Clay and I had a great talk about the space program and although there are traditions I do miss about seeing launches and landings of the space shuttle in Florida, there are a few good points I’d like to hammer home with all of us. Humanity is in crisis as we speak: we have a homeless issue going on, and furthermore, the Rose Community building I’m in wants to gentrify the west Denver apartment where I’ve been for ten years. They plan to demolish the building and force elderly and oxygen bearing residents, along with wheelchairbound and blind folks, to leave the premises immediately. This is a very big hardship on all of us. I’m tempted to take Clayton with me and we have Coalition for the Homeless help with finding good shelter for both of us. Trenton too. No worries, at least his family is here in Colorado, unlike mine, and I’m not moving across a country full of people who care not about music. This leads to another point.
The space program pretty much ate up all the taxpayer dollars that should have been spent on a few things. Things like music education are more valuable than just STEM (science, tech, engineering and math) fields. The taxes and government revenue spent on launching a multibillion dollar rocket in the sky should have been spent on musical instruments for urban kids, including African American and Hispanic children, children who are economically disadvantaged and can’t get decent food in their stomachs. Not only that, but then there are the working class white people too. The Appalachian children who don’t get proper access to healthcare, those kids need music too. Music is something I grew up with, I breathed, I lived. Music is something I can’t live without. Now I type this thinking about the multiple billions of dollars a government like ours is spending on space and rocketry. Honestly, all that rocketing in to the sky isn’t gonna get us a new planet to destroy, but it is going to allow us to fill our children’s heads with useless information. Science and math are not always gonna hit home with a kid who has cognitive difficulties, period. End of story. Some kids don’t simply absorb scientific bullshit in public schools, excuse my French there folks. However, STEM fields are not truly contributing to the bigger domestic problems we have been experiencing as of late.
While we’re all over vaccinating our kids against monkeypox, covid 19 and who knows what other diseases we have been throwing our kids’ brains into, we’re neglecting reality checks all over our economic circumstances. First, homelessness is a real problem and it will be for myself, Clayton and Trenton. We’re all probably going to be gentrified because of a world that doesn’t want us to survive and thrive. This world is already taking away opportunities to exist for girls in Nepal and Pakistan, but it is doing worse by blind girls in those same nations. Same with the United States, Guatemala, Mexico and other places where sight and white and able supremacists thrive and play happily beside the homeless guy on the street begging for McDonald’s burgers every day because he can’t obviously get food stamps without an address or something. It sickens me that we the people of the United States are not following our own thoughts of a land of opportunity, that a surly government official, Kenneth Cuccinelli tried to rewrite the Statue of lIberty’s poem, that another surly government official lied and told everybody he wins, that he is God, and even more surly government officials want to send us to Mars, that surly corporations want to throw so many of us out of our places of shelter, that so many vagabond misfits who are known as musicians and Bohemians don’t have a place in society. Instead, we have NASA, the Spacex and other corporate moguls and giant companies throwing money into useless stuff that none of humanity is capable of realizing or that a majority of us would never dream of or couldn’t dream of doing.
While the space program did lead to the invention of this here mac that I’m typing this blog on, that it led to i things and phones the size of a candy bar, that it did lead to better inventions that led to accessible stuff for blind people, that it led to medical intervention for a lot of life threatening disorders and such things as this, it is still a useless venture to try to send people to a planet that doesn’t have but barely any breathable air. This planet doesn’t have happy little Marvin the Martian greeting you as you disembark your spacecraft. There are no such places and people on Mars, so why are we throwing money at it? Why are we trying to put superior blood on a place of nothing? Can’t we just get over this superiority complex? As humans, it is our responsibility to get down and dirty and think about our problems, and I mean down and dirty meaning we have to roll in the much hated muck of life. We have to feed the hungry, whether we want to or not. We have to house the homeless and stop gentrifying our disabled people out. The apartments where two of my friends lived in someplace out in Oregon gentrified them out. Mark and Amy eventually found a home in Greeley, not too much farther away from Denver than you should be, but Amy and Mark are happy here, but they could have been worse off for wear. They could have been homeless and to the point where they had to live in a married couple homeless shelter, and with Amy’s beloved late service dog Luke alive at her side at the time, most shelters don’t take service animals, even with a couple behind the dog. Mark had a guide I think at the time of the gentrification, and so that would have been difficult to swallow. The couple were lucky, but not everybody’s going to be lucky.
