Jules’s Jukebox: It’s a Beady Eye Night

I’ve been in a Beady Eye mood for days now–probably because I’m anxiously awaiting Liam Gallagher’s first solo album to be released followed up by his brother Noel’s third solo project. While Oasis and NG’s High Flying Birds frequent my playlist, I’ve really been hankering for Beady Eye’s eclectic sound. Beady Eye’s mix of psychedelia, adventurous edginess, and Jerry Lee Lewis-like piano riffs hit the spot whether I’m on a walk at the beach or curling up on the sofa with the fur-baby.  So tonight’s jukebox features a mixture of songs from the two Beady Eye projects: Different Gear, Still Speeding and Be.

“Shine a Light” from the album Be.

This gem of a song (okay, pun intended, as Beady Eye songs are written by Gallagher, Gem Archer, and Andy Bell) features a barely suitable for work video full of bare ladies and a cross-clad priestlike Liam Gallagher (a rather ironic image)  juxtaposing saintliness and sin while making a hedonistic statement of how thin the line is between pleasure and transgression. The percussion drives this song, which has been compared to U2’s “Desire” in sound and theme. “Shine a Light” and “Desire” do offer some interesting comparisons. Consider the following verses:

from “Shine a Light”

“…Rising fast on my feet, let me breathe, let me speak
I’m at home, I’m alive, both in veins above the size,
Crystalline in the dark, all you see is the spark
All you feel, you don’t speak, me and you born to see…”

versus

from “Desire”

“…She’s the candle burnin’ in my room
Yeah, I’m like the needle
The needle and spoon
…”

“Four Letter Word” from the album Different Gear, Still Speeding.

This song’s hard horns and psychedelic tone contrasts sharply with the guitar rock Oasis mainstay “Live Forever” in sound and word with the refrain “…nothing ever lasts forever.”

“Flick of the Finger” from the album Be.

Beady Eye reworked an abandoned 2004 Oasis song by adding new lyrics and ominous horns. The song opened the album showcasing the group’s willingness to take chances and wax experimental.

The political spoken word piece ending the song is performed by Kayvan Novak, who reads from a piece by Tariq Ali (who was quoting from the 1963 play Marat/Sade):

Spoken word part: “Don’t be deceived when our revolution has been finally stamped out and they pat you paternally on the shoulder and say that there’s no inequality worth speaking of and no more reason for fighting, because if you believe them, they will be completely in charge in their marble homes and granite banks from which they rob the people of the world under the pretense of bringing them culture…
Watch out, for as soon as it pleases them, they’ll send you out to protect their gold in wars, who’s weapons rapidly developed by servile scientists will become more and more deadly, until they can, with the flick of the finger, tear a million of you into pieces.”

“Wigwam” from the album Different Gear, Still Speeding.

This song reminds me of the more Beatle-esque qualities from the group’s Oasis days. The “…I’m coming up…” refrain at the end hearkens back to the “na na na” of “Hey, Jude.” Considering that this song is one of the safer sounding songs on the duo of Beady Eye albums, it highlights just how exploratory and innovative the band was. Because of the risks taken by Gallagher, Bell, Archer, and Sharrock on their Beady Eye outings, I’m hopeful that Liam Gallagher’s new solo project will show he is continuing to explore and show a novel and fresh innovative streak as well. While I can always count on Noel to provide some safe (and brilliant) radio-friendly tracks, I’m hoping I can continue to count on Liam to stretch and push the envelope.

When Not to Work Together 

I didn’t write the message, but it expresses my sentiments pretty well:
This is where I stand. I feel that our 45th President, his Cabinet and administration, and the majority of Republicans in Congress are a real and active threat to me, my way of life, and all the people I love. Some people are saying that we should give Trump a chance, that we should “work together” with him because he won the election and he is “everyone’s president.” I am willing to do all of that if/when his policies seem reasonable. However:

•I will not “work together” to privatize Medicare, cut Social Security and Medicaid.

•I will not “work together” to build a wall.

•I will not “work together” to persecute Muslims.

•I will not “work together” to shut out refugees from other countries.

•I will not “work together” to lower taxes on the 1% and increase taxes on the middle class and poor.

•I will not “work together” to help Trump use the Presidency to line his pockets and those of his family and cronies.

•I will not “work together” to weaken and demolish environmental protection.

.I will not deny Climate Change even as a massive iceberg is melting and breaking as scientists around the world monitor its possible effects.

•I will not “work together” to sell American lands, especially National Parks, to companies which then despoil those lands.

•I will not “work together” to enable the killing of whole species of animals just because they are predators, or inconvenient for a few, or because some people want to get their thrills killing them.

•I will not “work together” to remove civil rights from anyone.

•I will not “work together” to alienate countries that have been our allies for as long as I have been alive.

•I will not “work together” to slash funding for education.

•I will not “work together” to reduce civil discourse to 144-character character assassinations.

•I will not “work together” to take basic assistance from people who are at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.

•I will not “work together” to get rid of common sense regulations on guns.

•I will not “work together” to eliminate the minimum wage.

•I will not “work together” to support so-called “Right To Work” laws, or undermine, weaken or destroy Unions in any way.

•I will not “work together” to suppress scientific research, be it on climate change, fracking, or any other issue where a majority of scientists agree that Trump and his supporters are wrong on the facts.

•I will not “work together” to criminalize abortion or restrict health care for women.

•I will not “work together” to increase the number of nations that have nuclear weapons.

•I will not “work together” to put even more “big money” into politics.

•I will not “work together” to violate the Geneva Convention.

•I will not “work together” to give the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party and white supremacists a seat at the table, or to normalize their hatred.

•I will not “work together” to deny health care to people who need it.

•I will not “work together” to deny medical coverage to people on the basis of a “pre-existing condition.”

•I will not “work together” to increase voter suppression.

•I will not “work together” to normalize tyranny.

I will not “work together” to eliminate or reduce ethical oversight at any level of government.

•I will not “work together” with anyone who is, or admires, tyrants and dictators.

•I will not support anyone that thinks its OK to put a pipeline to transport oil on Sacred Ground for Native Americans. And, it would run under the Missouri River, which provides drinking water for millions of people. An accident waiting to happen.This is my line, and I am drawing it.

•I will stand for honesty, love, respect for all living beings, and for the beating heart that is the center of Life itself.

