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Friday, April 1, 2016

Virtual gig.

You really have to stop watching that show, Marvin. It's not good for your electronic brain. And too much television can be bad for your visual detection sensors.

Hoo boy. It's hard to be a father, sometimes. Not that that's technically my role with respect to Marvin (my personal robot assistant). His birth father is actually our mad science adviser, Mitch Macaphee, but given the fact that Mitch is something other than fatherly (the term "grisly" comes to mind), I do sometimes act as a surrogate. Though admittedly, the role does not come naturally to me. Especially when your adopted son is literally made of brass. Anyway ...

Marvin has taken to watching concerts on television. His favorite is Austin City Limits, though he does spend some time rolling through re-runs of Don Kirshner's Rock Concert. A couple of hours of this, then comes the inevitable question: Why aren't WE ever on Austin City Limits? How come WE never get booked for Saturday Night Live? That's just his logic circuits kicking in; you know ... Pearl Jam = band, Big Green = band, therefore Pearl Jam = Big Green. It's not like math, Marvin! Not at all! (Mitch didn't provide a lot of capacity for nuance, sadly.)

It's Sparks, Marvin. How the hell did Don get Sparks?Still, he has a point. It would be a kicker to go on one of these shows, particularly Don Kirshner's Rock Concert, since it would mean being transported back to the 1970s. I think our music would do much better in that decade, even if a lot of the songs pull from cultural references that would not have occurred yet. (On top of that, I could, maybe, save Salvador Allende and Oscar Romero from assassination!) Unlikely? Perhaps, but a man can dream. And dreams can be nightmares. And I had plenty of nightmares in the seventies, so ... it's not so impossible, is it? Huh?

Okay, so ... that's stupid. We'll likely have to settle for something less than what Marvin wants. Maybe web concerts, or if we can pull it together, live gigs somewhere. We'll have to meditate on this ... if I can find a decent prayer rug around this joint.

No dogma.

All right. I am as cynical as just about any political observer on the left. And when it comes to centrist Clintonism, I find I have less and less tolerance as I get older. (Hearing Hillary talk about NATO, for example, is enough to send me through the roof.)

That said, I want to make a principled argument against the notion of clinging to the "Bernie or Bust" sentiment beyond the primary contests. I know that most politically active people focus heavily on candidates, sometimes at the cost of policy positions, and that Democrats in particular are accused of "falling in love" with their choices, as opposed to "falling in line" like the Republicans usually do (and they will ... mark my words). My advice is not to redeem that particular piece of pundit fodder. As much as I love Bernie Sanders, I know that he would be the first to tell you to focus on the movement, not the man.

Either way you look at it, you lose.The most important component in the argument against "Bernie or Bust" is simply that we cannot afford eight years of one-party rule under the Republicans. This would have a hugely negative impact on the most vulnerable in our society, on the environment, on our brothers and sisters in other countries around the world, and more. The fate of the Supreme Court alone is enough reason to vote for the Democratic nominee, no matter who it is. Scalia's replacement is only just the first slice; three or four more justices could step down in the coming years. If Donald Trump or Ted Cruz ends up being the person replacing them, say goodbye to any hope of social justice for decades to come. A Cruz court would make Roberts seem like Earl Warren.

There are plenty of reasons why voting for a Democrat in the presidential race makes a difference. But I think it is well to remember that voting is just one act; the Sanders campaign is showing us just how much we can accomplish when we stand up and make our voices heard. Like Occupy Wall Street, this movement seemingly came out of nowhere. We need to continue being not only its arms and legs, but its mind and heart as well, regardless of whether Bernie Sanders is the nominee or not. We need to push our political leaders forward, even when they are constitutionally reluctant to move in that direction, like the Clintons.

So, support Bernie, vote in your primaries, but in the midst of your hell-raising, mark your calendar for election day and vote as if your life depended on it. Because it kind of does. Then get back to the movement.

luv u,

jp