Way back – all the way back – to August 3, 2021, I wrote a blog post titled United and explained that the thoughts were inspired by an original song by the same name that had not yet been released to the public. I’d promised to share it with you when it was released, which was to happen on December 24th.
And yet – again – life has a way of happening while we’re busy making other plans. I only thought about it once or twice, and never at a time that I was near a keyboard to do anything more than think about it.
Russia’s attack on the Ukraine made the song more in my focus. While it was written during and inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the lyrics can – and do – convey over into any conflict between humans.
Finally, (and thanks for being patient!) I bring to you the song ‘United’. The music and lyrics were written and performed by Dom La Ferlita, an Australian born and bred musician. I have been watching him perform live – on a streaming platform called Twitch – for 19 months, and I am totally addicted. He is a classically trained pianist with a Master’s Degree in Musical Education. He decided to branch out to explore other musical genres about two years ago, and he’s proven his talent over and over again. There is a group of loyal followers and we kid around with Dom and with each other in chat. Honestly, it’s my favorite form of socialization, and it doesn’t even force me to get dressed. There is a huge time difference between the US and Australia; to him, he streams in the evenings, to me, it’s quite early in the morning. Since I only rarely sleep in beyond oh-dark-thirty, this isn’t much of a problem for me!
I’m adding the link to this song in YouTube so you can listen to it if you choose to. Since so much of his original music is instrumental only, this song is dear to my heart as well as powerful in its message.
I respect political correctness. I respect the need for political correctness. What I do not respect are the people and their ways of finding the most trivial thing about with to scream the lack of political correctness.
In the dictionary, political correctness is defined as “the avoidance, often considered as taken to extremes, of forms of expression or action that are perceived to exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against.” Although I’ve never felt excluded, marginalized or insulted by it, I understand why, in all of the nouns that are used as titles which are applicable to both genders, we no longer have postmen, trashmen, deliverymen and the like. Although postal service worker seems like a mouthful of words, trash collectors and delivery drivers are very easy to adapt to.
Oddly enough, though not often, I hear a ‘blonde’ joke. If you’re of my generation, you remember these, all with punchlines that were meant to indicate that, simply by the color of their hair, blondes as stupid in one or more ways. I also remember some jokes told about the Polish heritage, similar to the blonde jokes in that they both were intended to label certain people as stupid. How interesting that blondes and Pollacks never raised a fuss about being discriminated against.
My dad was born and raised south of the Mason-Dixon line. He was raised to be a non-violent racist. I can remember a time or two, in my younger years, that he used the “N” word without batting an eyelash. Fortunately, he did learn to curb the use of that word, and in time, he was able to accept Afro-Americans as a different race. However, I believe in my heart that he never fully stepped away from his roots in racism. Meanwhile, when he succumbed to the old habit of using the “N” word, I always spoke up and said that, to me, the word defined a certain group of people by their actions and had nothing to do with the color of their skin or their heritage.
I have never, to the best of my knowledge, been racist in any way. I have never understood why racism has always been limited to “black” versus “white”. I mean, we know that people of Asian heritage have slanted eyes, so why aren’t we racist against them? We know that our world has humans who profess many different religions, so why aren’t we racist against anyone who does not practice our preferred religion? The Jews were persecuted simply for being of Jewish faith, and we look back now at the Holocaust and shudder at its events. But wasn’t that also racism in action?
During my junior- and high-school years, the news was filled with blacks speaking up about being treated differently, as being singled out as a minority and not given the same rights as white people. We know the story of Rosa Parks, an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott. We know of the teachings and speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, an American Baptist minister and activist who becamethe most visible spokesman and leader in the civil rights movement from 1955 until his assassination in 1968. And yet, racism is alive and somehow still thrives today, but in smaller quantities and in more subtle ways. I remember the years by remembering that the black students took advantage of things like jumping ahead in the lunch line and we dared not say a word because they’d call us a “racist”.
That being what it is, my biggest gripe is that songs and storybooks are now being attacked for not being “politically correct” in some way or another. To me, it’s a huge leap to believe that the song “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is being considered as a problem because it hints to the idea of a man forcing a woman against her will in some way.
And more recently, these imbeciles raised a stink against Hasbro, stating that “Mr.” Potato Head is not gender neutral (wasn’t there also a Mrs. Potato Head?) and Hasbro has succumbed to the pressure, planning on changing the name on all future productions of this toy as just Potato Head.
It’s extremely clear that our society, already so strongly divided politically, seems to be itching to pick at anything in order to raise a fuss. Seriously, I have plenty of holiday/winter songs to listen to that I won’t even miss “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” if I never hear it again. Seriously, I haven’t played with a Hasbro toy by any name in well over 40 years, and I don’t see myself doing so again.
How do we put a stop to this ridiculous behavior? Have we truly become a nation who is afraid to say “No more” from fear of being attacked for standing up to the idiocy?
I’m borrowing the title for this blog post from a yet unreleased original song by the same name. In fact, it is the chorus lyrics in this song that have inspired this post. The song was written, music and lyrics, by an up-and-coming Australian singer/songwriter who was classically trained on the piano for ten years and recently decided to stretch his love of music to all genres. His name is Dom La Ferlita. His originals (all instrumental) are available on Spotify. Recordings of his covers of songs can be found on You Tube. And you’ll find me occasionally sharing his original music here because I feel that other ears need to experience it.
It is almost the 20th anniversary of the events of 9/11 – and anyone who was alive at that time will ne’er forget the events, nor the actions and reactions in the days and months that followed.
And united we were after that fateful day. No division by race, color, gender, sexual preference, political party preference – just Americans who came together to fight against terrorists who sought to take down our great country. If you remember what followed, then you remember that we joined hands, did what we could, didn’t think about refusing to help someone of a different race, etc.
I’ve said more than once, and maybe even in a past blog post here, that seeing our country so truly divided makes me wonder if we need another “kick in the butt” to wake up and realize that we, as the song lyrics say, “all have the same blood in our veins”. It’s actually that line that hit me the last time I heard the song.
If, hypothetically, you needed a blood transfusion to save your life, would you honestly CARE about race, color, sexual or political preference of the donor whose blood you are receiving? If you needed an organ donation and one became available to you, would you turn it down if you knew the donor was of a different race, religion, culture, etc.? HELL, NO! Why then, if you are willing to accept blood or an organ or, in some way, the gift of life without thought to from where it comes, do you otherwise hold people who are ‘different’ than you in some regard as ‘inferior’ or with ‘less value’???
I live every day with a little niggling fear inside me that our country is more susceptible to an outside attack than we were 20 years ago. We are so divided, and we’ve added political division to the list of ways we’ve always been divided. If we don’t figure out – and soon – how to “live and let live”, we have only ourselves to blame for what happens to us and to our country in our future. It took me a long while after the events of 9/11 to feel safe enough again to go back to living life. I don’t know if I have the energy to do that again!
Please, I beg of everyone, it’s time to accept that we are all different in many ways, but we all choose to live our lives in the places where we are, and peace can only be truly found when we learn to co-exist despite those differences! I can’t wait until this song gets released….and you have my promise that I will put a link to it here, and on all of my social media, in the hopes that more people will listen and ask themselves if they need to be more accepting of their fellow human! Remember, first and foremost, we are the HUMAN RACE!