Tuesday, September 01, 2020

The Necessity of Permanent Outrage

"If you're a billionaire, you wouldn't have to follow
Orders from Trump", observed The 7 year old.
True that, and yes, I should try to make more money,
My son, I don't have to be told.

But I note that many billionaires remain servile,
If not supremely supine, at Mr Trump's bullying.
Most of the all-conquering Masters of the Universe
Remain strangely silent at the outrageous looting

Their gaze is so fixated
On the future prospects for their bank accounts
That this ceremony of blood is tolerated
With its gruesome body count

It all just goes to show
That even hard-nosed businessmen will quickly fall in line
Despite their bluster and self image,
Their reality doesn't include a spine

Class solidarity matters more in America than integrity
Forget exit or voice, America's elite chooses loyalty

But I do understand the basis of their decisions
Even if it amounts to condoning impunity
For the demands of capital writ large
Are their overriding reality and underlying conditions.

When you live on the wages of monopoly rents
And the toil of factory workers who produce your profitable garments
You can surely spare the unseemly daily casualties
And keep your self regard and belief in your innate abilities

And they can well afford to misbehave as we have observed,
Even in the disastrous covidious here and now
As goes your grandfather's favorite Ga proverb:
An elephant which is lean is still fatter than a cow.

We, on the other hand, must be a part of a loud minority
The stakes are too high to abdicate our responsibility
Even if our preferred tactic is to seek out a quiet revolution
With bite-sized advocacy, compromise, and above all conversation

The hard knock life teaches us lessons in social studies
Brace yourself, gird your loins son, for all manner of adversity
But know this, these challenges to our values can be surmounted
When your time comes, I expect nothing less of you, stand up and be counted

It falls to us immigrants unfortunately to forgo the lure of profits obscene
Even without a safety net, be bold and treat it as an opportunity
And speak up, like your sister, to help make the reality
Match up the visibly empty promises of the American dream

Your grandparents, by their actions,
Taught me this wisdom, it applies at any age:
We are firm believers in this family
In the necessity of permanent outrage


The Necessity of Permanent Outrage, a playlist

As usual a soundtrack for this note (spotify version)

  • A Loud Minority by United Future Organization
    The song starts with a sample from the introductory chants from Frank Foster's version and veers off into a wonderful slice of acid jazz dance excellence.
  • Outrage by Booker T. & The M.G.'s
  • It Was Supposed To Be So Easy by The Streets
    The entire A Grand Don't Come For Free album is worth a repeated listening, the small things outlined here are part of an awoof conception.
  • The Loud Minority by Donald Byrd
    His great album, Kofi, was the fruit of his first encounter with Ghana. The song features trumpet and saxophone histrionics as befits its title.
  • Season For Change by Ronny Jordan and Guru
    This playlist features two songs from Ronny Jordan's great album The Quiet Revolution. This first one is an inspired collaboration with Gang Starr's Guru
  • Loud Minority by Kero One
    A full-throated appeal calling out the disgraceful attacks on anyone looking vaguely Asian in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic. The instrumental is vicious enough let alone when accompanied by the vocal onslaught on xenophobia.
  • The Loud Minority by Frank Foster
    His second take on this tune after the initial Donald Byrd collaboration is a forceful affair, the next movement.
  • The Jackal by Ronny Jordan
    Featuring Dana Bryant's delicious spoken word poetry, a musing on "a brother who loved the high life / and got a PhD in street strife".
  • Easy Words by Uche Ogbuji
    My soul brother in lineage and sensibility outdid himself with this response to George Floyd's murder. My reaction to his poem, music and video production says it all. It reminded me of something I've always sought to live by and now seek to pass on to the next generation. A head nod in your direction, Uche, and thanks once again for your inspiration.
    The necessity of permanent outrage
    Bomb Squad antics and verbal gymnastics.
    You're writing the urban griot soundtrack.

I suspect this short take on the titular subject will be easier to digest for my progeny than the earlier 9,000 word cris de coeur that laid the foundation. I hope my easy words belie my own and their mother's bitter roots.

See also: Herd Immunity

A closing quote:

The one important contribution that the African can make to the world is to keep reminding everyone that it is out of sympathy and the love for one another that we can build eventually what is valuable and peaceful.

- Kofi Abrefa Busia, The Prospects For Democracy In Africa

I nominate this note for The Things Fall Apart Series under the banner of Social Living.

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