That’s Life

I have been on tour for the last two weeks, greatly diminishing my ability to write.  Touring doesn’t always do this, but I’ve been a little under the weather this tour, leaving me blankly staring at the wall between gigs.  I’ve been to Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, and Tennessee.  I’ve read a Lou Reed biography and am now reading a Prince biography.  I’ve listened to more hours of music than I could possibly count.

Ted Cruz has fallen by the wayside, as Donald Trump has risen.  Bernie Sanders still hangs on by the skin of his teeth.

Do I really want to live in a world where Prince is dead and Donald Trump represents the face of one of our two main political parties?  It seems like some weird sci-fi movie where someone went into the past and fucked something up.  But it is here and it is now and that’s life.

I’ve read some interesting articles:

Andrew Sullivan tries to make sense of the rise of Trump.  I don’t agree with everything in his article, but it is a brilliant piece of writing that deserves to be pondered.  Sullivan dives into history and political theory to try and communicate just how dangerous Donald Trump is at this moment in our history.

Brittney Cooper has an interesting piece over at Salon that uses the death of Prince to talk about how our economy and culture has not only devalued black lives, but literature, music, and art as well.

 

……..

There is more, so much more, but right now I need to get my day underway before I head out to a sound check.  Just a few records worth checking out:

Kanye West – The Life of Pablo – West continues his winning streak.  For all those of you that don’t understand, West simply dreams bigger, goes further than most recording artists hight now.  He is simply one of the best producers and creates gigantic, imaginative soundscapes.  This record mixes the sacred and profane on equal levels.  A futuristic gospel record with lots of swearing?  Something like that.

The Wedding Present – Seamonsters – An early 90’s album that got lost in the shuffle between 80’s rock and the 90’s alternative movement.  A devastating series of relationship songs recorded by Steve Albini.  The textures of this album are so vivid that you feel like the album is in 3D, like you could chew on them.

Prince – 1999 – Never forget that Prince is a great album artist.  One of the things that I find shocking with this album is how he is using technology that is completely of its time, yet somehow hasn’t aged.  He is using synthesizers and drum machines that are now long outdated, but he uses them so well that it never for a second gets in the way of the enjoyment of the record.  Also for an artist often associated with sex, one should always remember that his music was always stuffed full of ideas as well.  The title track ends with a group of voices intoning, “Mommy, why does everybody have a bomb?”  I only wish there were more modern artists subverting our radio stations.

 

 

 

Michael Moore’s ‘Where to Invade Next’ and The Allegory of the Cave

I wish that Americans could discount whatever bias they may have for Michael Moore and see his new movie, Where to Invade Next.  Moore travels the world to look at ways of life different from the U.S., things that foreign countries do better than us through their governments.  This is an extremely patriotic movie, as Moore not only wants to see America get better, but also makes note that many of the ideas in the film were originally American.  He also makes it clear that the countries have these things because their populations were politically motivated enough to make them happen.

Now I know some cynics will say that these countries have other problems.  Moore does not try to paint other countries as utopias.  He is simply trying to get Americans to take the best ideas from around the world and put them together to benefit our society.  There are alternatives to our current state of affairs, which if you look at our election cycle it is clear that, despite our differences, people feel something needs to change.

I keep thinking of Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.

Plato has Socrates describe a gathering of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from things passing in front of a fire behind them, and they begin to give names to these shadows. The shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, for he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.

I have traveled quite extensively and I have seen some of the things presented in the movie with my own eyes.  However, I was unaware of many of the things in the movie, though they jive with what I have seen in the countries I have visited.  I think what Moore is trying to do is to show a world that is not often presented in our terrible celebrity driven corporate media.

If we could get out of our whole right/left paradigm and view Moore’s film as a set of ideas to be discussed I think it would do us a lot of good.  Although our country often disagrees about the cause of our ills, many people of different political persuasions realize there is something deeply strange going on in our culture and in our politics.  How do we create a government that benefits the most amount of people possible?  Due to our media, which thrives on scandal, tragedy, and covering our political discourse like a horse race, ideas on how to fix things, many of which already exist in other parts of the world, are often left behind in the shadows.

