heavy metal (music)

A Memo to Mike Huckabee (Civic Leadership)

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee waits backstage before speaking during the Freedom Summit Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015, in Des Moines, Iowa (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

MEMORANDUM

To: Mike Huckabee

re: Civic leadership

So … Mike―

The two-time Republican presidential also-ran lashed out Erickson, again on Fox News, accusing the conservative of attempting “to blow up the Republican Party.”

“The message that’s coming across is the voters are stupid so we’ll figure out a way to make the decision for you because we don’t trust your decision,” Huckabee complained of Erickson’s anti-Trump effort.

(Tesfaye)

―you do realize, do you not, that sometimes that’s exactly what civic leaders are expected to do?

In our own American heritage we say the Constitution is not a suicide pact. In our human endeavor, we might simply say that civilized society is not a suicide pact. Observably, the Donald Trump phenomenon disdains either expression.

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The Point: Supremacy ≠ Equality

Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis shows emotion as she is cheered by a gathering of supporters during a rally on the steps of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky, Saturday, 22 August 2015. Davis spoke at the rally organized by The Family Foundation of Kentucky. The crowd of a few thousand included churchgoers from around the state. Davis has been sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for denying marriage licenses to gay couples. She says her Christian faith prohibits her from signing licenses for same-sex couples. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Yesterday, Brian Beutler laid out a case for why Kim Davis should face jail for contempt of court; the article for The New Republic recalled:

What was rendered as a call for pluralism, though, was really a counterbid to keep the old formula: when disputes arise between same-sex couples and religious people like ourselves, the state should side with us.

Today, Ms. Davis, the Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, was ordered to jail by U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning; Steve Benen reminds, for msnbc:

Just so news consumers are clear, if you hear that Davis was jailed for her opposition to marriage equality, this is incorrect. She was taken into custody because she deliberately, brazenly ignored a court order. Davis was bound, not only to perform her official duties, but also to follow the law. She refused and is now in contempt of court.

This is important. But what neither Beutler nor Benen ever quite cut to―indeed, the larger discourse seems to avoid―is the basic functional reality. And perhaps there is a reason for this, but it comes down to something like we shouldn’t have to spell it out so simply, which is clearly insufficient since this really is the moment, and really is the argument.

Equality is equality. Functionally speaking, what Ms. Davis demands is that her “equality” requires her “superiority” and others’ “inferiority”. In theology, one of the practical limitations of God is inherent contradiction; even the Almighty cannot, by the classic example, fashion a square circle.

By definition, supremacy is not equality.

The functional reality that these Christian conservatives need to deal with is that equality is equality. This has been going on for a long time. As we have considered of Ms. Davis, the underlying device is the same as the library book argument. It’s also the same one we heard about pop music in the 1980s; the one that brought us the little black and white warning labels on heavy metal and rap albums. It is a traditional plea of the privileged, that another’s rights stop at the convenience or inconvenience of the privileged; one’s rights are violated as long as another’s are intact.

This is the functional reality: All Ms. Davis is asking is that her equality allow her supremacy.

So whatever one might say in rejoinder to Mr. Benen’s reminder, Mr. Beutler’s recollection of recent history is accurate:

Back before the Supreme Court found a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, when it became clear that same-sex marriage would one day be the law of the land in most, if not all states, conservative culture warriors abruptly changed tacks. After organizing for years around the notion that states and the federal government should refuse to recognize same-sex marriages, they decided the time had come for everyone to be accommodating to one another—as if liberals were suddenly making unfair demands.

But liberals were doing no such thing. For generations, when disputes rooted in discrimination against gays and lesbians arose between parties, governments would generally side with discriminators. Liberals were simply demanding that moving forward, the presumption should be turned on its head—beginning with the states themselves, a great many of which refused to recognize same-sex marriages.

Conservatives responded by issuing pleas for mercy, and embraced the concept of pluralism, to wield as a cudgel against gay rights activists. Same-sex marriage might prevail legally and politically, but opponents should not thenceforth be treated like bigots or pariahs or scofflaws.

What was rendered as a call for pluralism, though, was really a counterbid to keep the old formula: when disputes arise between same-sex couples and religious people like ourselves, the state should side with us.

Thus it is worth reminding explicitly: What he is describing is the old formula of supremacism: In order to be equal, Ms. Davis and other Christians should be able to demand and enforce inequality unto others.

Whatever anyone else tells you about freedom and conscience, simply remember that functionally speaking, supremacy and equality simply are not the same, and cannot be reconciled as such. Kim Davis is about to become a martyr and legend; let us always remember why.

____________________

Image note: Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis shows emotion as she is cheered by a gathering of supporters during a rally on the steps of the Kentucky State Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky, Saturday, 22 August 2015. Davis spoke at the rally organized by The Family Foundation of Kentucky. The crowd of a few thousand included churchgoers from around the state. Davis has been sued by the American Civil Liberties Union for denying marriage licenses to gay couples. She says her Christian faith prohibits her from signing licenses for same-sex couples. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Benen, Steve. “Kentucky’s Kim Davis jailed, held in contempt”. msnbc. 3 September 2015.

Beutler, Brian. “Throw Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis in Jail”. The New Republic. 2 September 2015.

Your Morning Metal (Persecutor)

Floater

At the edge of metal and the new sonic wave came Floater. I dare you to find another band so goddamn cool.

