Tag Archives: Bob Dylan Only A Pawn in their Game

You KNOW I’m In A Mood When You See *THIS* Guy

I’ve been sitting here at my desk  in front of the blog template for almost an hour already, unable to clear my mind and get to someplace fun & happy!

I hate using this blog to preach about shit, but I also hate just ignoring the blog for an entire day because I can’t think of something fun & happy.

So many of my readers here are not from the US. You come here to the blog every day from South America, Central America, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and countries of the Far East, the Middle East, the Near East, India, Canada, and Russia.

And of course it makes me wonder what you can possibly think about this insane country of ours, especially now.

Oh — and by the way, in case you hadn’t already heard, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds announced yesterday that their North American tour, which was set to begin this fall, has been cancelled.

And, NO, they didn’t say it was because the US is so insane right now that they wouldn’t be caught dead here…. it was something to do with a pandemic.

Anyway!!

The news here this morning is that Columbus — the nearest city to Crazeysburg, 50 miles from here — announced that those few nights of rioting is going to cost the city and its small businesses over $3 million. (This doesn’t count what the pandemic has cost them, either. Small businesses have absolutely lost their shirts from the virus.) (If you don’t understand that phrase — it means that you have lost everything, including the shirt off your back.)

(I don’t know — doesn’t that look like at least 3 million more votes in Trump’s lap? Hmmm….)

That remark wasn’t really my point. My point is that this is a democracy, and people are always going to protest about something, and sometimes the protests will be violent, and there are always going to be factions in this country virulently opposed to other factions in this country. And the fact that we are allowed to have our opposing ideas, and even our violent opinions, and our individual understanding of what truth is even when it’s completely at odds with what everybody else’s truth is, is what makes a democracy so sacred to human rights.

However, the thing that confounds me about the US now is this whole up-swelling of younger people who have the misunderstanding that a democracy is a “cancel-out” culture. That if  someone disagrees with you, that person needs to be cancelled out (silenced) in some way.

(My problem with my play, Tell My Bones, comes under that banner, but I want to add that the director called me twice yesterday, assuring me that he was not abandoning the play. That we were going to have to wait it out, for when NYC gets back to some sort of “normal.”)

The sad situation in our country is that most public schools no longer teach History or Government, or even World History. Private schools are where children get the prime education nowadays — whether they are Catholic schools or strictly academic schools.

Public schools are no longer funded well enough to focus on anything but the basics. There’s no Art, no Music — without parents paying separately for it, and then it usually happens after school. A lot of the schools no longer even have libraries. And even the school sports teams are funded by parents paying for the kids to be on the team.

Yes — isn’t that insane? You no longer have to try out and see if you’re good enough to make the team. If your parents can afford to pay for you to be on it, you’re on the team.

What’s even worse, is that sports like swim teams, that hand out trophies for 1st, 2nd, 3rd place — well, now anyone who participates gets a trophy. Just for showing up. Because no one wants any of the kids to have hurt feelings.

This has been going on for a couple of decades already.

Even at the college level — a friend of mine is a college professor and he’s not allowed to use red ink to grade papers because the color red is too threatening to students.

This is not a joke. This is real. Red ink is too threatening.

An entire culture of young people coming out of our public schools who are not adept at handling challenges or conflicts or the opposing opinions of others.

And they aren’t taught how a democracy is run, either. They don’t even study the Constitution of the United States or the Bill of Rights  anymore (in public schools). They aren’t taught History, for godsakes. Or that tolerance, however difficult it can be, or impossible it can feel sometimes; it’s the foundation of the civil liberties of all Americans.

(And I guarantee you that a lot of politicians are banking on you not having a clue what the fuck is really going on with all that anymore. Even if you think you’re on the “right” side. That same side is banking on you not knowing how to even really think.)

I just saw a comment just this morning where a well-known Hollywood actor was making a movie about a revolution in another country and he said that it made him think about how the Europeans came to America and what happened then to the Native Americans who were already here.

Honestly — he had to act in a movie in Hollywood before that thought occurred to him??!! WTF??!!

When you study History and World History and Government you learn about things that are really important.

About how history has an uncanny way of repeating itself — all over the world. And to expect that violence is met with violence — so, if you want to choose violence, which is your right, you need to expect violence to come right back at you. Whether you’ve murdered someone, or whether you’re fighting for your inalienable right to live.

It has astounded me, the outcry in the national news that the recent riots were met with riot police, or even the militia. Or that what was intended to be a peaceful protest became violent anyway — on either side. Or that people with an organized agenda of some kind will barricade themselves behind innocent, well-meaning  people and allow them to become victims of violence that they didn’t start.

