Most of my blog entries are political in nature, and I guess ultimately, this one is as well.
Last night I attended Roger Waters’ concert performance of the classic Pink Floyd album The Wall. As I don’t really want this to end up being an in depth concert review, let me just say that it was an experience to say the least. The staging, effects and imagery were very impressive, with the only possible exception being a remotely controlled dirigible swine that hovered above the crowd for some time, which struck me as a little cheesy. Although to be fair, the anti-corporate imagery adorning the flying pig was pretty humorous.
Anyway, the concert did a few things for me. First, I was impressed by Roger Waters’ activism. He made bold statements on capitalism, fanaticism, fear, violence, and religion. I was also reminded that the Wall is a powerful work addressing the effects of war, economic despair, and xenophobia and is striking in its relevance to the current social and political climate in the United States today.
“Would you like to see Britannia
Rule again, my friend?
All you have to do is follow the worms.
Would you like to send our colored cousins
Home again, my friend?
All you need to do is follow the worms.”
Sounds like some of the stuff we hear today, doesn’t it?
There are those who lament the supposed loss of this mythic notion of American Exceptionalism and want to see America ‘rule’ again. The say it’s illegal aliens and their anchor babies. They say it’s Sharia law. The say it’s entitlements. They say that there are people with a deep seated hatred of white people trying to destroy ‘our’ way of life from within. The say all that while denying all of the evidence that corporate greed is what is destroying the nation.
Waters pointedly depicts the armies of Capitalism as demanding our blind trust, while literally dropping religion and materialism as bombs, dividing and enslaving the people. Trust us; keep spending what you don’t have. Keep giving us more, it will trickle down.
And just like the Worms, there are people in America who are wear their nationalism like armbands on their sleeves. They’ve also been rallying and marching around with their answers to America’s woes; send our colored cousins home.
People like Mark Williams, Franklyn Graham and Frank Gaffney, and politicians like Michelle Bachmann and Steve King are all Worms not so subtly disguised as humans. Their plans read just like these lyrics. They’ve been ginning up the fear and loathing non stop since the President took office, and now they are waiting for their Worms in Tri-Corner hats to give them the power to implement their plans.
“Waiting to cut out the dead wood.
Waiting to clean up the city.
Waiting to follow the worms.
Waiting to put on a black shirt.
Waiting to weed out the weaklings.
Waiting to smash in their windows
And kick in their doors.
Waiting for the final solution
To strengthen the strain.
Waiting to follow the worms.
Waiting to turn on the showers
And fire the ovens.
Waiting for the queens and the coons
and the reds and the jews.
Waiting to follow the worms”
There’s no shortage of blame being thrown around, except in the mirror. The Worms don’t accept any responsibility for any of our problems. They blame the queens and the coons and the reds and the Jews. The Muslim has been replaced as the scapegoat du jour, but don’t think that the Jew isn’t privately assailed too as being too dominant in business. Jews are, of course, historically tried and tested fall-guys for a nation’s economic woes. David Duke must be bumming. But most good fashions come back into vogue anyway.
But the queens and coons and the reds haven’t done so well in the current climate. The Worms talk about regulating homosexuality. They talk about prohibiting homosexuals from marrying, adopting children or for serving as soldiers and teachers. African Americans are labeled as lazy, shiftless, self entitled dead wood, fouling our cities. And the catch all accusation for any white person who believes that the nation has a responsibility for providing a level of social services to its less fortunate regardless of race is calling them a Socialist.
The Becks and the Limbaughs and the Palins and the Boehners, Canters, DeMints, and McConnells spew forth about purity and pledges and bloodoaths just like Worms;
”We’re gonna find out where you fans really stand.
Are there any queers in the theatre tonight?
Get ’em up against the wall.
And that one in the spotlight, he don’t look right to me.
Get him up against the wall.
And that one looks Jewish, and that one’s a coon.
Who let all this riffraff into the room?
There’s one smoking a joint, and another with spots!
If I had my way I’d have all of you shot.”
So, where do we really stand? Are we marching down the road with the Worms or is there a way to defeat the irrational fear of the weakening of the American strain?