I wrote most of Sally Ride’s second record, It’s A Trap, in June and July last summer during the run-up to the 2006 mid-term elections. The war had been steadily going from bad (aka, strategically and tactically unsound, illegal, and sold on untrue premeses) to worse. The chances that We the People might achieve electoral victories seemed slight. With our national media, and therefore our national conversation, obsessed with trivia it felt like a trap.
To my surprise*, the Democrats won big by running against Bush’s war and his complete trashing of our Constitution, and we seemed headed for change.
Recording and mixing the record took longer than I had hoped, and so a bunch of the songs with more specifically political elements (“Lookers,” “Baby Bells,” “Addington,” “We the People”) written in a pre-election context seemed to have lost their bite when the album finally came out December 20. There wasn’t anything we could have done differently. But I was bummed. I’d wanted to have It’s A Trap out as part of the election process.
How sad, then, that political developments this past week rendered these year-old issues freshly relevant.
“Lookers” – Congress has just passed sweeping new authorization of Bush’s domestic spying/eavesdropping program, giving the President legal cover to go even further than he has gone, illegally, for the past several years.
“David S. Addington and Your Democracy” – As chief legal architect of Bush’s feudalist power-grab known as the theory of the “unitary executive,” Congress has not sufficiently pushed back on the executive branch’s unconstitutional actions. You’d think the Dems could stand up to a President with 66% disapproval ratings; you’d think wrong.
“We the People” – As a more general song about us masses versus the kleptocrats who’d just luuuv to be new feudal lords, “We the People” has a constant back-burner level of relevance in any free society. I had expected the Dem Congress to reduce the front-burner urgency of our need to stand together against the would-be-lords, but it has not, and the call is still loud and clear for us to get up en masse and save our democracy.
“goddamn” – A song written at this time, in this style, that will be a part of SR’s new You Have To Wear the Boots, with the lines:
“We heard about Ohio in Rolling Stone; Blackwell’s party stole their state for George.
Death by 1000 cuts and no one cares, the streets ‘re empty.”
New reports of the illegal destruction of ballots in 2/3 of Ohio precincts, an inconceivable coincidence, can only lead us to believe that there was indeed something to hide; that Ohio was stolen, giving Bush his second term. I can’t even parse or internalize the implications of this statement, which my head believes to be true even if my heart can’t figure out how to act like it.
We take open, lawful society for granted. We forget that it’s not the ‘natural’ state of things; that 99% of humans who ever lived, lived under feudalism with one mask or another. Democracy requires constant education, participation, maintenance, and vigilance. Americans, we’ve been lazy. Our forefathers and mothers would be ashamed. We still have access to the tools to take our government back; certifiably fair elections and independent media. We can’t afford not to use them, with the impending global warming crisis breathing down our necks.
I’m going to try a couple things, maybe tonight, but look forward to announcements on an improved and re-mastered It’s A Trap soon. I’m happy it still has a role to play in our political conversation (it has other things to say about love), but distraught at the state of things in which I feel moved to speak. -h
*Which says something about the Dems utter inability to capitalize on Bush’s nearly endless political weaknesses, Americans’ broad support for classically liberal (Adam Smith) policies, or the ready-to-fracture Republican coalition of neoconservatives, dogmatic libertarians, Christian dominionists, and decent conservatives who don’t realize their party has been hijacked. Most days I wonder if they even want to win elections. They’re certainly not serious about it.