Moore’s movie is the work of an optimist.  If people could only see things as they truly are, they would make better decisions on how they govern and want to be governed.  Kurt Vonnegut once called the idea that the American people would do the right thing if given the right leader, “Hunter Thompson’s disease”.  Thompson, despite the dark nature of much of his writing, believed that that was the case.  That is why he actively participated in the public arena.  (Though I don’t think Vonnegut would have written the things he did if he thought there was no hope, even if at times, especially near the end of his life, he viewed our prospects as bleak.)  Are people like Thompson and Moore dreamers?  Are we merely a country that is driven by our tribal allegiances.  Are we too easily manipulated to ever discern right from wrong?  If I’m honest, I have my good days and bad days with that whole deal.  But I still have hope that if more people were presented with information, that enough of them would make the right choice.  (“There are some people you just can’t reach.”)  I think Moore’s film is a fountain of ideas that are worthy of debate.  It’s a great conversation starter.  If we can at least have a debate based on ideas, if we can have that conversation, maybe, just maybe, we can find a path through the darkness.

 

To the Dead We Owe Only Truth

I was interested in this paragraph from a Salon article:

George Orwell once noted that when an English politician dies “his worst enemies will stand up on the floor of the House and utter pious lies in his honour.”  Antonin Scalia was neither English, nor technically speaking a politician, but a similar tradition can be witnessed in the form of the praise now being heaped on him.

I was reminded of the quote by Voltaire:

To the living we owe respect, to the dead we owe only truth.  

A friend of mine recently wrote the following about Scalia, one of the best things I’ve read:

Wild to realize Scalia’s been “judging us” for all but two years of my life. Can’t begin to get into the litany of destructive positions he took. Rights for The Other: women, gays, minorities… forget about it. He opposed habeas corpus and due process for Gitmo detainees. He vehemently defended the death penalty – even for “mentally retarded” – and pissed on Miranda rights. He said burning a cross in someone’s front yard was defensible under the First Amendment. When you build obstacles to stick it to those looking for the light at the end of the tunnel, you’re a jurisprudential asshole. I’m sure his loved ones, and people who share his P.O.V., are sad he’s dead. But he died on a hunting trip, and you can be sure his would-be-prey isn’t mourning his loss. I know the feeling. Peace and love!

Why do we often choose to whitewash the lives of the recently deceased, at the expense of truth? What strange ancient customs make us feel obligated to start lying when someone dies?  Eventually history will be told, the truth will come out.  At some point someone will realize the folly of our ways.  Isn’t better that we might recognize folly in our own time, and perhaps change course before it is too late.  Scalia did a great deal of damage to our country.  The time to recognize it is now, before we too are dead, and it’s too late to do anything about it.

A Disagreement with Ta-Nehisi Coates

I think Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the best and brightest writers of his generation, but lately I have had a problem with his approach to politics, especially his criticisms of Bernie Sanders.  I think it was Chuck D that said that when white people face a recession, black people face a depression.  (Paraphrased)  I totally think that is the truth.  There is no doubt that black people face inequality, not only in income, but across the board when it comes to rule of law.  One can simply look at the violence directed towards black people by the police in comparison to white people.  And these things are only touching the surface.  However, I can’t help but feel that Coates addresses everything through a one issue lens, while also misunderstanding the realities of presidential politics.  I want the same end goals as Coates does, but I feel that his approach is misguided.

America made progress on a whole host of issues from Franklin Roosevelt’s presidency, through the Civil Rights and other movements of the 60’s,  until the rise of Ronald Reagan.  Since Reagan the working and middle class of this country have have seen tremendous setbacks.  There is no doubt that these setbacks have affected blacks and other minorities worse than whites.  One of the truths of American power, since the Civil War, that has been more or less effective at different time periods, has been to divide and conquer.  Lower class whites and blacks, which in reality have much in common, have been pitted against each other.  (Often all too easily I’m afraid.)

Aside from rare achievements like Obamacare, which many of us on the left think didn’t go far enough, true progressive goals have been sidelined.  This is due to the Republicans ability to siphon off white working class voters.  But this is also due to the fragmented nature of the left, where each group has their pet issue, instead of uniting for the greater common good.  In a capitalist society, money is power.  Unions have been destroyed.  Healthcare still doesn’t reach enough people.  Education has been robbed of the kind of value that allows people to think critically, not only making people less intelligent politically, but preventing the kind of fluid intelligence that allows people to change jobs with changing times.  The right and left argue over culture matters.  The left is guilty of this for sure.  Instead of addressing issues that will lead to a fairer system, inequality is attacked in a series of patchwork attempts, always leaving some other hole for problems to arise.

