Peace through victory - the American way.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

A Riff On The San Diego Concert Of I See Hawks In L.A.

The folk/country band I See Hawks in L.A. (click here for band website) put on a show in America's Finest City last night. The band is a three man acoustic group with singer/guitarist, acoustic bass guitar player, and lead acoustic/steel guitarist. Their music is phenomenally good, with excellent musicianship, and songs that tell stories and often break the traditional musical structure for popular music.

The concert took place in a Methodist Church in the Normal Heights neighborhood of San Diego. The church apparently rents itself out at night for musical performances. It was not the most comfortable venue to sit in pews and listen to a concert for a couple of hours, but the acoustics were very good. I was waiting for a gospel song in tribute to the venue but the closest the band came while I was still there was a song about a preacher and his wife.

The experience was like "Praire Home Companion" without the phony folksy humor. It was hippies' night out and naturally liberal politics crept into the show. It's a minor inconvenience being politically conservative and having artistic tastes that favor alternative music. But having to endure the misguided protest song now and then is a small price to pay to hear good music. So, I just shut up and listen, or at most, boo quietly.

Last night's protest song was a tribute to, of all people, "Byrd of West Virginia, Senator Byrd." It was a reflective song on Byrd's long career which tried to reconcile his early years with the Klan and his present jihad against the Bush Administration's foreign policy, or to be precise, its Doctrine of Preemption. Unsurprisingly, the song was critical of preemption and even went so far as to include a line that said something to the effect of "this doctrine of preemption is reckless and dangerous." I'm going on memory here so the line might not be that precisely but it's close enough. Nothing subtle about it at any rate. Perhaps it's a direct quote from the Senator.

Naturally, the NPRista audience loved the song. Perhaps the guy who gave it a standing ovation was the driver of the really big SUV with the "Don't blame me I voted for Kerry" bumper sticker. Okay, we won't blame him for that, but can we blame him for driving an SUV? As for my own culpability, I voted for Bush in California. A vote can't get much more meaningless than that. Full disclosure compels me to reveal that I drive a Subaru Forester, which is technically an SUV, but a small one that gets decent gas mileage. I favor drilling for oil in the Arctic wasteland and increasing automobile mileage standards to reduce our dependence on foreign oil. So, don't blame me either, okay?

But I digress.

The Byrd song appears motivated by a seeming contradiction. How can such a hard man with such a racist past be the same man who speaks out against a "reckless and young president" bent on conquering the world?

There is really no puzzle. The Senator didn't care about freedom for African-Americans during his KKK youth. Today he doesn't care about freedom for Arabs. His present liberal-minded, anti-war allies might want to think about the moral position aligning with that puts them in.




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