•I will use my voice and my hands, to reach out to the uninformed, and to anyone who will LISTEN:

That “winning”, “being great again”, “rich” or even “beautiful” is nothing… When others are sacrificed to glorify its existence.

Braving the New World of Alternative Facts

In the NY Times Charles Sykes explains how he and others worked hard to ensure that people like Trump (and Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway and many others) can simply repeat outright lies with no real penalty: If President Trump’s first tumultuous weeks have done nothing else, at least they have again made us a […]

via Why Nobody Cares the President Is Lying — Later On

*Jules’s Note: At some point, facts must trump ideology if the U.S. Constitution is to survive this test. These “alternative facts”, propaganda, and ideological echo chambers supported with fake news do nothing but destroy the fabric of our American Dream.

I continue to resist by contacting my elected officials often on a variety of issues. I’m lucky enough to live in an area where my congressman is making nightly news with his anti-Trump resistance messages, but I have plugged all of my elected representatives’ phone numbers, addresses, and emails into my contacts list on my phone. They will continue to hear from me. 

I continue to resist by joining marches on issues of great importance. Two weekends ago I proudly marched in the Women’s March in downtown Las Vegas. Last weekend I joined in an educators press conference to denounce Betsy DeVos’s nomination as Secretary of Education (and I am still urging people to call their senators to vote in opposition to her this next Monday when her nomination will move to the floor of the senate–right now Pence is expected to cast the tie-breaking vote to approve her. We need just one more republican to oppose her nomination!). I’m closely monitoring the situation with the Muslim ban and the detentions at airports (LAX is about 10 miles from my house). I’m looking to participate in the Tax Day and/or Earth Day marches that are currently being planned (Tax Day march is a march to protest that DJT will not release his taxes while the Earth Day march is the Scientists March on Washington to denounce DJT’s anti-science stance and actions). 

Jules’s Jukebox: Richard Ashcroft

This evening I splurged on a weeknight out for myself come April by purchasing a ticket to go see Richard Ashcroft in concert. I rarely venture from the Beach Cities to go to LA/Hollywood proper on a weeknight because traffic + late nights make for a cranky morning at work the following day. But when I heard that Ashcroft, former lead singer of The Verve, would be playing The Wiltern, I threw caution to the wind. I’m going to have an epic Monday night to carry me through that early April week.

So here’s a pair of Ashcroft’s solo songs for tonight’s jukebox picks:

“Hold On” by Richard Ashcroft, the second single from his 2016 album These People.

This single speaks to my current political mood as I resist in today’s post-US inauguration landscape. These lyrics, originally written about the Arab Spring uprisings, particularly stood out to me:

“…Until you get some pepper spray
And water cannons on the way
Fighting on your own
Can turn your heart to stone

And truth is on the march again
Wipe those tears away
Apocalyptic mind…”

 

“Words Just Get in the Way” by Richard Ashcroft, the third single from his 2006 album Keys to the World.

This ballad holds a touch of symphonic melancholy that gives way to hope as Ashcroft velvety voice offers to support during stormy times. Magnificently penned lyrics are the highlight of this song.  It connects thematically to the first song for me in that it is easy to lose hope in a world so full of chaos and despair. It is easy to feel that we may have outlived our usefulness in this mess of a world, but this song speaks of friendship, lending a helping hand, of finding that human connection that gives hope when words just can’t explain or make meaning for us.

The lines that stand out mid-song pointing out just how devoid of hope the person he sings to has become. His refrain of “if you want it/ you know I’ve got it” closely follows to show his commitment to being that silent rock of support:

“When you’re feeling like you’ve lost
When all your hope is gone
And the bridge above the river
Is only the beginning of your fall…”

I highly recommend giving Ashcroft a listen if you’ve not listened to anything other than The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony.”

A Lie is a Lie is a Lie…Resist DJT’s Alternative Facts

Since his inauguration, Donald Trump has been obsessed with two issues of fact. He asserted repeatedly that the crowd at his swearing-in was larger than the crowd for Obama in 2009, despite the fact that aerial photographs showed this was not true. At one point, he ordered the National Park Service to stop issuing estimates […]

via Trump’s Disregard for Truth “Threatens His Ability to Govern” — Diane Ravitch’s blog

*Jules’s Note: Our standing in the world is sinking every time DJT acts with such callous disregard for all but himself. The POTUS’s inability to admit he had a smaller inaugural crowd than Obama set up one of the most ridiculous exchanges ever between the White House press corps and the White House Press Secretary.  DJT and Sean Spicer tried to sell us their “alternative facts” (thank you, Kellyanne Conway, for the new entry for the Urban Dictionary)  because they know that just putting the lie out into the public, a third will believe the lie, a third will fall victim to the Orwellian propaganda.  Spicer was rightly raked over the coals by journalists and he spent Monday trying to make up for the disastrous weekend conference. But to add insult to injury, DJT’s mendacity doesn’t compare to every act he has taken so far as POTUS. He has done nothing but make me more nervous for the fragility of our democracy as DJT and top Republican lawmakers make grotesque power grabs with little regard for the rule of law, ethics, or basic human dignity. My only solace at this point is how galvanized the Indivisible Resistance groups have become. The actions are growing in strength–let’s keep organizing rather than agonizing.

The Women’s March this past weekend sent a loud and clear message. And our elected leaders need to understand that they ignore that message at their peril–we will primary you regardless of party if you do not represent your people. Even though I’m an Angeleno and would have loved to have joined 750,000 of my fellow citizens in the city’s largest march, I had already made travel plans to Las Vegas. So I enthusiastically joined nearly 5,000 in downtown Las Vegas to march and hear a group of speakers that included Congresswoman Dina Titus telling us to hold her accountable. It was such a reaffirming event that reminded me and my friends that less than a hundred years ago Silent Sentinels were beaten, imprisoned, and force-fed for protesting for the right to vote. It reminded me that I happen to work in an industry that is predominantly women, so teachers’ issues are women’s issues too. It reminded me that women have fought for and even died for me to have the right to vote, to have the right to own my house, to have my own bank account, to make my own choices about my health…and it reinforced to me just how close we are to losing so much of what has been gained in the past century. That is why I marched this past weekend.

I had many of my right wing friends and family ask why we “libtards” couldn’t just suck it up and be gracious losers. And I had to remind them that DJT taking the oval office is one thing, but the immediate work to repeal the ACA, the immediate work to defund women’s reproductive rights by reinstituting Ronald Reagan’s Global Gag Rule, the immediate work to silence federal agencies and blackout transparency, the immediate work to pollute our water and violate Native religious grounds for personal profit, the immediate work to shut down the EPA…the list is growing by the hour how DJT is working against the ability of Americans–particularly women–to have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So I encouraged my friends to look at the perspectives of many who marched and to educate themselves as to what the platform of the Women’s March is.

