Do U-2 Have a Sunday Story 2 Share? (Sunday Song Series)

Week #28 of our Sunday Song Series features U-2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday… the reality based, gory story a.k.a. “The Troubles” (Irish: Na Trioblóidí). As for all that went down on that ill-fated day, you can opt to read the in-depth backstory and/or settle for my following (overly simplistic) synopsis…

The Protestant government, known for discriminating against Catholics, oft deployed British troops and paramilitary forces whenever their inter-communal rancor spilled over into the streets. Yet, in spite of the demonstrations having been non-violent on that particular Sunday, the bristling with adrenaline / testosterone soldiers NEEDLESSLY opened fire to slaughter UNARMED civil rights activists, bystanders and even children.

Such bloodshed is eerily similar to 1970’s May 4th National Guard killing and maiming of Kent State University students protesting the Vietnam War and its Commander-In-Chief… one Richard (Tricky Dicky) Nixon… the prez who had been every bit the crook he said he wasn’t… and more. I remember this carnage so vividly because [1] the victims / fatalities had been cut down at such a young age (barely two years older than I had been) and [2] this was the very event which I credit with permanently politicizing me leftward.

It’s safe to say that you, my readers, wherever you hail from within our vast, violence prone world, have your own similar stories to tell and if you’d like to share your own insights, there’s plenty of room for you to express yourselves within the comment section below.

For me, it was… still is… difficult to accept how Kent State could’ve ever, possibly, gone down in my homeland when we SUPPOSEDLY had… still have… [1] the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment and [2] The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 to protect us from such military perpetrated massacres… be they on Sunday or any other day. To e.g. their detailed terms… respectively…

“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

And…

The use of the U.S. Army to aid civil officials in enforcing the law or suppressing civil disorder is prohibited unless expressly ordered to do so by the president.

Of course, that presidential wiggle room is the real kick in the ass. Voluntary compliance with such laws presumes a mentally sound, unbeholden, genuinely patriotic American president is parking his butt behind the Oval Office desk.

And such a characterization (most assuredly) had neither been applicable to Tricky Dicky (then) nor to the fake prez (now).

The stark reality, here, is that back in 2016, my own homeland’s foolish voters elected [1] a vacuous, vane, vile, vulgar, volatile and violence fomenting, vengeance seeking autocrat who sucks up to Vladimir Putin and [2] regards ALL liberal activism to be a personal affront worthy of his meted out punishment.

To punish people who peaceably assemble to petition the Government for a redress of grievances, would he ever bark out his shoot to kill marching orders to the troops he commands?

Well now… seeing how he already has troops stationed along the American / Mexican border… at the very least… he’s half way there. Furthermore, with the vast majority of that man-child’s actual adult advisors (who once-upon-a-time had kept him in check) now having been flung from his admin’s constantly revolving door, what he’ll do next will depend solely upon whether or not his narcissism will continue to distract him.

We can only hope that U-2 or some other song composer(s) will never need to pen new, Americanized verses for Sunday Bloody Sunday.

Let’s all meet up back here for our next Sunday Song… hopefully a selection that’ll prove a bit more pleasant… seven days from now!

 

 

 

 

Lessons From Kent State University

For anyone old enough to have lived through the turbulent 1960s and 70s, the Kent State massacre was one of American History’s darkest, most tragic, “where were you when” moments.

For me, that “when” was early evening on this very day, May 4, 1970. That’s when, as a 16-year-young high school sophomore, I first became aware of how 29 American soldiers (members of the Ohio National Guard) had fired off approximately 67 rounds in the short span of one minute (or less) to kill 4 American students and wound 9 others.

That death toll and casualty list had been the end result of a demonstration by Kent State University college students pissed off by President Richard M. Nixon’s escalation of the Vietnam War… i.e., his invasion of neighboring Cambodia. It was during their antiwar rally that things got ugly… protestors wound up setting fire to the campus’ ROTC building and repeatedly pegging rocks at the armed troops.

Basically, what we had here was the troops overreacting… using bullets to defend themselves against stones and assessing a higher value to that charred real estate than to their own compatriots’ precious lives.

It’d be hard not to conclude that the very presence of these troops had needlessly escalated an already overly tense situation. Even Nixon’s own President’s Commission on Campus Unrest concluded (and I concur MOST EMPHATICALLY)

“The indiscriminate firing of rifles into a crowd of students and the deaths that followed were unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.”

Students suspected of arson and assault could’ve later been arrested, charged, arraigned, tried and, if found guilty, been duly punished. In a situation such as this, troops are NEVER supposed to act in the roles of judges, juries and executioners!

Also worthy of mention is that both warring factions on this Kent State campus battlefield could’ve benefited immensely from the following wisdom.

William Shakespeare’s “Henry IV” character, Fallstaff, said…

“The better part of Valour, is Discretion; in the which better part, I haue saued my life” (oft paraphrased… “Discretion is the better part of valor.”)

Sun Tzu, author of “Art of War” opined along similar lines, thusly…

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting” and “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.”

The sagaciousness of some superb song composers also comes to mind…

Check out a couple of lyrical couplets…

From Stephen Stills’ “For What It’s Worth”

“There’s battle lines being drawn,

Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong.”

From John Lennon/Paul McCartney’s “Revolution”

“But when you talk about destruction…

Don’t you know that you can count me out.”

Were not all of the above wordsmiths emphasizing the need for orderly conduct by all parties involved in any dispute… were they not all on the same page as the U.S. Constitution’s 1st Amendment (note the qualifying word, “peaceably”)?

“Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

Fast forwarding to our troubled present-day world… political and social unrest has only grown worse… especially since the installation of #45.

Now, more than ever, all protest movements must always be conducted peaceably. Nobody should ever give that Oval Office entity even the slightest excuse to overreact… to roll out the tanks… to order Americans troops to open fire on American citizens in a way that is equal to… or exceeds the actions taken by the Ohio National Guard in Kent State…

On this very day… May 4, 1970.