Tuesday, November 24, 2015

I'm Confused; Who Am I Supposed to Hate... This Month?

I’m Confused; Who Am I Supposed to Hate... This Month?

          I’m a Vietnam Vet with PTSD(Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and I consider… no, I have proven myself more  patriotic than all of the Presidential candidates (and all but a very few of Congress) who found good reasons for not serving in the military.  I see no bravery in having put my life on the line for my country in war, only commitment, a commitment to America that has been cultivated through nearly 4 centuries of documented genealogy here.

          I have a sense of entitlement to and responsibility for America that dwarfs fleeting political commitments. That Spirit I share with all sincere Americans: a Spirit of doing good and helping the world, not continuous killing (“for ‘good’ reasons, of course”, they say). We have fallen victim to what President Dwight Eisenhower warned against – The Military Industrial Complex. The people who manufacture and sell weaponry never lose at war.

          No one wins these wars, anymore: Korea; Vietnam; Iraq; Afghanistan; Libya; and, now, Syria? The carnage is cannibalistic. We feed, literally, millions of men, women, and children to the gods of war, unceasingly, and, justify it with media magic… “If you tell a lie long enough, it becomes the truth for most people”, they say.

          Is Vietnam better?’ It bothers me, a lot, lately. Wakes me in the middle of the night, tee shirt dripping sweat, in full fight mode.  2,3,5, or 8 million murders, and millions of tons of ordnance later, is the country better because of my/our so-called help? Do today’s history books discuss the Gulf of Tonkin Lie as our pretext for starting the war, the reason why over 50,000 of my fellow soldiers had to die and twice that many have since been driven to suicide?  And, now, over four hundred  thousand disabled vets are treading water – waiting to get what they earned or be lied to and denied, again, before they, finally, die. America is certainly not better for having attacked Vietnam.

          And, we are not better for attacking Iraq twice. Saddam Hussein was tyrannical, but he was not responsible for 911 and had no weapons of mass destruction. Iraqis would not have had as many of their citizens slain or as much of their infrastructure destroyed if Saddam had not been deposed and killed. Iraq’s government is much more in disarray, today. Neither America, nor Iraq are better for over a decade of war. The only people winning, again, are the people who make the weapons.

          Let’s see: We’re fighting against the Assad regime in Syria and so is Al Qaeda, but they are our enemy; We’re fighting against ISIS, and so is the Assad regime, but Assad’s government is, still, our enemy. And, Russia is our ally against ISIS, yet, fighting in support of the Assad regime whom we are bombing. Iran is fighting against ISIS, and, so are we, but Iran is supporting the Assad regime which we (and ISIS) are fighting against ????

          No one will win these wars. The people on both sides will suffer greatly, and no stable governments will emerge.  The destruction will be monumental; much ordnance will be used (much money will be made), but when  G.I.’s who survive return and realize that they were merely misguided mercenaries, many will probably consider suicide. Many more will get in the back of that disability line - waiting to get paid or denied, again, before they die.

          Come on, America! We are so much better than this. 


Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Whoever Controls the Poetry...

Whoever Controls the Poetry…

By Donald Bakeer

          Whoever controls the poetry controls the youth, and whoever controls the youths aesthetics will determine the future.   Their politics are determined by  hip hop & rap poetry, and/or R&B poetry. Their morals mimic much of their parent or parents’ Oldies poetry.

          In fact, this generation is bombarded with powerful lyrical poetry 24/7 (as the gangsters first said) – all night and throughout the day their vocal music poetry is pumping out mostly misguided messages through a myriad of devices, and the words shape them - their language (heavily profane and slang), their values (heavily materialistic and spiritually lacking), sexual behaviors (mostly illicit), spending habits (reckless and undisciplined), their relationships (tempestuous and temporary), and their children (neglected and often abandoned). 

          A cappella (traditional) poetry, however, has next to no impact on the masses, today, because most of it’s esoteric, sterile, and anti-technology. Some Spoken Word poetry is promising, however. And, quite frankly, there are more poets, today, than there have ever been. So, I predict a renaissance in these poets' influence on society as a whole.

          When they realize, en masse, that poetry has a social function beyond self flagellation and purging psychoses, or  preening for praise (for that matter), these pubescent bards will be the spirit behind historical social solutions. Their potent poetry, raps, and songs will inspire solutions to homelessness, ignorance, poverty, illiteracy,  pollution, and incessant war.

          These cultural flower buds will grow into a powerful resource – fertile moral ground to create a healing zeitgeist in our society.  But, we must strive to control the messages of all of our poets, be they rappers, singers, spoken word artists, or plain old fashioned a cappella scribes.  We must curry their favor, and offer them our wisdom for they will write our future.