Hodge Podge

Hey, I’m just going to let my mind wander this month, and that can be a dangerous thing, I’ve found. I’ve been thinking lately about the direction this country is going in, and what if the far right-wing radicals, neo-conservative, evangelical or otherwise radical right got everything they ever wanted somehow enacted into law, what would this country look like? Here’s my speculation.

Christianity would be the official religion of the United States. The rest of the non-Christians, I’m sorry, you’re just out of luck, and you will be barely tolerated if not driven underground. So much for the Christian ethic of humanity and tolerance. Prayer will be mandatory in school, as well as work and every place the public is allowed to gather. The line between church and state has been completely eliminated, and most if not all of the presidents cabinet will be evangelical religious leaders. All correspondence of any kind, written or spoken will be recorded and monitored for anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-fundamentalist content. All abortion is illegal and anyone aiding women seeking abortions will be executed immediately. (This has been known to happen.) Women will return to underground means once again, to be maimed and butchered, because whether legal or not, there will be abortion in this country, and the world. (I am personally opposed to abortion; personally being the operative word.) All print media will be screened for approved religious content as well as radio and TV. The only possible exception will be the internet, because it is almost impossible to stop free speech completely. Income taxes will be reduced, (yeah!) and replaced by a so called “faith-based tax” (sound familiar?) for the implementation of religious fundamentalist study across the academic world. Is it my imagination or does this scenario sound like the Taliban, one of the ideas the radicals fear most?

All people resembling a Latino heritage will be rounded up and sent to WW II Japanese style internment camps, however they will be allowed out at harvest time to pick the fruits and vegetable we are so fond of. There will be a giant wall built around the U.S. to keep out “undesirables.” Which brings me to an important point. People from Mexico, and other Latin-American countries have gotten a rotten deal from this country. When someone from Latin America comes to this country illegally, why are they doing it? FOR A BETTER LIFE! They want to find work and make enough to support their families in a decent manner. This country owes a huge debt of gratitude to the millions of legal, AND YES, ILLEGAL immigrants for the contributions they have made in just about every form imaginable. Why is it we want to steal their culture, ie; Rancho this, Rancho that, but we don’t want them. Let’s legalize the ones here, because we need them, and set a rational immigration policy that encourages the best and brightest to emigrate here. I love the current right-wing answer to the illegals here now; go back to your homeland, pay us $5000 and maybe we will let you back in someday.

I want to say something about law and order, a favorite right wing scare tactic. Every time there is a call for more law and order and “let’s get tough on criminals,” what happens? The real criminals immediately figure out a way to avoid getting caught in the new tougher environment, BECAUSE THEY ARE PROFESSIONALS, and the average citizen gets the brunt of the new get tough policy. The criminal justice system in this country is out of control, not only the police brutality rampant in the big cities, but also prosecutors who knowingly or unknowingly railroad innocent people to death row and never receive any consequences for their actions. Example, almost half the people on death row in the state of Illinois have been freed due to the accuracy of modern DNA tests. I have a good friend in the top tier of the legal system who says, “If I was innocent I’d rather be tried in a British style court, but if I was guilty I’d much rather be tried in the United States.”

I have one more story to share with you. I just returned from a European tour and spent a few days afterward in the southern part of France. My wife and I visited a potter who whose work we admire and occasionally have bought a piece from. What he told us really shook me up. He said he used to export things to two dealers in the U.S, however business was way down because one of the dealers told him that people didn’t want to be seen going into a shop and purchasing French products! I have to say I was embarrassed at that moment to be an American and be identified with such cowardice, stupidity, and adherence to whatever goofball radical right-wing nonsense the government comes up with. The French and most of the rest of the world have been proven right in their reluctance to join the U.S. in the Iraq debacle. Where are the conservatives, (Proxmire, Goldwater,) conservative values of the past; get government off your back, get it out of your pocket, get it out of your personal business. Libertarianism has one important syllable in it; liberty!

I’ve noticed lately that things that used to give me fits as far as running out of chops, like some passages in Bruckner Symphonies, or the end of Pictures; stuff that goes high, loud and long, haven’t been giving me the trouble they used to. I’m wondering if I’m more efficient with the physical attributes I have, which of course have been decreasing with age. But maybe there’s a message in this. It could be that the efficient use of physical properties is much more important than pure strength. Think about it. Also I’ve been in the habit lately of using different instruments for different music. I used to play almost everything on my basic instrument, which is a 547 bore bell and a 562 slide. There was, I’m sure a certain amount of ego in that decision, so that nothing was ever thought of as a crutch. Nowadays I think it is much more interesting to change your sound and instrument to fit the needs of the music. Take Symphonie Fantastique for example. It probably was meant to be played on alto, although from what I have heard the alto might have been in F. Using a 547 bore horn on this is not the right sound. I have played it on alto, and I also like a horn with a bore of 525 and smaller. Ravel’s music calls for a smaller bore instrument I believe, because I think you can get a big sound on any horn. I played a 500 bore horn on La Valse and I was told it sounded very big out in front. Let’s make our playing lives more interesting by fitting the instrument to the music.