There are more things we have to do to roll in the muck. Here are the things we need to reallocate our resources for and to.
- Homeless people must be housed, and our taxpayer dollars and cents must be spent on the problems of inflation and housing costs.
- People must be fed, including all children and those with special needs, and children must be given access to absolute healthy food, including veggies and fruits, good meat, quality food that does not have saturated fats and bad oils and frying stuff in it, and that means no McDonald’s or fast food items at school lunchtimes. We need to salvage the Obama era health plan for schools, but make it so that the schools are serving actual healthy as hell food that doesn’t keep kids empty in the belly. Kids should be getting access to breakfast at home or at school, but we need to help our single mom friends out, right?
- Kids need music in schools or at home. We need to reallocate the funding we waste on military police and put it toward music education. Music education is a big thing for me. I’d like to call on Ian Schwindt, my band director, and if I could, I’d like to say his music education is going to die without dedicated guys like him teaching band. Schwindt taught me band for four years, and through his love of music, I personally felt like my life was saved. Even if I had unrequited love affairs with boys, it wasn’t without question or in vain. My band mates were numbering about 300 average when I was in school. Although most of the kids had fathers or mothers working the KSC (Kennedy Space Centre) in the cape as we called it, these folks had it big because they had music in school. IF my dad, okay my adopted father, hadn’t had a decent music education, I don’t think he’d excel in his college studies as well as the today’s child would do because he had music to thank. Music is good for your brain, it is better for your brain than fries. It is better than the boring lecture your teacher is giving you about index cards and how to write a simple paragraph. Music and singing and playing songs with instruments such as our voices and trumpets and flutes and all of that, all of it needs to be brought back because of people like Mr. Ian schwindt, and so many other advocates for music education. I also want to call out in the best way possible A.J. McClane from the Backstreet Boys. HE has been a tireless advocate for music education, and has done telethon ish concerts for Save the Music. Well, if the government would hop aboard, we’d be in no need of Save the Music, but I will tell you that Mr. McClane’s work will not go in vain or unnoticed. But we need to add something to the music curriculum that will ruffle the feathers of white supremacist America. See below.
- I would require all students to study hip hop in school, jazz and hip hop being the music of African American people and a lot of hip hop has roots in African musics of every sort. I don’t care what you white Classical people think, hip hop is life. Rap is life. Jazz is life. The music we listen to is not all junky stuff, stuff that includes degrading comments about minorities, women and so on, it also has a conscious thought process going on. Struggles of a Blind Man, for example, tells the story of a disabled man, the typical of such lives a life trying and struggling to pull himself up by his bootstrap. How many others can you name that do this? There is another song by a man called B Mob, My Story, which tells the raw story of a Texas blind rapper who spent years “selling by the night” all kinds of drugs, got involved with the Bloods, all of that wrought out in a song. This is not bad rap. This is good rap, this is the rap we need to encourage kids to do. We also need to encourage kids to find themselves, including write their own rap lyrics. Call it revolutionary, but that’s what we desperately need to do. Esoteric Quality, AKA my dear friend and colleague in life Clayton, would be highly and humbly proud. I could see the schools changed by an approach like this. NO more people seeing rap as a threat, but rather a vehicle that exposes and turns people on their heads, letting them express themselves. EQ was almost not allowed to express himself, having almost been institutionalized just for writing his own hip hop lyrics. I’m sorry, but with my approach and the undoing of all classical and super duper high culture bullshit in our public schools, we will not have to worry and not another young rapper will experience the same problems. EQ’s lyrics are innovative, radical and very fierce as hell. HE has many more beats to do but I’m proud to say his album will be a gem. I hope it becomes such for all rappers everywhere, and one day we will teach others how to do rap music just like that. We need people who will call out racism, ableism, gendder exclusivity, many other things humanity simply refuses to stop sweeping under the rug. Hence, we need to ruffle as many feathers as possible, so bring out the rap music, okay?