So in keeping with the Women’s March next steps (10 Actions, 100 Days): Let’s keep fighting the good fight. Tomorrow, the senate will vote on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos, the most underqualified person to ever be considered for Secretary of Education. Please call your senators and tell them to vote against her confirmation. Stand with your local students and teachers by wearing red tomorrow and taking just a few moments of action with your phone calls and to post your action on social media with the hashtag #DumpDeVos.

Let’s be Indivisible in the face of the POTUS’s lies. Let’s Resist the platform that hurts our neighbors or ourselves.

Jules’s Jukebox: “Getting Over the Flu” Music Medicine

I’ve spent the last two weeks holed up with a viral respiratory infection that just seems to enjoy hanging around and partying in my lungs. So in honor of my slowing beginning to feel human again, I’ve selected a few songs with tongue firmly planted in cheek.

“Bad Medicine” by Bon Jovi from 1988’s New Jersey. The first hit off of their fourth album starts tonight’s healing music. “And I got all the symptoms count ’em 1, 2,3…”

“Sick of You” by Lou Reed from his 1989 album New York. It’s just coincidence that the two selections today come from albums named for neighboring states, but this song just seems so fitting considering that a) I am sick and b) this next week’s political activities make me sick at heart, and c) Reed even mentions the PEOTUS by name in this song. How prescient, except the Mt. Sinai part… 😉  “They ordained the Trumps/ and then he got the mumps/ and died being treated at Mt. Sinai…”

Being Sick Sucks! But I’m Ready to Rumble for Inauguration.

Today is the first time in two weeks that I’ve mustered the energy to sit at my computer rather than hack up a lung while lounging miserably on the couch ignoring the toxic DJT feed streaming from my flatscreen. It feels good to feel well enough to actually think about something other than when I can take my next dose of medication in the hopes of breathing without setting my chest on fire. I still have a thriving case of laryngitis, but I don’t have to talk to write, computer-compose, stretch the old fingers. Yay, me! So instead of being totally miserable, I’m starting to feel good enough to plan for next weekend’s inaugural festivities. I know I’ve written about my plans before, but now that I am counting down the days into literally hours, I can’t help but give these events another shout out.

I will be among the #Resistors (yes, the spelling is intentional) on Thursday, January 19th, for National Resist Day (to learn more click here).

join_the_resistance_rectangle_magnet

Later that evening, I will travel to Las Vegas, NV, to stay in a hotel/casino run by non-DJT supporters. Plus, I just really like staying on the south end of the Strip in MGM Resort Properties.

mgm-resorts-logo

Inauguration Day will be an official #Blackout (for more info click here). I will be wearing my black. I will not be watching any televised coverage of the Inauguration or news coverage of it. Any social media in which I feel compelled to engage will be showing resistance…but frankly, I’ll probably be drinking myself stupid–if I feel well enough to do anything other than stare aimlessly at the crowds around me.

bacon-bloody-mary-940x626

I will cap off the weekend’s #RESISTANCE activities by participating in the Women’s March on Washington at the Las Vegas affiliated march on Fremont Street. Of all of the Resistance Activities, this is the one that I am most excited to be a part of–standing side by side with people who also believe that women’s rights are human rights. This organic event that quickly organized into a nationwide force has been amazing to watch the past few weeks.

womens-march-2

Ultimately, I want DJT to be successful–with the caveat that his policies serve ALL Americans, not just his few billionaire friends and supporters. Everything that I have witnessed to date leaves me with more than reservations about his willingness or ability to do so. Everything from his cabinet choices to his unwillingness to divest from his businesses to his openly hostile chilling of the free press is beyond worrisome. He leaves me no alternative but to stand with the 68 million others who did not vote for him to work at ensuring his hears our voices.

This week the #RESISTANCE gets real.

In the meantime, here’s my medicinal regimen:

damitol

fukitol

imbicillin_meds_1

Jules’s Jukebox: Year in Review, Pt. 2 –The Fabric of My Childhood Unraveling

Tonight’s Jukebox will look and sound a little different. Tonight, rather than songs we will have a combination of words, video, and symphonic music as we celebrate the lives of some of the pop culture icons who left us this year. Most of these people have been part of my pop culture consciousness since I was old enough to remember. With a heavy heart, I look to a future world that has progressed beyond my memories. My generation, the X’ers, are quickly coming to the days where we will attend more funerals than weddings. And this year was a stark reminder of that fact of aging.

  1. Gene Wilder–Wilder died on August 29th at age 83 from complications from Alzheimer’s Disease. Wilder was a mainstay of my childhood. I was lucky enough to have a mother who loved movies. When my brother and I were 4 and 5 years old respectively, my parents went on a date night to the drive-in theater with us in tow in the back seat. We sat in our pajamas eating popcorn and M&M’s and playing with our toys as Blazing Saddles started projecting across the screen. We didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to the film other than the bean fart scene and the Waco Kid’s lightning fast hands. We fell asleep, but always remembered laughing at the movie. So when we had opportunities in junior high to watch the film we did. It became a favorite just as much as Young Frankenstein and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. For my birthday this year, my brother took me to see the stage musical of Young Frankenstein–partly for us to pay honor to my mother (whose birthday was four days after mine) and her love of theater/movies/the arts and partly to pay honor to the late Wilder.

from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

from Blazing Saddles

from Young Frankenstein

2. Sports heroes Arnold Palmer and Muhammad Ali: Both men were constants in my childhood in very different ways. Both were from sports that were not commonly watched in my household–golf and boxing– but both were trailblazers with loyal followings. Whether being “The Greatest” & “stinging like a bee” and protesting against injustice or being everyman’s hero while having a drink named after him and meeting presidents, these icons top the heap in bringing their sports to the mainstream. Muhammad Ali died at the age of 74 on June 3rd after suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for three decades. Arnold Palmer died on September 25th at the age of 87.

