Jules’s Jukebox: Songs for Social Justice

As I enter this bizarre week bookended by juxtaposing events, I can’t help but think of that long arc of history bending toward social justice–and popular music’s strong ties to helping spread the word on our society’s most pressing social issues. Tomorrow, our nation will honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his Stride toward Freedom while on Friday giving the oath of office to a man who maliciously called one of Dr. King’s civil rights brothers all talk and not action–for the very action of standing up to him. While searching for songs to properly encapsulate this week, I found some amazing lists that I would recommend to anyone for listening (maybe check out this one from Amnesty International). I looked and looked and selected the following two–one for MLK Day and the other for Inauguration Day.

“Strange Fruit” by Billie Holliday. This Jim Crowe era song from 1939 describing lynching is an appropriate choice for both occasions this week in reality. Rebecca Ferguson, an X Factor UK singer, offered to sing at DJT’s Inauguration under one condition–that she sing Holliday’s haunting “Strange Fruit.” At last check, she was not on the list featuring acts such as Toby Keith, Jackie Evancho, and 3 Doors Down. And now that DJT is no longer attending his MLK Day event at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, one would think a reach out to this key constituency would be in order. Instead, he doubles down on the insults to civil rights leaders.

To capture what all my right-wing friends think about where I live and what I believe, I chose to add a little dark irony to the mix. This song was originally written in 1979 as a piece of Juvenalian satire against California Governor Jerry Brown (yes, he is our governor again, hence my tongue is planted in my cheek). Since Governor Brown has vowed that California will work to protect the environment despite a DJT administration’s efforts to roll back environmental regulations, this seems like a perfect song highlight the dichotomy and divided nature of the right’s view of all of us flakey La La Land libs against the pervasive views of the progressives’ views of DJT and his incoming administration.

“California Über Alles” by The Dead Kennedys–a single in 1979, released in 1980 on the album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables.

I Am A Resistor!

After the election, I made an executive decision of my own–my way of participating in the “black out” of news and purchasing from any of DJT’s companies or those of his cronies will look a little different. On Thursday, January 19th, I will take part in the National Resist Day and send a message by sharing my stories on that day, sharing #Resist symbol stickers, and encouraging others to learn more.

Later that evening, I will travel to Las Vegas, Nevada. I will spend my weekend in an MGM Resorts Hotel. Honestly, that’s nothing new for me. I usually always stay at MGM Resorts when visiting Vegas–which I do 3-4 times a year. But this time it has more meaning to me. I didn’t want to spend inauguration day (little i, little d is intentional) in DJT’s Mecca (since Atlantic City is a total bust for him, he must rely on the Vegas end of his casino “empire”) without supporting those who opposed him. Jim Murren, CEO of MGM Resorts, endorsed Hillary Clinton in the presidential election. Therefore, my staying in an MGM Resorts hotel will give me the satisfaction of knowing that my money will not be lining DJT’s pockets or the pockets of his supporters, like Sheldon Adelson. Adelson owns The Venetian and The Palazzo on the Vegas Strip. I boycotted his hotels long ago because of Adelson’s continued support of issues and policies that would strip me of my rights and my profession (being female and a teacher and a single mom and a union activist=bad girl in Adelson’s world). I have also long boycotted DJT’s properties as he is a notorious union buster and his hotel on the Strip is one of the few that is not unionized. Check out this list to learn which hotels nationwide are fair hotels and which aren’t. DJT  and Adelson join the Fertitta Brothers (Station Casinos & The Palm) to form a trifecta of union grinches in Las Vegas and the surrounding area.

Besides giving my business to a casino that supported DJT’s opponent, I will spend little i inauguration little d day in a black out. I will not watch the news. I will not watch the swearing in. I will wear black. I will wear my Resist symbol and my safety pin. I will probably drink heavily and mourn the fact that my next four years will be spent resisting and fighting against losing my rights and my middle class life. While I obviously won’t be in DC, I will be checking my Twitter feed throughout the day on the 20th to check in with Michael Moore’s DisruptJ20 group. I might even eat some Garrett’s Chicago Mix popcorn (in honor of Chicago’s outgoing Prez) as I read that feed–especially since I refuse to turn on any news that day. No TV. No CNN, MSNBC, FOX, VICE, etc. Just Twitter protests. And a resistor’s smile (and sticky orange fingers).

Then I will spend Saturday, January 21st, down at Fremont Street to join the Nevada event for Women’s March on Washington. I encourage anyone who wishes to send a message that women’s rights are human rights and that we are all stronger and better together to join a march in any of the locations across the country. The event page on Facebook lists links for each state.

If the Women’s March isn’t your cup of tea, but you still want to get involved, look here.  Ultimately, I encourage you, if you are not a fan of DJT, his demeanor, his policies, his choices for cabinet, etc., to get involved. In some way, get involved to let him know that he must work to represent ALL Americans, not just he minority who voted for him.