There’s a huge-hearted black man who may be able to fix the problems this country faces in the dawn of the election and heal the wounds of political discord that have led hundreds of thousands of people in 42 states to sign petitions of secession. His voice is straightforward. His words are true. His intentions are magnanimous. And he’s been dead since 1968.
One of my favorite songs as a young child was Otis Redding’s Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay. Otis, like me, was born in Georgia. Growing up poor and black in Dawson, a small town in the southwestern part of the state, during the forties and fifties, Otis took the first chance he could to leave, at age 15, to find a better life as a soul singer. He’d be dead, 11 years later, at age 26, only 9 months shy of the 27 Club, from a plane crash a few miles from a gig in Madison, Wisconsin.
Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay became his signature, his artistic imprint on society. He was dubbed “the King of Soul” by his peers and the music press. What so many people miss about Dock of the Bay is, it’s a biting, almost nihilistic view of the world and the people who inhabit it. Tired of the racism, ignorance, prejudice and political nastiness of his day, the late 1960s, Otis Redding, along with his friend, white guitar legend, Steve Cropper, wrote one the greatest songs in the history of music. While its message seems sarcastic, defeated, and uninspiring for change, listen to it again, and again. I think it can lead you to some profound thoughts..
Unlike Otis, I can’t leave my home in Georgia and head for ‘Frisco Bay, where he wrote his tune. California has a secession petition going with about twenty-six thousand signature, roughly the same amount my state’s document has. Many of the people who took the time to fall on the ground like a two-year-old and scream and kick their feet, signed with just their first name and last initial. That will make the President and the other governing bodies less likely to take the petitions seriously. But Texas has over ninety-thousand signatures. The movement’s so serious in the state where Ellen Degeneres graduated high school, that The White House said yesterday they’ll make an announcement soon about how President Barack Obama will handle the Texas Tantrum.
I thought this past summer when my friends, family, neighbors, and other people I just don’t get, sometimes, lined up to buy chicken sandwiches from bigots, thus choosing fast food over people, that Georgia had hit rock bottom. No. Then they threw coke bottles at umpires in the baseball playoffs and decided that since the guy they didn’t want for President, won, then it was time to really show their bad sides.
For those who want their own governments or just don’t want the one they have, know some facts. The feds do somethings really well that you can’t live without. This isn’t an avocation for bigger government or more taxes and “hey Obama’s the bestest ever”, it’s reality. If planes crash, you need the FAA. Those advances in medicine for the cure of cancer, AIDS, the zombie virus? Those comes from federal grants. Places like the Mayo clinic, University of Iowa Hospitals, Johns Hopkins, New England Journal of medicine? Do those sound familiar? Yeah, the government money you wouldn’t get to help Grandma’s terminal illness would really tick you off wouldn’t it? Those small businesses that some of you say this President is killing? Hogwash. Building codes, inspections, health and safety regulations all come from the Feds pockets and procedures. Try getting power run to your homes, business, hospital or school without Uncle Sam.
There are currently as of this posting, eight states that aren’t acting like dumb asses. There are Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Mexico, Washington state, and Barack Obama ACTUAL home state, Hawaii. I’m kind of new to the paperwork of applying for amnesty to those places, also, the wife wants Washington and I’m screaming Hawaii. So, expect me to be wearing flannel and jonesing for coffee and heroin soon.
Oh yeah, how does Otis Redding figure into the solution? Well if Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay appeals to the fed up cynical nihilist in me, maybe Otis’ other super famous tune will open the hearts and minds of those shell-shocked and thumb-sucking by the election.
Maybe, just maybe, it’s the smooth ghost of Otis Redding who can save this country’s soul (all pun intended) by preaching to the angry and hurt. Instead of signing petitions to quit the country that allows you the freedom to bitch all over the internet about what you don’t like, maybe you could take Otis Redding’s advice and Try A Little Tenderness with those who don’t see the world the way you do.