3. Sir George Martin: The Fifth Beatle died in his sleep on March 8th at the age of 90. Ringo Starr announced his death via Twitter. John Lennon expressed that they worked and learned together. From Sir George’s Rolling Stone’s obituary: “George Martin made us what we were in the studio,” John Lennon said in 1971. “He helped us develop a language to talk to other musicians.” Memorably, Martin played the Bach-esque piano solo on the Beatles’ hit “In My Life.” The solo showed how the producer and the band innovated in the studio–the instrument was a piano recorded at half-speed and then played back at normal speed sounding rather Baroque, like a harpsichord. The song was also one of the first of Lennon’s songs to focus on his personal experiences. “In My Life” is one of the more renowned Beatle’s hits. My brother, who is a huge Beatles fan, selected this song as his first dance with his bride at his wedding reception. Saying good night to the fifth Beatle is like losing our past inch by inch.

4. Alan Rickman: I have loved the man with the most distinctive voice ever since his break-out role as a terrorist falling from Nakatomi Plaza on Christmas Eve in 1988. Learning of his passing on January 14th from cancer at age 69 was an unexpected blow–especially on the heels of David Bowie’s death a few day earlier. Rickman’s versatility and exceptional talent allowed him to play the most dastardly of villains and the softest of lovers. Whether he was terrorist Hans Gruber or loving suitor Colonel Brandon or magical double agent Severus Snape, Rickman chewed up and owned every scene in which he appeared. And even better, he’s one of the British Men Reading Poetry with his interpretation of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 130. So we will not belie with false compare…

from British Men Reading Poetry/Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 130”

from Sense and Sensibility

from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2

5. Carrie Fisher: Fisher’s death, so fresh in my heart and mind, is so hard to take. Carrie Fisher was the first damsel in distress that really wasn’t a damsel in distress. She created the role of Princess Leia as a strong “soldier” (her word) setting an example for me and my generation as young girls. I still have my original Princess Leia action figures, which she hilariously speaks of in her one-woman show Wishful Drinking (based on her memoir of the same name). I fell in love with Carrie Fisher the author in my college years when I bought her first novel, Postcards from the Edge. Her sarcasm, her wit, her frank and open capturing of life in all of its glory and gory conflict spoke to her exquisite talent as a wordsmith and opened up a whole new career path for her as a novelist, screenwriter, and nonfiction memoir writer. I own three of her books and plan to read the remaining. When I heard of her heart attack on December 23rd as she returned on a flight from London, I feared the worst. Having lost a friend a year and a half ago to similar circumstances, I feared that she would not recover. Despite my fears, I hoped. But when the news came this morning, that she passed away at 8:55 a.m. at the age of 60, though I was not surprised, I was still immensely saddened. My first heroine inspired me to find confidence, to write, to not be afraid of people who may suffer from addiction or mental illness. She was the complete package–someone who grew up in the glare of the spotlight (as the daughter of Hollywood royalty Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds) but was always giving back to the world around her. Rest in peace, Princess.

from The Blues Brothers

from Wishful Drinking

from Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back

“Princess Leia’s Theme” from the Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope OMPS

Jules’s Jukebox: Year in Review, pt. 1–The Lost Artists

The year that was 2016 will long be remembered for the music artists that we lost. With so much talent taken by the hands of time, tonight’s Jukebox will celebrate a small handful of the superstars whose lights were dimmed in 2016.

  1. David Bowie: Bowie died on January 10th after a long battle with cancer. He did gift the world one last album in the days preceding his death. Blackstar was released on his 69th birthday on January 8th to overwhelmingly positive reviews (Rolling Stone called it an anti-pop masterpiece; Pitchfork ironically opened their review with “David Bowie has died many deaths yet he is still with us. He is popular music’s ultimate Lazarus: Just as that Biblical figure was beckoned by Jesus to emerge from his tomb after four days of nothingness, Bowie has put many of his selves to rest over the last half-century, only to rise again with a different guise.”) But rather than focus on Mr. Bowie’s final opus, I’m going to go back in time to the 80’s–the playground of my adolescence–and pick the song of his that I loved forever and a day: “China Girl.”

“China Girl” by David Bowie, from the album Let’s Dance.

2. Glenn Frey: Frey, one of the founding members of The Eagles who went on to have a robust solo career as well, succumbed at the age of 67 to a combination of rheumatoid arthritis, colitis, and pneumonia on January 18th. While the Dude Lebowski wasn’t an Eagles fan, I grew up loving songs like “Hotel California,” “Desperado,” and “Lyin’ Eyes.” Frey and Henley were the face of The Eagles for me, and they both peppered my high school years with great solo songs, including this jukebox pick.

“You Belong to the City” by Glenn Frey, written specifically for Miami Vice.

3. Keith Emerson and Greg Lake: Keith Emerson, age 71,  died on March 11th (self-inflicted gunshot wound, depression, nerve degenerative disease) and Greg Lake, age 69, (cancer) followed his long-time band mate on December 7th. In less than nine months, two-thirds of Emerson, Lake, and Palmer was gone. And while I wasn’t a huge ELP fan, I find their music influential–and I do like their ballads. So here’s my favorite ELP song.

“C’est La Vie” by Emerson, Lake, and Palmer from Works, Volume 1.

4. Merle Haggard: Growing up in central Oklahoma with a country music-loving father, the “Okie from Muskogee” was a mainstay on rides in the truck with my dad. My dad considered Haggard one of the greats. He died on his 79th birthday on April 6th from complications with pneumonia, but this member of the Songwriters’ Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame made a lasting impact on the genre. Toby Keith even played with the Country Legend in one of his last concerts in Las Vegas, NV.

“Today I Started Loving You Again” by Merle Haggard from his album The Legend of Bonnie & Clyde.

5. Prince: Prince Rogers Nelson featured regularly on the soundtrack of my high school years. My cousin loved Prince so much that he bought all his music on vinyl, cassette, and CD, as well as going to see him multiple times in concert. My friends loved Purple Rain (for which he won an Academy Award for Best Song Score) and 1999 so much that we the words to the songs by heart. I liked some of Prince’s songs, but I was never the fanatic that my friends and cousin were. I still appreciated his talent, his influence, and his energy. I honored how he would always push the envelope innovating along the way. And I was utterly shocked when he died at age 57 from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs on April 21st. “When Doves Cry” and “Kiss” are among my favorites, but my first favorite song of his was this one.

“Little Red Corvette” by Prince from 1999. (Not the original sexy video…sry.)

