dijous, de gener 20, 2005

Jazz Funeral for Democracy (English / Welsh)

No one does funerals like New Orleans does them. When a local worthy kicks the bucket, his family and friends hire an old timey jazz band to lead his funeral procession. Today New Orleans saw another jazz funeral, but this time it was for the American Democracy. As a touché to Bush's inauguration in Washington today, around a thousand people marched through the streets of the French Quarter from Congo Park to the Moonwalk in front of Jackson Square where they assembled, and nine of New Orleans and the mid-section of the country's liberal pundits took to a riser set in the middle of the crowd. They spoke passionately and eloquently about the deterioration of due process, and the rise of the Neocons, the representatives of the Neo-Conservative movement in America. Most dressed in the somber black of the traditional jazz funeral, the marchers listened for nearly an hour to an array of leftwing pundits and activists.

While I do lean left, very far left on some issues, I couldn't agree with some of the Marxist anti-bourgeois rhetoric I was hearing; at the same time, I could agree with their general sentiment. With the election of George Bush, an important part of the democratic process feels like it has been supressed. Of course, in large part this is due to the fallacy of perception: the day for American democracy, in my opinion, is not lost... yet. The mechanisms for justice and self correction are still in place, and these days, while duly dark, are not yet quite as dark as the McCarthy era or the Vietnam era. However, that's not to say that they cannot get that dark, and vigilence and continued prodding from the left into the middle, hopefully stirring the complacent and politcally sedentary masses will have to continue.

It's very interesting to observe this kind of protest here in Louisiana, a definitively red state. While New Orleans will always be blue, it's a blue (and black) island amid David Duke Land. I have the good fortune to come from one of the Blue Fortress States, where the plain old conservatives who, even though they won the rural vastness of Upstate and some suburban swaths on Long Island, are a minority; moreoever Neocons are very quiet, and I imagine them meeting in secret locations in old I.O.O.F. clubhouses scattered in tiny and fading rustbelt burgs, plotting the overthrow of larger left-leaning cities like Schenectady and Albany, chanting, "Today Little Falls, tomorrow Albany, then the World!"

With all the rhetoric -and the complacement among us should be paying attention to it, and, to my taste, falling in line with the pot smoking, swinging Neo-Hippies rather than the goose-stepping pro-Natalist anti-gay Neo-Nazis, oops, I meant Neocons... could it be that something rubbed off on my today in the Quarter, and it wasn't one of the typical things to rub off on me there?? - with all the rhetoric it's easy and perhaps alluring to get wrapped up in name calling (see above) and fear mongering of imminent fascism in America, but I really don't believe we've come that far, nor do I believe that we shall.

Dark days for America? Well, they're cloudy at least, but it makes me think of the original words to "All through the Night," "Ar hyd y Nos," where in in the second stanza the songwriter implores us, "Ac i harddu dyn a'i hwyrddydd, rhown i'n golau gwan i'n gilydd, ar hyd y nos!" - and to beautify man in his twilight, let us put our weak lights together, all through the night!

One final thought for tonight, I recently read an article on the BBC (thank you Carolyn for forwarding it to me), where some Neocons in this country are trying to make out that Spongebob Sqaurepants is gay. This led me, since the BBC website always gives a more fair and balanced view of the world than say, FOX, to two American pro-family sites, both of which decried homosexuality of course. One got on the ballywick that so fewer than 10% of America is gay, citing a number more like 2 or 3%. The true proportion of gaydom in our world will probably never be known, since like so many parts of life, it's an evolving fenomenum. A person who feels he is straight at 19 may well be on his knees practicing his pucker for a pickle by the time he's 45. All I know is that Gay.com has around 4.7 million profiles, which, if my math is correct - and it may not be, comes out to 1.4% of the population, or about half of all the queers in America according to the 2-3% theory. Now, what website has ever had 50% of any given population on it? If Gay.com is one, it would shock me immensely.

The other interesting, and somewhat heartening thing about these so-called pro-family neocon cites is that they themselves seem to be under-representing families, since the American Family Association claims on it's opening banner to have around 2.4 million members, and Focus on Family, the principle Spongebob detractor, doesn't even mention it's membership. What's clear from looking at these cites is that the old adage that hate begets hate is true, and in that adage is a warning for all of us. I'll go spelunking in dangerous territory here, but it seems to me that in the Christian Book of Revelations, there's a passage that warns true Christians not to be suckered by false prophets, something to the effect that the guys who say they're the most holy and righteous are the ones to watch out for....