Politics is also largely a realm of the realistic.  One can only harness energy and attention for so long.  How do you do the most good with limited energy?  What topics does one tackle first?  A president must not only try to balance the wishes of many groups simultaneously, but is also constricted through very real laws that balance the power of government between different branches.  That is how the presidency has been since the founding of our country.  The founding fathers did not create a dictatorship.

It is true that there is a need for certain kinds of extremists and dreamers in the political realm.  You need people that push the envelope, that hold those in power accountable.  I am by no means saying that these people don’t have their place.  But when this becomes the norm, I think you will see that a political party stands a very slim chance of getting anything done that will last.  There have to be those that understand the reality of law, how to get laws actually passed, etc.  As a musician, I am a dreamer.  But as a History and eventually an American Studies Major, I also know that there needs to be those in power than understand the mechanisms of government.

One of my favorite writers is George Orwell.  Orwell was a democratic socialist that was also highly critical of the utopian left.  He understood that if you wanted to raise the living of the working class, you had to get them on your side.  Orwell understood the plight of miners in Northern England, even if intellectually and culturally he was quite different.  He understood why these people had certain religious and cultural beliefs.  A certain kind of culture and education influences the way one thinks.  Attacking something someone holds dear, if it is not related to the matter at hand, especially if in all other ways they would be open to an important political goal, is foolish.  In politics, you have to be willing to meet people where they are at.

I believe that overall Sanders and Coates want the same end goal.  They both want to live in a fairer country where there is more opportunity for all people, where everyone is treated equally under the rule of law.  But Coates as been critical of Sanders for not taking up one of his explicit political causes.  If he was attacking a sitting political power I would deem what he is doing as noble and necessary to the political process.

However, in an election cycle, especially when the opposing choices are so horrendous, I can’t help but think of what he is doing is foolish.  Sanders largely shares the same goals, even if he views getting there differently.  Why, when critiquing someone, would you pick Sanders?  Coates explains this, but I just can’t agree with him.  (And anyone that thinks all politicians are the same needs to merely think how recent historical events would have played out if Gore would have won instead of Bush.  At least Bill Maher is honest enough to admit he should have not voted for Nader.  And if you don’t believe voting matters, that politicians are the same, there are probably thousands of dead Iraqis that would say differently, if only they could.)

In a perfect world there would possibly be a greater variety among the candidates.  But politics is again partially dealing with the realities of a situation.  These are the candidates that we have.  Sanders might not be checking off every box for Coates, but doesn’t he run the risk of helping to elect someone that is either completely part of the status quo, with Hillary, or someone that is actually opposed to Coates brand of politics?  This is an election cycle where certain candidates are outright demonizing minorities.  Well this might be election year B.S, I can’t help but feel that there is a dark undercurrent in the right that will actually see the light if one of the Republicans is elected.

I view income inequality and climate change as the two biggest issues of our day.  With climate change, if that isn’t addressed, all other issues may be worthless, as we might all end up sharing a world that isn’t worth living in.  There is also a clock on that issue.  We only have so long to get it right.  The Democrats are much better on that issue than the Republicans.  It is also worth saying that the poorest people in the world will be affected the most by climate change, many of them minorities.

Income inequality affects people from all races, even if it is disproportionately affecting minorities.  How long can we live in a world where 65 people hold more wealth than the bottom 3.5 billion, before there is a revolution that doesn’t not happen through the comparatively peaceful channels of politics?  Sanders is the best candidate on this issue.  Again, I’m not saying his platform would go far enough in addressing all wrongs, but I think it is the platform that would do the most good for the most people.

These is not saying that there are not other issues that this country needs to address by any means.  But a candidate that can make a difference on these issues can do good for a great amount of people, including minorities.  In a year when so many things are on the line, should not those of us that share common goals, do our best to put away our differences for the time being?  I have my own personal checkbox of things I would like to see changed, but I know what is first and foremost of importance.  I’m not even arguing that Coates should not be adding to the dialog, saying certain proposals don’t go far enough.  But I find his particular criticism of the candidate closest to him to be troubling.  I just can’t help but feel Coates is doing some harm right now, along with some good, when it comes to the political future of this country.