6. Leonard Cohen: Leonard Cohen has been featured on my jukebox before. His influence reaches far and wide, and his lyrics are incomparable in their beauty and complexity. The folk legend died in his sleep after a fall in the middle of the night on November 7th. He was 82 years old. For tonight’s jukebox, I’ve selected a song from 1967 that was originally published as a poem and has been covered by many artists like Judy Collins and Nina Simone.

“Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen from Songs of Leonard Cohen.

 

7. George Michael: Another icon from the soundtrack of my high school years has fallen too soon. At only age 53, George Michael died in his sleep from heart failure on Christmas Day. I vividly remember “Careless Whisper” from my sophomore year of high school–it was the first Wham! song I liked. And then my sophomore year of college, he blazed new trails with his solo efforts “I Want Your Sex” and “Faith,” not letting controversy stand in his way. Despite his trouble with drugs and the law over the years, his music transcended conflict and strife. For tonight’s final jukebox selection, I’ve selected his song that spoke most to me (and no, it’s not “Teacher” even though that’s what I am).

“Freedom! ’90” by George Michael from Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. 1.

 

We lost many, many more artists through the year, but the few represented here show just how devastating the losses have been to the world of music. May they all rest in peace, and may 2017 be kinder to our icons.

My Notes on Alternet Article: Fundamentalist Rural America

*Jules’s Note: Below is the November 22nd article from Alternet.org titled “An Insider’s View: The Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America” posted by Forsetti’s Justice. This article struck a chord with me since I grew up in a one-stoplight town in central Oklahoma. I have witnessed and lived much of what this author describes. So I’ve copied the entire article. My comments are in blue; the article’s original contents are black. It is a lengthy article, but provocative and worth the time.

ELECTION 2016

An Insider’s View: The Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America

In deep-red white America, the white Christian God is king.

As the aftermath of the election of Donald Trump is being sorted out, a common theme keeps cropping up from all sides: “Democrats failed to understand white, working-class, fly-over America.”

Trump supporters are saying this. Progressive pundits are saying this. Talking heads across all forms of the media are saying this. Even some Democratic leaders are saying this. It doesn’t matter how many people say it, it is complete bullshit. Ditto. People act like the election’s outcome is all the fault of one group of people (coastal elitist liberals) not doing due diligence in reaching out to another group of people (rural everyday people). Interesting how that reaching across the aisle is supposed to work only one direction. Even more interesting is that this was never an election about reaching across the aisle. It was always about getting out the vote for the respective candidates.

It is an intellectual/linguistic sleight of hand meant to throw attention away from the real problem. The real problem isn’t east coast elites (or west coast elites–these middle America folks who used to be my neighbors–and even members of my own family–don’t think my left coast vote should even count) who don’t understand or care about rural America. The real problem is rural America doesn’t understand the causes of their own situations and fears and they have shown no interest in finding out (underline is mine). They don’t want to know why they feel the way they do or why they are struggling because they don’t want to admit it is in large part because of choices they’ve made and horrible things they’ve allowed themselves to believe. They live in a world of cognitive certainty and dissonance in which they choose their beliefs over facts rather than alter their beliefs with the enlightenment presented before them. They are so invested in their beliefs that they would rather be certain those beliefs are right rather than accept that maybe they need to correct course and steer their ship toward the light rather than askance of it.

I grew up in rural, Christian, white America. You’d be hard-pressed to find an area in the country that has a higher percentage of Christians or whites. I spent most of the first 24 years of my life deeply embedded in this culture. I spent the first 28 years of my life in Oklahoma–one of the top 10 most religious states according to Movoto Real Estate’s blog. I religiously (pun intended) attended their Christian services. I worked off and on, on their rural farms. I dated their calico skirted daughters. I camped, hunted, and fished with their sons. Well, I dated the boys that camped, hunted, and fished. And yes, I attended a variety of churches with friends, my grandmothers, and other family. I sang in the choirs; I attended Vacation Bible School; I was baptized. I still consider myself a Christian though my way of practicing my faith differs greatly from those whom I grew up around. I listened to their political rants at the local diner and truck stop. I winced at their racist/bigoted jokes and epithets that were said more out of ignorance than animosity. As a kid, I too partook in these jokes. I wince at my former self, but I was lucky to have a mother that taught me that these kind of jokes were mean-spirited and based upon stereotypes that I didn’t yet understand. I have also watched the town I grew up in go from a robust economy with well-kept homes and infrastructure turn into a struggling economy with shuttered businesses, dilapidated homes, and a broken down infrastructure over the past 30 years. The problem isn’t that I don’t understand these people. The problem is they don’t understand themselves, the reasons for their anger/frustrations, and don’t seem to care to know why. (yep. my underline again)

oklahoma-religious

Picture is not part of original story; I copied it from http://www.movoto.com/blog/opinions/most-religious-states-map/ 

In deep-red white America, the white Christian God is king, figuratively and literally. Religious fundamentalism is what has shaped most of their belief systems. Systems built on a fundamentalist framework are not conducive to introspection, questioning, learning, change. When you have a belief system that is built on fundamentalism, it isn’t open to outside criticism, especially by anyone not a member of your tribe and in a position of power. The problem isn’t “coastal elites don’t understand rural Americans.” The problem is rural America doesn’t understand itself and will NEVER listen to anyone outside their bubble. It doesn’t matter how “understanding” you are, how well you listen, what language you use…if you are viewed as an outsider, your views are automatically discounted. I’ve had hundreds of discussions with rural white Americans and whenever I present them any information that contradicts their entrenched beliefs, no matter how sound, how unquestionable, how obvious, they WILL NOT even entertain the possibility it might be true. Their refusal is a result of the nature of their fundamentalist belief system and the fact I’m the enemy because I’m an educated liberal. I too have experienced being treated as the outsider. I have been told on a number of occasions that my viewpoint doesn’t count because I didn’t live in OK anymore–despite the fact that a) my friends constantly ask when I’m moving back and b) I still have family and friends that do live there and I want them to have comfort, not struggle their entire lives trying to make ends meet. I’ve been called a libtard, an elitist, a nut from La-La Land, and a host of other names that aren’t as nice. I’ve been branded as the kooky liberal despite the fact that I reach out and try to find common ground. When I seem to think I’ve finally found some of that rarefied common ground, that neighbor/classmate/friend/family member shuts me down because we can’t possibly agree on anything. It’s as simple as I am wrong and they are right and I need to get over it in their book. Again, the problem isn’t that liberals don’t reach out, but when we do, we are negated at every turn. 

