Monday, November 07, 2016

Before You Vote...

"Tired of Trying, Bored 
With Lying, Scared of Dying" / 
Manfred Mann

Tomorrow we'll be forced to choose a new President. For months we've had to endure a flood of other lies of all stripes:  Plagiarisms, misquotes, false statistics, unproven allegations, paranoid fantasies, and plumb ignorance of the most hateful kind, from both sides of the political spectrum. I'm tired of it all. And so here is my eve of election soundtrack.

Remember these guys? In 1964, I owned their groovy debut single "Do Wah Diddy Diddy," a Farfisa-loaded cover of the Jeff Barry-Ellie Greenwich girl group tune. They were one of the first British Invasion groups to score a #1 hit in the US after the Beatles, and at the time I'd buy anything with a British accent.

This 1965 track, however, escaped my notice at the time. In just a year, British bands had discovered they could move past romantic pop into social commentary (led, I must say, by Ray Davies and the Kinks). At the time I don't think I would have gotten the point of this song, which was written by lead vocalist Paul Jones. But I love it now.  

Along the lines of The Who's "My Generation," it's a rebel teen anthem. ("My Generation" was released in October 1965 and this one came out in December 1965; there was definitely something in the water.) I love the juxtapostion of the verses' strict stairstep chord changes with the wild roadhouse boogaloo of the refrains. By now Manfred Mann felt free to return to the bluesy jazz that had been their original sound. It's a revelation to see how much they'd evolved in a year.

But let's let the lyrics speak for themselves:
"Oh you who try to order me and say what I'll do
I know you want the world to be exactly like you
But why bother
What's the incentive to try
You know I'm tired of trying, bored with lying,
Scared of dying."
 And he goes on and on. "You talk of mods and rockers and of street corner fights / And then you sit at desks inventing weapons at night." How 60s is that?

Verse three, however, comes eerily close to our present-day situation. "The fascists horrify you / They're a sin and a shame / Discrimination, immigration, / What's in a name?" And he even makes a plea for education reform: "You cry about the teenagers for breaking your rules / It don't occur to you you never built enough schools."


For weeks, the sickening realization has crept up on me that the biggest problem in this American election is how dumb and poorly educated half the voters are. They'll believe anything so long as the person they admire is telling them. Check a fact? Know anything about how government works?  Why bother?

Well, I'm tired of trying to make sense of it all. I'm bored with lying. And yes, I'm scared of dying if the world continues to get uglier at this exponential rate.

Vote wisely tomorrow. And pray.

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