Blog Post · My Own Music

Don’t Look Away

Surely this is the tipping point.

This is it, the step too far, the final act that exposes the monster and the fraud.

We cringed when he was caught out bragging about grabbing women. We gritted our teeth when he appointed a series of incompetent staff to key appointments in the White House. When he put the oil barons in charge of environmental protection we gasped in horror.

When his children and in-laws began representing the country in roles they were in no way qualified to fill, we cried ‘nepotism’ and nodded wisely.

When he started methodically destroying relations with all of America’s allies, while simultaneously making friends with the most brutal dictator in the world, we stared at our screens in confusion.

As I watched the news report speaking about young children being torn from their mothers at the US border and put in detention where they are not provided with any emotional support, I thought “finally, he has gone too far”.

The picture in this article from the Independent is all you need to see. If your heart breaks and you get choked up with anger and fear and despair, then you are still human. If you don’t, then I don’t know what you have become, or what society or race you are part of.

Jacob Soboroff from MSNBC gives this report of the conditions inside the camp housing the 10-17 year old boys. More disturbing still is the report made by Colleen Kraft at the detention centre where younger children are being held. The rules mean that children as young as two cannot be touched, cannot be give the most basic symbol of human compassion that every child should be given at every difficult moment of their life.

I remember the first day I dropped my twins at child care when they were almost three. My wife and I stopped in the baby room and saw a distressed child, around 12 months old, crying. Even though this wasn’t my child, it hurt terribly, sharing in the fear and despair emanating from this young soul. Scientists know the value of human touch during early development. I don’t for a second judge those parents who need to work two jobs just to keep the family fed, and I am very grateful that my own circumstances mean that all of our children have being at home with one parent full-time until at least two. The long term impact on these children in America, who have been taken from their parents for no good reason, will be severe and long-term.

Worst of all, Jeff Sessions had the unbelievable arrogance and bigotry to quote the Bible in support of this despicable action. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, doesn’t come from the Bible, it comes from human values. One of the most fundamental and widely worshiped human values is the bond between mother and child.

I can’t do much, but I can write songs, so here is my contribution to fighting this latest chapter in the Trump disaster novel. Please don’t look away, stare evil in the eye, recognize it for what it is, and fight it with whatever peaceful means you have.

Blog Post · My Own Music · Spirituality and Philosophy

Miranda – Keep the Cameras Rolling

With everything that has happened since the surreal inauguration of Donald Trump on 20th of January, I have found myself feeling paralysed and numb. The string of ridiculous Presidential Executive Orders this week has dashed any hope that maybe the election rhetoric was just puffery to get him elected.

As Trump surrounds himself with ignorant and dangerous extremists, it is hard to see any good in the coming four years for America or the world.

Petty and angry responses to the coverage of the inauguration, termination of the Acting Attorney General, Paula Yates, with terms like ‘betrayal’ has given any undergrad psychologist enough information to diagnose Trump with a narcissistic, paranoid, vindictive personality disorder. This is the man who now has his finger on the Nuclear Button.

This compounding week of unbelievable events unfolding has left me dazed.

It feels like all the voices of reason, compassion and tolerance are stammering incoherently. It is as though the scale of the insanity, the crazed support of a blinded and increasingly belligerent right-wing populace has left us speechless and despairing.

Usually when I see an injustice in the world, I can write a song about it. But the song that came to me this week is about the absence of a song, I have no words to suggest that we look at the positives or we maintain hope in the future revival of humanity.

We are not in new territory here, the consequence of demonising a portion of society can be starkly observed in the Jedwabne progrom in Poland, 1941. This atrocity wasn’t perpetuated by the Nazi’s, but by 23 Polish men who burned alive at least 340 Jews from their own town. It is not by accident that I pick this example from World War II. The comparisons between the rise of Trump and Hitler have already ready been widely made. Others have suggested Mussolini as a more fitting parallel, neither one bodes well.

Trump has demonised women, reporters, Mexicans, Muslims, environmentalist and I am sure I have missed many more. This type of incite to hatred has real, and often fatal, consequences.

Here in Australia the same rhetoric is coming from the One Nation Party, and has already been popularised by the UK Independence Party leading to the vote to leave the European Union. Five years ago, these groups with extremist views still existed, but they were on the fringe, with a tiny following. Now they are setting the agenda, drawing a sizeable following, and having centre-right parties borrow from their policies.

Humanity is undoubtedly undergoing a crisis of faith. Not religious faith, but faith in the principles of kindness, tolerance and honesty; principles that underline the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which is increasingly being ignored in favour of commercial and political interests.

Anyone who thinks that this is purely an ideological issue and part of the small swing from left to right that happens with democratic elections should look at the treatment of the members of the media that reported on the Women’s March held alongside the inauguration. Trump is set on ushering in the era of post-truth, alternative-facts and double-speak.

It is not that analysts, commentators and human rights activists are not pointing out the problems, it just seems that their words are lost in the wind of hate-speech and ignorance.

The one light I can point to is the behaviour of the US National Park Service tweeting about climate change in defiance of Trump (another great article). I suspect that a generation of young people inspired by Leslie Knope have joined the Park Service, and hold Leslie’s values as their own. Life imitating art in a glorious way.

As paralyzed as I feel, I must continue to record what is happening and how I feel about it, just like the last of the colonists on Miranda.