Is The View On Government Changing

Is The View On Government Changing?

Over the past decade, a lot of big things happened throughout America rubbing a lot of people the wrong way. The general consensus of most of the country may still be that the Government is a positive force; however, everyday more people are starting to have a change of heart regarding those in power. From the “Occupy” movement, to the legalization of marijuana in multiple states, it’s evident that the old values American society once held so dear are starting to crumble; especially among the country’s youth.

From countless wars and military interventions, an economy that’s falling apart, and a serious breach in our constitutional rights, the trust between the United States Government and its citizens is starting to disappear. For example, the recent actions of whistleblower Edward Snowden, a former employee for the NSA (The National Security Agency). He leaked information to the public showing how the NSA spied on citizens all around the country, and even the world; through their phones, computers, and other communication mediums.

Why in a country supposedly founded on freedom, and so dedicated to the rights of its citizens, do people have to worry about their every word being monitored and kept in a database in a warehouse somewhere? This type of thing doesn’t sound uncommon in fascist countries, but in a nation so focused on freedom, and democracy, why is this taking place?

The people that are really becoming concerned with the current state of the US are the youth. They’ve been promised that if they work hard in school, go to college, and do their best, they’ll be able to secure a career and live comfortably, “The American Dream.” However, what keeps happening is people get huge loans to pay for their college tuition, only to be unable to find a job, and end up stuck in debt with no real solution as to how to pay it off. Those who join the military are in a similar boat, but one that’s even sadder.

Those in the military join under the guise of defending their country, and its peoples’ freedom, with promises of a secure future, only to return with mental, and sometimes physical scars, and a lot of times end up having to work a dead end job to make ends meet. Most of the time it seems as if the things they were putting their lives on the line for, didn’t seem to make as much sense as they initially believed.

The climate of the country, and the world at large is rapidly changing. Whatever the changes mean, it’s obvious changes are necessary. Increasingly, people in the U.S. are becoming more frustrated with the way things are going. Our view on those in government power is changing.

A Quick Reminder to Non-Voters

A Quick Reminder to Non-Voters

1790 Only white male property owners are allowed to vote.

1850 Almost all white males can vote.

1870 15th Amendment is passed, giving all adult male citizens the right to vote, at least in the letter of the law.

1920 19th Amendment is passed, giving women the right to vote.

1957 Civil Rights Act is passed, supporting the 15th Amendment.

1965 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. drives voter registration in Selma, Alabama.

1965 The Voting Rights Act is passed, literacy tests are banned.

1971 26th Amendment changes the voting age from 21 to 18.

“I don’t vote”: a disturbing statement heard countless times from people disillusioned with the current state of the system.

“I don’t vote”: a disturbing statement heard countless times from people disillusioned with the current state of the system.

Because things never change or have the propensity to get better.

Change does not come easily nor does it come quickly, but there is one absolute necessity to it–persistence. Though apathy may emotionally protect you from the frequent disappointments of the political system, it does nothing to help or change the system.

The unimaginable obstacles Americans have overcome to vote are a testament to the beliefs they had in the system. Today voting restrictions in some cases still exist. Three men were murdered in 1964 while attempting to register African Americans in Mississippi. It’s a luxury to be able to choose to vote. So please, seriously consider that the next time an election comes up. It may not change your mind, but it might make you appreciate all of the sacrifices made and work undertaken by the brave, dedicated, Americans before us.

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” ― Martin Luther King Jr.

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More information about Mississippi murders can be found here:

Indie Music

Indie Music is Quickly Becoming the New Mainstream

If you’re into music, you’ve likely noticed that as of late, increasingly Indie acts are taking over the charts while less and less mainstream artists seem to be getting notoriety. This is not a fluke; rather, evolution of the music business places the decision about who to listen to squarely in the lap of you, the everyday consumer.

How Did This Happen?!

Calm down record execs…but I’m glad you asked! The music industry, like most industries, is drenched in nepotism. This means whom you know and to whom you’re related far outweigh whether you’re the most talented person for the position. There were thousands of underground bands and artists who would likely never see the light of day based solely on the fact that they didn’t have access to the enlightened ones…the music executives.

What Changed?

People got sick of it! The trouble with the mainstream music industry is that they’re missing one vital ingredient that can’t be faked…passion! Passion is the crux of all creativity and good music, which is almost the total opposite of what the industry is designed to do…make money! Larger labels do not have the same luxury afforded to them as Indie labels. They are in music to make money. Therefore, they pick a formula and use it to death…which is exactly what they’ve done…much to the dismay of music-lovers everywhere! If an artist sold records they were locked into a lane until they finally dropped off that cliff. Furthermore, other talented artists were coerced into similar lanes because they had already been proven to generate revenue and it’s cheaper than reinventing the wheel.

