Look at this- me, you, and on a Monday to boot. Big Smile. This could be a thing– a me being on time thing.

This week I want to discuss opposing views. While I have gotten pretty politically confrontational on this blog in the past- that’s not what today is about.

In my opinion, we are seeing a divisiveness in the American political landscape not seen since the Gilded Age of the late 19th century when the gap between the have’s and have-not’s became almost irreconcilable. Today I see two different divides: one between the 1% and the 99% and the other the divide between the Left and the Right. The fact that I use capital letters to designate the sides should further underline the breakdown in communication.

In a nutshell, my biggest concern today is that people define themselves first by political party and THEN as American. Am I wrong in believing that our country should come first, and our political leaning second? We as a nation are being manipulated by those in power just as the Roman Emperors diverted their populace with grain (food handouts) and circuses (think gladiators then and TMZ ala Time Warner now). Both serve to keep those in power calling the shots and those without power sans recourse. There is very little difference between the members of the 1% whatever their political label may be, only lesser and greater degrees of evil. The current system is working just fine for them, thank you very much. In reality, why would they want change? Mind you, there are exceptions, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders kind of spring to mind in the federal arena while Zuckerberg, Buffet, and Gates giving away their billions stand out among the private sector.

Our first president, George Washington, took serious issue with political parties and never joined one, feeling the president’s role demanded someone above the fray. He recognized the shift in loyalties that these organizations created as our nation’s first two were formed: the Democratic-Republicans under Thomas Jefferson and the Federalists under Alexander Hamilton. After Washington declined a third term he addressed the nation in a farewell letter, saying that Americans needed to place their identity as Americans above their identities as members of a state, city, or region, and focus their efforts and affection on the country above all other interests or organizations. He also urged people to look beyond any differences between their fellows in religion, manners, habits, and political principles, and place their independence and liberty above all else, knowing the country needed to be united to survive and thrive. I can only imagine what he would say of today’s idiocies.

With the current taking of political sides and constant sniping at one another with Facebook posts, opposing news channels (think Fox versus MSNBC) and Twitter we cede much of our collective power. None of these pot shots changes anyone’s mind and we expend a great deal of energy in pointless, petulant rants. Energy that could better served on this country that we love. No, it’s not perfect. Yes, we have problems. But in the end, it’s all that we’ve got and it’s worth fixing. Worth saving. We need to stop bickering, find common ground, and vote out these people who serve only themselves and their donors, rather the nation and its citizens.

Your Musical Monday song this week is Paradise (What About Us?) by the Netherlands’ Within Temptation featuring guest vocals by Tarja Turunen (formerly of the Finnish band Nightwish). You can click here to enjoy the song and its video. Pay special attention to about the 3:20 mark when Tarja really lets go. Her voice woven with the guitar work is something to hear.

The words of the song sum things up awfully well, “No, it’s not paradise, but it’s all we’ve got and it’s all that we’re fighting for.” And my personal favorite is, “you’d expect the wise to be wiser.”

 

Tarja Turunen and Sharon den Adel- July 2013

Tarja Turunen and Sharon den Adel- July 2013

Lyrics to Paradise (What About Us?)

There’s no sense
The fire burns
When wisdom fails, it changes all
The wheel embodies all that keeps on turning

Blood red skies, I feel so cold
No innocence, we play our role
The wheel embodies all, where are we going?

All in all you’d expect the wise to be wiser
Fallen from grace, all and all I guess
We should have known better ’cause

[Chorus:]
What about us,
Isn’t it enough?
No we’re not in paradise
This is who we are
This is what we’ve got
No, it’s not our paradise
But it’s all we want
And it’s all that we’re fighting for
Though it’s not paradise

You and us
Or I and them
There comes a time
To take a stand
The wheel is watching all that keeps on burning
The venom works
It’s like a curse
A Trojan horse
When will we learn
The wheel embodies all that keeps returning

All in all you’d expect the wise to be wiser
Fallen from grace, all and all I guess
We should have known better ’cause…

[Chorus:]
What about us,
Isn’t it enough?
No we’re not in paradise
This is who we are
This is what we’ve got
No, it’s not our paradise
But it’s all we want
And it’s all that we’re fighting for

What about us,
Isn’t it enough?
No we’re not in paradise
This is who we are
This is what we’ve got
No, it’s not our paradise
But it’s all we want
And it’s all that we’re fighting for
But it’s not paradise

What about us, what about us, what about us, isn’t it enough?
What about us, what about us, what about us, isn’t it enough?
What about us, what about us, what about us, isn’t it enough?
What about us, what about us, what about us, isn’t it enough!

Erika Gardner

Erika Gardner

 

This post was written by Erika Gardner.  If you enjoyed it, please sign up to receive updates on this blog.  Or you can follow Erika on Twitter @Erika_Gardner or “Like” her Facebook page Erika Gardner- Writer and Storyteller. Check out her contributions to the BBB Blog.

Advertisements