Once I was innocent. I could be persuaded. I believed. I didn’t particularly go for conspiracy theories. I was more of a patriot than that.
I don’t know exactly when I started to feel as if the free press wasn’t so free. I’m rather dumbfounded that some billionaire is bankrolling some candidate and is soon to decide on his own whether or not to totally fund the candidates advertising campaign. He’s already kicked in about 10 million. This is a second 10 for Super Tuesday.
One big shot with big bucks tossing 10 million dollars into the ad campaign of one candidate who can’t seem to scratch up that kind of dough any other way somehow doesn’t sound like the kind of democracy I grew up in.
What it does sound like is the reality I now live in. It sounds like this new darker version of this experiment in governance unleashed by our founders.
I meet people everywhere and of every stripe and tribe and kind. None of us feel as if the thing is like what the thing used to be like. We find the three main over the air broadcasting networks don’t prefer progressive commentators on Sunday shows. Instead the shows are stacked with folk from some other universe.
We’ve turned denial into a high art. Tobacco ‘denialistas’ have turned into today’s climate change skeptics. We go from there being a consensus regarding women’s health issues to suddenly and out of nowhere questioning whether we should be spending any money on women’s reproductive health care services at all!
I’m a street act. I juggle fire. I tell a joke. I pass the hat. I’ve lived a faith based life. I have faith in people. I’ve gone without many ordinary forms of security because I believed and still believe that what I do is part of something that is necessary and important.
But, I want to be the wild guy. I want to be the nut job. I want to be the one making the jokes. I want to stick out in the foreground and in the background? I want sanity. I want banks to be boring. I want my neighbor to have a good opportunity to have a good job.
I want good schools for his children.
It doesn’t work when what I do pays better than what my neighbor his doing. It is better for my work as a variety entertainer to be marginally functional and for my neighbor’s job in the mainstream and his remuneration and benefits to provide a good living.
Teachers, police, firemen, auto workers, garbage collectors and on and on; these are important jobs and folk should have a little something to show for their efforts.
I kind of believe in that old John Lennon lyric, and do believe that these are our hero’s. A great teacher, a skilled fireman, a dedicated auto worker, they are vital roles in our society. How anyone could imagine a world without good people doing this good work for good pay is beyond me. Like I said, I used to be innocent.