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Friday, May 13, 2016

Here comes the sun.

My Martin D-1 needs strings again. So what's new? I always let stringed instruments go to seed - it's how I roll. That's why true guitarists hate me. (Dude, you KNOW it's true.)

I just don't play the fucker enough, that's my problem. But then I guess you could say my problem is that I don't do ANYTHING enough, so it's just part of a larger problem. Marvin (my personal robot assistant) has volunteered to act as my guitar technician. Only trouble is, his inventor - the mad scientist Mitch Macaphee - gave him prehensile claws for hands, so it's kind of a challenge to restring a guitar in his little tin world. Kind of outside his wheel house. (That's not a metaphor. He actually does have a wheel house.)

It's when the sun starts shining and the leaves unfurl in this part of the country that the mind turns more to making music. Maybe that's someone else's music, sure, but music nevertheless. You can hear it wafting out of the abandoned Cheney Hammer Mill on a night like this ... me framming on my broken down guitar, Matt hammering on an anvil, Marvin jumping up and down like a chimp, slapping his bongos. I won't even get into what Anti-Lincoln does to make noise. Let's say it doesn't involve the harpsichord, which I think may have been his primary instrument at one time. (We don't have a harpsichord ... hell, not even a harp.)

Bzzt ... Let me tune guitarTrouble is, we spend so much time on THIS IS BIG GREEN, our podcast, that practically everything else suffers. The garden has fallen to shit. (Granted, we did plant in the dead of winter. We may be "Big Green" but none of us has enough of a green thumb to grow a freaking rock garden.) Our songwriting is becoming even more bizarre by the day. And what the hell - the harder we work, the longer it takes for us to finish a freaking episode. It's like we're running backwards on a train heading in the opposite direction, following a track shaped like a mobius strip. Wrapped in an enigma.

Complain, complain, complain. That's what blogging is all about, right? Shut up and play your broken guitar!

Unite or bust.

I don't think it would be a surprise to anyone who reads this blog that I am substantially to the left of Bernie Sanders on a whole range of issues. That said, I am overjoyed that he has done as well as he has in the contest for the Democratic nomination. It is unprecedented in my lifetime that such a progressive voice could win a string of primaries and caucuses, and that bodes well for the next generation of voters (if they make it a habit to get to the polls).

One "luxury" we can't afford.What I have to say about the "Bernie or bust" tendency, however, differs from what a lot of people on the hard left are saying these days. Working to defeat Trump by, among other things, supporting Clinton if she's nominated is simply not that hard a pill to swallow for me - a person for whom a vote for Bernie was a kind of compromise. I want to take a moment to look at some of the main contentions I have heard from Bernie or Busters, none of which (spoiler alert!) I feel has any real merit.

Contention #1: There's no difference between the two establishment parties. Not true. There may not be a big enough difference, but there is a difference. Anyone who lived through eight years of W. Bush, six of which saw a GOP congress as well, would know that. That small margin is enough to justify the minuscule act of voting.

Contention #2: After Trump comes the revolution. Bullshit. This sounds like it was cooked up by the radical in Zola's Germinal. It's a millennial hope with no chance of being realized. Trump in the White House will just mean years of rearguard actions against reactionary policies.

Contention #3: We leftists need to stand up to the Democratic establishment. This argument goes something like this: The Democrats need the left, so we need to demand that they put forward a candidate of the left or withdraw our support from their nominee; otherwise they'll assume we will just go along to get along. The trouble with this is that (a) it puts too much of a premium on elections - important as they are, they should only be the smallest part of what we do to move our issues forward, and (b) it's the kind of thinking that's done by comfortable white progressives who have less to lose from a Republican presidency than people of color, the poor, LGBT folks, etc.

Face it: these people cannot afford four to eight years of Trump. Neither can the planet - we simply do not have the luxury to allow such a disaster to happen. Standing fast to some purist ideological notion with regard to national elections is like sitting back on the deck of a sinking ship, right next to the life boats. All the more vulnerable people are five decks down, far below the waterline already. We have to make choices with them in mind, not just our own privileged asses.

luv u,

jp