of time and differences of opinion. How much alike we are, not how different. How we are both concerned about our country – about our kids’ futures – in different ways, but with common ground and real love between us, not defined by ideology and politics, but by people who share common concerns and goals. The guitars come out and the bullshit gets put in its case for a while.
We hang out as just plain Americans, because that’s what we are. Deep down, we know that the enemy isn’t each other. If anyone had the balls to invade the homeland, I have no doubt we’d all fight side by side for our country, no uniform necessary.
The 24- hour news cycle has made avoiding dead air more important than our unity as a nation. Social media give us a place to hang out and talk shit for as long as we can stand, and it never affects our real lives. But it’s still away from the computers and Internet, face to face, that we meet and feel our shared humanity and like each other, face to face.
And it makes me understand and love America even more. Even those rightwing knuckleheads.
Cheetah Chrome is a founding member of Rocket From The Tombs, The Dead Boys, and The Batusis (with Sylvain Sylvain of the New York Dolls), and an acclaimed author. He has lived in Nashville for the past 15 years. He is the Creative Director/A&R Director at Plowboy Records.