“The best art divides the audience.” Rick Rubin

I stood there today
After teaching my classes
How to think of consequences
For a decision to take action or let it all be.
I stood there under the banners
Of Indians, Red-Raiders, Warriors, and
My own hometown Blue Demons
As the best, fastest version of the Star Spangled Banner played.
I wrestled with thoughts of taking a knee
Because the truth is that the country needs a wake-up call.
It needs grassroots movements in compassion,
Civility, and a moral compass pointing due north.

We don’t need propaganda.
We don’t need a media blitz
Or a social media Stuka screaming vulgarities from the Avenue.
We don’t need rallies
That seems to have shed their linens
For suits, fitted caps, and an open-faced scourge of bigotry.
We don’t need that or them.
We don’t need his opinions.
We don’t need his policies ruining what is a great work in progress.

I looked around my gym
With these feelings of disgust of our nation’s leader and
Measuring my steps with such a small audience at our game.
I longed for the changing of the mascot posters,
I yearned for a return to manners, and I took a moment to pray
That the “land of the free and home of the brave”
Will rise above our Big Rocketman
So we can find OUR way.

In the end, I stood
Rationalizing my stance
As a belief in what this country should be…could be…
The reality is probably closer to me thinking
I could not handle the consequences
Of such a statement under the nurturing roof of this longstanding school.

Maybe this is just the place where
I should have been safe enough
To dissent.

Just watched me some PBS
About protests and war in 1970.
Vietnam was dividing the country,
Students were seeking to end the war,
And the government was hell bent
On squashing dissent.

Then shots found their mark.
Kent State, Jackson State, Cambodia
Awful…

The leaders of protest
Rallied their faithful with emotion
Holding out that passion would carry the day
The leaders of government
Rallied their faithful with guile
Throwing out the flag to squash what did not serve them

Now I’m watching me some CNN.
Baltimore is reliving the spirit of 1970.
Young people are out there
Raging against a machine that they feel has nothing for them.
Their legitimate dissent evaporating in the heat of violence.
The establishment reciting the decades old script,
With lines of country, law, and fear mongering
Masking the power’s inability to make a change
For the people most in need.

I’m getting me some enlightenment tonight,
Realizing that for all of our talk about
“Learning from the past”
Or
“Solving problems creatively,”
We keep making the same mistakes and
Trying to apply the same solutions to our problems.

It’s time to change the narrative.
It’s time for a better process.