- Ethnomusicology should be another requirement in schools. I studied a bit of world music, but I’m glad I did because I enjoy Indian bhangra music and Baliwood beats make me wanna dance a lot more. Just wait till my Indian friends find this out. India has lots of reasons to smile but Baliwood is one genre of film and music we need to come to appreciate.
- LEt’s go further. Besides hip hop in schools, so much conscious rap in our future, and becoming bulletproof when it comes to other issues in school, let’s also drop public so called education of our children as a requirement, but with a few thoughts in mind. Compulsory attendance in a public or private religious school should not be mandatory because children need to be educated primarily by parental figures, including mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, trusted grown people called adults. … Yes, you heard right. Trustworthy adult figures need to be teaching our children not only the mathematics, science and reading, we need to be teaching our kids history, through our eyes only, history as we should know it. Here’s an example. I’d tell my kids the stories of Covid 19 mask wearing, showing them an n95 mask I would have to wear outside. I would tell the children about the masks like this: “When we began thinking about bringing you into the cruel world we live in, we had to experience a pandemic.” Yes, we’d also tell about September 11 too. We’d talk about the Muslim extremists, but we’d also have to at the same time tell them that not every Muslim would do such a thing. What most people don’t see though is the roots of extremism can be found in every sacred text corresponding to every religion. Examples like those in the Bible and Qur’an lead to groups like the WFF (Word of Faith Fellowship) and the groups like the Taliban and alQaeda doing extremist activities. These texts have words in them, some of which are improperly interpreted, other wording in the Qur’an actually sanctions some violence, as Ayaan Hirsi Ali has said in Heretic, one of her books.
- We need to drop all mentioning of prayer in school. It’s simply offensive, and all taxpayer dollars should never be spent on faith based schooling for any child. That can be done at home.
- The government should not be spending taxpayer dollars on obvious pork barrel spending, which should include political campaigns that lead to violence against minority groups, and all taxpayers should not have to pay any taxes if the group they’re supporting is not listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
- No tax dollars should be spent propping up churches, make them pay taxes. Churches are simply leaching off humanity’s wallets, and some are all about the sucking blood from humanity’s pocketbooks. We can’t do this sort of thing and expect churches not to be taxed. We need to start taxing so called hate groups because hate has no place in a free society. Hate is not a good thing for society. Showing love of a universal sort of thing is fine, and not every church is a scandalous group of nobodies who want to beg and steal money only to go on charter jets. Think Tammy Fay. But churches like the FLDS and all these Christ ish hate churches need to be heavily and mercilessly taxed. Ruffle some feathers of all the white supremacist peoples, but I don’t care. We can’t have these Neo Nazi and Neo Volcanish groups mucking around with humanity and their hearts and minds. We can’t even have Anti Semetic groups going scott free on taxes and paying their share to make up for the harm they are doing to our children and their friends and peers. Hate simply has no place in society. It is a big hangnail for which the only cure is to cut it off or peel the damn thing off and let the finger bleed out all the hate it holds. Hate is simply too strong a word.
- Government peoples should be required to work in the fields they are running for in committee work. Otherwise, we also need to have disabled representation in our government. Drop the no SSI recipients rule for holding political office. It’s ableism.
- We need to stop spending so much money on killing, and start spending it on bringing people to life, even if it’s back from the dead. We need to bring music back into our lives, and to hell with Sputnik, we need no more Russian intervention on our soil which means don’t sell our politicians, don’t mess up our scientific things, don’t mess it all up. The Russians blew our chances of being a musically inclined nation, and we suddenly had to roll our sleeves up and get to science and math … science and math and more science and math, and no music is the result. Lessen the real science, don’t discuss space exploration as we are so against CRT, critical race theory. We need to discuss slavery and its effect on Americans and their lives. Slaves should not be an afterthought. Black people are here to stay, they’re not going anywhere, and they’re going to make this place their own, so let them do it.
IF you want to watch I am Not Your Negro, a documentary about the black experience, just do it. You’ll understand why after a few moments.
Also, if you really wana know what to do to bring music back in our schools, I only scratched the surface. HIp hop and rap do have a place in expression and education, not in the outskirts of street corners only. Why can’t we give it the respect it deserves? This is only the beginning of a radical remake of America we need so badly. And our number one spending hazard is space, sadly the frontier we’ve been exploring is our sticking point.