We Can Do Better Than Expecting Great MusicNeill Jameson |
2016 has been probably the most uniquely difficult year I’ve experience in nearly 40 years of life. Not just in a personal sense, or in the sense that so many great musicians died, but in watching what our public consciousness has become — our priorities, our shared experiences and our inability to figure out what really matters because we’re so distracted with so many mundane things. We could sit and discuss just these concepts for days and not come to any kind of conclusion. 2016, what a fucking dumpster fire.
So, we woke up today to the news that Donald Trump is our president-elect. Our newsfeeds, depending on what side of the fence (wall?) you’re on, are loaded with the kind of hyperbole that would make Shakespeare request that we tone it down a bit. The stages of disbelief, the finger-pointing, the memes. I’ve been seeing a lot of people saying how this is going to spawn some great music. That’s it? That’s where we’re at? At what point do we take a second and stop hypothesizing and actually do something to enact change?
I understand that people are upset at how this played out. I am, too, but how soon after this emotion dies down will we all go back to our normal routines and let things play out while we post memes and break our arms patting ourselves on the back for being so clever? The great music we’re expecting? It means nothing if we don’t take advantage of the time we have to actually DO something about our situation. Posting an Aus-Rotten song on your wall should not be the entirety of your action towards trying to build a better world. And that’s frightening, isn’t it? It causes us to go outside of our comfortable lives and remove the disconnect that exists between our life and the entirety of existence. I have anxiety when I call to order pizza — how am I supposed to go out and actually do something other than buy an anti-Trump shirt?
It’s easy to blame other people for this. I mean, we live in a country where a fucking dead gorilla got actual votes for president. And those are the people we should be shunning, not the “uneducated” voters. Why? Because they took something serious and decided to shit all over it because they think it’s funny. That’s the sort of person we should be working to help educate, to better themselves. The kind of person who should be taught why their views are wrong and that there are better ways. It’s easy to stay in a “progressive” mindset and forget that people live outside of the cities. Hell, a lot of “progressives” forget that people other than them live in cities, too, except when it’s election season. The guy who voted for Harambe? Fuck that guy. You got what you deserved. Sure, they didn’t amount to much in terms of statistics, but that mindset — that fucking mentality — is completely and unforgivably asinine.
People were stoked because Trump’s star got broken on the Walk of Fame. I wasn’t. It takes us down to a base level, the same level the people who scream to chuck out every immigrant because THEY TOOK OUR JOBS or some other inane shit. It’s poor form. It’s instant gratification without any lasting catharsis, and it doesn’t convince anyone on the fence that your side is the right side. Everyone looks like assholes. Everyone loses.
When the dust settles and our new cartoon character takes office, what then? That’s when action will need to replace rhetoric. It’s when the marginalized people you post that you stand with will actually need you to get off your ass and stand with them. It’s not enough to post songs. It’s not enough to buy shirts. Let your friends and family who are a part of these communities who now question their safety and the continuation of their basic human rights know that you’re with them. And stick to your word. Do you disagree with the results of the election? Then use it as an opportunity to truly build something. Become involved. Vote in more than just the big elections Buzzfeed tells you about. Learn about your surroundings from the smallest level. Are you worried about the climate? Prove it. No matter how inconvenient it may be to your comfort. And put pressure on your politicians. Why did Trump get elected? It’s up to you to learn about the atmosphere and what you can do to actually change it, not just bitch about it. Educate yourselves. Don’t vilify the opposition immediately. Talk to them. Do your best to educate without judgement. And if you can’t reach them? Fuck 'em, fight them on every level you can. Do your part. No one can do it alone. The world isn’t a nice place, and it won’t ever get better if you just sit there, taking up space. You’re not moving to Canada — it gets cold up there. Don’t take the coward's way out. Stay and try to fix what you don’t like.
So, this is where we’re at now. “We’re going to get a lot of good music out of this.” I’m pretty sure the majority of those bands would rather be writing about something else.