 

 

It Ain’t a Privilege to be On TV

An album I really love is Neil Young’s Greendale.  It’s a strange album, a collection of songs that tell a story, but in a somewhat rambling fashion.  It’s Young’s way of riffing on modern culture, sometimes well within the guise of story, and sometimes using the story as just a jumping off point for Young to get across certain ideas.  Unlike most song lyrics, the lyrics are often somewhere between prose and poetry.  It almost sounds at times like Young spent a lot of time creating the backstory, learned the characters inside and out, and then when it came time to cut the songs just improvised what was running through his characters’ heads.

In the song above, one of my favorite from the album, along with the opening song and the song Bandit, Young has a line that is always with me:

It ain’t a privilege to be on TV
and it ain’t a duty either.

In our society fame seems to be a value in and of itself.  But there is nothing noble about celebrity, especially if it doesn’t stem from anything worthwhile.  One is either creating or doing something worthwhile or not.  Whether one gets known for doing that, or something that is a waste of time or a drain on society, is another thing completely.  There are things one can do to benefit, enlighten, or help other people.  One can also do things that, if not outright destructive, muddy the waters and add to the fog of ignorance.

Now this is where it gets tricky:  There are certain kinds of escapism that I think are altruistic.  In a chaotic, overstimulated world, sometimes it helps to have places one can escape their daily troubles through for a couple hours a day.  The human brain needs time to disconnect.  Also certain kinds of escapism can sometimes let ideas in the backdoor.  You might watch a fantasy movie that is mostly entertainment, but might have something to say about warfare or some other problem in the human condition as a secondary function.  But sometimes, even just a well constructed alternative universe, as long as one doesn’t spend all their time there, is a good thing to have after a hard day of work.  (Especially if murder is the alternative for letting off steam.)

Orwell argued that all art is propaganda of one kind or another.  Does a certain kind of art, or essay, or article, or whatever, have a positive function?  And I don’t mean positive in the sense of cheery.  Almost anything, even escapism, has some kind of political judgment in it, whether it is explicit or implicit.  It’s hard to judge for oneself if something has value or not. There is no easy solution.  The world is complex.  Especially when judging something someone else does, there can be a lot of gray area.

However, I think is gauging what oneself is contributing, it must be under the attempt to do something the best that one can do.  If someone is creating something just for their own glorification then one is just contributing to the ever growing ocean of bullshit that the world is drowning in.  Death and taxes are always around the corner, and one must earn a living.  But aside from that, I think if one is going to give birth to anything in this world, they should try their best to make sure it is something that is not just muddying the waters.  It is better to create nothing at all than to create something meaningless, even if that meaningless thing somehow brings about the applause of the crowd.

When I view something someone else has done, I would always rather see a noble failure than a middle of the road success.  (If those are the only two options.  I am most happy to see worthy things get their due.)  I don’t think achieving anything is all that spectacular.  It is the reaching for something grander than I find noble.

So again:

It ain’t a privilege to be on TV
And it ain’t a duty either.  

A Strange Goodbye to David Bowie

Let me tell you a story.  During Christmas break I made an album with my brother, drummer Alex Moralez, and Dave and Christine from Marah.  (They produced, engineered, and played some of the instruments.)  It was recorded in their farmhouse in rural PA.  This isn’t really a story of that record, which is yet to come.  One of the songs I demoed was called Hand Coming Down.  (The title, as the song, was changed at the last minute.)  On the demo it has a bluesy feel, sounding somewhat like some of the work Paul Westerberg has done in the last 10 yrs, but slightly spookier.  It is a one chord song, which Dave had encouraged me to write some months earlier, long before there were any plans to work together.  The thing about a one chord song is that, due to its simplicity, you can take it almost anywhere.

Through the collective will of everyone, we decided to take it in more of a European direction.  Bands like The Cure, Joy Division, and Bauhaus were mentioned.  The musical track, recorded live, but without vocals, turned infinitely more spooky and menacing.

I sang the demo version, but when it came time to cut the vocal for it, I knew my brother was the only one that could do the vibe of the song justice.  We talked, before he cut it, about going in more of a David Bowie/Iggy Pop route vocally, as all of us love the work the two of them did together in the 70’s.  My brother knocked it out of the park.

The point of this story is not to talk about the record, but to point out that here in 2016, there is still music being made that is still directly influenced by the work that Bowie did many moons back.  We all know that, and we know it will continue.  Just last year I became fully reimbursed in the recordings of Bowie’s Berlin period.  This year, I started to also reinvestigate the albums that he made with Iggy Pop.  My brother has long been a torch bearer for Bowie’s work.