I am of alien intelligence, at least they say so. I could show you anything unless I want to. Many people run away from me; I make them angry. They don’t like the way I shake, I am reminded. Oh, I am reminded. Stop and take a look at where your words are falling. Listen to where your wisdom goes. Oh, you might be disappointed at just how much your victim knows. You better kick in. Oh, I am sickened. Oh, you won’t listen. Little girl has learned a lesson today, she has a value. Get up and change the sheets again; late night with Gallo. Many people run away from her, she makes them angry. They don’t like the way she moves, she is reminding. Oh, she is reminding. Did you wake up today? Did you wake up yesterday? Did you wake up today? And will you wake up tomorrow? It came up from the water, down into the village, now. Followed me to my home, and spoke to me and said: Don’t worry, ’cause this is only meant to be just like a warning to you from me, and I am only meant to be affectionate.

Floater, “Persecutor” (1995)

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Weekend Metal (Beneath the Wheel)

Thrash Zone: Detail of cover art by Sam Leyja for D.R.I., 1989

Yeah, it’s just one of those songs. Absolutely … perfect.

Beneath the wheel! Go! Don’t be late! First one out of the starting gate! Run! Be on time! First one to cross the finish line! Swim ahead of the school; if you have to, cheat! If you never slow down you’ll never be beat! If you lose in life it’s because you lagged! Keep up with the traffic or you’ll get dragged down beneath the wheel! Go! Don’t be tardy! Fell asleep last night at a party! Run! Make the grade! School’s a job! You don’t get paid! Run at the head of the pack, be the leader in this race! Stay up front Just in case! If you lose in life it’s because you lagged! Keep up with the traffic or you’ll get dragged down beneath the wheel! Don’t play child’s games, they’re just a waste of mind! Study every night or you might fall behind! Dragged down beneath the wheel! Stop! You can’t win! But you can always catch up in the end!

D.R.I., “Beneath the Wheel” (1989)

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Your Morning Metal (Welcome to Hell)

Venom, 'Welcome to Hell' (Neat Records, 1981)

The first black metal album, or so it is said. Of course, Venom followed Welcome to Hell with an album actually called Black Metal, so why not? This is the sort of thing that thrilled a generation precisely because it made the self-righteous murmur and fret.

Fight! We will fight right. Living low in a world of our own, destined to live right, fight. We’re taking Hell as our home; burning lives burning, asking me for the mercy of God. Ancient cries crying, acting fast upon the way of the dog. Welcome to Hell! Kill! We will kill death. Masturbating on the deeds we have done, Hell commands, “Death! Kill!” Argue not or feel the death of the sun. Burning lives burning, asking me for the mercy of God. Ancient cries crying, acting fast upon the way of the dog. Welcome to Hell! Leave your souls at His Feet. Kiss the flames, scorn defeat. Die! We won’t die! Live! Our choice of difference is what you’ll never know. Mortal voids live, die, buried deep beneath the fall of the snow. Burning lives burning, asking me for the mercy of God. Ancient cries crying, acting fast upon the way of the dog. Welcome to Hell!

Venom, “Welcome to Hell” (1981)

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Your Morning Metal (The Lonely Ones)

Widowmaker

Rally up! There’s a lot goin’ on.

Pain is the cross we bear, sentenced to life because we dare to ask why things ain’t fair. We’ll take our share of pain, hide our scars, pretend we’re sane. ‘Cause ain’t it all a game? And in the end it’s the memories that remain. Out in the wild we’re stronger. The more they’re right we’re wronger. There comes a time to walk away, when our night becomes your day. We are the lonely ones, lost alone and gone astray. We are the guilty ones, exiled, and sentenced far away. So, since we have the name, maybe we’ll play this little game. But we won’t feel no shame; we’ll fight this fight alone as our feelings turn to stone. We’re callous to the bone; it’s the only way to survive this danger zone. Out here you got to be stronger. Out here you’re right when you’re wronger. And if you fight and live to tell, you’ll fight again this life in Hell. We are the lonely ones, lost alone and gone astray. We are the guilty ones, exiled, and sentenced far away.

Widowmaker, “The Lonely Ones” (1992)

Your Morning Metal (All the Fools Sailed Away)

Detail of front cover art for 'Dream Evil' by Dio.

This and that. Certain things bring the song to mind:

There’s perfect harmony in the rising and the falling of the sea. And as we sail along, I never fail to be astounded by the things we’ll do for promises and a song. We are the innocent; we are the damned. We were caught in the middle of the madness, hunted by the lion and the lamb. We bring you fantasy; we bring you pain. It’s your one great chance for a miracle, or we will disappear, never to be seen again. And all the fools sailed away. We bring you beautiful; we teach you sin. We can give you a piece of the Universe, or we will disappear, never to return again. And all the fools sailed away. They sailed away. And as we drift along, I never fail to be astounded by the things we’ll do for promises and a song. We are the innocent; we cut, we bleed. We’re your one great chance for a miracle, and a miracle is something you need. They’ll take your diamonds, and then give you steel. You’ll be caught in the middle of the madness, just lost like them, part of all the pain they feel. And all the fools sailed away. Leaving nothing, nothing more to say; all the fools sailed away. They say you’re beautiful, and they’ll always let you in. But doors are never open to the child without a trace of sin. Sail away.​

Dio, “All the Fools Sailed Away” (1987)

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