Chapter 9: Activation – A Freedom Song

The last in the suite of socially conscious songs, Activation is a ‘phat’ little Dub number, about some of the things I’ve been screaming about for donkey’s years: the trickle down economic fallacy, the people are poor because they’re lazy fallacy, the fact that we abolished the fairness doctrine in this country as unconstitutional, and thus have 24/7 right-wing vitriol and brainwashing across AM radio stations all across the country.

You still believe in trickle-down economics? At your age?
Courtesy Keith Knight/The New Yorker
Freedom Plaza, Washington DC. You can see the Capitol in the background.

One of the first actual fights the little lady and I had was over her belief that people earning minimum wage should push their way out of it, and the ones actually contributing were working two jobs, and you know, movin’ on up. Fundamentally, as an immigrant and as someone who has never said no to a job (see intro), worked my way up from what I call teenage bucks an hour to quite respectable, I didn’t necessarily disagree with her. She herself worked tirelessly and was loved by her staff. A motivator and someone who lead by example. Why then, did she come off callous and opinionated? It is true, the minimum wage cannot sustain a life, not in the Washington DC area where I have lived and worked. Not in many parts of the country. But what are these people to do? People, who for a dozen good reasons, cannot simply ‘move on up?’ Why are the Republicans the party of ‘do nothing rugged individualism’ when it comes to poor people, but the party of bailouts, tax relief and subsidies to corporations? Trickle down economics. Sadly, this brainwashing plagues so many on the right, a lot of whom are in desperate need of help themselves and often vote against their own interests.

Washington DC. The ‘swamp’ aka Capital of the Free World. Home of Democracy. I love it, but it’s politics ate into my relationship.

This song was my protest against that thinking. It was also a call to reform the police, but also a call to organize to my friends on the left, and an appeal to perhaps move in the direction of Dr. King and John Lewis. Stop the rioting, stop the violence, start organizing, stop the fighting.

Despite the dark themes, this is a joyous and hopeful song overall. It still hurts though that the fight that sowed the seeds of resentment in my lady’s good and kind heart, came about as a result of her being pushed around by wealthy businessmen and corporations, and her resulting frustration with staff under her who she felt weren’t pulling their weight.

Ultimately, it was I that failed. By acting like a stuffy intellectual, I made her feel stupid. Toxic masculinity perhaps? In hindsight what did it matter that the little lady wanted to blow off some steam? A lesson in humility we must all learn for sure.

Overall, it was a fun track to make. And to sing. Plus I got to say ‘trickle down economics’ in a song, and give shout outs to both Rush Limbaugh (RIP, but alive when this was written), and Sean Hannity.

Taken in May of 2019 before Impeachment I. You can see Trump Hotel in the background. Fake news is stronger than ever. Limbaugh may be gone, but nothing will change. Trump’s son Eric was so proud of dad’s double impeachments, he tweeted: 2-0. Sigh…

Next: Chapter 10 – Approach