Monday, July 9, 2018

Neil Diamond and America

Let's be a little Biblical, here, because there's nothing "christian" extremists like more than cherry-picking their Bible verses and misusing them while ignoring the ones that condemn their current actions.

Matthew 5: 13-16 describes the role of the Christian in the world. Be salt and light. Draw men to you. Specifically, "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden." Be a lamp that will share light with everyone because why? It's dumb to light a lamp and cover it with a basket. Seriously, what the fuck good is that?

And, you know, when I was growing up in the Bible Belt in the South, there was this idea that America was supposed to be that city on a hill for the whole world. That we were supposed to draw people to us because we were a beacon of hope. It was therefore unsurprising that Neil Diamond scored  a huge hit in 1981 with his song "America." We celebrated the fact that refugees of all sorts sought the shores of the United States.

Not to mention the Statue of Liberty right there for all to see and declaring:
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me...
So here we are with this song that celebrates the immigrant and the refugee coming to America, and it's this huge hit. Not just is it a huge hit, but, in many ways, the song burrowed its way into the American subconscious. In a good way, because it's a good song. It's a song that epitomizes Matthew 5:14.

It's such a good song that it has been a traditional part of the fireworks show on the 4th of July here in Sonoma county. Not that we've gone every year in the last two decades, but we've been to an awful lot of them (because that's what you do when you have kids), and that song has been a major part of the music that played along with the fireworks every... single... year.
Until this one.

Okay, I'm not sure if this is the first year they left it out because we actually didn't go to the show the past couple of years, so maybe they cut it out last year. But I'm thinking it was probably this year because, suddenly, that song is... politically controversial.

And, you know, I'm sure they just did it because they wanted the event to be good fun for everyone so why include something that might get some people all twisted up and belligerent, right? Just leave the politics out of it. Like sports. Nothing that might raise the awareness of people.
(Because we wouldn't want people to bother to think.)

However, when you leave out something that has always been integral to your celebration in order to not appear to be making a political statement, you have, then, made a political statement.

At best, that statement is, "We're scared of Republicans and the GOP and what they might do if we play this song that is so obviously pro-immigrant and pro-refugee, so we're going to leave it out so as not cause any trouble."
At worst, you have someone in charge who is a Trump (#fakepresident) supporter who dropped the song so as to remove any and all show of support to the people being currently abused by the government.

It's probably the first because this is Sonoma county, but you can't completely rule out the second because Right-wing fanatical assholes seem to show up everywhere.

But going with the assumption that "America" was left out of the lineup because of cowardice, I have to say, C'mon! This is Sonoma fucking county! If you can't play a song that has always been in the show and give even that much support to the people that Trump (#fakepresident) and his goons are fucking over, then where can you play it? Where can you show support?

Needless to say, I was very disappointed that the song was left out and at the message, intentional or not, that was sent by its absence. We're way beyond coddling the Right at this point. They talk big about civility and how we ought to be being nice to them, but they removed all civility from the conversation when they started kidnapping children and putting them in concentration camps. We're way beyond "playing nice." Not because we are, because they are. They quit playing nice...

Man, they quit playing nice so long ago, it's difficult to remember a time when they were playing nice, but, certainly, all pretense at niceness went out the window when Obama was elected. That's when they really started letting their racism come out for all to see.

All of that to say that whoever put together the fireworks show in Sonoma county this year should be ashamed. They should be ashamed for not being willing to do something as simple as keeping a song in the show that has always been in the show. If you can't do something that small... well, if you can't do something that small...

And if it was a Trump (#fakepresident) supporter who pulled the song, well, that person should just be ashamed for being.

It's seriously time for the Left to start pulling themselves together and standing up to the Conservative fucks who are currently holding the reins of the country. In all the ways, small and big. Especially the small, because everyone can make small gestures of resistance, and we need to all be doing them all the time. The small gestures, even as small as a song, add up.


And they didn't even replace "America" with anything good. It was shitty big band music. Which sounds about like what Trump (#fakepresident) and his ilk want to replace the USA with.


  1. It's hard to know what our country even stands for anymore, apart from the empty symbols of identity themselves. Mind you, there has always been hypocrisy where immigration policy is concerned but the message itself is now getting lost. Sad times.

    1. TAS: They really are sad times.
      And what do bullies ever really stand for other than themselves.

  2. Republicans are constantly screaming about the "special snowflakes" and their "safe spaces", in spite of the fact that they are the whitest snowflakes in the world who insist everyone be nice to them while treating others like crap.

  3. I'm going to play devil's advocate here. Did they pull "America" since Neil Diamond announced he's no longer touring due to illness? (Probably not, but I'm going to put it out there.)

    Did you see John Cleese's burn on Twitter today? The tweet he's responding to (which apparently has been deleted) was one word: snowflake.

    And did you hear about the woman in the Miss Mississippi pagent who dropped out due to a joke the pagent made abotu #MeToo? There are people standing up everywhere.

  4. Liz:
    1. That's VERY unlikely.
    2. I didn't see that, but I may go look for it.
    3. Yes, I read about that.