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!

 

 

 

 

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Super-Patriot? Political Partisan? Pedantic Pedagogue?

During my sophomore year, my guidance counselor told me our high school’s college prep program required that I enroll in a public speaking course.

Wow… how pleasantly unexpected and win-win his revelation had been! I mean, finally, something mandatory, which could actually jibe with (maybe even enhance and advance) my fledgling aspirations of becoming a writer, radio announcer and DJ.

There was some icing on this curricular cake, too. The instructor (let’s refer to her as Ms. W) APPEARED to be cool… well… at least that was the “411” from my elder sibling, who had previously taken this same course from this same teacher.

Of course… as is oft true in life… APPEARANCES can be deceiving (more about that in a moment).

Traipsing back into the positive territory… my speaking, regularly, before a roomful of my classmates, wound up extracting this introvert from his shell, as it were. My boost in self-confidence was greatly aided by Ms. W allowing us some freedom to choose topics we felt passionate about while knocking off each of her assignments (e.g., staging formal debates, oral interpretation of literature, composing/presenting original poetry, delivering a eulogy, etc.).

It had been that last listed assignment where I had run into trouble… learned how uncool my teacher actually was.

My “mistake” had been to “eulogize” President Richard (Tricky Dicky) Nixon, even though my praise was thickly saturated with damning satire… in spite of the fact that, at that juncture, he was, most assuredly, physically alive.

My rationale for doing so? As a passionate pacifist, Nixon’s broken campaign promise to end the Vietnam War… indeed, his doing a total 180 to escalate his war rendered me deeply horrified. The accompanying upsurge in atrocities attributable to him forced me to deem him both morally and politically dead… a conscience barren, lying, warmongering political cadaver… a figurehead who was (figuratively) lying in state in the Oval Office.

On the morning I had delivered Nixon’s eulogy, as I got in my political digs, I had a tough time maintaining a straight face… the proper, somber presentation for the circumstances. And upon my conclusion, as I stepped out from behind the lectern, I found myself amidst the enthusiastic cheers and applause from my liberal compatriots. Unfortunately, this left lefty me oblivious to the ominous signs that not all who were present were in agreement… inclusive of our instructor.

Well, the sobering moment of truth had arrived. Not unlike what we commonly see during today’s primetime, TV talent show broadcasts, Ms. W presented her customary, in-classroom, for all to hear critique. Long blog short, she was totally uncool with my presentation. Her ice-cold appraisal followed where she patronizingly suggested that perhaps I didn’t know the definition of the word “eulogy”. She then went on to mention that since my other classmates would still be presenting their eulogies the following day, this would give me some time to prepare a proper tribute… and that it had better be for someone who had actually died. So, it all boiled down to this…

Either “correctly” complete Ms. W’s assignment or accept a C+ for my Nixon piece.

Well, I wasn’t inordinately concerned. Since my past performances throughout that semester had netted me much higher marks, I knew that one and only C+ was not going to significantly drag down my overall GPA. Ergo…

With nearly all eyes in this classroom now focused, intently, squarely upon me, I used my best public speaking skills to deadpan…

“I’ll accept that C+ because all that applause I got makes me feel as if I earned an A+!”

My not knuckling under to my teacher had netted me a second round of applause… just as the bell rang to end that day’s class session.

Later on, during that evening’s family dinner table chit chat, my politically liberal, Chemistry teacher father (employed at the very same high school, no less) was also hard-pressed in maintaining a straight face as he informed me that Ms. W had confronted him in the teacher’s lounge to vent her still unresolved outrage towards me.

Of course, I knew fully well that Dad was a professional, who’d never do anything to undermine a colleague’s authority. BUT… neither would he do anything to further punish me. How could he? He loathed Nixon as much as I did. Besides, nowhere amidst Ms. W’s complaints had she accused me of sassing off to her. So, Dad knew that, while standing my political ground, I had tempered my assertiveness with respectfulness.

Possible Psychological Profiles…

Even over the passage of four+ decades’ worth of time, I’ve yet to conclude, decisively, exactly what raw nerves my Nixon eulogy had struck. But I have narrowed it down to these theories.

  1. Ms. W might’ve been a super-patriot… one who wholeheartedly subscribed to that “My country right or wrong” dangerous, mindless nonsense. Just for the record, a true patriot always questions questionable leaders and their policies… to not do so promotes fascism and enables tyrants.
  2. She might’ve been a political partisan… an amoral, hawkish, war profiteering, no questions asked, archconservative… one who’d brand anyone who disagreed with her as an un-American, Commie pinko. Again, for the record, I am a true blue American. And since my country deludes itself into believing it’s a Christian nation, I ask, why the hell can’t the “devout” find it in their hearts to accept pacifists?
  3. She might’ve been a pedantic pedagogue, who the rockers, Pink Floyd, (nine years later) would lyrically classify as an uninspired / uninspiring teacher. More to the point, they did sing… “All in all you’re just another brick in the wall”. And once more, for the record, Ms. W apparently could not see beyond the literal meaning of the word, “eulogy” and that got her caught up in something akin to a head-on collision with, yet, another viable literary vehicle… namely… satire.