The Indie Takeover

*Enter stage right* droves of talented artists who have not been primped and prepped by professionals and are truly doing what they do best…music! The floodgates have been mowed open, and the herds of people dying to be heard have become the lifeblood of the music scene. Furthermore, what has crystallized to most is that the fictitious wealth displayed in most music videos definitely does not belong to the featured artists. Labels offer exposure, but the life dangled before starry-eyed starlets is a cruel hoax most never come close to realizing.

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over

Not to be outdone, record labels now make it easier than ever for the average artist to sign a major deal. What’s more, they’re even giving artists a lot more freedom, creative control, and revenue than before…how thoughtful! Of course, music labels began to quickly lose control and money from the millions of artists across the world becoming successful by themselves. Not to say major labels have nothing to offer. However, the time to weigh cost/benefits is officially upon us. Can the labels take back over and subject us to more mindless cookie-cutter copies and cronies? Of course, but only if we allow it!

Yes, it’s a great era for Indie musicians…but be careful, greed has its way of consuming the hungry. In other words, feed that Indie need…but watch what you eat…

If artistic value is found in murals why not Graffiti?

My love for Graffiti is real. I don’t know what it is about Graffiti that speaks to my urban/suburban soul. Perhaps my naturally rebellious nature makes me root for Graffiti artists every time I see a tagged surface. A freeway overpass or divider wall, under a bridge, the side of a building, anywhere Graffiti is not supposed to be makes me cheer.

For some, finding beauty in graffiti is challenging. I understand. One may not momentarily be able to suspend property rights to appreciate the pure, creative nature of graffiti. During my travels around the country, outside the U.S., and through local neighborhoods, I search for graffiti and murals. Graffiti and murals make me abruptly stop when walking, or pull over when driving. My mind feels the colors and shapes on a tagged wall, door, section of a railroad track, or glimpse of a highway overpass. I try to decipher what the letters or design may mean when not obvious.

From downtown Seattle, Washington to its suburbs, from Brooklyn, New York to a Dijon, France subway, and an underpass in Geneva, Switzerland, to the railroad tracks between Lausanne to Gruyere in Switzerland, to Reims, France the Champagne capital of the world-graffiti captures a moment of personal expression in any language, and in many colors. The timeline of world art is divided into periods going back as far as 300 BC cataloguing art from Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, Europe, and the Middle East. Artistic expression is categorized, and to a great degree interpreted for us. Those who create murals or graffiti may not have formal training, but still demonstrate visual creativity in unconventional ways.

Sometimes beautifully symmetrical, and other times totally raw. We may not exactly know what the messages communicate in murals and graffiti, much like ancient African Yoruba art, or Egyptian hieroglyphics. Today’s message may be a shout-out of pride, a cry of frustration, colors of anger, or simply a warning. Most important, graffiti communicates I-am-here.

The old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” also holds true for art. View a growing gallery of graffiti and murals, and behold the beauty.

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The Fourth

Since moving to New York almost 30 years ago, two things have puzzled me about life in this big city. During the seventh inning stretch at major league baseball parks, a recording of Kate Smith singing God Bless America is played. An announcement is made asking everyone to sing along. The song asks God to bless America, stand beside her, and guide her.

If America has first dibs on the creator, which we seem to believe, why not request blessings for the whole world? I suspect it’s because there are evil parts of the world and we don’t like them. We love to ignore our own evils and pretend all we do is good things. Spinning, lying, and trickery are in our DNA.

The United States of America holds a masters degree in ass covering. A lot of deep doo doo has managed to escape, but it doesn’t matter. America’s public relations team has us thinking our shit don’t stink. “Stay on message” is one of our favorite mantras. Rinse and repeat

We love to cram hot dogs down our throats, too. Every year on the dear old Fourth Of July, a contest is held to see who can shove the most hot dogs down their gullet the fastest. That night on the 11:00 news, we see footage of contestants dipping hot dogs in water, so they go down quicker. The winner gets to wear a prizefighter type belt and some cash. There is something called the International Federation of Competitive Eating to oversee this madness. All in the name of tradition.

Sorry guys, we’ve been doing this a long time, so we’re going to keep on doing it. That’s probably what they said about slavery for a while, too. I don’t think there will be much resistance to our wasting food though. Folks around the world will be too hungry to revolt.