Trying To Get To You

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Opposite Of Soul

I haven’t had TV for a month, so I’ve been feeding my politics fix online, watching the "highlights" from the Republican convention online. What’s struck me isn’t the gleeful and mean spirited condescension of Rudy Giuliani, the empty insanity of Mitt Romney, John McCain’s retrogressive vision, or even Sarah Palin’s utter self-assuredness in the face of her lack of knowledge about most issues.

What’s amazing to me watching the Republican ticket (and eight years of George W. Bush) is that these are people that believe themselves to be free of doubt - utterly convinced of the rightness and even the providence of their worldview – which justifies any means they might employ to retain power. And it is their projection of that quality - being doubtless - which has them continue to be so attractive to millions of Americans – even after reality has long since intruded upon their assumptions and left disaster in the wake of their policies.

Of course, being doubtless is a pretense. To be human is to doubt. Our greatest leaders have been strong enough to commune with their doubt before making crucial decisions - and then are resolute in the execution of those decisions. (Lincoln during the Civil War and Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis come to mind.)

In soul music, doubt suffuses everything, even affirmation. When you listen to “A Change Is Gonna Come,” you can hear the sadness in Sam Cooke’s voice, the doubt that anything can possibly change amidst his assurance that it will. Otis Redding’s “Ole Man Trouble,” proclaims, “I live my life in doubt,” and in the willingness to be authentic with his own humanity, his voice gains immeasurable power. Soul may be filled with some of the greatest braggadocio known to music, but doubt is the utterly necessary flipside – and it’s one the reasons why the music still matters, for its humanity remains authentically full and resonant.

Watching the Republican conventioneers gleefully scream, “Drill Baby Drill,” in lockstep with Sarah Palin, I found myself struggling for words to describe what I saw and heard. Willful ignorance? Possibly. Stubborn pride? Sure. Then I got it:

It’s the opposite of soul.

A Change Is Gonna Come - SAM COOKE

6 comments:

Pete said...

Well put, I couldn't agree more! I too was watching the "Drill Baby Drill!" moment, trying to muster up the words that explained the inanity, the utter ignorance and stubbornness. And be assured that on every campaing stop, where Palin gives the same stump speech again and again, the crowds always erupt into "drill baby drill"... opposite of soul. Right on.

God, I hope there's more of us in November than there are of them.

Anonymous said...

"God I hope there's more of us than of them"....that statement and mindset is sad to me and I see it coming from Democrats far too often. I'm a proud indie and I can tell you that it's that attitude that often times makes democrats look desperate, is downright polarizing, and is totally not effective...The last eight years proves that there are more of them than you, don't you think? so why not take a different approach and "change" like Obama preaches?

red said...

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sohbet

Ben Lazar said...

Agree with anonymous - making this an Us vs. Them election will have the Republicans win. It's a false context with which to view the election - we're really not particularly different from one another.

Anonymous said...

Not only am I getting tired of hearing the same speech over and over I am getting very tired of looking at Todd Palin in the background. Who's watcing the kids? Palin is right; she is not a "good old boy" she is a good old girl and anybody who cannot see passed those glasses and that lipstick not only has no soul but they have no backbone as well.
Here is some real soul that I would like to share with everyone.
Obama clip. Very moving.

http://www.dipdive.com/dip-politics/wato/

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