A Peacenik Speaks -- I recently had the pleasure of listening to Frank Delaney at Spokane's annual Fall Folk Festival. His performance was thought-provoking and straight from the heart. He did, however, in his banter with the audience, make a comment that, at least for me, needs to be addressed. Predictably, the subject of our young men and women came up and a caution to avoid "blaming them for the outcome the way that the peaceniks did during/after the Vietnam era to the Vietnam vets."
I was one of those so-called "peaceniks." None of my crony peaceniks or I blamed the returning vets for anything. It was our contention then -- and still is now -- that the Vietnam War was illegal; as such, its outcome was irrelevant. If the outcome is irrelevant, the actions of the veterans who saw action there are inculpable. We welcomed these war veterans back into our colleges, social circles and hearts. I can say with 100 percent certainty that none of the veterans with whom we had social/professional interactions ever felt that we were blaming them. Period.
It seems to me that the fashion of "placing blame" for the Vietnam War didn't emerge until the early 1980s, and, at that, was exercised by "hawkniks" -- their leader, remember, was Ronald Reagan -- who were making a case for abolishing the draft and creating what at the time was known as a "professional army." If Mr. Delaney reads this, I want him to understand that real peaceniks aren't blaming him.
Flag-Waving Liberalism -- You know, in the preceding many months it's been such a damn frustrating and unrelenting curiosity as to why neo-cons are compelled to write books such as Why the Left Hates America, then drape themselves in the flag while other true Americans do not do such. "Thou doth protest too much," they say. Have we acquiesced to such propaganda? Have we acceded to their hijacking our land, its meaning, its great symbol? Hell, isn't America about freedoms of press, religion and speech? Yet those who cherish those rights as much or more than others allow themselves to be cast as unpatriotic and anti-American because they oppose the present administration.
So, call yourself American. Drape yourself in the American flag. Protest like hell. I see neo-cons flying their flags and attaching them to bumpers and windshields. I hear them using "patriotic" words and phrases. "Why them, of all people," I wonder. I'm not gonna take it any longer. I'm gonna fly my flag! I'm gonna put their ass to the litmus paper and see what color it turns. It ain't red, white, and blue.
Bush et al. do not constitute America; the Constitution and the people are what America is made of. It is our duty as Americans to protect this good land from those who would dash it all upon the rocks of greed, ego, power-mongering and ignorance. It is incumbent on all good Americans to protest and defeat all pseudo-American incumbents holding the reins of power in the White House. True Americans care about traditional American values and virtues. They gather to strategize, fraternize, demonstrate or protest. Why not take back our true American heritage and fly the flag high?
Get Your Pets Fixed -- A big thank you for your article "Euthanation" (11/6/03) on death row dogs and cats. I also admire shelter director Nancy Hill for becoming more aggressive in working to end this tragedy. I'd also like to mention that a group that I belong to, Animal Advocates, has created a spay-neuter fund for low-income families.
Within the last year and a half, we have fixed more than 70 cats and dogs through the kindness of a few generous donors. We'd like to do more. All contributions are tax-deductible, and a volunteer crew helps the animals. If you can donate or would just like to help, please visit our Web site at www.animaladvocatesnw.org.
No Future For Eminem? -- In "Orchestral Maneuvers," (11/20/03), Brandon Livingston states that "it's important to find out, from some external source, if it's worth the effort [to attend a concert]."
The era in which pop music can be pre-screened via the Internet before purchase has taken away the adventure accompanying a live performance of an unknown work. It's a sad state when "comparison shopping" and "getting your money's worth" are used to evaluate attending an artistic event.
As a bassoonist in the Spokane Symphony, I say this to Mr. Livingston: Renew your sense of adventure. Attend every Classics concert we have this season. Get the $15 seats, since those have, in my opinion, the best sound. It will cost more than a movie but will be altogether more satisfying.
I am not familiar with every single work we perform; however, in my four years with the orchestra, I haven't played anything I thought wasn't worth one performance.
Finally, to those who think that Mozart, Beethoven or Brahms need to "make room" for Eminem or other pop music: If people are still as moved, affected or even just listening to the popular music of 2003 in 200 years, I hope that music is as highly regarded. I suspect, however, that if humans still exist in 2203, you will find performances of Bach's B Minor Mass, Beethoven's Ninth Symphony or Mozart's Requiem. By then, Eminem will be long forgotten.
Not all of the 20th- or 21st-century music the symphony performs now will be remembered in 200 years, yet there's a good chance some of it will be. Why not hear history in the making?
Publication date: 11/27/03