The Tide is Turning

The Tide is Turning is what I felt on discovering that the Democrats had won such a major victory in the midterms. It took a few days to sink in, but it is a sentiment that I echoed to many people who lamented that the Senate did not flip to Democratic during the midterms. The Senate had almost no chance of flipping, as the number crunchers over at fivethirtyeight.com tried to point out, repeatedly.

The Tide is Turning is the title and refrain of a Roger Waters song, a tribute to Live Aid. I was reminded of Live Aid when I went to see Bohemian Rhapsody recently. I had never looked back on that event, and it’s music, as having been such an influence. Watching the recreation of Queen’s performance at that event as portrayed in the film, I was struck by how quaint it was. How quaint it was that the world got together and raised funds for the starving children in Africa back in 1985.

Quaint that we thought we could just change the world with that one event. Here we are, 33 years later. None the wiser, and one whole hell of a lot more cynical. And yet. And yet.

The midterm results show that the cynics are passing into irrelevance once again. There is no other way to read those returns. The largest shift in the membership of the House of Representatives in a generation. A Democratic shift all through the body politic, across all the states and the federal government. The tide truly appears to be turning once again, and it is about damn time too.

Roger Waters – Radio K.A.O.S. – The Tide Is Turning (After Live Aid)

I remember listening to a copy of Radio K.A.O.S. shortly after its release. This song brought me to tears even then. Raised on M*A*S*H, self identifying with the hippies and long hairs more than I ever did with the high and tights of my time, the notion that technology could be taken out of the hands of the military and used make human lives better was a dream I most fondly wanted to see come true.

It still hasn’t come true, but the first sense of nostalgia that I’ve ever experienced, a longing for the good ol’ days, days that might actually have been better, was watching Rami Malek embody what it was to be
Freddie Mercury on screen. Watching him perform at Live Aid and realizing that Queen’s performance at Live Aid would go down in history as the peak of their popularity. That Live Aid itself codifies what it means to truly be human, to care about others to such a degree that you would give completely of yourself to save them. I just wish that we had gone on to take AIDS seriously enough that we could have saved Freddie Mercury.

But the world is changing. Change holds hope. Which is good, because frankly I haven’t had much reason to hope since 1999.

Satellite buzzing through the endless night, exclusive to moonshots and world title fights. Jesus Christ imagine what it must be earning.

Roger Waters, Radio K.A.O.S., The Tide is Turning

The Bravery of Being Out of Range

Just love those laser guided bombs, they’re really great for righting wrongs. You hit the target and win the game from bars 3,000 miles away.

3,000 miles away.

We play the game with the bravery of being out of range.

Roger Waters, Amused to Death

There seems to be a theme occurring in conservative circles these days. Whether it’s conservative twitter users attacking the President on his newly opened Twitter account, or the various and sundry nutjobs attempting to woo the the right wing of US politics into voting for them.  The theme is talking tough when you believe yourself to be safely out of reach.

The Twitter users who threatened the President are going to discover that the illusion of anonymity that comes from tweeting in your underwear from mom’s basement isn’t nearly as real as the Secret Service who  will shortly be looking for them (I’d suggest they put some pants on and find a decent attorney.  They will need both items) but the politicians who are anxious to send our children back into harms way are safe from the costs of their sabre rattling.

Or so they assume.

Generally that is a safe assumption; that the instigators of war, the agitators for war if they are members of government,  are safe from the conflicts they cause.  This is especially true if the wars they start are the kinds that amount to a bully throwing his weight around on a playground. The bully generally wins; he’s bigger, stronger, more aggressive.  But that’s not always the case.  Sometimes the little guy has teeth he’s not afraid of using. Tricks he can utilize.

We’ve already seen what our bullying (military adventurism) can cost us. The attacks on 9-11 were a direct, predictable (and predicted) result of our bullying around the world.  We trained fighters in Afghanistan.  When they had completed the job we wanted, pushing the then USSR out of their country, we abandoned them and Afghanistan to what became the Taliban. Instead of providing support for our allies, funds to rebuild their country, we turned elsewhere and left them to fend for themselves. So they did what they knew how to do. Fight, guerrilla style. Train others to fight in this fashion. Spread their anti-US rhetoric to the sympathetic ears in other regions.

We confirmed their beliefs about us when we handed Kuwait back to the royal family there, intervening in a conflict we really had no business getting involved in. We could have done right by the common people in both places. The average Afghani or Kuwaiti, but we didn’t bother with seeing to their welfare any more than we bother to see to the welfare of average Americans in our midst, to our great shame and detriment. There will be hell to pay for all of this someday in the future.