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Dear Little Bobby,
I’m horrified and saddened by how easy it is for police officers to kill innocent black people in this country. I’m a white person and a ukulele player who sings a lot of upbeat songs, so political or protest songs aren’t something I’ve ever written, but still I want to DO SOMETHING but I have no idea how my voice could possibly make this situation any less shitty, because, come on. Is there anything I can do other than cry in my car while listening to this?
—I Just Can’t Even
Dear I Just Can’t Even,
Many of us are horrified, but perhaps not enough of us. It is hard to imagine anyone watching these most recent videos of innocent black men being murdered by police and NOT being horrified. Yet I have spoken to many people who not only do not seem to be troubled, but they seem to be emotionally dead, detached from the suffering of others. Millions and millions of Americans do not seem to care. That can seem like a very depressing truth but a happier truth is that YOU care, I care and generations are coming up that DO care.
Compassion is by definition a “togetherness.”
With this latest, well-publicized round of police murdering black men, I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me. Then I started to feel even worse as I contemplated all of the racial injustices that are not well publicized. In the United States alone, we have had centuries of this horror. To me that is absolutely mind blowing. The founding documents of this country were written by people who OWNED other people. How fucked up is that?
You do not have to write political songs or protest songs, but why not? I understand that you have not ever done that, and maybe that is just not your forte. You could maybe try it, even if it is just a song for you, which I think is the case for most artists. Even if we create this “stuff” for ourselves, our individual voices DO matter.
Your voice, my voice—and the voices of other people who are TRYING to be compassionate people—matter. Writers, musicians, photographers, all of US who even have a voice to use, in my opinion, should be compelled to use that voice. If we do not, how do we justify our complacency? Is it laziness? Is it fear? Is it ignorance? I would say it’s all of those, and more. Not everyone can protest, and judging by the violence against police, not everyone should protest, not if it means violence. But I applaud those that are in the streets, making their presence known. Many of them risk life, limb, employment, freedom and more. Sometimes they get gassed, beaten, arrested and unfortunately sometimes they get killed, and when they do, I hope a photographer is there to capture what is happening. I hope an online blogger writes about it and spreads the word of our combined struggle. I hope that a musician writes a song about it to etch it in space and time.
If you think a musician, an online blogger, a photographer or any other random person cannot make a difference, then I wonder why you even wake up in the morning. Of course we can each make a difference. We can try to understand and care about each other. We can try to shed light on those in need, even if we cannot directly help them. Just like with a band or orchestra, it is our combined talents, combined compassion, and combined effort that always work together. Compassion is by definition a “togetherness.” If you “can’t even,” then neither can I. And I know that you CAN do whatever it is you CAN do. Search out your purpose. Use what you have been fortunate enough to be given. Keep trying. Keep doing. It does matter.
—Little Bobby Tucker
“Take a look at the lawman, beating up the wrong guy
Oh man! Wonder if he’ll ever know, he’s in the best selling show”
—David Bowie, “Life On Mars?” 1971
Dear Little Bobby,
With the cops shooting so many people on camera these days, why are the cops surprised that now they are the ones getting shot? Those pigs deserve it.
—Fuck the Police
I would say “go fuck yourself,” but since you probably would not be using a gun, I am not sure that it would register with the reptilian part of your brain which is controlling you. I have seen so many people with the same attitude that you are displaying, it is no wonder the world is in such a shitty state.
My father recently retired from the state police force after more than 40 years of service. When you say “Fuck the police” and “Those pigs deserve it,” you are saying that my father deserves to be killed. When you invite me to “Fuck the police,” I am going to pass on that and that attitude. When you say that police deserve to be shot, I will react appropriately, but unlike you and your tiny little tic-tac-sized caveman brain, I do not want you to be shot and killed because I know that hateful people do not learn lessons after they are dead.
I pity you the same way that I pity racist cops, emotionally dead CEOs and anyone else who is unable to connect with who they are.
Every single young black man or woman who gets harassed, beaten, abused, intimidated, shot and/or killed by someone in law enforcement is SOMEBODY’S family. In that same way, every person in law enforcement is SOMEBODY’S family. I have heard and seen “Fuck the police” more times than I can count. I know it comes from a place of anger and I know that anger feels justified. Justified…the same word police use when they kill someone, even when it IS murder.
I would absolutely like to hold every crooked cop accountable, especially when it comes to harassing, shooting and murdering innocent people. The anger, outrage and immense sadness which I feel about police brutality, about police murdering innocent people who are taking the place of my brothers and sisters is added to and amplified when someone shoots a police officer, who, in my mind, stands in for my father. That cycle then repeats when some racist cop shoots some innocent person. It is complete bullshit.
The fact that we allow the National Rifle Association to dictate our national gun policy (or lack thereof) is complete bullshit. The fact that we have allowed poverty to fester by favoring the ultra-wealthy, that we have allowed ignorance and fear to breed by cutting funding for education, that we do nothing about gun violence while focusing on bathroom laws is all complete and utter BULLSHIT. I laugh in the face of your foolishness. I find that your use of “Those pigs deserve it” fully demonstrates how sad, scared and angry you are. I pity you and your hatred of the police the same way that I pity racist cops, emotionally dead CEOs and anyone else who is unable to connect with who they are, much less being able to connect with others.
I hope that you and your “hatred to power” mentality are not indicative of the majority because that kind of attitude is going to get us all killed.
—Little Bobby Tucker
“Mama, take this badge off of me”
—Bob Dylan, “Knocking On Heaven’s Door,” 1973