And although I see the world as random, last night, as I mentioned in my previous post, I was watching a movie about Marlene Dietrich.  The documentary was called Marlene.  In it she sings a slow melancholy version of Just a Gigolo.  Bowie is in the cafe with her, dressed stylishly, sitting at a table slightly removed from the main action.  It had a dreamy resigned quality to it.  And even though I don’t believe in such things, when I heard the news today, it seemed like last night the universe was speaking to me.  It was a goodbye to someone who’s work I have loved very much over the years.  It was one of those moments that makes you question things, if only for a moment, before you realize that you should know better…

Matt Taibbi On Oregon Standoff

Matt Taibbi On Oregon Standoff

I have tried several times to write about what is going on in Oregon, only to find myself not being able to adequately convey the proper level of outrage and absurdity.  Thank heavens that Matt Taibbi is there when you need him.  Above is his take on the events over at Rolling Stone.  Every time I read an article on Ammon Bundy and the gang, I feel my brain melting down.  Even Donald Trump and the Koch brothers don’t fill me with such loathing.  Even if they see themselves as David vs. Goliath, and in terms of sheer firepower and physicality, compared to the federal government, they may be, as soon as they brought weapons into their political argument they took on the role of the bully.  They somehow represent sheer dumb force, even as they are strikingly pathetic. Sooner or later they will end up in jail or possibly dead, and unlike so many in this country, they will have brought that upon themselves.  Unwittingly these people are making a better argument for a strong government than any liberal possibly could.

Enlightenment and Alienation

I am finally free to start writing again, as I have been spending a large degree of my free time on musical projects.  As much as I want to make people aware of things I think are worthy in our culture, I want to occasionally tackle bigger fish as well.  I was thinking tonight about enlightenment.  Now I am far from enlightened my friends!  As Morrissey once sang, “It’s written all over my face.”  I still am gripped by an insane temper at times, and that is only one of my many personal and biological faults.  (We are always up against not only the world around us, but also the chemicals inside us.)  But tonight I was thinking about how enlightenment is hard, not only to achieve, but how anyone that was truly enlightened would be an outsider in our society anyhow.  Our consumerist, anxiety ridden culture doesn’t really want people to be enlightened.  Ads are not made to appeal to enlightened people.  Our political class is often the very definition of those that are ego driven.  (Donald Trump anyone?)

So the very idea of perfecting oneself is in many ways at cross purposes with fitting in to the larger culture landscape that we swim in every day.  I can’t help but think that to be enlightened is to also be alienated.  Obviously if someone was enlightened they would be at peace, but I am talking more about the process of getting there.  I am talking about how society puts up its own endless roadblocks to such a place.

In may ways I am a typical consumer.  I love to consume things, although they are usually books, movies, records, etc.  Hell, it is what I write about half the time, things.  But as I get older I also am increasingly aware that material things don’t really matter.  Sure, you don’t want to be stressed out over money.  You don’t want to be worried about survival.  You want to have some fun, to have some things to enjoy your time with.  You want to be able to travel or do things that you find interesting.  But many material things, expensive cars, mansions, are really just hymns to the the self, that in no way reflect on a person in any positive way, and may even reflect negatively, although there is no guarantee of that either.

But as I increasingly become aware of such thoughts, and others, I also find myself in an increasingly large amount of conversations with people that seem like they operating on a different planet.  Life increasingly becomes like a strange dream, where you realize society is no more than a mask for some bigger mystery.  Maybe once one is more enlightened they can help other people see this in a way that will make the world better.  But often one is stuck smiling and nodding, trying their best to be polite, while realizing the river between you is way wider than you thought.

I can’t help but feel enlightenment and alienation are two parts of the same thing.  The first is the ideal end goal.  The other is part of the journey there, but for too many the place they get stuck.  Often in the manifesto of a crazy person there will be equal parts truth and confusion.  It’s like they saw temporarily behind the mask, but instead of learning, it drove them mad.  I remember a friend once reading a book about how close saints and madmen were.  Who knows such things…

I don’t have any answers, or any points.  I am only asking you to reflect and to ponder.