Lessons Learned…

  1. Whether or not Ms. W was aware of this, she had tried to squelch my imaginative (if not spot-on) premise that it is possible for someone to be morally and politically dead… and eulogize said person accordingly.
  2. She taught me that, as a liberal, I am viewed as a political leper (even more so in our troubled contemporary times). She served to condition me / desensitize me to the point where I don’t give a flying F that, perhaps up to 51% of my compatriots strongly disagree with me… if not outRight loathe me… if not outRight wish me dead.
  3. While I would’ve never expected any staunchly conservative, non-critically thinking, “my country right or wrong” teacher to ever agree with my anti-Nixon message, at the very least, she should’ve been able to check her blazing red political cloak at the classroom door… hang her red hued, hang-ups in the cloakroom long enough to reward this messenger for his creativity.

And need I even remind that I have history to vindicate me, too?

A scant four years after my mild run-in with Ms. W, Nixon, himself, eventually came to the realization that he was morally and politically dead. Hell, he even delivered his own eulogy… a.k.a. his nationally broadcasted, August 8, 1974 resignation speech. I vividly recall how, the very next day, at high noon, he performed his fancy footwork to tuck tail, cut and run and get out of Dodge/DC… to be rarely heard from again… and I’d wholeheartedly add… rightfully so!

Epilogue… I cannot help but wonder just how many of today’s flag wavers, conservative “thinkers” and “bricks in the wall” are continuing along the same lines as my above featured teacher. In a YUGE [sic] way, those engaged in such undertakings have, either unwittingly or otherwise, been doing their damnedest to bastardize the true meaning of patriotism, warp public opinion towards the far, Far, FAR right and stifle young, creative minds. If left unchecked, these formulaic, “teach to the test” “educators” will continue to breed an electorate filled with enablers of political vermin / viruses, who’ll infest / infect the body of our nation… this all leading to America’s premature death?

If that, indeed, were America’s dismal fate, I, for one, would never want to be around to deliver that eulogy!

 

Who Put the Bug Up Tweety’s… uh… Tower?

#45 is at it again. Via his Tweeting, he’s making what appears to be a wild allegation. Sans mentioning sources or citing any corroborating evidence, he claims that during his 2016 campaign, President Barack Obama resorted to using Tricky Dicky’s Watergate tactics… for the express purpose of wiretapping Tweety’s Tower.

Hmmm… if true… to what end? Hell, none of that helped elect Hillary Clinton. I mean he does realize he’s #45, doesn’t he?

OK… let’s give Tweety the benefit of the doubt and say he’s not reporting “fake news”.

Yes, I do get it… it’s only natural for us to feel violated when we’re spied on. But what Tweety seems to have forgotten is that, in our post 9/11 world, there is no such thing as privacy anymore. The NSA, Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Patriot Act have pretty much liberated everybody of our liberty.

Hell… whenever anyone… be it you, me or #45… complains about invasion of our privacy, our objections will head-on collide with this deadpanned catchphrase…

“If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to worry about.”

Anyway, what’s Tweety worried about? I mean… he’s got nothing to hide, right?

Or maybe he does?

True, Obama has denied any wrongdoing in this matter, mainly because he could not legally order a wiretap. But what if zero wrongdoing was involved? Might there have been a legitimate reason for the proper authorities ordering such a wiretap? Oh… say… Tweety always fawning over Vladimir Putin?

Of course we cannot dismiss the possibility that this “bug” could even belong to Vladimir Putin, himself! Does #45 actually believe that Putin’s cyberattacking / meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections (which helped install him into the Oval Office) comes without any price tag at all?

#45 needs to realize that control freak Putin is still calling all the shots, which necessitates keeping close tabs on his puppet. Worse yet, since Tweety’s congressional cronies don’t seem to be concerned, in the least, there’s not one damned thing anyone can do to stop such Russian interference.

Ironically, while #45 is constantly obsessing about building walls around America there seems to be little talk of any plans to fortify the firewalls around U.S. cyberspace.

Of course we cannot dismiss the possibility that Tweety’s Tweets could be akin to “Wag the Dog” tactics… his feeble attempt to distract investigative journalists… prevent them from expeditiously exposing what’s really going on between Putin and #45.

Of course we cannot dismiss the possibility that #45’s Tweets are to either make him appear mentally disturbed… or he actually is so afflicted. Either way, it would provide a powerful defense whenever anyone attempts to hold Tweety accountable for his deplorable (perhaps even treasonous) conduct.