Hello, and welcome back to my blog. I hope you enjoyed the previous installment, about the making of my CD, “Goin’ To Clarksdale.” The initial sales have been encouraging, and I’m very interested to hear what my friends and fans have to say about the album.
Those who know me know that I have very strong opinions, and a lot to say about a lot of things, but this is an entertainment website, so I’m going to keep it pretty much on the light side. I’m generally an upbeat person. I get that from my mother, whose positive nature served her well for nearly 95 years. Sometimes I can be a grumpy old bugger, too. Hal David said, “What The World Needs Now” is love, so I’m going to try to spread a little.
While I’m going to be writing mostly about myself - they always say “write what you know” - I’ve got a lot on my mind today. I’m hoping this blog will be a positive, cathartic experience for me, and of some enjoyment and benefit to the reader. Today my thoughts are on, well, tolerance. I know I’m not alone in noticing that people just aren’t treating each other as well as they used to. While we used to tolerate each other’s differences of opinion, the current political, social, cultural and economic climate - as well as the sense of security afforded by social media posts - has allowed a tremendous lapse in civility in the way we communicate with each another. It brings to mind how the most polite, courteous individual, when ensconced behind the wheel of a car in a traffic jam, can quickly turn into a raving, swearing maniac. I know; I’ve been that guy in the car. Maybe you have, too.
I’m not going to get into a political discussion, because that subject is already omnipresent in our daily lives, and frankly, we all need a break. I will, however, tell you a little bit about myself; sort of my “mission statement” of life.First of all, a person’s race, religion, sexual preference, political leanings, social standing or country of origin make absolutely no difference to me. What does matter to me is what is in a person’s heart, and how they display that to the world. I’ve had the good fortune, mostly through being a touring musician, to do a fair amount of traveling. I subscribe whole-heartedly to Mark Twain’s advice: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” Twain traveled extensively, and I think he’s right on the money. People tend to fear the unknown. I have discovered, through my travels, that we are all a lot more alike than we are dissimilar. We all want the same things - a roof over our heads, good food, financial security, the opportunity to love and be loved, to enjoy freedom; in a word, happiness. Like F.D.R said, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Fear of the unknown can cause us to develop negative and unwarranted feelings of distrust and resentment. These days, substantiation of these uneasy feelings are only a mouse click away. Anyone can easily find online confirmation for any belief or position, no matter how extreme, negative or harmful it may be. A lot is being said these days about “fake news.” My personal advice is: read everything, watch everything; and try to keep an open mind. If you look at the news from all sides, the truth is more likely to become apparent. If a story is reported similarly by legit media of varying positions and agendas, there is a greater chance that it is accurate.
America is truly a melting pot; it has been since the beginning. It’s gone through extreme growing pains over the years, and will undoubtedly continue to do so. It’s diversity is one of it’s greatest assets. Sadly, terrorist activities around the world have, in many people’s minds, eroded the image of foreigners and immigrants, particularly those from the Middle East. It is important to remember that terrorists represent an infinitesimal fraction of the world’s population. It is unfair to judge the many by the actions of a very few. If it is possible, as they say, for the flutter of a butterfly wing to create a breeze that will become a hurricane by the time it reaches the other side of the world, so can our smallest gesture of friendship and goodwill multiply, too. Let’s all try to be a little more patient, a little more understanding, a little more open-minded. Like the song says, “Come on people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now.”