At some point during the discussion, “That’s your education talking,” will be said, derogatorily, as a general dismissal of everything I said. This is true for me as well. I am chastised for using “big words” and “talking down” to them. I quietly remind them that I am an English teacher and that I am not trying to teach them a new word or talk down to them, but I am merely being who I am. I even ask them if their intention is that I choose different words to continue the conversation because I would hate to offend them. I always try to give the person I am conversing with an out–if I wanted to just troll them I would ask if they really wanted me to dumb down my language so they could understand it, but being rude and disrespectful gains no one anything. They truly believe this is a legitimate response because to them education is not to be trusted. Education is the enemy of fundamentalism because fundamentalism, by its very nature, is not built on facts. The fundamentalists I grew up around aren’t anti-education. They want their kids to know how to read and write. They are anti-quality, in-depth, broad, specialized education. Yet my profession is grossly underfunded and cut off from resources. I am demonized as being someone who indoctrinates kids with leftist/Marxist propaganda (pretty rich considering many of them are in love with Putin right now). Oklahoma ranks 48th in the nation in education spending and is bleeding highly qualified teachers out of the gaping wound of tax cuts for the rich. The teacher shortage is growing literally by the day, and school funding is so slashed that some school districts have gone to four day school weeks. Learning is only valued up to the certain point. Once it reaches the level where what you learn contradicts doctrine and fundamentalist arguments, it becomes dangerous. I watched a lot of my fellow students who were smart, stop their education the day they graduated high school. For most of the young ladies, getting married and having kids was more important than continuing their learning. For many of the young men, getting a college education was seen as unnecessary and a waste of time. For the few who did go to college, what they learned was still filtered through their fundamentalist belief system. If something they were taught didn’t support a preconception, it would be ignored and forgotten the second it was no longer needed to pass an exam. Most of my close friends went to college. Not all graduated. Of my closest friends, two of us graduated college within five years of graduating high school. One more completed her degree at age 40. But of the 30 kids that grew up on my street, only three of us completed college degrees.

Knowing this about their belief system and their view of outside information that doesn’t support it, telling me that the problem is coastal elites not understanding them completely misses the point. (my underline again)

Another problem with rural, Christian, white Americans is they are racists. I’m not talking about white hood-wearing, cross-burning, lynching racists (though some are). I’m talking about people who deep down in their heart of hearts truly believe they are superior because they are white. Their white God made them in his image and everyone else is a less-than-perfect version, flawed and cursed.

The religion in which I was raised taught this. Even though they’ve backtracked on some of their more racist declarations, many still believe the original claims. Non-whites are the color they are because of their sins, or at least the sins of their ancestors. Blacks don’t have dark skin because of where they lived and evolution; they have dark skin because they are cursed. God cursed them for a reason. If God cursed them, treating them as equals would be going against God’s will. It is really easy to justify treating people differently if they are cursed by God and will never be as good as you no matter what they do because of some predetermined status.  I too had neighbors try to convince me that the Bible shows that black men bore the mark of Cain and were cursed. One person in particular used this rationale to affirm the need for slavery. 

Once you have this view, it is easy to lower the outside group’s standing and acceptable level of treatment. Again, there are varying levels of racism at play in rural, Christian, white America. I know people who are ardent racists. I know a lot more whose racism is much more subtle but nonetheless racist. It wouldn’t take sodium pentothal to get most of these people to admit they believe they are fundamentally better and superior to minorities. They are white supremacists who dress up in white dress shirts, ties, and gingham dresses. They carry a Bible and tell you, “everyone’s a child of God” but forget to mention that some of God’s children are more favored than others and skin tone is the criterion by which we know who is and who isn’t at the top of God’s list of most favored children.

For us “coastal elites” who understand evolution, genetics, science…nothing we say to those in fly-over country is going to be listened to because not only are we fighting against an anti-education belief system, we are arguing against God. You aren’t winning a battle of beliefs with these people if you are on one side of the argument and God is on the other. No degree of understanding this is going to suddenly make them less racist, more open to reason and facts. Telling “urban elites” they need to understand rural Americans isn’t going to lead to a damn thing because it misses the causes of the problem. (my underline)

Because rural, Christian, white Americans will not listen to educated arguments, supported by facts that go against their fundamentalist belief systems from “outsiders,” any change must come from within. (my underline) Internal change in these systems does happen, but it happens infrequently and it always lags far behind reality. This is why they fear change so much. They aren’t used to it. Of course, it really doesn’t matter whether they like it or not, it, like the evolution and climate change even though they don’t believe it, it is going to happen whether they believe in it or not.

Another major problem with closed-off, fundamentalist belief systems is they are very susceptible to propaganda. All belief systems are to some extent, but fundamentalist systems even more so because there are no checks and balances. If bad information gets in, it doesn’t get out and because there are no internal mechanisms to guard against it, it usually ends up very damaging to the whole. A closed-off belief system is like your spinal fluid—it is great as long as nothing infectious gets into it. If bacteria gets into your spinal fluid, it causes unbelievable damage because there are no white blood cells in it whose job is to fend off invaders and protect the system. This is why things like meningitis are so horrible. Without the protective services of white blood cells in the spinal column, meningitis spreads like wildfire once it’s in and does significant damage in a very short period of time. Once inside the closed-off spinal system, bacteria are free to destroy whatever they want.

The very same is true with closed-off belief systems. Without built-in protective functions like critical analysis, self-reflection, openness to counter-evidence, willingness to re-evaluate any and all beliefs, etc., bad information in a closed-off system ends up doing massive damage in short period of time. What has happened to too many fundamentalist belief systems is damaging information has been allowed in from people who have been granted “expert status.” If someone is allowed into a closed-off system and their information is deemed acceptable, anything they say will readily be accepted and become gospel. Hence we have a 28 year-old man who should know better, but doesn’t open fire in a pizza restaurant trying to save children sex slaves from Hillary Clinton. 

Rural, Christian, white Americans have let in anti-intellectual, anti-science, bigoted, racists into their system as experts like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, any of the blonde Stepford Wives on Fox, every evangelical preacher on television because they tell them what they want to hear and because they sell themselves as being “one of them.” The truth is none of these people give a rat’s ass about rural, Christian, white Americans except how can they exploit them for attention and money. None of them have anything in common with the people who have let them into their belief systems with the exception they are white and they “speak the same language” of white superiority, God’s will must be obeyed, and how, even though they are the Chosen Ones, they are the ones being screwed by all the people and groups they believe they are superior to.