Where is the “news” in that? This has gone on throughout all time.

And so many people bringing up now what happened at Kent State in 1970, when the Ohio National Guard was called in and unarmed students were killed.

Yeah, that happened. I’m surprised they didn’t teach you that in school. It’s part of our history — people fighting for change and for their rights and losing their lives because of it.

I can’t forget it because I lived here back then. Ohio was very violent back then, and the country itself was very violent. Non-military groups, of all colors, were arming themselves and were setting off bombs everywhere and blowing up buildings. Shooting all sorts of people — on all sides.  Aside from flat-out assassinations, well-known public people, from politicians to pornographers, wound up in wheelchairs for life because of snipers’ bullets. And riots were common. And blow back was common.

It’s awful. I’m a pacifist and always have been. I cannot handle violence. I expect something more rational from all people. And I’m usually really disappointed. But violence is a part of an equation. We’re all allowed to make any choice we want to make, but we also have to at least be aware that no action exists in a vacuum. There’s going to be a reaction — it’s part of the laws of Physics.

That stuff that they teach you in school, right?

Anyway. It all sucks, of course. But what I have a hard time dealing with is this lack of education in a huge section of America, and this lack of critical thinking and this idea that Liberals — who were once the embodiment of tolerance — are now at the forefront of the culture of cancelling-out; of silencing people; of  the idea that someone is not entitled to their views if they oppose yours.

And this lack of History. My god. Honestly. If I see one more person putting forth the image of Bob Dylan and quoting his song “The Times They Are A-Changing”, I’m going to scream.

The times are changing. It’s a no-brainer, gang.  But you’d be much better equipped quoting other songs he wrote, that weren’t so “feel-good.”  He wrote a ton of them. I leave you with a couple of those today.

All right thanks for visiting, gang. I love you guys. See ya.

 

“Only A Pawn In Their Game”

A bullet from the back of a bush took Medgar Evers’ blood
A finger fired the trigger to his name
A handle hid out in the dark
A hand set the spark
Two eyes took the aim
Behind a man’s brain
But he can’t be blamed
He’s only a pawn in their game

A South politician preaches to the poor white man
“You got more than blacks, don’t complain
You’re better than them, you been born with white skin” they explain
And the Negro’s name
Is used it is plain
For the politician’s gain
As he rises to fame
And the poor white remains
On the caboose of the train
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game

The deputy sheriffs, the soldiers, the governors get paid
And the marshals and cops get the same
But the poor white man’s used in the hands of them all like a tool
He’s taught in his school
From the start by the rule
That the laws are with him
To protect his white skin
To keep up his hate
So he never thinks straight
‘Bout the shape that he’s in
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game

From the poverty shacks, he looks from the cracks to the tracks
And the hoof beats pound in his brain
And he’s taught how to walk in a pack
Shoot in the back
With his fist in a clinch
To hang and to lynch
To hide ‘neath the hood
To kill with no pain
Like a dog on a chain
He ain’t got no name
But it ain’t him to blame
He’s only a pawn in their game

Today, Medgar Evers was buried from the bullet he caught
They lowered him down as a king
But when the shadowy sun sets on the one
That fired the gun
He’ll see by his grave
On the stone that remains
Carved next to his name
His epitaph plain
Only a pawn in their game

© 1964 Bob Dylan

“With God On Our Side”

Oh, my name—it ain’t nothin’
My age—it means less
The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
I’s taught and brought up there
The laws to abide
And that the land that I live in
Has God on its side

Oh, the history books tell it
They tell it so well
The cavalries charged
The Indians fell
The cavalries charged
The Indians died
Oh, the country was young
With God on its side

The Spanish-American
War had its day
And the Civil War too
Was soon laid away
And the names of the heroes
I’s made to memorize
With guns in their hands
And God on their side

The First World War, boys
It came and it went
The reason for fighting
I never did get
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don’t count the dead
When God’s on your side

The Second World War
Came to an end
We forgave the Germans
And then we were friends
Though they murdered six million
In the ovens they fried
The Germans now too
Have God on their side

I’ve learned to hate the Russians
All through my whole life
If another war comes
It’s them we must fight
To hate them and fear them
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With God on my side

But now we got weapons
Of chemical dust
If fire them we’re forced to
Then fire them we must
One push of the button
And a shot the world wide
And you never ask questions
When God’s on your side

Through many dark hour
I’ve been thinkin’ about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can’t think for you
You’ll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had God on his side

So now as I’m leavin’
I’m weary as Hell
The confusion I’m feelin’
Ain’t no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And they fall to the floor
That if God’s on our side
He’ll stop the next war

© 1963 Bob Dylan