Our Ancestors’ Looting and Corpse Robbing Ways

Bruce Catton’s writing on the Civil War is every bit as fascinating as its reputation.  (I have read in several places that if he is not the best writer on the war, than certainly he is one of them.)  Right now I am reading his second book in his trilogy about the Army of the Potomac, Glory Road.

It’s really interesting getting into the lesser known details of this war, that we are still dealing with the political ramifications from.  This war is a large part of our country’s DNA, even if it is something not always dealt with. I often marvel at the lack of movies and TV shows that deal with this period in comparison to something like World War II, which is much more of an easy sell, as it is one of the few wars where people can be proud of.

Because the Civil War was a war of a people, there are many moments in the war when different sides strangely put down their arms, only to resume horrible bloodshed later.  Different sides would often trade with each other.  They also made deals where they would promise not to shoot each other at night so that they could get a comfortable nights sleep.  In one instance in the book, an argument between a Confederate and a Union regiment gets so heated, that they all put down their weapons for a fist fight between two members, only to pick up their weapons and go their separate ways once the fight was settled.

But for every story like this, there are also stories of typical wartime behavior that often don’t make it into the more popular accounts we see on TV documentaries and such.  Here is a passage that deals with the looting of Fredericksburg:

“The city had been rudely sacked; household furniture lined the streets.  Books and battered pictures, bureaus, lounges, feather beds, clocks, and every conceivable article of goods, chattels, and apparel had been savagely torn from the houses and lay about in wanton confusion in all directions.  Fires were made, both for warmth and cooking, with fragments of broken furniture.  Pianos, their harmonious strings displaced, were utilized as horse troughs, and amid all the dangers animals quietly ate from them.”  A solider in another Pennsylvania regiment noted “great scenes of vandalism and useless destruction of books, furniture, carpets, pianos, pictures, etc.,” and reported a grotesque carnival aspect in the streets still swept by Confederate shell as Union soldiers cavorted about in women’s dresses and underwear.  “Some of these characters,” he added, “might be seen with musical instruments, with big horns, violins, accordions, and banjos”; and he noted that his own regiment took several hundred bottles of wine out of someone’s cellar, a part of this wine appearing later on the colonel’s own mess table.  One illiterate private rifled an express office and carried off a huge bundle of receipts and canceled checks under the impression that he was robbing a bank and getting money.

It should be noted that some of the soldiers looking upon this were horrified.  It should also be noted that this kind of behavior was not by any means only on the Union side of things.  There is a passage roughly around this one where the Confederates rob a large amount of dead Union soldiers, leaving them naked by the time they are picked up for burial.  And that is only one story.  Both sides acted in surprising ways, good and bad, at times.  Catton does go into explanations for this behavior, but I will not get into that here.

The point, or question, that I wanted to make was that this is only 150 years ago, carried out by many of our ancestors against one another.  What kind of strange blood is flowing through our National veins, inherited from this time period?

As a side note, again, I don’t know why more films and shows aren’t made of this time period. Only a small way through this book, though I have read others, and there are endless scenes that one could fashion interesting story lines around.

 

 

Americans Largely Unconcerned About Climate Change

Americans Largely Unconcerned About Climate Change

The headline story over at Huffpo today was about how Americans don’t seem to be overtly concerned about climate change.  This is exactly why the problem of climate change worries me more than any problem.  It’s the kind of problem that is going to be too late to do anything about once it affects people in a way that they can’t ignore it.  At the same time, unlike a lot of other problems, there is a definitive timeline in getting it right.  Not only has the right wing created a long running disinformation campaign to discredit climate scientists, but the problem itself is not the kind of problem that human beings seem genetically dispositioned to to deal with.  We are much better at dealing with problems that are immediate.  Especially in our culture, where short attention spans seem to be the norm, we seem to lack the ability to make changes based on our long term future.

Imagine if we could have destroyed the Nazi regime before they led millions to the gas chamber.  Would that be a worthy goal?  Millions of people are going to suffer from climate change, including our descendants.  The poorest and most vulnerable people of the world are going to suffer the worst and the suffer sooner.  Their suffering is going to increase due to our indifference on this issue.  Not only will weather become more destructive, but experts are predicting more famine and war due to climate change.

Fighting and winning World War II put the U.S. in the position of being a super power.  Wouldn’t it feel good to wave the flag again knowing that we did something that made the world better for a long time to come?  Or are we content to be thrown on the heap of history’s chumps?