Gays being allowed to marry are a threat. Blacks protesting the killing of their unarmed friends and family are a threat. Hispanics doing the cheap labor on their farms are somehow viewed a threat. The black president is a threat. Two billion Muslims are a threat. The Chinese are a threat. Women wanting to be autonomous are a threat. The college educated are a threat. Godless scientists are a threat. Everyone who isn’t just like them has been sold to them as a threat and they’ve bought it hook, line, and grifting sinker. Since there are no self-regulating mechanisms in their belief systems, these threats only grow over time. Since facts and reality don’t matter, nothing you say to them will alter their beliefs. “President Obama was born in Kenya, is a secret member of the Muslim Brotherhood who hates white Americans and is going to take away their guns.” I feel ridiculous even writing this, it is so absurd, but it is gospel across large swaths of rural America. Are rural, Christian, white Americans scared? You’re damn right they are. Are their fears rational and justified? Hell no. The problem isn’t understanding their fears. The problem is how to assuage fears based on lies in closed-off fundamentalist belief systems that don’t have the necessary tools for properly evaluating the fears. And now they have voted for a man who stoked the fires of those fears so he, someone who has never been like them and never will be, can enrich himself at our expense. Woody Guthrie, the great folk singer, was born in Okemah, OK–about an hour from where I grew up. Guthrie wrote a protest song against the president-elect’s father for his racism and poor treatment of the common man. Yet the Oklahoman of today would never admit that the PEOTUS is not out to protect their interests. Oklahomans are so enamored of DJT that OK is the only state where he won every single country. 

I don’t have a good answer to this question. When a child has an irrational fear, you can deal with it because they trust you and are open to possibilities. When someone doesn’t trust you and isn’t open to anything not already accepted as true in their belief system, there really isn’t much, if anything you can do. This is why I think the whole, “Democrats have to understand and find common ground with rural America,” is misguided and a complete waste of time. When a 3,000-year-old book that was written by uneducated, pre-scientific people, subject to translation innumerable times, edited with political and economic pressures from popes and kings, is given higher intellectual authority than facts arrived at from a rigorous, self-critical, constantly re-evaluating system that can and does correct mistakes, no amount of understanding, no amount of respect, no amount of evidence is going to change their minds, assuage their fears.

Do you know what does change the beliefs of fundamentalists, sometimes? When something becomes personal. Many a fundamentalist has changed his mind about the LGBT community once his loved ones started coming out of the closet. Many have not. But those who did, did so because their personal experience came in direct conflict with what they believe. My own father is a good example of this. For years I had long, sometimes heated discussions with him about gay rights. Being the good religious fundamentalist he is, he could not even entertain the possibility he was wrong. The Church said it was wrong, so therefore it was wrong. No questions asked. No analysis needed. This changed when one of his adored stepchildren came out of the closet. He didn’t do a complete 180. He has a view that tries to accept gay rights while at the same time viewing being gay as a mortal sin because his need to have his belief system be right outweighs everything else.

This isn’t uncommon. Deeply held beliefs are usually only altered, replaced under catastrophic circumstances that are personal. This belief system alteration works both ways. I know die-hard, open-minded progressives who became ardent fundamentalists due to a traumatic event in their lives.

A really good example of this is the comedian Dennis Miller. I’ve seen Miller in concert four different times during the 1990s. His humor was complex, riddled with references, and leaned pretty left on almost all issues. Then 9/11 happened. For whatever reasons, the trauma of 9/11 caused a seismic shift in Miller’s belief system. Now he is a mainstay on conservative talk radio. His humor was replaced with anger and frustration. 9/11 changed his belief system because it was a catastrophic event that was personal to him.

The catastrophe of the Great Depression along with the progressive remedies by FDR helped create a generation of Democrats from previously die-hard Republicans. People who had, up until that point, deeply believed the government couldn’t help the economy only the free market could change their minds when the brutal reality of the Great Depression affected them directly, personally.

I thought the financial crisis in 2008 would have a similar, though lesser, impact on many Republicans. It didn’t. The systems that were put in place after the Great Recession to deal with economic crises, the quick, smart response by Congress and the administration helped make what could have been a catastrophic event into merely a really bad one. People suffered, but they didn’t suffer enough to where they were open to questioning their deeply held beliefs. Because this questioning didn’t take place, the Great Recession didn’t lead to any meaningful political shift away from poorly regulated markets, supply side economics, or how to respond to a financial crisis. This is why, even though rural Christian white Americans were hit hard by the Great Recession, they not only didn’t blame the political party they’ve aligned themselves with for years, they rewarded them two years later by voting them into a record number of state legislatures and taking over the U.S. House.

Of course, it didn’t help matters there were scapegoats available they could direct their fears, anger, and white supremacy towards. A significant number of rural Americans believe President Obama was in charge when the financial crisis started. An even higher number believe the mortgage crisis was the result of the government forcing banks to give loans to unqualified minorities. It doesn’t matter how untrue both of these are, they are gospel in rural America. Why reevaluate your beliefs and voting patterns when scapegoats are available? This is also where the prior mentioned “experts” led these folks astray–yes, it was easily done, but he fake news/propaganda/click bait/etc. perpetuate these falsehoods that rural Americans cling to so fervently.

How do you make climate change personal to someone who believes only God can alter the weather? How do you make racial equality personal to someone who believes whites are naturally superior to non-whites? How do you make gender equality personal to someone who believes women are supposed to be subservient to men by God’s command? How do you get someone to view minorities as not threatening personal to people who don’t live around and never interact with them? How do you make personal the fact massive tax cuts and cutting back government hurts their economic situation when they’ve voted for these for decades? I don’t think you can without some catastrophic events. And maybe not even then. The Civil War was pretty damn catastrophic yet a large swath of the South believed and still believes they were right, had the moral high ground. They were/are also mostly Christian fundamentalists who believe they are superior because of the color of their skin and the religion they profess to follow. There is a pattern here for anyone willing to connect the dots.

“Rural, white America needs to be better understood,” is not one of the dots. “Rural, white America needs to be better understood,” is a dodge, meant to avoid the real problems because talking about the real problems is viewed as “too upsetting,” “too mean,” “too arrogant,” “too elite,” “too snobbish.” Pointing out Aunt Bee’s views of Mexicans, blacks, gays…is bigoted isn’t the thing one does in polite society. Too bad more people don’t think the same about the views Aunt Bee has. It’s the classic, “You’re a racist for calling me a racist,” ploy. Or, as it is more commonly known, “I know you are but what am I?”

