Tuesday’s Gone with the Wind – a few thoughts

With all due respect to “Ruby Tuesday” and “Tuesday Afternoon,” I chose this song title for my random Tuesday thoughts. “Tuesday’s Gone with the Wind” has the right melancholy feel.

Starting with the last part of the title “Gone with the Wind,” it reminds me that the entertainment world has finally figured out the famous movie and book are racist and poor renditions of the events surrounding the Civil War. We actually discussed this misrepresentation by the movie and book in my World Literature class in 1977. But, propaganda about the war has been around since white slaveowners got poor whites to fight for a more righteous cause of states’ rights than the real one to let them keep slaves.

Remember how states’ rights were cited by the president for delegating his responsibility to fight COVID-19. Yet, states’ rights are less important if he must flex his law and order muscles. Both the Kenosha mayor and Wisconsin governor asked the president not to come to Kenosha as he would not help calm the situation. Well, he is coming to get his photo shoot, but he should not be surprised if he is not well-received. Uniting people is not the mission of this president as noted by General James Mattis, his former Secretary of Defense.

The president’s actions and words concern me on so many levels. One is his fanning the flames of racial unrest to win an election. He offers it is not his doing, but he is the one walking around with a gasoline can. All lives and Blue lives, of course, matter, but those mantras denigrate the message of Black Lives Matters. What this white washing misdirection does is ignores that too many Americans do not feel Black lives matter or that Blacks are overstating their strife. And, the president is catering to these groups with his divisive rhetoric and gasoline.

The vast majority of BLM protests are peaceful and civil. They are also well attended by multiple racial groups. But, the smaller few need to cease the violence. It devalues the message. Violence also feeds directly into the hands of the president who looks for wedge issues. In three and half years, many have become weary of this me, me, me focus of the president who cares more about his perception than solving problems. These things are happening on his watch and he is making things worse, not better.

On the Blue side, the police must better police themselves. They need to weed out any bad actors and recognize, address and train-to-minimize bad actions. A former FBI domestic terrorism expert said she shared with the Justice Department that a few police officers are sympathetic with white nationalists. But, the police union and management must stop doing what the Catholic Church did for decades and ignore bad apples. They do spoil the impression of the whole bunch. Just like only a few priests were pedophiles, only a few police are overly racist.

Fixing problems requires leaders to acknowledge them. And, understand them. As I noted earlier, using problems to be a wedge issue to win does not solve the problems. It makes them worse.

Tuesday’s gone with the wind – a few wisps to consider

One of my favorite Lynyrd Skynrd’s songs is the ballad “Tuesday’s gone with the wind.” Using that as a theme for a potpourri of topics, let me toss of few of them into the breeze and see where they might blow.

– One of the more provocative movie lines was uttered by a very young Lauren Bacall to her future real husband Humphrey Bogart in “To have and have not.” She said “Steve, you know how to whistle don’t you? You just put your lips together and blow.”

– Chicago is known as the “Windy City,” but that is not due to the cold wind that blows in from Lake Michigan. It is due to blowhard politicians. Right now, we have the windiest of people in the White House. If I could say one thing to him that might have a chance of being heard, it would be “Mr. president, if you can’t add any value, please stop talking.”

– Speaking of wind, former Arizona Senator John Kyl was caught in a lie by a reporter. His response, “It is your fault for mistaking my words as the truth.” Again, that is yet another reason not to believe a word the president says.

– Peter, Paul and Mary do justice to Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the wind.” They sang it in on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial when Martin Luther King uttered his famous “I have a dream” speech. Dylan’s words echo with his important chorus as he searches for solutions to obvious pain and suffering. “The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind. The answer is blowin’ in the wind.”

– Speaking of that famous MLK speech. The marvelous gospel singer Mahalia Jackson is the reason he gave it that day. She had heard him give it before, but MLK had not planned to give that speech. Sensing early on that the words MLK began with were falling flat, she shouted from behind MLK to “tell them about the dream, Martin.” MLK then went off script to say his resounding words.

– Lincoln’s name speaks loudly these days for more than obvious reasons. The Emancipation Proclamation and constitutional amendment to free the slaves are well known. Yet, he is also remembered for putting enemies of his on his cabinet. Think about that. He wanted to keep them close, but he also wanted to hear from them on dissenting views. I think of that as we have a president who has filled and refilled his cabinet with people whose loyalty is more important than competency. To me, this is a key reason a group of Republicans who favor the defeat of Donald Trump have called themselves “The Lincoln Project.”

Invoking “Blowin’ in the wind” one more time. We have many challenges facing our country and planet. Yet, one of the answers is being advocated by The Lincoln Project. That answer blowin’ in the wind is the defeat of Donald Trump in November.

Tuesday’s gone with the wind (and context)

One of my favorite songs from the southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd is “Tuesday’s Gone,” written by Allen Collins and Ronnie Van Zandt. Here is the first stanza:

“Train roll on, on down the line,
Won’t you please take me far away?
Now I feel the wind blow outside my door,
Means I’m leaving my woman behind.
Tuesday’s gone with the wind.
My woman’s gone with the wind.”

This song is a quick lesson in context. If you listen to the song, you get the impression the singer is doing the leaving in the relationship. Yet, there is one simple line that reveals the context of why he is on that train.

“Tuesday, you see, she had to be free.”

The woman did the leaving. And, the man decided to leave town to escape the source of his blues.

Many things in life and in politics are heard or read without knowing the full context. Context matters to enlightened understanding. We are told that immigration is a huge problem and immigrants are taking American jobs. Immigration is a concern, but it is not as big a problem as portayed and the jobs being taken tend to be those which Americans don’t flock to. If immigration was stifled, certain industries would be in a heap of hurt.

We are told we must place tariffs on China, but why are we placing them on our friends? What we are not told, is there are mechanisms we could tap with the World Trade Organization with the support of our allies to gain concessions from China. Economists note that we are forgoing working together as a unified front. But, a key contextual item is collaboration is hard work, where the collective group gains.

Context matters. Songs, poems and stories can reveal context in a subtle matter. But, it is important for us to ascertain the context. Otherwise, we may solve the wrong problem in the wrong way.