I do think rational arguments are needed, even if they go mostly ignored and ridiculed. I believe in treating people with the respect they’ve earned but the key point here is “earned.” I’ll gladly sit down with Aunt Bee and have a nice, polite conversation about her beliefs about “the gays,” “the blacks,” “illegals,”…and do so without calling her a bigot or a racist. But, this doesn’t mean she isn’t a bigot and a racist and if I’m asked to describe her beliefs these are the only words that honestly fit. No one with cancer wants to be told they have cancer, but just because no one uses the word, “cancer,” it doesn’t mean they don’t have it. Just because the media, pundits on all sides, some Democratic leaders don’t want to call the actions of many rural, Christian, white Americans, “racist/bigoted” doesn’t make them not so. In the end, I’ve learned to employ the Golden Rule. I’ve worked to take the high road, but I also will not stop doing what I believe to good and right even if I lose an election. Losing and being wrong are two different things. I try to have an open mind as I acknowledge openly that I do not know everything and I can always learn more, do more, be more than I am. I have plenty of room for growth. I often learn a tremendous amount due to the conversations with those whom I disagree. I learn because I spend time researching the topic, expanding my knowledge base on the subject. But I wouldn’t spend so much time doing it if they didn’t challenge me to do so. So for that I thank them. I just wish that they could too be so open to the challenge and so willing to grow and learn. But alas, I cannot expect the world to be like me. 

Avoiding the obvious only prolongs getting the necessary treatment. America has always had a race problem. It was built on racism and bigotry. This didn’t miraculously go away in 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. It didn’t go away with the election of Barack Obama. If anything, these events pulled back the curtain exposing the dark, racist underbelly of America that white America likes to pretend doesn’t exist because we are the reason it exists. From the white nationalists to the white, suburban soccer moms who voted for Donald Trump, to the far left progressives who didn’t vote at all, racism exists and has once again been legitimized and normalized by white America.

The honest truths that rural, Christian, white Americans don’t want to accept and until they do nothing is going to change, are:

-Their economic situation is largely the result of voting for supply-side economic policies that have been the largest redistribution of wealth from the bottom/middle to the top in U.S. history.

-Immigrants haven’t taken their jobs. If all immigrants, legal or otherwise, were removed from the U.S., our economy would come to a screeching halt and prices on food would soar.

-Immigrants are not responsible for companies moving their plants overseas. Almost exclusively white business owners are the ones responsible because they care more about their share holders who are also mostly white than they do American workers.

-No one is coming for their guns. All that has been proposed during the entire Obama administration is having better background checks.

-Gay people getting married is not a threat to their freedom to believe in whatever white God you want to. No one is going to make their church marry gays, make gays your pastor, accept gays for membership.

-Women having access to birth control doesn’t affect their life either, especially women who they complain about being teenage, single mothers.

-Blacks are not “lazy moochers living off their hard earned tax dollars” anymore than many of your fellow rural neighbors. People in need are people in need. People who can’t find jobs because of their circumstances, a changing economy, outsourcing overseas, etc. belong to all races.

-They get a tremendous amount of help from the government they complain does nothing for them. From the roads and utility grids they use to the farm subsidies, crop insurance, commodities protections…they benefit greatly from government assistance. The Farm Bill is one of the largest financial expenditures by the U.S. government. Without government assistance, their lives would be considerably worse.

-They get the largest share of Food Stamps, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.

-They complain about globalization but line up like everyone else to get the latest Apple product. They have no problem buying foreign-made guns, scopes, and hunting equipment. They don’t think twice about driving trucks whose engine was made in Canada, tires made in Japan, radio made in Korea, computer parts made in Malaysia.

-They use illicit drugs as much as any other group. But, when other people do it is a “moral failing” and they should be severely punished, legally. When they do it, it is a “health crisis” that needs sympathy and attention.

-When jobs dry up for whatever reasons, they refuse to relocate but lecture the poor in places like Flint for staying in towns that are failing.

-They are quick to judge minorities for being “welfare moochers” but don’t think twice about cashing their welfare check every month.

-They complain about coastal liberals, but the taxes from California and New York are what covers their farm subsidies, helps maintain their highways, and keeps their hospitals in their sparsely populated areas open for business. Yes, I live in the donor state of CA now. And my taxes pay for my OK friends and family to have services that I pay higher taxes to receive where I live. I will acknowledge that OK receives less in federal dollars than it used to because the state government refuses to accept much of the money from federal grants and programs to the detriment of the people of the state.

-They complain about “the little man being run out of business” then turn around and shop at big box stores. Wal Mart, anybody? Hobby Lobby, anyone?

-They make sure outsiders are not welcome, deny businesses permits to build, then complain about businesses, plants opening up in less rural areas. OK, an anti-tax state, purposely taxed solar energy to keep it from growing in the state to placate oil and gas companies.

-Government has not done enough to help them in many cases but their local and state governments are almost completely Republican and so too are their representatives and senators. Instead of holding them accountable, they vote them in over and over and over again. And then they blame the liberals who aren’t in charge by saying it’s the “government’s fault” as if the Republicans they elect are not the government.

-All the economic policies and ideas that could help rural America belong to the Democratic Party: raising the minimum wage, strengthening unions, infrastructure spending, reusable energy growth, slowing down the damage done by climate change, healthcare reform…all of these and more would really help a lot of rural Americans.

What I understand is that rural, Christian, white Americans are entrenched in fundamentalist belief systems; don’t trust people outside their tribe; have been force-fed a diet of misinformation and lies for decades; are unwilling to understand their own situations; and truly believe whites are superior to all races. No amount of understanding is going to change these things or what they believe. No amount of niceties will get them to be introspective. No economic policy put forth by someone outside their tribe is going to be listened to no matter how beneficial it would be for them. I understand rural, Christian, white America all too well. I understand their fears are based on myths and lies. I understand they feel left behind by a world they don’t understand and don’t really care to. They are willing to vote against their own interest if they can be convinced it will make sure minorities are harmed more. Their Christian beliefs and morals are truly only extended to fellow white Christians. They are the problem with progress and always will be, because their belief systems are constructed against it.

The problem isn’t a lack of understanding by coastal elites. The problem is a lack of understanding of why rural, Christian, white America believes, votes, behaves the ways it does by rural, Christian, white America.